Toronto’s Munk Debates markets itself as a “lively and substantive forum for leaders to debate the major issues facing the world and Canada.” However, a quick glance at previous gatherings reveals that most of those thought leaders sport the Y chromosome.
According to an opinion piece that appeared in The Globe and Mail last spring, only four out of the 42 debaters in 11 past events have been women, and there hasn’t been a female participant since 2009.
Facing criticism that the biannual event perhaps needs a gender re-balance, the organizers have invited four women authors to the stage on Nov. 15 to talk about “ what else “ men.
“The End of Men” examines traditional patriarchal power structures and whether, in the 21st century, they’re facing obsolescence. Hanna Rosin (The End of Men) and Maureen Dowd (Are Men Necessary?), arguing on the pro side, will be pitted against Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman) and Camille Paglia (Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars). Tickets go on sale Sept. 26 at noon.
As can be expected, reaction on social media came in fast and furious. Here is a sample: