Attracting women into the libertarian movement
There have been lots of blogs and articles about how to bring women into the libertarian movement. Rachel Burger took her stab at it this past Friday. Most of her piece is about social oppression and a response to another piece, but she concluded with this:
It’s very easy to point to state authoritarianism and say “no,” but we cannot ignore for societal oppression either. As a predominantly white male political group, the crushing effects of social oppression often go unrecognized within our circle, simply because it doesn’t affect the majority of libertarians. This cannot continue. If we want to see change in this country, we have to actively be aware of the states of different members of the population and work on more inclusive messaging. This includes women and minorities; once we start doing that, we might see more of them within our movement.
I’m not going to address minorities because Rachel’s piece wasn’t about that. The biggest problem with Rachel’s piece is it focuses way too much on the philosophical and not enough on practical things like messaging.
Most people don’t live their lives through an ideological prism. They care about just living their lives and taking care of their families. Libertarians have a tendency to try and reach people on a largely philosophical and theoretical plain and Rachel’s piece is no different in that regard. The problem is when you talk about feminist ideas on societal oppression or even abstract ideas on liberty; they don’t register with someone whose only concerns are about how they will provide for their families. As a movement, we need to be become more relevant to everyone’s lives. As we become a more practical movement, we can speak to everyone, regardless of gender.
Let me however briefly come to the philosophical. What happens when you encounter a woman who doesn’t feel oppressed? We have to speak to these women too, not just women’s studies majors and feminists.
Finally, Rachel does not address what I think is the biggest obstacle to getting women involved in the liberty movement, “creepitarians”. These are socially inept libertarian guys who treat women horribly. I can only recommend this piece by Mikayla Hall on the subject.
The most important thing is to treat women as individuals and to cater to their individual needs.