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Candidate for the position of Gender Equality Officer

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Jessica Lane

Equality means equal opportunities for all, no matter your gender.

If I were to be elected as gender equality officer, I would attempt to make the campus feel like a safer and more welcoming place to people of all genders.  

Safety is a key part of our daily lives. It is vital that we feel comfortable where we live, and I want to try and make every member of our community feel safe around campus. One of my first acts as gender equality officer would be to send out a survey to all students to assess where on campus they feel unsafe, so that we can work to improve these areas. As someone who identifies as a woman, I know there are places where I feel uncomfortable being alone. With the library opening hours extending into the evenings (when it is often dark) I feel that more could be done to ensure people of all genders feel happy to walk to and from their accommodation and/or study spaces without the presence of others. The anxieties women, and people of other marginalised genders, feel walking alone, and the precautions that are therefore taken, are ever-present in the media at the moment. Sadly, cases like Sarah Everard’s are not uncommon. As students, we all have our own study patterns, so we shouldn't feel that we can only use communal spaces at certain points of the day.  

I would also like to work with the societies officer to ensure that there are no boundaries within societies and sports teams that will prevent people from engaging with all the opportunities the university offers. 

Another important part of our lives is communication. This year has been hard on everyone, as we have had less opportunities to meet new people and engage in the 'university life' that many of us pictured. It would, however, be wrong to assume that everyone will be happy to transition back to normal next year. This pandemic has made many people anxious about approaching new social situations, and this is something that as a community we need to address. I would therefore like to work closely with the mental health officer to discuss plans for this looking forward.  I would especially focus on those who feel their mental health is often overlooked in society and the media. The current perception of men often prohibits them from expressing their concerns or mental health issues. If I am given the opportunity, I will strive to create safe spaces, both online and in person, for people to come and talk. They would be both casual places to unwind and talk about the stresses of being a student, but also, for some, a place to talk about more hard-hitting issues. It is vital that groups like these come with no stigma for those who may not typically feel welcome in these spaces, and I would do my best to ensure this. 

I hope you will consider the proposals which I have suggested so that we can begin to make positive changes within our community.