Meanwhile: Gender diversity solves problems

Meanwhile O

By Trey Gregory
Web Editor

It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that we talk about current events quite often at the Lariat. A group of us were going over recent national headlines before this semester’s first editorial board when someone found an article about the Secret Service being in hot water for inappropriate behavior, again. The article suggested that the Secret Service needed a complete culture change and probably wouldn’t accomplish that without outside help.

Without even thinking about it I made a comment that I thought everyone else in the room was thinking. “They need more women in top leadership positions,” I said. “Things like prostitution rings would probably be a lot less likely to happen if there were more women in the Secret Service, especially at the top.”

Nobody in the room disagreed with my statement, but I did receive a couple surprised looks from some of the women in the room. Julie Freeman, the Lariat’s Assistant Media Adviser, said she agreed but wanted to know my reason.

Let’s just say I learned a lot about the benefits of diversity from my seven years in the military. I still believe the best person for the job should get the job. However, I also believe that if the best people get the job, without any bias, that organizations will be diverse.

I told Julie some personal stories and we pointed out a few historical instances that may have been different if women were better represented in leadership positions. I was half joking, but also half serious. I don’t want to stereotype men or women and say they have certain inherent leadership and management qualities, I just think the more diverse a group, the more perspective it has. For example, imagine the national discourse about women’s reproductive rights if the senate and house were 50 percent women. The results may or may not differ, but the conversation would certainly change if the people affected by the legislation were actually involved in an official capacity.

The Lariat is a great example of an organization with good gender diversity. We have six female editors, including the broadcast producer, and four male editors. Our editor in chief, Linda Wilkins, is a female and I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job of running the Lariat than her and Julie.

While there may still be some people and organizations that are gender-biased, I’m glad the Lariat isn’t. Our chain of command fits the campus demographics pretty well and I think we operate smoothly because of it. I never thought I would be saying these words, but in light of recent events, the U.S. Secret Service could learn a thing or two from the organizational structure of this campus newspaper.