Gender & Quiz Bowl

Anything that's on topic but doesn't fit elsewhere, including related events that might be of interest to quizbowl players.
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Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by midwestern538 »

I'm a high school senior and quiz bowl captain from Michigan. My senior capstone project focuses on the intersection of gender and extracurriculars, specifically female participation in quiz bowl and debate. I've collected some basic statistics on participation and read theories in academic papers, but I'm interested in the more personal side of the story (beyond my own experiences). If willing, I would greatly appreciate any anecdotes about your own experiences with gender and quiz bowl. I've found an old thread about this issue, but it's from 2006 and seems to mostly consist of coaches defending the gender disparity on their teams.

Note: I appreciate acknowledgements of female players often being more timid or less willing to take risks, as my research has pinned that down as a key factor in the gender gap in quiz bowl success, but I'd like anecdotes beyond simple statements of fellow players being "more reserved."

If you're uncomfortable sharing this publicly, feel free to privately message me.
Thank you!
Avery Lumeng
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by Corry »

Hi Avery, welcome to the forums! You might find this collection of threads on women in college quiz bowl to be useful: viewforum.php?f=176
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by Susan »

There have actually been quite a few threads on gender and quizbowl in the history of the boards. Unfortunately, many of them were awful. In addition to the ones Corry pointed out, here's some of the less awful ones (note that most of these are in the college section and may contain adult language):
-Several comments that came up in a 2013 State of the Board thread.
-A fall 2012 conversation initiated by Henry Gorman with some useful input from Tracy Lee.
-A few posts within the discussion of the Slate article on 2012 ACF Nats.
-The last really in-depth thread on the subject, started by Andrew Hart in 2012.
-A 2009 discussion I did not love about whether TRASH could be more "girl friendly".
-A 2009 discussion that may be part of the problem.
-A 2009 thread started by a high schooler looking to recruit more women to her team.
-A 2008 thread by a "student journalist" with some questions about women in quizbowl, which eventually got locked.
-Some discussion of women in this 2007 post on underrepresented groups in quizbowl.
-George Berry asking in 2006 how teams recruit female players
-This 2006 discussion of recruiting team members discusses women to some extent.
-Of all of the women-in-quizbowl threads, this 2005 discussion is the only one to repeatedly mention the scrotum (I hope).

My own experiences in quizbowl would suggest that social issues were a much larger contributor to difficulties in recruitment and retention of female players than were timidity or differences in risk-taking between men and women. I played a long time ago, though (1999-2007), and only in college, so my experiences may be pretty different than those of the average current female high schooler.
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Hi Avery! The posters above have already posted a lot of the past threads that have talked about this very issue, but I'd like to include a podcast that I did a few years back that interviewed several of the most prominent females in the high school Quizbowl community at the time about their experiences. The link to that can be found here.

Also, I would look at recent events in the Northeast Quizbowl Facebook group regarding the writing of a Quizbowl set that was intended to explicitly tackle the issue of female representation in Quizbowl. While I'm not terribly certain about the specifics, that thread could give you the contact information of quite a few female players in the circuit who want to talk about this issue in a public way.
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

I have no involvement with the tournament at all, but you might also want to reach out to the organizers of the upcoming tournament ATHENA (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19488), intended to promote female involvement in quiz bowl.
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by alexdz »

Not exactly related, but a couple of years ago there was a discussion of LGBT representation in quizbowl. I get that you're looking at women specifically, but it might be worth skimming for some insight on broader issues of gender/sexuality representation.
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Hi, Avery!

I often post in threads on this topic to note that there is much greater female participation in quiz bowl at the community college level. At the recent CCCT, 29 of the 108 players were female (give or take a few names that don't obviously indicate gender), and that's actually down from the last couple of years. My own two teams there featured four females out of nine players.

As I've maintained in the past, I believe (without any hard evidence, though) that since CC teams have faculty coaches, including many females, running practices and travel and tournaments, some female players (some!) might find it more comfortable to join a team at their community college. Even if a team is all male, a female player coming into her first practice might enjoy that there is a professor there, creating more of a class-like atmosphere. I've had a few of my female players say this, but it's certainly not a statistical sample or anything.
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Re: Gender & Quiz Bowl

Post by peytondash »

Yeah, I know this is a generalization, but I feel like teenage girls are more concerned with reputation and being known as nerds or whatever. And when recruiting new players for quiz bowl, most people tend to go with friends and if you have a team full of guys with mostly guy friends, then you aren't exactly going to have a comparable gender balance. It's pretty intimidating to be the only girl on a team, and that's sort of the reason I didn't join quiz bowl until recently.

Also I've noticed there's a lot of casual sexism generally in quiz bowl. Even going through the past threads mentioned I found quotes like:

"To be honest I'm glad there are not a lot of women in quizbowl--it's part of why I enjoy the game. There is a lot less drama, and a lot less general silliness."

"I believe there are fewer women in quizbowl because on the whole there are fewer women with very high IQ's compared with men."
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