Young women in debate face unique challenges and national trends show attrition among talented female debaters - though novice debaters often include more young women, the varsity division nationally remains dominated by males. Currently, 55% of novice SVUDL debaters are young women; one of our main goals is to keep that number high as students advance to the varsity division, to high school graduation, to college completion, and ultimately to career success.
To support this effort, we launched the Women Debate Group; a program that addresses the unique needs of our young women debaters and aims to keep them engaged and successful as they advance in the debate world. With over 40 members in its founding season, female students regularly meet to share personal struggles, build academic skills, support each other in college preparation and much more.
They work with coaches to build relationships with promising female debaters, collaborate with program staff and volunteers to help them through the through the transitions from a novice to varsity level debater, and participate in informal conversations during lunch at tournaments.