Breaking glass walls and ceilings
March 30, 2023
Research shows that female debaters are 30 percent more likely to quit Speech & Debate than male debaters. Not only does this exacerbate disproportionate gender representation within the activity, but it hints towards a larger, looming problem.
Ostracization in academic environments is not a new notion. Women in the workplace have spoken of experiences of isolation and unnecessary obstacles throughout their professional careers. These can be described as “glass ceilings,” when referring to the underrepresentation of non-male identifying figures in higher levels of an organization, and “glass walls,” when they are concentrated in a particular field of work.
Glass ceilings are made for shattering, and steps are being taken to eradicate, slowly but surely, the disparities within the debate community. At MVLA Speech & Debate, the past year has seen the inclusion of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and MVLA already frequently corresponds with AVID and Alta Vista to support the incorporation of diverse ethnic and gender groups on the team.