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Debate Alum Says Women Need To Support Each Other To Flourish

Lack of Women in the Debate Space

January 25, 2024 (newsweek.com) – “During my experience as a debater, I always saw a lack of women in the debate space,” says Silicon Valley Urban Debate League (SVUDL) alumni and coach Addis Arciniega. “I was constantly the only woman in the debate round where I was continuously told to be quiet, that my tone of voice was ‘too sassy’ and I should let the men speak. I continued to debate, but hearing these words forever impacted my debate experience.

I remember the first time I was ever told that I needed to be less ‘sassy.’ I was the only female-passing person in the room; my opponents, the judge and my partner were all male-passing. This was also my junior year of debate, so I had gone a few years without being told anything about my tone of voice in a debate. At the end of the round, a judge is supposed to give you feedback to help you learn and note things that could have gone better in the round.

In cross-examination, it is common for you to interrupt your opponent to be able to make the most out of your three minutes of questions. It is common for men to be praised for their confidence in cross-examination, but for me it was different.”

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