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Published On: Mon, Apr 2nd, 2018

University of Vermont hosts sexist debate for women, men are banned for being sexual predators

Some 150 debaters from 18 schools across the U.S. and Canada were set to debate last weekend in the North American Women’s and Gender Minorities Debate Championship, excluding men to “overcome bias” and the rampant “sexual predation that happens in the debate community.”

“There is also a lot of sexual predation that happens in the debate community,” said UVM debate director Helen Morgan-Parmett. “The tournament, I think, provides a safe space where people feel they are debating other women, and their bodies aren’t necessarily on display.”

The remarks continued, noting how women “have to be that much better than men to overcome bias on the part of many judges” and “point to statistics that show they are less likely to reach the top echelons of the activity.”

Sarah Sahagian, program director for Speech and Debate Canada, said women simply can’t measure up yet: “I think even when I was a participant there were women who did well, there were women who won things, but on average, the average female debater did not do as well. Disproportionately, male debaters did better.”

The women at UVM recognize the women-only tournament can make them targets of people who feel they are asking for special treatment, even behaving like sexists in their own right, because it’s good to raise awareness.

“I think there is just no bad publicity,” said UVM debate coach Stela Braje, “especially if you’re trying to make a point.”

It was unclear what was defined as a female or male to enter the debate and there was no mention of any transgender students participating.

photo/ Tumisu via pixabay

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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