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As long as the United States is a patriarchal society, women will not be truly equal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,522 times Debate No: 25475
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I propose the following debate: Given the United States is still in many ways a patriarchal society, the fight for equality among the sexes cannot genuinely be "won" until/unless this philosophical stance shifts.

I will argue that a) the United States follows a long history of patriarchy, b) this has always taken part in hindering gender equality, and c) in order to achieve said equality, the philosophical social system needs to readjust

Rounds: 1-Agreement/Introduction; 2-Past: Extremes, Precedents and Pitfalls; 3-Present: How Patriarchal Are We?; 4-Future: What Should Change?; 5-Closing

Sources are encouraged, but only required upon request. For Rounds 2 and 3, only real examples are permitted. Theoretical extrapolations are for Round 4. Closing arguments are Round 5. Rebuttals are allowed at the beginning of each new round, including Round 5.

I think that covers it


I would like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this contest of mind, and I naturally accept.

However, I agree that a patriarchal society cannot be "equal" between the sexes.
I believe a "patriarchal" society and an "equal" society are mutually exclusive.

With that given, I would like to slightly modify the debate.

As it would appear that you are PRO "equal" society, I would rather like to debate CON "equal" society.
I will argue in favor of a society in which the sexes adhere to their proscribed gender roles.
You will argue in favor of a society that is void of gender roles.

Basically, it sounds (from your proposal) that you are saying that "equality" is a goal that we should be striving for, and I disagree. "Equality" is not one of the goals that the United States should trying to accomplish.

We must recognize that "equal" is impossible, given the different anatomy of each gender.
(We could get into a Life of Brian, People's Front of Judea, "It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them" debate, but I would like to avoid that)
That being said, physical differences between the sexes can be used in the debate (strength, health... etc) Any physical differences or similarities should be backed up by sources. (unless they are obvious.. men and women have two arms and two legs!!! (citation needed))

I also wish that we disregard "in-between" peoples (hermaphrodites) and transgenders. They are outliers and won't be considered for the debate. We are assuming all peoples under discussion are clearly defined as "men" and "women" (or "womyn" if you prefer...haha) .

Lastly, we must decide on what basis we are deciding "equality'.

Do you mean equality under law (there can be no language in laws passed that differentiate between the sexes, for example... lets us hereby proclaim that the sammiches will be made by the home maker for the bread winner)
--- If this is your definition, I would be in support of this. I am in agreement of striking any language in law that refers to either gender in exclusivity. You, however, might be arguing the other side of this (as most laws today (I'd have to believe) that use language of gender favor womens). So, if you are using this as your definition of equality, I would argue the PRO, and you would have to argue the CON, if you so choosed. (Meaning you are arguing that language differentiating between the sexes SHOULD be used in our laws)

Do you mean equality in society under law (laws can be made to equalize the sexes, for example....mens cants demands teh womens to makes teh sammiches!) I have a feeling this is the type of debate that would work best. These are the types of laws that have been passed over the past 90 years (since you've been allowed to vote) and I'm assuming you're in favor of them continuing to pass laws that equalize the sexes. I am not in favor of this. Society, in its natural state, is a patriarchal one... it must be actively changed by the government to make it otherwise. I would be arguing against US government intervention of the natural in-equality of the sexes. (and that, in fact, the in-equality of the sexes are a positive thing for society as a whole.... which leads me to my third possible definition)

Do you mean equality by society without law (changes we need to make in society that make equality a reality, without regards to the laws, for example.. we should prolly just take turns making the sammiches.) Though we are not in anyway coerced to do so, it would just be better for everyone if we did (meaning it would have to be better for men too). This is problematic, because you would have to find a way of convincing men that it is in their self interest to allow women equality, without forcing them to do so.

You can definitely combined the 2nd and the 3rd one... by changing the laws to help women, you are in fact making it better for men/society whether men like it or not.

or do you mean some other form of equality that I haven't listed?

The areas I wish for clarification are as listed:
Clarify 'equal'
Exclude trannies/herms
No Life of Brian debate
Physical differences CAN be used

If you can clarify the areas that I requested, and accept the altered topic of debate, I will gladly continue.
Debate Round No. 1


By equality, I mean both #2 and #3 of the ways you listed-- equality under law such that women's equality is protected and assured as well as societal equality, which is not legislative but rather ideological.

Yes, we shall exclude those who do not fit into the binary gender system (ie: hermaphrodites, transvestites, etc.).
By Life of Brian debate, you mean the male desire to personally bare children? Sure, its out.
Physical differences may be used, but you MUST cite your sources. I don't think it needs clarity, but I will say it now rather than later-- sources must be credible. Wikipedia is fine, as are other fact-based sites and peer-reviewed pieces. But please, no junk science or rambling bloggers.

Shall we begin?
First and foremost, society should indeed strive for equality, regardless of how possible or impossible it may be. This belief is fundamental. By nature, there are differences between all of us-- color, size, intellect, talents, etc. And by nature, some want only power while others want something more-- community, efficiency, progress, etc.
Specifically with regard to gender, it is in the best interest of society to protect and uphold the equality of the sexes. Why? When women are treated as equals, afforded the same rights as men and allowed/encouraged to be productive members of their society, society as a whole does better. More progress is made on the macro level and people are more empowered on the micro level. The world we leave to our children is a more promising one than the one our parents leave to us. Overall, the system works better under equality.
In the past, we (ie: society) have tried operating under a system whereby women are not equal to their male counterparts. This ranged from the inability of women to own land to women being barred from education (particularly higher education). Less than 100 years ago, women could not vote in the US. Even after that, women had to fight to break into formerly male-dominated fields such as medicine, law, science, and the military. And even now, women have to fight just to earn the power over their own bodies-- the choice to plan their futures and their families.
While this is only the briefest of overviews of the history of women's rights, it also touches on several valuable issues. First, I am interested to hear your justification for any and all of these inequalities and even more interested as to why/how it would be beneficial to reinstate them. Second, I can offer valid evidence supporting the validity of each of these steps forward.
Owning Land: this marks one of the first sizable steps forward for women's rights. Going back several hundred years, land ownership is, and has traditionally, been a big deal. Owning land means freedom from the debt of a landlord. It represents the ability to live off of the land as well-- to raise livestock and/or crops and potentially sell said crops/animals for profit. Land can easily be passed down through families as a way of maintaining these benefits from generation to generation. All of these being said, disallowing women from owning land seriously undermined these benefits. Widows, daughters, mothers-- all were at the mercy of the ranking man in their family. Land was often lost within a family because women were not allowed to inherit it. Not only would this devalue all of the work put into obtaining that land, but also leaves a less certain future for younger generations. The is no reason why a female cannot take ownership of land, live on that land and use it as a livelihood. As I see it, this was a big first step. It meant independence.
Access to Education: Even after women were generally allowed to own land, there were countless other barriers to equality. Among them was the reluctance of society to educate women. Now, as a side note, I would like to point out that refusal to educate certain populations is, across cultures and across eras, a favorite tactic of the subjugating population. It was practiced with slaves, Blacks, immigrants, women, etc. It is a well-established way to keep the less fortunate down. And it is wrong. Women deserve the same educational opportunities that men have. Though there are patterns of strength areas for each gender, general intelligence does not differ significantly between men and women. Thus, the argument that women are not as smart and thus less deserving of education is void. Further, with their educations, women contribute just as fruitfully as men do to society. Women have risen to prominence in science, politics, medicine, law, education and many more fields. This is not to say that men do not likewise contribute, for they certainly do. My point however is that women have an equal capacity to make use of their intelligence, education and training. And given that fact, it can only be detrimental to society to prevent such achievements. Conversely, the added contributions of women only serve to better society. It is important to note that educating women a) has not detracted from the education of men, b) serves as a positive and sustainable economic stimulus (I'll be happy to expand upon this if need be), and c) increases the intelligence of your average member of society. Educated women are more likely to make more money, they tend to plan their families and keep them to more reasonable sizes, they live longer and healthier lives and leave a stronger, more positive legacy. If you would like to read more about this, I direct you to the UN's plethora of resources on the topic:
Voting and Politics: Having established that women are a) intelligent enough to be educated along side men and b) are thrifty enough to contribute significantly to society, it stands to reason that women ought also have equal say in that society. Disclaimer: this is NOT a discussion of the best way to run society, it is an examination of how to function under the society in which we currently live and/or in prominent societies of the past. Ie: I do not want this to delve into anarchist/statist discussion. That is for another time. Thus, disenfranchising women, not unlike refusing to educate them, is an effect way to keep their voices suppressed, but neither fair nor advisable in the framework striving towards the best society possible. Given that women represent HALF of the population, their opinions, proposals and needs have just as much validity as men's. I would love to hear any worthy rebuttal to this.
Healthcare and Family: I suspect that a keystone of your argument against the equal treatment and protection of women is their biological role and the evident difference between men and women in that regard. I fully plan to explore that in the coming round. For now though, I wish to focus on the societal end of health and well-being of women as it relates to familial roles and expectations. As you may or may not know, up until the mid to late 1800s, (particularly after the "revolutionary" findings of Ignaz Semmelweis) the most common causes of death among young women were related to childbirth. In fact, many young women entered childbirth expecting not to see the other side. Advances in medicine and microbiology have since changed that fact drastically, but there are of course still risks. That being said, it is within reason that women would want to and ought to have the right to plan their families. The burden of gestating a child, birthing a child and then spending the next 2 decades raising said child is a serious one indeed. The choice is not a light one, and as you probably know, many women are left to do it alone. Thus, it is also within the realm of fairness that women ought have the right to control her own body and her own life. Any stance against this is simply bigoted.

As I am about to run out of characters, this thus closes my Round 2.


I would like to thank my opponent for her HIStory lesson... haha.. get it?

"When women are treated as equals...society as a whole does better." - "Overall, the system works better under equality." --- Can you use some sources for this, or somehow define "better". I will (later) argue against this.
In what societies would you consider women to have been treated as equal?

Owning Land: CONCEDED women should be allowed to own land/property.

Access to Education: MODIFIED
I don't know when women were denied education. Maybe formal education, but even then...there were schools for girls, they were just separate. It was a class issue, not a gender one. I think women and men should be treated equal under law in terms of our chances for education. No scholarship should be just for one sex, no quotas on the percentage of a certain sex. If women can pass the tests and raise the money, they get the same chances.

History: Subjugation of a population of people is beneficial to society.

"It was practiced with slaves, Blacks, immigrants, women, etc. It is a well-established way to keep the less fortunate down. And it is wrong." - things worked out pretty good in societies where there was a subjugated population. (For society as a whole). In fact, there has never been a great society built (meaning came to greatness) that didn't subjugate one population or another. (Unless you can find a society that breaks that, it will be accepted as true. I'll give for example.... Rome, Mongolia, China, England, America, Third Reich, Egypt, Napoleonic France (he re-instated it!)) If those aren't a list of the greatest societies that ever existed on Earth, I'm not sure what criteria you want to go on.

"a) has not detracted from the education of men" -- tell that to any man who has had his job/scholarship/athletic team passed over because it was unfair to women
"b) serves as a positive and sustainable economic stimulus" -- we have 10% unemployment anyway... we don't need more workers
"c) increases the intelligence of your average member of society." -- I'm sorry, what? Have you paid attention to America? Do you believe that (1) we're striving to become an educated populace (2) we're anywhere close to becoming one (3) the type of education women are getting is the type that will "raise the bar" on society? and (4) George Carlin - "think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that"
People are stupid, they choose to be.. and nothing will change that in the construct of the current society... additionally... women did educate themselves in past times.. they could take it upon themselves to learn to read, it wasn't like they were forbidden... it's most a of social-class problem then a male-female problem.

Voting and Politics: CONCEDED, regardless of the following- women should have the right to vote under our current political system.

"a) intelligent enough to be educated alongside men" - In America, we do not sit the right to vote on intelligence. There is no aptitude test to pass before you can vote. The intelligence of the voter is non-consequential.
"b) are thrifty enough to contribute significantly to society" -- Also not a criteria for voting

"Disclaimer" - I'm well aware of the construct of the debate, you don't need to remind me... thank you

"Given that women represent HALF of the population, their opinions, proposals and needs have just as much validity as men's." Approximately 25% of the population is under the age of 18. Their opinions, proposal and needs have just as much validity as adults. - I would love to hear any worthy rebuttal to this.
I can't imagine you support children being able to vote. While this doesn't say why women shouldn't, it just removes the "that's crazy talk!" aspect of your "we're XX% of the population, we should get a vote". Additionally, approx. 3% of the adult population is in prison. Only two states (ME and VT) allow voting while in prison. That's another 3% who's opinions, proposals and needs have just as much validity. Again, I'm not saying they should get the right to vote, I'm just saying that by saying "we're XX% of the population, we deserve a voice"... is not a good argument

That being said, I don't really mind so much if women vote in the current system. I think sex gets in the way of rational thought, but I think that happens to guys too. So I will concede to women's suffrage.

And I would argue against women being in politics, but that too becomes pretty useless on its own. So I will concede that women should be allowed in politics too.

Health care and Family:

"In fact, many young women entered childbirth expecting not to see the other side." -- that's an exaggeration, everyone that goes sky diving expects the chute not to work. There were plenty of women who gave birth 6+ times and lived a full life. Women did die in childbirth.. but calm it down a bit.

Besides that, I have no idea what you are talking about in this paragraph. "it is also within the realm of fairness that women ought have the right to control her own body and her own life." I really don't know what you're saying. I'm not arguing for arranged marriages and "honor murders", if that's what you think.

My arguments!!

Historically, women have been subjugated. There's not much room for debate there. Western civilization has always been patriarchal. Why?
(1) Women are physically weaker. In history, this makes a huge difference. If you were a weaker people, you were subjugated. Period
(2) Women needed to be protected. Not only because of their physical weakness, but their emotional and biological ones. Historically, they didn't have midol and birth control. Without these, it greatly changes the temperament of a woman.
(3) Thirdly, hygiene. No joke, in ancient times, women weren't allowed out of the house while they were menstruating. They didn't have tampons or maxi pads. Those things were kept private and deserving so.
There's probably more, but I'm just quibbing it

More recent history,

Since the industrial revolution, men have gone to work and women have stayed home and raised the kids. Dad made enough money to keep up with the Jones' and Mom provided her children with the love and care that mother could. When the work force was low (due to war), women would be hired en masse. Not by desire, but by necessity. They knew that as soon as Papa came home, she would be back at home, having kids and raising the family… and was HAPPY about it.
If you want the history of women since the industrial revolution, it's that. Men don't go to work because they want to, they do it because they have to. Society doesn't work without it. Women ENJOY being care givers, but recently they WANT to take on the responsibility that men have for no other reason than their desire to be equal. They don't want to help society, they want to help themselves. If you are arguing for a society like a lion's pride, where the male just sits around all day while the women do absolutely EVERYTHING... you sold me.

I think one thing that is important to note in all of this. Men didn't choose to be men, we just are. And as such, we take on our responsibility of being MEN. Part of that is working and taking responsibility for the household. Making sure our family is provided for. I believe (as I will expand upon later) that women being in the work force (en masse) is undermining that American Dream.

I apologize for my convoluted arguments… I just wasn't sure what I was addressing when talking strictly on "the past".
Like, it was patriarchal... ok? I'm not supporting pre-industrial revolution ideas.
Once we get to "where we are now" and "where we should go", I should have more structured arguments.

Thank you, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 2


And thank you, Dear Opponent, for your HIStory lesson haha.

To Answer Your Quandaries:
-"Inequalities in one sphere are likely to get reproduced in other spheres of society if they go unchallenged. Today's inequalities are translated into the inequalities of tomorrow as daughters inherit the same discriminatory structures that oppressed their mothers" --Naila Kabeer (2005): Gender equality and women's empowerment: A critical analysis of the third millennium development goal 1, Gender & Development, 13:1, 13-24
There is a strong correlation in the modern world between underdeveloped third world nations and large gaps in gender equality. Much of the developed Western world-- the US, Europe, Australia-- maintains some of the highest standards of gender equality alongside high GDPs and standards of living. Meanwhile, much of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia engage in societies where gender equality is non-existent. Women have few rights compared to men. Additionally, in these societies, GDP and per capita income are very low, life expectancy is low, children per woman is high, education is scarce, so on and so forth. These are all commonly agreed to be measures of quality of life. In places where women are 2nd class citizens, quality of life for everyone is lower. Now, I cannot say which causes the other to improve. However, the correlation is undeniable.

Education-- I'm surprised you aren't familiar with this slice of history. Women were barred from higher education well into the 1800s in the US (much longer elsewhere in the world). Further, separate is NOT equal. We proved that with race and the same applies to gender. And the separate schools you are likely thinking of did not teach the same things. They were "finishing schools." You are welcome to read more about this on your own:;

a) If a man loses his job, scholarship, etc. to a woman, that means she was a better candidate. If men wish to blame women rather than their own shortcomings, and mope instead of improve themselves in order to be more qualified in the future, that is their choice to self-perpetuate the problem they face. It is simple competition.
b) As any simple economics class will proclaim, unemployment is rarely if ever a problem so simple as too many people in the work force. Further, even from that point of view (which is oversimplified to the point of being incorrect), it make sense to get rid of the less competent and/or efficient workers, not just the women. This argument is thus invalid.
c) If half the population is uneducated, then yes, we will be stupid. But you must realize that we DO strive (or at least some of us do) to create an educated populous. Hence public education? Please refer to my previous paragraph and the subsequent links for further information.

Having children and/or prisoners vote is, while interesting, an entirely different debate. I will say this though: prisoners violated the legal codes of the land and thus must take their punishment. If voting means that much to you, don't break the law! Also, children are not responsible for themselves. They cannot earn money, they do not pay taxes, they are not even legally liable for themselves (there is a smaller group of 16 and 17 year old to whom this may not apply, but that is 1/9 of all children-- a definite minority!!)

As for maternal death rates during or caused by childbirth, I direct you to good old Wikipedia: Please read the section on the 20th Century and if you wish, follow the link about puerperal fever. It proves my point. 40% is supremely high. Even skydiving is safer.

Your Arguments:
1. I concede that women are, on average, physically weaker. However, speaking Darwinianly, it is not always about being stronger. Being smarter can be equally or more valuable. And here, there is no gender difference.
2. I would like to see some valid source(s) on how/why having a menstrual cycle makes women biologically and emotionally vulnerable (separate and apart from physical strength of course, as that is addressed and concede in #1).
3. There is nothing "dirty" about menstruation. Again, if you have legitimate (ie: recent.. not from 1700) sources to say otherwise, I'd love to see them. But this is a commonly debunked old myth that men and women both laugh about now a days. Please look into it.

Further, I would like to know how you know what 1940s and 1950s wives thought/felt about their position in life.
Again, how exactly do you know what motivated women to work (selfish vs. societal motivations)? Sources please.
I concede that SOME women enjoy being full time caregivers. Some women enjoy it part time. Some do not enjoy it at all. And even those who enjoy caregiving may ALSO enjoy a professional pursuit. There is nothing improbable about that. In fact, think of nursing, teaching, etc. Those actually go hand in hand. Others such as law, business, etc. complement caregiving in a way that offers balance to one's life. But no, we're not lions. Men don't get a group of ladies to bang and do their hunting.. except in Utah lol

My Arguments for Present Structure:

-"Where women's role in society is defined purely in reproductive terms, education is seen in terms of equipping girls to be better wives and mothers, or increasing their chances of getting a suitable husband. These are legitimate aspirations, given the realities of the society. However, they do little to equip girls and women to question the world around them, and the subordinate status assigned to them" --Naila Kabeer (2005): Gender equality and women's empowerment: A critical analysis of the third millennium development goal 1, Gender & Development, 13:1, 13-24

This really nails down what I am trying to say.
Beyond that, it seems that you are proposing that men are "meant" to work while women are "meant" to exist in the domestic sphere. However, I have seen NO outside source for that yet.
I will argue quite differently. Though women undeniably bare children and are traditionally smaller in stature, this does not preclude them from further utility in society. Many modern jobs (particularly those that earn the most money and/or respect-- banking, business, law, medicine, professorship) are equally well suited for men and women. It more more a question of PERSONAL skills, talents, etc.
Additionally, just because men are hairier, larger and stronger, this does not preclude them from successfully raising children, keeping up a house, cooking, etc. In fact, many men have succeeded in these realms. Not to mention that a strong, present male influence in the life of a child can be endlessly positive. I don't just mean a dad who sticks around (as opposed to leaving), but a dad who takes ownership of his role in his child's life.
Presently, I think we are moving towards a system by which both men and women have the capacity to work and earn money OR stay home and raise children OR find a balance of both (which is arguably best regardless of gender).
I fully support this type of system and I see no valid reason why gender roles ought to REgress back to the standards of the past. Every family is different. Some require only 1 income while others truly need 2 (depends on part of the country, profession + pay grade of each parent, # of kids, lifestyle, etc.). I am not actually saying that there is ONE perfect mold for how to run a family, but rather that flexibility, particularly when it comes to gender roles, allows for the greatest number of options such that each family may find its happy balance :-)

That concludes my thoughts on present structure, and I look forward to hearing yours and moving on to Round 4!
Thank you Good Sir and good luck.


To directly refute your entire first argument... "There is a strong correlation in the modern world between underdeveloped third world nations and large gaps in gender equality...." Maybe, just maybe, gender equality is a luxury of the civilized world, hmmmm? You point out that gender equality doesn't exist in third world countries. I would posit that because of their strife, gender roles are necessary for their survival, as it is more efficient. I will say that gender equality is an effect of the political and economic status and not a cause.
Additionally, I'm not sure if this was your attempt to answer "what societies would you consider women to have been treated as equal?", but you certainly didn't do this... you said which have more/less.. but you didn't point to one that you would consider to be equal (it could have even been a fictional one, or one described by some feminist/scientist/whatever.. something we can reference as a structure for "equal" society)

"Women were barred from higher education" -- Litchfield Female Academy
"Further, separate is NOT equal." Never said it was equal, as that's not what i'm arguing for... just saying that women were allowed to be educated as well.. even if the education they are given is different then the men. Again, it was more of a class issue than a gender one.

Rebut a) In talking about the SATs, "While females represent more than half (53.5%) of test takers, their total average score (1496) is 27 points below the average score for males (1523). " [1] There are "1.3 females for every male undergraduate" [2] Why are there more women in college then men if men score 27 points higher than women on SATs. They must be getting some advantage from somewhere to equal out the inequality in SAT scores.

Rebut b) Keynesian unemployment is what we're dealing with (more workers than jobs) "not just the women." I don't think I argued to get rid of all the women.. I argued that gender shouldn't be a criteria at all for employment.

Rebut c) "Hence public education?" Public education is to indoctrinate, not educate. We want people to be able to think good enough to do their job, and nothing more.. it's simple politics.

The only reason I brought up children/prisoners voting was because I was discrediting the fact that just because it's XX% of the population, doesn't mean they should have the right to vote... you never gave me a reason for it, outside of they are half the population. Men aren't half the population, should we lose the right to vote?

"maternal death rates", "It proves my point" - You didn't have a point, so until you define that... I got nothing

My old Arguments:
1. "Being smarter can be equally or more valuable." Are you saying women are smarter? If they are equally smart, and men are stronger, then we are the dominant group
2. "menstrual cycle" - PMS.. look it up
3. "menstruation" yes, it would be unsightly to bleed in public all the time... try going without feminine hygiene products through your cycle and see how well you do in public.

"I would like to know...1940s and 1950s wives thought" - I've talked to my grandmother/great-aunts? That's a small sample size, but it's what I know
"what motivated women to work" - there were no men because they were off at war... they were pretty much FORCED to work. That's common knowledge, anything I source wouldn't talk about their mindset in a way that mattered
"those who enjoy care giving (I meant for one's own family) may ALSO enjoy a professional pursuit" - my point is they are mutually exclusive.. you can't obey two masters

Your argument for Present Structure:

"the subordinate status assigned to them"
-Different role doesn't mean subordinate... they can have a separate gender role that isn't a subordinate one

"meant to" - they are "meant to" in the sense that it is what would be best for society as a whole.. For children to have mothers to care for them.

This is what we're talking about:
"Presently, I think we are moving towards a system by which both men and women have the capacity to work and earn money OR stay home and raise children OR find a balance of both"

I disagree, because of the current structure, I think we're moving towards a system where both parents are forced to work to maintain a middle class lifestyle. In '77, 66% were dual income, now its 79%. [3] True, there are people in the upper class who can continue on a single-income family; most families: in order to buy a house, save for retirement, put their kids through college simply cannot do so on a single income. I think this is a DIRECT result of women in the workforce.

As women in the workforce becomes the norm, defended by their desire to be equal, it is forcing other women, who would rather raise their kids, to enter the workforce on the dream of keeping their house or putting their kids through college. Society is as society allows itself to be. If we as a society simply adhered to single-income households, society would inherently structure itself to allow single-income families to live comfortably.

The problem shows itself here- if everyone was living as single-income families; the majority would be middle-class and be able to "make a living". However, families who broke that standard and lived in a dual-income household would gain an economic advantage (which obviously would bring other perks)... however as more and more families jump on board of the dual-income households, it looses it advantage (price of housing/school/etc increases because people can pay more) fact, in order to maintain the same standard of living... everyone would have to become dual-income households... and still everyone lives in more or less the same quality of life that they did if everyone was single-income. All things become equal again. So, assuming that is true (an increase in employment doesn't directly correlate to an increase in production)... with all things being equal (as I've tried to explain)... do I need to argue that single-income is better? I don't think I should have to, but if so.. I will argue that in R4.

Additionally, this does not argue for whether the single-income member is the mother or father... I would much rather appreciate an agreement that single-income is better than dual-income.

Other info on the present:

I think we are living in a paradoxical age. We are trying to allow everyone opportunity (you get to work) without submitting them to responsibility (taking care of your family). The conclusions of this will most likely diverge. These two ideas must be properly balanced. Either, opportunities must be restricted, or responsibilities must be alleviated. I'm not sure in which way we will go. Just as the backlash (in a positive way, I think) from our parents divorces have led us to delay marriage, future generations growing up without a parent at home, being raised by day care, nanny's and schools will have a backlash. In what direction it will go, I'm not sure. We could conclude that parents should raise their own kids, and alleviate their economic responsibilities, or we could conclude that the state should take responsibility for the kids and allow everyone to pursue their dreams. (The US seems to be leaning towards the state taking responsibility, which I currently oppose without many other changes being made)

Also, [4] talks aout how single-income is better because it allows a safety net of that second person. Not really something I was going to argue for, but I agree with it.

Debate Round No. 3


Even if gender equality is a "luxury," I don't see why that makes fighting for it any less important. You could argue that running water is a "luxury," but it is doubtless important as well.

Also, I do not think true equality has ever been achieved in the real world. It is more of an ideal.. but then again, aren't most of the things for which we fight? Think about freedom, justice, peace-- those are ALL ideals. The pure versions of them are in fact near-impossible to encounter in real life. I see it as akin to Plato's theory of forms. Actually, it is much more suitable for ideas than for objects.

Litchfield sounds lovely, but only educated 2000 women over the course of 30 years. Please see the following link for the barriers I was referencing:

As for SAT data, you will find a more thorough and statistically sound resource here:
You will notice that a) while more women took the SAT, both sample sizes are sufficiently large; b) in Reading, men outscore women by 4 points, but also have a standard deviation (SD) that is 4 points higher, in Math, men outscore women by 33 points, but again have a higher SD by 7 points, and in Writing, women outscore men by 13 points and have a lower SD by 2 points; c) for each of the sections (excluding the stats for the small group of students who did not identify their gender.. I am essentially ignoring them), the SD is at least 3 digits.

You also might be interested to know the following gender breakdowns: Virginia Tech: 57% male, Georgia Tech: 62% male, Cal Tech: 64% male, MIT: 55% male, Rochester Tech: 68% male, and so on. Tech schools are STILL male-dominated. Now, let's look at liberal arts schools (specifically the TOP liberal arts schools): Williams:51% women, Amherst: 53% men, Swarthmore: 52% women, Pomona: 52% women, Middlebury: 52% women, Bowdoin: 51% women. And finally, just for fun, the Ivies: Harvard: 51% men, Yale: 51% men, Princeton: 51% men, Penn: 50% each, Brown: 51% women, Cornell: 50% each, Dartmouth: 50% each, and Columbia: 53% men. All verifiable through

As you can see, men still dominate tech schools and stand just about equal odds at the top colleges and in the Ivies. I see no clear advantage given to women, especially if/when qualified women are cut just to maintain equal gender ratios.

About unemployment, I direct you here: There are plentiful and varied reasons for unemployment. It is not as simple a supply not matching demand.

Creating more valuable workers may be self-serving but it is not automatically indoctrination. You may not agree with public education, but you cannot deny that the whole concept is to make at least basic education available to all.

Not sure why the maternal death rate thing is so convoluted. In it's simplest form: up to 40% of women used to die from giving birth. It is still a long and painful experience THUS it is reasonable that, in the past as well as present, women would not want to give birth for these and other reasons THUS those women would not wish to become pregnant THUS most would be ineligible for marriage THUS were more useful in the workforce YET for those women who were barred from educational or professional opportunities and/or forced into marriage for social/economic reasons, pregnancy was no longer a choice they got to make ERGO that is not fair. That is my point.

Forms of feminine hygiene products have existed for thousands of years. It was the men, not the women who isolated the menstruating ladies. Also, please note the "P" in PMS is for Pre. As in Pre-Menstrual. Sooo are you suggesting that for 2 weeks out of 4 women are unfit to take part in normal society?? If so I beg to differ. Menstruation is not a disease.. its completely natural.

Perhaps we have a difference of upbringing but my grandmother (b. 1930) was not only college educated, but also worked before, during and after having 3 healthy and successful children. She cooked dinner every night (except Fridays they went out for hamburgers.. cute, I know), cleaned with some help from her kids, went to church every week and saw to it that her family did too, threw dinner/social parties, was an active Union member AND is STILL in a homemakers club founded a good 40+ years ago. I do not believe she would have had it any other way.

Perhaps you do not see it this way, but there is something inherently subordinate about having no earning power and/or being responsible for 0% of the income. By extension, there often arise issues of who gets to spend how much on what item, given this lopsided circumstance. Also, there is little or no intellectual reward in raising children. There are emotional and personal rewards. There are societal and familial rewards, but some desire stimulation for the mind as well. Together, these qualities can make the position of homemaker seem subordinate indeed.

I concede to your argument about forcing double-income to become the norm. I agree that it has been pushed and pushed to the point that companies adjust and charge more accordingly. I agree this pattern emerged as more mothers became "working mothers" and eliminated the "safety net." I agree it makes being "middle class" near impossible for single-income families, and most of the so-called middled class now survive on more than 1 income (even if it's 1.5, etc.). Two issues though (not that you can answer either.. just a realistic endpoint to a real-world problem): 1. What practical tools do we have to change this? and 2. What (if any) evidence is there to suggest that women should be the ones who retreat to the domestic sphere?

However, I disagree with regard to your dichotomy about responsibility and opportunity. I think they are in fact closely tied, and opportunity has responsibility embedded in it. Our immigrant ancestors came to the US for opportunity so they could fulfill their responsibilities to their families. Opportunity alleviates the stress of living with a gap between what you have and what you need. It would of course help millions of Americans if some responsibilities were taken care of-- for example: health care, retirement, cost of education. Many of these things ARE taken care of (by governments that is) in other developed countries. And it seems to work.

My Proposal for the Future:
I agree we should go back to a single-income system, but I am honestly not sure how. I think men and women should have equal opportunities when it comes to education, job training, etc. Though personal skills and intelligences vary, men and women should be hired based on ability, skills and intellect. I agree that children should be raised by their parents and not by nannies or daycares. However, I am not sold on this having to be a single, non-employed parent's job. Before children go to school, yes more time is required to raise and care for them. I will even concede that for biologic and other reasons, this ought to be the mother during these early years. However, once kids begin school, I see no reason why the second parent cannot contribute to the household with duties as well as income AS/IF needed. Just think-- all the time spent nursing/feeding, changing, and/or comforting babies eventually is freed up. If this extra income means not necessarily more material things but rather more TIME the other parent gets with his/her children, I see this as even more valuable. I recognize that children have on-going needs, but these adhere more and more to regular hours as they get older. So yes, perhaps one parent handles "kid stuff," but I am looking at benefit to the family unit as a whole. Further, technology enables more and more jobs that can be done from home and/or on one's own schedule.

My plan is neither radical nor selfish- its focus is family in a modern world.


I was going to write a long argument, refuting things my opponent said and making claims and whatever and what not, but all of those aren't really important to the main argument... should women be equal in society in the areas of employment, family responsibilities, and I'm just going to win the argument and ride into the sunset.

My opponent has conceded that a single-income family is better.

She also came to the conclusion herself that during the early years of child rearing, the mother should be the one to stay home and the father should work
"I will even concede that for biologic and other reasons, this ought to be the mother during these early years"

What else do I need?

Why should a women go through all the chutes and ladders of getting a degree, if she will have to take years off of her current employment to raise children? This automatically puts her at an economic (assuming she's paid for her own college and didn't get a hand-out) and professional disadvantage (she's years behind her male counterparts)

According to my opponent, the father MUST be the bread-winner during the early years of child rearing. Therefore, the father, in order to best provide for his family, should get a degree and get a good job.

Assuming they remain as a single-income family... it makes no sense to waste all those years of the father going to school and working and climbing the professional ladder to quit and become a house-dad.

"However, once kids begin school, I see no reason why the second parent cannot contribute to the household with duties as well as income AS/IF needed"
-Except that you already agreed that a single-income family is BETER for everyone. And people should do what is better for everyone.

It makes all the more sense for the woman to accept her gender role as mother and care giver. Q.E.D.

1. What practical tools do we have to change this?

That's the tricky one. We can really only do our part. Or become supreme dictators of the universe. It's really against American policy to FORCE people to do stuff, but they can influence it in the old ways. Including doing stuff that I've already agreed was wrong (not allowing women to vote, defending institutions that discriminate against women... etc) Practically, we could start media tropes that enforce the idea, start public discourse. It's really hard for two people to say they have practical tools to change anything. For me, I most likely won't stick to the whole "my wife can't work thing", but I'd only push my daughters into degrees that are conducive to family. I'll admit to allowing myself to contribute to part of the problem of dual-income families... but I will try my darnedest to remain removed from that. It's really more of an admission of submission to society, then agreeing with it. If that's what you have to do to get by, then so be it... but I would much prefer my wife to expend her time on less economic matters.

"2. What (if any) evidence is there to suggest that women should be the ones who retreat to the domestic sphere?"
You answered this yourself, as written above.

Wow, this is the first time I haven't used all my space.. thanks for making it easy gal ;)

Three Cheers for 1,000 Years! Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 4


Ugh.. Ok. So I see there is no middle ground for the incurably biased. I was trying (and failed) to approach a compromise. My bad it seems.

Refresher- the main argument IS about women's equality. Not JUST about how they function within a family. It is clear that you think that is the ONLY function of women.

Single-income family does seem better, yes. Better for the economy, better for the family unit, etc. But this speaks little or nothing to who will work and in what capacity.

Women can breast feed and men cannot. So that fact combined with the assumption that this, being better than formula, is preferable if possible, and thus leading to a year or less out of work makes women undeserving of an education that changes the course of their entire lives?!?! NOT WHAT I SAID, NOR WHAT I MEANT

Also, I said its better, not required.

Women should get educated because they WILL WORK. Education is not merely a system of chutes and ladders, but an innately valuable system. Education is some people's only means of having a better life.

Even if child rearing detracts a handful of years from the overall work years of a woman, she is still more than a puppy mill!

Further, what "hand-outs" do you speak of exactly??

One year off would not make a huge difference. Perhaps the father should take the next year off, eh? Why would his years of education and professional development trump the mother's???

In fact they do NOT unless you inherently give them greater value..OR if the system were set up (ie: rigged) so that it were the convention for men to be more educated than women.
Not really sure why you are so unsettled by the idea of educated women??

You did not answer any of my questions.

May the future be brighter than the past some are stuck in..


Compromise? Here is a compromise...

-I will concede to men and women being equal in all intellectual capacity
-I will concede that their physical differences do not directly prohibit them from most jobs (some such as wet nurse only for women, front line soldier only for men (although, I have seen some pretty beefy women as pipe fitters at the shipyard)
-I will (read: I've already) conceded women should be allowed to vote, own property and hold political office

That's a lot of things a normal "incurably biased" (read: bigot/chauvinist) male wouldn't concede.

I neglected most of my opponents arguments from R4 because they didn't make a difference to the solution.
ALL of those concessions I just gave do not make a slim of a difference to the ultimate thing I was trying to prove either.

That women should maintain (or, for some, go back to) their gender role as home maker and care giver.

And if they are adherent to their gender role, that makes our society NOT EQUAL between the genders.

On a side note, if you admit that a single-income family is better... and yes.. you should ALWAYS do what is better (in debates anyway)... is that women then get pigeon-holed to be mothers and wives, and that directly addresses many of the other categories. Why waste a formal education? Why get job training that you're not going to use? Why spend all that money and time for something that ultimately won't make a lick of a difference? Although they are not getting formal education, they can still educate themselves with books, the Internet, newspapers, just talking to people and learning. That's how most of the education comes anyway.... not from getting a piece of paper from an institute. I'm not arguing CON intelligent female populace, I'm arguing CON wasting a formally educated populace that will not use their education professionally.

However, although I believe it concludes from those to not educate men and women the same, that is not required for this debate, either.

For this debate, I was to prove that men and women, for the betterment of society, the family and the individual, should adhere to their gender roles.

If it is so that women should be mother's and wives for a period of time after child birth (my opponent actually proved that)
then it is so they should maintain that role throughout their family-life (as they should be in single-income families)

It is better for society because we have not wasted formal education and money and time. You'll have a society where children are raised by their mothers and more likely to be proper citizens.
It is better for the family because children will be raised properly, in addition to the house being properly cared for
And it is better for the individual womans because they will no longer be confused by their role in society, they know what is expected of them instead of turning them side to side between being a professional or a mother, and they won't be in debt from their student loans for an education they won't use.

These things are sufficient to say that women should adhere to their gender role.. Q.E.D.


I would like to thank my opponent for a gregarious debate... may our future debates be just as fruitful.

I do not happen to think much of the past was that bad... but I do hope the future is brighter. One in which we can stop fooling ourselves into believing things that we want to be true. One in which we can truly understand the way society works and can figure out how to make it easier for everyone to live happy lives. One in which people look for progress of humanity and stop looking so short term. One day, we will find answers; children will be raised by the state or they will be raised by their stay-at-home-mothers. Which will be decided, only time will tell.
Debate Round No. 5
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