This past Saturday, October 27th, we hosted our second Girls Debate event of the year!
Our facilitators led rotating workshops where debaters practiced their skills and were encouraged to discuss how they felt about gender inequality both in the debate world and in their personal lives. Debate is one of few spaces in which everyone, regardless of gender, is given several uninterrupted minutes to voice their passions, arguments, and opinions. It can help girls build the confidence to speak for themselves in all different aspects of their lives. In workshops, facilitators wanted to help debaters build the tools they need to take full advantage of this opportunity to make themselves heard as they continue on in their debate careers.
The debaters present had a wide variety of debate experience, ranging from absolutely none to years of competing, so lunch was followed by an introduction to the Parliamentary format that would be used for our two-round mini-tournament. The first round's motion was "Resolved: Supreme Court Justices should be elected by popular vote." Debaters navigated questions about education and authority, even bringing in their opinions on the most recent Supreme Court appointment.
The second round's motion was "Resolved: the feminist movement should discourage women from wearing makeup." Debaters explored issues like societal expectations, compulsory femininity, and what role feminism plays in our day and age.
In closing, facilitators asked the group to write about their successes of the day, and what both they and debate leaders could do to make debate a better space for everyone. Some debaters referenced their use of impacts as a success, or that they were able to ask more questions during the round than they usually did. One debater, fifth-grader Chloe, wrote simply, "I spoke." As far as I'm concerned, that's a monumental victory for any young girl in the world.
Many thanks to Allison Marra and WeWork for being so kind as to let us use their beautiful space, and to all the debaters and coaches who took time out of their Saturday to attend! We couldn't have done it without you!
To learn more about our Girls Debate League, visit us here!