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Are women in America oppressed?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 495 times Debate No: 81544
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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In this debate, we will be arguing if women are oppressed or not

My position is that women are not oppressed
You must believe that women are oppressed

No trolling or semantics
Round one is acceptance only
Cite your sources
Be respectful


Oppressed- Subject to harsh and authoritarian treatment; interpted as discrimination

Good Luck!


I presume in your position you are speaking solely of the US, and not South America. However, if you were my argument would merely be strengthened.
Firstly I would like to draw your attention to this website Read well. Equality in our country is still a vague illusion, one of which most people cannot see, or simply do not want to. Your definition of oppression is more than apt, and it's fact that women experience this harshness, day by day.

As I said, it's simply an illusion, this equality. It's a feel-good illusion. American women cry with Oprah and laugh with Tina Fey; they work and take care of our children; they watch Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice proudly and sigh with relief, believing we've come so far. But we're basking in a "girl power" moment that doesn't exist -- it's a mirage of equality that we've been duped into believing is the real thing.

Because despite the indisputable gains over the years, women are still being raped, trafficked, violated and discriminated against -- not just in the rest of the world, but here in the United States. And though feminists continue to fight gender injustices, most people seem to think that outside of a few lingering battles, the work of the women's movement is done.

It's time to stop fooling ourselves. For all our "empowered" rhetoric, women in this country aren't doing nearly as well as we'd like to think.

After all, women are being shot dead in the streets here, too. It was only last year that George Sodini opened fire in a gym outside Pittsburgh, killing three women and injuring nine others. Investigators learned from Sodini's blog that he specifically targeted women. In 2006, a gunman went into an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania; he sent the boys outside and opened fire on almost a dozen girls, killing five. That same year in Colorado, a man sexually assaulted six female students he had taken hostage at a high school before killing one of them.

And it's not just strangers who are killing women; more than 1,000 women were killed by their partners in 2005, and of all the women murdered in the United States, about a third are killed by a husband or boyfriend. A leading cause of death for pregnant women? Murder by a partner.

In Iraq, women serving in the military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.

Even the government underestimates the crisis American women are in. Last year the Justice Department reported that there were 182,000 sexual assaults committed against women in 2008, which would mean that the rate had decreased by 70 percent since 1993. But a study by the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center showed that the Justice Department's methodology was flawed. Instead of behaviorally based questions, such as "Has anyone ever forced you to have sex?", women were asked if they had been subject to "rape, attempted or other type of sexual attack." Victims often don't label their experience as "rape," especially when someone they know attacked them. The center says the actual number of U.S. women raped in 2008 was more than 1 million.

The distressing statistics don't stop with violence: Women hold 17 percent of the seats in Congress; abortion is legal, but more than 85 percent of counties in the United States have no provider; women work outside the home, but they make about 76 cents to a man's dollar and make up the majority of Americans living in poverty.

In her upcoming book, author Susan Douglas calls this "enlightened sexism." She writes that the appearance of equality -- from "girl power" to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- is a dangerous distraction from the pervasiveness of sexism.

So why the blinders? Most women know that sexism exists. But between the glittery illusion Douglas refers to and the ongoing feminist backlash, it's not surprising that so many women don't realize how dire their situation is. Organizations such as the Independent Women's Forum, for example, exist to tell women that equality is actually bad for them. In a 2007 opinion article in The Washington Post headlined "A Bargain At 77 Cents to a Dollar," the forum's Carrie Lukas wrote that the wage gap is simply "a trade-off" for holding jobs with "personal fulfillment." The organization's campus program argues against Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination at educational institutions. Between pop culture and politics, women are being taught that everything is fine and dandy -- and a lot of us are buying it.

Part of this unwillingness to see misogyny in America could be self-protection -- perhaps the truth is too scary to face. Or maybe American women are simply loath to view themselves as oppressed, and it's easier to look at women in other countries as the real victims. This isn't to say that international misogyny isn't a problem; of course it is. And many women in America do have it easier than women in other parts of the world. But this isn't a zero-sum game, and we can fight for our rights while fighting for women internationally as well.

In fact, our successes could help women abroad. The recent increase in the number of female ambassadors globally has been dubbed the "Hillary effect" -- the idea that our secretary of state's visibility has opened doors for women in other countries. And perhaps if the pay gap here were closed, women would have more money to spend on causes overseas. It's time to do away with the either-or mentality that surrounds domestic and international women's rights.

Fortunately, a vibrant feminist movement is still at large in the United States, taking on issues from reproductive justice and racism to pay equity and motherhood. But feminists cannot pick up the sexist slack on their own, and recent mainstream conversations -- such as when singer Rihanna was assaulted by her then-boyfriend Chris Brown, or when Clinton and Sarah Palin were the targets of sexism during the 2008 campaign -- have been far too civilized for the mess that we're in.

We act as if the hatred directed at women is something that can be dealt with by a stern talking to, as if the misogyny embedded in our culture is an unruly child rather than systematic oppression. Yes, women today fare better than our foremothers. But the benchmarks so often cited -- the right to vote, working outside the home, laws that make domestic violence illegal -- don't change the reality of women's lives. They don't prevent 1 million women from being raped, female troops from being assaulted or the continued legal discrimination against gay and transgender people. And seriously, are American women really supposed to be satisfied with the most basic rights of representation? Thrilled that our country has deigned to consider us fully human?

There is so much more work to be done. The truth is, most women don't have the privilege of being able to look at gender justice from a distance; they have no choice but to live it every day. Those of us who are lucky enough not to have to think about sexism, racism, poverty and homophobia on a daily basis -- those of us who have the privilege of sending money to an international cause via e-mail while ignoring the plight of women here at home -- have a responsibility to open our eyes to the misogyny right in front of us. And then to stop it.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting, but you did break one of my rules that states that round one is acceptance only. I also state now that I do believe in gender equality.
But on to my rebbutals:

#1) Violence against women
Those are horrible statistics, but my questions about that are: are murder and trafficking of women common in America? Or in other words, would you personally feel that you will be murdered, trafficked, or raped? I'm guessing no. Next, many of those people who specifically target women are insane or mentally ill, so that is not a solid argument. Next, many of those crimes you state, say rape, are crimes that are committed against men. Did you know that of all domestic abuse victims, 40-50% are men. Also, 78% percent of murder victims are men. 9% percent of rape victims are male, but it's safe to say that that number is probably higher, because many men won't report that as it makes them seem, "weak".

I don't deny that these are problems, but I say that it's hard to say if these crimes are committed because women are supposedly discriminated against.

#2) Careers and pay.
First, I need to state this, THERE IS NO PAY GAP. The actual figure is that all the women in America make 77% of all the men in America. However, that figure doesn't take into account relevant factors such as hours worked, occupation, position, education, or the amount of break time. The figure you state could be comparing Bill Gates to a kid or a homeless women. If you take into account all relevant factors, and you have a man and a women in the same position, at the same job, with the same hours in a year, with the same degree from the same college, who both work at the same level with the same attitude/work ethic, the gender gap disappears.

As for the supposed glass ceiling, 2 questions: Where's the proof and are there not fewer women in positions to advance to CEOs of big companies? Let's take Apple. Around 31% percent of Apple employees are women. One might say that that number is way too low, but if anything, that number is too high. Around 17% of the degrees in computer science were earned by women. That means that Apple is turning down men and going out of their way to hire women. That is certainly not discrimintory towards women; it is toward men.

Finally, the advantages women have
-People go out of the way to hire them
-Are considered a "minority"
-Nearly always get custody of kids in divorces
-Get sentenced to prison or other places like that less then men and get less prison time for the same crime
-Many social advantages. Example: If a women hits a boy, or if a boy has to defend himself, and punches a women, he gets in trouble but the girl gets in no trouble.
-20-30 year old women actually get paid more then men for the same work in certain occupations
-Women don't get drafted nor do they often go into combat

You state that if you are female, and you aren't discriminated against, then you are lucky. However, with all the advantages women have, I would say it would be unlucky for women to not to be favored. However, I do not hate women, and even though I don't believe women are discrminated against on a large scale, I will always stick up for equal right for anyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, family, ancestral origins, monetary state, or disability.

I await your argument. Good luck!


I apologise for beginning my debate in round 1, i misread your rules. Anyhow, thank you for your argument and I shall now continue with mine.

March has been designated as National Women"s History month to honor the historical struggles and accomplishments of America"s women. Although women have made progress in America"s patriarchal society, they have not achieved parity with men and it is in great part due to conservative Christian ideology; not lack of ability, motivation, or will to succeed. The mindset that women are inferior to men did not begin with the founding of our country, but the Founding Fathers followed established discriminatory practices that have been in place since the bible"s earliest record.

The Christian bible mandates (1 Co 11:3, Eph 5:22) that women subject themselves to a man"s will in all things and male-dominated societies have promulgated that notion up until modern times; in some societies, it is still the law of the land. American women are not held in the same esteem as some Muslim societies are, but they are certainly not enjoying the same freedoms and equality as their male counterparts whether in government or the workplace. In fact, many Muslim countries have a higher representation of women in government than in America regardless that Islamic law traditionally considers women as little more than possessions. In some Muslim societies and third-world countries, women are culturally discouraged from bringing in more income than men. American women do not enjoy income parity with men in part because of culture and more ostensibly because of Republican policies.

In a White House report released this past week entitled, WOMEN IN AMERICA, Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, statistics showed that women earn on average 75% of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. The income disparity is across all levels of education and experience as well as all job descriptions. The numbers of women and men in the labor force are nearly equal, and young women are more likely to have a college or graduate degree than young men. In spite of a feminist movement that began in earnest in the 1970"s, it is becoming apparent that women have plateaued in the area of income parity. In other areas though, women are under assault from Republicans who are on a rampage to deprive women, primarily poor women, of their equal protection under the law guaranteed by the Constitution. It has been documented before in this column that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has categorically stated that women are not protected by the equal protection clause in the 14TH Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The fact that women do not enjoy income parity with men is not because they have not prepared themselves to be competitive in the workplace or education. Debra Fitzpatrick is the director of the University of Minnesota"s Humphrey Institute"s Center on Women and Public Policy; she said, "Despite women doing all the right things to gain economic parity, we"re still seeing there is this tenaciousness to these issues." Fitzpatrick goes on to say that, "This all points to the fact that the revolution isn"t finished." If, as data bears out, women are doing all the right things there should not be income inequality. However, despite being better educated and prepared to enter the workplace as men in the same fields, women still earn less as a matter of course.

In a New York state study of starting salaries by gender of physicians leaving residency programs from 1999 to 2008, the research showed that the gender gap cannot be explained by specialty choice, practice setting, work hours, or other characteristics. The study concluded that the trend is "unexplained" and "growing over time." In 2008, male doctors starting in New York state made, on average, more than $16,000 more than newly trained female doctors compared with a $3,600 difference in 1999. The inequality may be growing and unexplained to researchers, but actions by the Republican majority in the House clearly show the blatant disregard and contempt our male-dominated society has for women.

Republicans have been unrelenting in attempts at cutting services for women; especially poor women. The current Republican attacks on teacher unions are more than just an attempt at union-busting. Statistics from 2010 show that 81.8% of elementary school teachers, 57% of secondary teachers, and 92% of kindergarten and pre-school teachers are women. Wisconsin Governor Walker exempted police and firefighters from the ban on collective bargaining because both of those professions are primarily held by men. Many public school critics say teachers are just glorified baby-sitters who deserve minimum wage and no benefits as if they are teenage girls earning spending money. There has not been the same level of anti-union sentiment aimed at traditional male-dominated professions like law enforcement (13% female), firefighters (3.6% female), or construction work (2.6% female). It does not seem to be any other reason than women are not valued the way men are.

In Congress and state legislatures around the country, Republicans consistently vote to perpetuate gender inequality in pay, health insurance, and health services because they are still laboring under the bible"s directive that women are not equal to men. There is a class-action lawsuit before the Supreme Court by about a million women against Wal-Mart stores for pay discrimination; gender inequality is rampant in this country and no profession is immune. There is no other reasonable explanation and in many conservative circles women are expected to stay at home, give birth, and empty chamber pots for the male. It begs the question; why would any woman ever vote for a Republican?

It is somewhat understandable that in third-world countries and Islamic culture women are treated as possessions for men. It is not understandable why in the greatest country in the world women earn 25% less than a man doing the same job. There are, of course, economic considerations at play and corporations will do anything to bolster their profit margin by paying women less than men. Many older conservative Americans who yearn to return to 1950 still believe that only men should work outside of the home and women should stay home and give birth. Many conservative politicians are doing everything in their legislative power to return women to the role of homemaker and little else.

This month 50% of Americans are being honored for their accomplishments and struggles toward gaining equality in the workplace, government, and civil rights. The White House report shows that women have made progress but there is much more work to do. Women have done everything they have been asked to be treated fairly in the workplace and still it is not enough, and according to statistics, they are losing the battle for equality on every front. Republicans continue to lead the attacks on equal rights for women, and it is a mystery why women support them.

It is time for men to stand with women and demand that half of our population is treated with the same respect and fairness that every man enjoys. Americans have much to be ashamed of, but mistreating our women and treating them like third-class citizens has to be at the top of the shame-list, and it all starts with conservative Christians who cling to bible mythology that women are less than men.

Women today are still oppressed in multiple ways, and yet we as a society turn a blind eye to the oppression that physically and emotionally harm women as a gender and as individuals. Not only are women financially oppressed, women are also socially and sexually oppressed in more than one circumstance in which men would not be.
In 2012, statistics from, documented the median annual income for both sexes. While women earned $37,791, men earned $49,398. In the educational field, statistics proved that the higher the degree, the higher the difference between pay. While the average median women with doctoral degrees get paid $1,371 weekly, men get paid $1,734. Women with only a bachelor"s degree earn $930 while men earn $1,199.
In 2013, the average everyday female worker gets paid only 78% of what men earn. Though women in all states face unequal pay, some states only give women 66% of what men earn in states such as Louisiana, while in Washington, D.C, women receive 91% of what men earn.
In 2014, the Senate Republicans refused to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This law has been persistent on being passed since 2012, however once again for the third time, it was shot down by Congress. The Paycheck Fairness Act allows employers to talk about their wages more freely and easily. The Act also forces employers to explain why the different sexes earn different wages, and to close the pay gap between males and females. And while every Democrat voted for the bill to be passed, every Republican in the Senate voted against the bill, though claiming they support equal pay for equal work. The Senates reason for the refusal of the bill was that it would "increase civil lawsuits, and would be pointless since discrimination based on sexes is already illegal in the United States".

In conclusion, there is clearly still a heavy amount of oppression, discrimination and general abuse of women in the US. I hope this answers your delusions and you now come to understand how wrong you are.
Debate Round No. 2


ConserativeDemocrat forfeited this round.


Gloryroad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 12 months ago
So sorry! I ran out of time to post my argument.
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 1 year ago
Yeah, that never happened
Posted by Greg4586 1 year ago
God damn people what ever happened to sources to fill the burden of proof?
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 1 year ago
No, as in the USA
Posted by rpopcorn6 1 year ago
He said America, that means south america too right?
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