By Spandana Palyam,
Liberal Arts and Science Academy
Though respect rules are withheld, some sexist opinions do not waver. Despite women working in the government for nearly 100 years now, people still do not treat them with the same regard as they do with men; unfortunately, sometimes even in Youth and Government, which is a program that actively encourages all adolescents to join. “Even if it’s not overt, every single woman here can attest to the fact that she’s walked into a room and gotten a look that made her feel less than.” Catherine Masey expressed.
Catherine Masey has been part of the Youth and Government program for three years and loves it because she wants to make the world a better place. While YAG has rewarding aspects such as collaborating with new people and exploring different aspects of authority, equality is not always given. Last year, Macey judged during district and asked a male evaluator for constructive criticism after the event. “He looked at me and he was like, not for you. And then turned around and gave feedback to the teams who had boy attorneys,” Masey claimed. The evaluator also did not give feedback to any girl witnesses at all. She expressed her exasperation with people respecting her. “There are quite a few people, women, and men, who think they can talk over me. And I’ve seen them not do that to a male judge and evaluators too,” Masey said. Masey acknowledges that even though these actions can be unintentional, it is still something that should not happen.
Other female delegates have also had a similar experience. One claimed that a lot of times, male judges tended to not encourage receiving feedback for themselves and that sometimes the feedback given is not accurate. “They’ll tell you that your witnesses were boring. And then it’s very strange feedback. They also won’t really take any feedback,” the delegate claimed.
Additionally, male delegates have been unnecessarily blunt towards female representatives. Lucy Murphy experienced this firsthand while participating in the Legislative section on March 3. “When I was doing leg[islative] yesterday, I noticed that the boys in the room would object to girls’ bills a lot more than guys and would try to make it seem as if they were better than us.” Murphy also mentioned that the girl legislators were not taken seriously by boy legislators.
Thankfully, Youth and Government is always open to improvement and deals with issues relating to disrespect. Rules and regulations are just the start to changing the opinions and experiences of women youth and government participants.