College libertarians host panel to attract women to movement

More than 100 student activists from across the nation piled into an overflowing room at the Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, to brainstorm strategies for increasing the number of women activists in the libertarian movement.

The room that hosted the "Girls! Girls! Girls!" panel was filled to capacity.

The panel, entitled “Girls! Girls! Girls!: Marketing Libertarianism to Women,” featured YouTube personality Julie Borowski, Reason magazine’s Cathy Reisenwitz, and Young Americans for Liberty’s Bonnie Kristian.

Predictably, the vast majority of attendees were male.

The discussion commenced with all three panelists acknowledging a disparity in the ratio of male-to-female activists exists in the libertarian movement.

“[O]bviously I think there is a gender imbalance in the movement,” said Julie Borowski.

Borowski added that she felt the imbalance might be in part because women care more about fitting into society than men.

“Women tend to care more about fitting in,” she said. “I do think there is a barrier for entry to women because it’s not part of popular culture yet.”

The other panelists chimed in, arguing the disparity might be because of faulty marketing.

“[The] Democrats’ tones are generally perceived as hopeful and friendly, where Republicans are seen as the angry old men telling women of the world to get off their lawn,” said Kristian.

However, while Borowski, Reisenwitz, and Kristian all acknowledged a problem, the panel didn’t appear to provide any silver bullets.

The panelists tossed around various solutions throughout the 45-minute session, from better implementing libertarian philosophy into pop culture to improving basic marketing towards women.

Students who attended the discussion had mixed reactions.

“I thought what they said was very helpful,” Abbey Walsh, a student at the University of North Carolina, told Campus Reform. “They listed a lot of ways the liberty doesn’t appeal to women and how we can fix that.”

Cameron Jones, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, told Campus Reform he didn’t like the premise of the panel.

“I think there is entirely too much of a focus on this feminist aspect,” he said. “I am not anti-feminist, but the feminist movement is by definition anti-libertarian.”

The 45-minute discussion was part of the larger 2013 International Students For Liberty Conference, which organizers say was attended by over 1,000 of the top libertarian youth activists from across the world.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @oliverdarcy

Get exclusive access to breaking CampusReform stories as they happen. Sign up below and we'll keep you in the loop.
 Weekly Digest

 Daily Emails

Oliver Darcy
Oliver Darcy | Former Reporter

Oliver Darcy is the former editor of digital media for Campus Reform, where he was tasked with reporting on waste, fraud, and abuse taking place on our nation's college campuses. Additionally, he was responsible for editing the website’s video content and graphic design. Prior to joining the Leadership Institute, Oliver founded, a video driven website dedicated to exposing the inherent failures found at the core of liberal philosophies. He is currently Oliver holds his bachelors of arts degree in political science, with an emphasis in both International Relations and American Politics, from the University of California at Merced.

20 Articles by Oliver Darcy