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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Edited by: Vlada Taits

It is now my second year studying political science at university and through taking several courses, studying and meeting different types of people in the program, I have come to make many observations about how women are treated in the political world. Ever since high school, I took up an interest in activities such as debate and Model United Nations conferences where I felt like I could potentially use my voice to discuss issues that mattered most to me. In more recent years as I began to watch real political debates, I have noticed that women are treated differently in the real world versus in high school. For me personally, these differences make me nervous about continuing in the field of politics even though it is one of my major interests. 

Growing up, I have always been a shy person but sitting in a university classroom amongst peers who have like-minded interests made me more confident to share my ideas and opinions. As a woman in a political science class, I never felt like I was silenced by a male classmate when sharing a thought or participating in group work. Instead, I felt like I was being heard by others and encouraged to speak up. Sadly in recent times, I have noticed that these kinds of encouraging values towards women do not last forever. For example, after watching the first Vice Presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamela Harris, I noticed that people right away were commenting that Kamela was too arrogant with her smug facial expressions and the fact that she at times got too defensive. After reading this commentary I immediately thought to myself: “Why is a woman being called arrogant for standing up for herself and her beliefs but a man isn’t being called arrogant and rude for interrupting her and others?” This situation made me think about my own future career and made me wonder how men in the field will interpret the way I speak my mind or the way that I express my ideas. It made me question whether or not men would see me as disrespectful for defending myself when in reality they would do the exact same but not get called out on it. 

Seeing how women are treated in the political world has made me question whether or not I am too sensitive for a career in this field. However, after seeing debates between men like Joe Biden and Donald Trump where lots of interrupting, bullying, and name-calling were included, I realized that women like myself are not too sensitive but that the rhetoric needs to change. The media will go out of its way to call a woman sensitive and arrogant while she is standing up for herself when in fact, men in politics do the exact same thing all the time. Once we realize that women and men are alike and should be treated equally in the field is when I will be 100% more confident walking into my first political job. Unfortunately, we as a society still have a lot of work to do and changes to make in order for this to happen. 

Zoë Grossman

U Toronto '22

Zoë is a fourth-year student majoring in Political Science and Sociology. With a huge passion for world events and culture, Zoë is excited to share her ideas and thoughts with a new audience. In her free time, you can catch her listening to music, spending time on Netflix, and at a local coffee shop.