We should all know what Arc is – it’s the student-run organization at UNSW, responsible for everything in university life from parties to clubs to advocacy to Tharunka itself.
But because of the diverse things Arc does, it makes sense that Arc’s board – elected by students and from all corners of our university community – should also be as diverse as it can be.
Right now, that’s not true. Women make up half of Arc’s membership, but only a quarter of Arc’s board of directors in 2015. Before this year, that number was even lower.
There are a lot of reasons this is the case – many more men than women run for Arc Board and while three students are elected for two year terms every year, there are no guarantees that any of those who get elected will be female.
It’s time we change that, and it’s time for equality. On March 24 we get that chance.
Arc will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting where Arc members can vote ‘Yes’ to more women on Board, along with a lot of other changes to modernize Arc’s structures and make student life even better at UNSW.
The reforms mean students get to directly elect more Board members overall – eight instead of six – and every year, two of the four directors elected must be women.
It’s important to note, though, that students aren’t just getting more representatives for free. The cost is that the Student Development Committee convenor will no longer be a director.
I believe this is a worthwhile trade-off to make, and I hope we all will on March 24. Without making this change, we can never ensure true equality – we could only apply Affirmative Action to one spot in three, rather than two in four.
But I don’t just think removing SDC Convenor is good for this specific goal– it stands on its own merits.
Clubs get plenty of representation within Arc – running clubs and getting involved is the best way to meet enough people to get elected to positions, and there are full-time officers who exist to facilitate and respond to the concerns of students.Regular club general meetings run by Arc’s full-time Student Development officers mean that clubs have plenty of opportunities to get their voices heard, and structures will still be in place for club representation.
This isn’t a fight between clubs and women – I think both deserve good representation, and I think these changes are the best way to ensure both do get heard. On March 24, I’m one of many women asking you to get on board for women on board.
Together, we can ensure our organisation speaks for all of us.