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The school news site of Liberty High School

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The school news site of Liberty High School

LHS News

Man in the Arena

The Hidden bias of excluding women from scholarships.
Story by River Cotton

   Missouri Girls and Boys State is an annual 8-day youth program for students interested in politics. This program is among the most prestigious of programs, with 960 young men and 740 young women attending, from all around the country. Following this program, about 50 scholarships are given to both women and men who have shown their hard work and dedication in politics. 

   One scholarship, in particular, outshines all the others. The Man in the Arena scholarship, gifted by Leo and Lisa Vogel in 1982, is a $100,000 scholarship given to one Missouri Boys State citizen each year. This scholarship only applies to men, making it extremely biased, and goes against everything Boys and Girls State was built upon.  

   This scholarship was named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, “Citizen in a Republic.” This speech was 59 minutes of sexism, referencing a man’s need to bring honor to America and a women’s role to be in the home. 

   “The homely virtues of the household, the ordinary workaday virtues which make the woman a good housewife and housemother, which make the man a hard worker, a good husband and father, a good soldier at need, stand at the bottom of character,” Roosevelt said.  

   The Boys and Girls State mission statement says its purpose is to “draws together the best and brightest high school juniors to help lead them down the path of individual success and leadership.” This success cannot be done if equity is not given for both men and women. 

  “We are inspired by their generosity and we’re excited to see their gift make a real difference in the lives of our student leaders,” Missouri Boys State Trust Chairman Rusty Jones said. 

   Our society needs both men and women student leaders, but women are not able to show their full potential without having equal access and opportunity as to men. Why shouldn’t we put the same time, money and effect toward women too? A scholarship like this is of great worth and honor, and we need to find ways to do the same for women too. Creating a similar and equal scholarship to this one will ensure women with the same opportunities as men. 

   If Boy and Girls State truly does want to create a future generation of innovative and impactful leaders, women need to be included in this discussion. No change can be made for the future until these playing fields are leveled.

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