Women's Issues Debate

Helen Shibut

Last week, the JMU Democrats hosted a debate between themselves, the College Republicans, Madison Liberty, and Shout Out (a group of JMU feminist bloggers).  The debate focused on women's issues. Here are the positions Luke and I advocated as the representatives for Madison Liberty.

On equal pay legislation:
This kind of legislation hurts the ability of women to compete for jobs.  Equal pay legislation makes it impossible for businesses to adjust pay rates solely on the basis of merit-- businesses must ensure that both genders are paid equally regardless of performance.  But without equal pay legislation, sexist employers must pay for their prejudices because the supply of potential male workers is much lower than the supply of potential workers overall.  If a female applicant is willing to accept a lower rate than a male applicant, a sexist employer must take a financial hit in order to hire the man. 

Though sexism continues to have an influence in the workplace, that effect is decreasing as women dominate college graduation rates.  The collapse of the pay gap will happen as a result of social change-- more government regulation is not the answer.

On sex education in public schools:
Given the differences in people's beliefs about what constitutes appropriate material to be taught in schools, no sex-ed program can satisfy even the majority of taxpayers (the people who ultimately fund the schools).  Therefore, the government ought to remove itself entirely from sex education, and stop functioning as a convenient way for parents to avoid their responsibilities to their children. 

On Roe v. Wade:
The practical issues that would brought up by criminalizing abortion cause us to oppose the government abolishing or regulation abortion.  Anti-abortion laws would be difficult to enact, and would certainly require gross invasions of personal privacy.  Though libertarians hold differing opinions on the ethics of abortion, Madison Liberty does not see government intervention as the answer.

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