Julia Mackenzie discusses being a woman in an SA leadership role

Julia Mackenzie, Student Association director of internal affairs. Photo courtesy of the Student Association of George Brown College.

Julia Mackenzie, Student Association director of internal affairs. Photo courtesy of the Student Association of George Brown College.

Women have the power. Women’s rights have increased over the years and now we are seeing more women in leadership roles.

“As a woman in a leadership role, as well as a woman in business, I’ve been so lucky,” said Julia Mackenzie, director of internal affairs at the Student Association of George Brown College. “I worked with great people who are really open to accepting and working with a woman leader.”

Leadership roles demand time and energy and women are certainly capable of taking on these roles and the experiences that come with them.

“Although I have encountered some surprising attitudes towards women, those encounters have been few and far between. They have been isolated to specific people who I no longer work with,” said Mackenzie. “It really does go to show that the culture here is growing into one of equity and acceptance. Around the school, I’ve received great reception, especially during campaigning over the past two years.”

Recently at the University of Ottawa, a Facebook chat by five men, four of whom were elected student union officials, was exposed showing them bantering about current student federation president Anne-Marie Roy and violent sexual acts that someone should do to her.

Although student unions are trying to end rape culture, it is still prevalent in post-secondary institutions across the country, and was also seen at St. Mary’s University and the University of British Columbia  when students were caught chanting pro-rape chants during frosh week.

There are some people who do not agree with the idea of a woman in a leadership role, and Mackenzie states that she did encounter one of them at GBC.

“I had a co-worker who didn’t like working with women. I could understand this from the way he dealt with me, but didn’t hear it firsthand,” said Mackenzie.  “Other co-workers were shocked that he would openly express a problem working with me because I was a woman and couldn’t tell him what to do. I really didn’t think this attitude existed anymore.”

Changing the attitudes of students may be difficult, but woman are not stopping.

Mackenzie says, “our strength, understanding and ability to help people understand the implications of their words make us leaders.”

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Julia Mackenzie discusses being a woman in an SA leadership role