The ALS poll is currently showing a massive two women libertarian readers out of 63 who have voted. Is the ALS site a bastion of aggressive men asserting their dominance over their peers like my dog pissing on the boundaries of his territory? Or is it just that libertarianism is a guy thing?
If the latter (which i suspect is the case, because unlike that rowdy rabble at Catallaxy, we are all very polite over at the ALS and in touch with our feminine sides), then why are there so few women libertarians? Perhaps only a woman can answer this question. It would be wonderful to get a variety of views from female readers but sadly, if past history is anything to go by, i suspect it will largely be up to us guys to ponder this question amongst ourselves.
Lew Rockwell’s blog is a good place to start. A bunch of libertarian women looked at this issue a few years back. Allison Brown holds the view that the first step is to acknowledge the obvious truth that men and women are different creatures.
‘Women’s behaviour is governed by feelings whilst men are governed by logic. We are nurturers and we expect the ‘have’s’ to take care of the ‘have-nots”, the strong to take care of the weak. We want everyone to like us and we want everyone to like each other. Men, to put it simply, are more independent in thought and in action.’
Allison is unlikely to win first prize in the feminist’s annual convention.
Karen de Coster also writing on Lew Rockwell’s blog adds,
“It is indeed frustrating to witness the lack of skepticism and sound thinking within our gender…Women love laws. The more the better! And in fact, a favorite statement of women in general – parroted by Stevie Nicks in concert –is “We got to do something!””
Here is a list of prominent female libertarians, though the word ‘prominent’ is debatable.
Libertarianism should appeal to feminists but appears not to. Through Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand created one of the great feminist characters of literature. In fact the US Libertarian Party was the first political party to recognise the rights of women to own their bodies and their money.
Libertarianism should appeal to women who care about poverty, about human rights, about treating people with respect and dignity. Countries that adopt policies favoured by libertarians have vastly superior track records on all three. But appears not to.
Libertarianism should appeal to women’s less aggressive nature as its core tenet is the non-aggression principle (don’t initiate violence) but appears not to.
Claire Wolf notes that although only 5% of her correspondence comes from women, this 5% tends to to be ‘hardcore’. Her thoughts on the absence of women from the movement,
‘There are strong biological reasons for women to value family more than men do. This plays into a tendency to value groups higher with respect to individuals than men do. There are strong social forces which encourage everyone to value the collective above the self, and these are analogous to gravitational force. The biological tendency to value family higher means women have a much higher escape velocity with respect to collectivism, and only the highest energy women break free of the social force.’
Phyllis Chesler, interviewed for her book ‘The Death of Feminism’, is hopeful that in the future more women will embrace libertarianism but not entirely for healthy reasons,
‘Women are not peaceful towards each other – but wish to appear peaceful. It is the “feminine” thing to do. Thus, to the extent to which traditional concepts of femininity and womanliness are being challenged and rejected by women, I expect to see more “male” like behaviour, including libertarian thinking.’
Women received the right to vote in Australia in 1901, in 1918 in the U.K., and in 1920 in the US. Up until then, the governments of these three countries pursued largely classical liberal policies (by today’s standards). A generation later, classical liberalism was dead and social democracy was born – a system that is largely still with us today. Coincidence?