"I am a mental health warrior, an intersectional feminist, and a Political Scientist."

Meet More Students in Arts + Social Sciences

SEE MORE PROFILES

Curate your digital footprint

Want to be featured on our website? Complete our online submission form.

Submit your profile

Student Profile: Bella Aung

November 06, 2019
Print

Born in Myanmar and raised in the United States, I am a mental health warrior, an intersectional feminist, and a Political Scientist. Currently a Graduate Research Assistant at SFU, my research interests include gender and ethnic representation in North America (Canada and the United States) and Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar (Burma). Decolonizing academia and incorporating the lived experiences of indigenous and minority people into political and academic discourse are my ultimate goals as a researcher.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU because of the generous graduate funding and the opportunity to train under my brilliant supervisor, Dr. Eline de Rooij.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.

The 2018 municipal elections highlighted that visible minorities, particularly visible minority women, are underrepresented in Vancouver’s politics; yet, in terms of population, visible minorities outnumber white Vancouverites. I examine to what extent and how supply and demand factors contribute to this underrepresentation of visible minorities. A supply-side problem results in the lack of women and minority representation when there are not enough “qualified” women and visible minorities running for office. A demand-side problem occurs when party officials act as gatekeepers discouraging women and visible minorities from running for office. I answer this question using a combination of the statistical analysis of secondary data on candidates from 2005 to 2018 and a content analysis of data derived from semi-structured interviews with incumbent city councilors and municipal party officials involved in candidate recruitment. Based on my results, I draw conclusions about how parties in Vancouver, and potentially urban cities with similar demographics, can strive towards a more representative municipal government.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am particularly enjoying the methodology training I get and the opportunities to collaborate with different faculty members for Political Science and Policy research.

Additional Links