McClung’s asks the new RSU about diversity and women in leadership

McClung’s asked the newly-elected RSU executive team why having diversity and women in leadership is important.

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Susanne Nyaga (President) – “When leadership is diverse then it ensures two things. The first being that each individual at the table brings with them a different viewpoint, experience and mindset. The second being that the more representative the leadership is of the actual community then the more likely the decisions coming out of leadership would have taken into account multiple identities. Essentially diversity in leadership is important to ensure that the community is accurately represented and that no voices are silenced. When everyone has a seat at the table the decisions reflect that, with diverse leadership ideally all communities have a say.”

“Women just bring an alternative perspective, so when we include people that embody different identities they’re able to bring their experience into the work that they do which includes creating an inclusive and diverse space. It’s a way to ensure that diversity is centralized and to ensure that the work coming out and the work being done isn’t just for one type of person, so I don’t think it’s important to only have women in leadership it’s important to have diversity in leadership.”

Camryn Harlick (Vice-President Equity) – “Diversity in leadership is important because we need to make sure students [feel represented]. I think talking about diversity in more than just numbers is important. I feel like systemic ideas of diversity are usually hiring numbers and tokenization. Diversity in leadership needs to be more than tokenization but instead be genuine and equity driven.”

“…To set an example for young women growing up to show them that their are opportunities available for them and to encourage them to keep pushing the boundaries and pursuing their dreams. It’s also important to have women and trans feminine folks in leadership roles because it’s so important to have all the different view points around the table so that every voice can be heard.”

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Ali Yousaf (Vice-President Operations) – “Diversity in leadership a very important part in our society. When I first came to Ryerson in 2013, I tried working with the Ryerson Engineering Students’ Society. Something that made me want to keep getting involved was the diversity they had on the team. I saw people who were from all walks of life working together for a singular cause. That to me was magical. The diversity that I saw under President Rose Ghamari was something that inspired me to take up student politics. I believe that when people see unity in diversity they will aspire for more. To me this is what makes it all worth it. Having a diverse set of leaders on campus makes us more relatable to our constituents. With a diverse team, you have just become instantly approachable to people from a wide array of backgrounds.To sum it all up, approachability and equity are the biggest reasons why diversity in leadership is important.”

“It’s 2017, our campus is extremely diverse. Next year our plans in the RSU is to work with student groups and empower the students including student groups that are encouraging women leadership like Women in Engineering.”

Lauren Emberson (Vice-President Student Life & Events)– “The people we serve come from very diverse backgrounds, so it’s extremely important that we have different walks of life reflected in those who hold leadership positions. Representation matters. Seeing diverse races, sexualities, genders, etc. being included in conversations helps to open the door and create space on campus and in the world for everyone to exist and feel empowered. We were elected to run a union that is by students and for students, so I think it’s important that all students are intentionally included in the decision making process and that they feel they’re being represented. Having women in leadership roles is important, but it’s also important that inclusion is intersectional.”

“I think growing up and seeing women’s voices left out of the conversation is really disheartening. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles and to me it’s important to be a woman in a leadership role to hopefully create space for other women to feel empowered.”

Daniel Lis (Vice-President Education) – “Having diversity in leadership roles is important for some of the same reasons why its important to have women in leadership roles. Leadership roles have been predominantly monopolized by white men and so the perspectives in the field of leadership are very one-sided and not at all varied. Its important to bring in different perspectives but also to pave the path forward for more marginalized people to be reflected in leadership roles. It just makes sense for everyone to have diversity in these roles, it makes sense for our society and it makes sense for our industries.”

“Without sounding like Justin Trudeau, ‘why not.’ You have half the population that are women and they need to be represented. Women bring different views, different points, and different perspectives.”


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