This is a debate I wrote recently, as the motion is relevant to the blog’s topic. Please comment if you have any questions!
Chairperson, adjudicators, fellow debaters, ladies and gentlemen. I am proposing tonight’s motion, that THW require broadcasters to give equal airtime to male and female sports. I will be discussing two reasons for proposing the motion: the philosophical and the practical benefits.
The opposition have stressed the point that everyone should have the freedom to watch what they want. Liberty is a valuable principle, however, the proposition also believe in the importance of equality. When liberty and equality come into conflict, we must make choices. This happens all of the time in society. For example, if someone came in here and started making racist comments, that person would have the liberty to do so, however this infringes on the equal treatment of others. In some situations, liberty must be curtailed to allow for equality. Men and women are equally part of our society. If their activities are not shown equally, it gives the impression that we do not value women as much as we do men. This is the most significant point where we clash with the opposition. They value only liberty, whereas we value liberty and equality, in balance.
Now to some practical matters, the proposition is interested not just in the broadcasting of sport but in the doing of it. Sport has many benefits. There are the obvious health giving benefits, it promotes physical fitness. Sport brings other benefits like co-operation and teamwork. Sport promotes ‘sportsmanship’, things like discipline and accepting defeat graciously. It has been shown that women and girls play sport less than men and boys. According to the World Health Organisation there is, ‘considerable evidence from around the world suggesting that most (girls) do not’, engage in sport, why? Boys have only to switch on the TV to see male sports players in matches, winning or losing. They act as positive role models. While sometimes sportsmen let the side down and act wrongly. They are, by and large, positive role models. These role models are not available to girls in the same way. Sure, the Olympics come around every four years and girls are inspired by sportswomen for a few weeks. Girls see Katie Taylor, get inspired and go out and punch someone. However, this doesn’t last long enough. Girls lack the role models that are visible to boys week in, week out. The World Health Organisation also says that there is an ‘evident lack of female sporting role models available to girls’. If this motion is supported and more female sport is broadcast, this is bound to increase girls’ participation in sport. Just as boys can have role models, so too can girls. Not just irregular bursts of female sport, but regular showings. Girls will be healthy, team players and highly disciplined. Everybody can benefit from that. All we have to do to achieve this is to support tonight’s motion.
To sum up, I have made two points in this debate. The philosophical reasons: it’s the right thing to do, to curtail liberty somewhat, sometimes, to promote equality. This is one of those cases. I have offered practical reasons for proposing the motion as well. Through the increased visibility of female role models, more girls will play sport and enjoy the benefits. These benefits will radiate out to society as a whole. I urge you to propose. Thank-you.