Leo-Rhynie, Elsa A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Gender and power in contemporary society: a case-study of student government
Confronting power, theorizing gender : interdisciplinary perspectives in the Caribbean
Place of Publication
University of the West Indies Press
Date of Publication
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Examines why student government at UWI continues to be male-dominated, while females at present form a majority among the students. Author studied experiences of women students who were new and outgoing members of the guild council. She deduced that the women experienced difficulty in access to the guild, faced hierarchy and power structures constructed by male members, autocratic styles of leadership, and found that supportive networks were important in power structures. Specifically, she found that male power, election, and dominance, were maintained largely through exclusionary, competitive strategies and powerplays by a male network or 'in-group', utilizing gossip, misinforming, intimidation, and demotivation of aspiring female members or aspiring presidents, and by relegating women members to lesser or 'female' tasks, to preserve men's executive positions. Through such mechanisms the male students in student government culturally reproduce their leadership positions and power. Author further finds that liberal feminist theories advocating equal access fail to address such patriarchal systems, and calls for creative strategies of women students to consciously contest such male domination, and increasing awareness to create supportive bases and relationships among women students.....