Just 1 Percent of Debate Questions Were About Women. Here Are Some to Change the Ratio.
We can skip over Planned Parenthood this time, okay?
Of the 700 questions asked to presidential nominees this past spring during the primary debates, only six of them were about issues affecting women according to The Women’s Debate, a non-partisan group that reviewed the debate transcripts. (This is discounting questions abortion and Planned Parenthood.)
That’s less than 1 percent.
And, as Hillary Clinton complained during the New York debates, “there was not a single question on women’s health, or access to reproductive health.”
Meanwhile, moderators during the primary debates found time to ask Clinton a questionabout what kind of First Husband Bill would be and the GOP candidates what their Secret Service codename would be. Jeb Bush mused about his fantasy football scores.
As for the questions that were asked about women—well, they don’t give us much hope that Monday’s debate will offer substantive discussion on issues that matter.
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly cited Trump’s various public insults of women, and then asked him to respond to Clinton’s charge that he was part of the “war on women.” Clinton’s paid family leave plan was put on the defensive twice. Ted Cruz was asked what he would do about the fact that women earn just 77 percent of what men are paid.
ABC’s Martha Raddatz raised the issue of women soldiers serving in combat positions, and asked Marco Rubio whether young women should be required to sign up for selective service in case of a national emergency. And then Judy Woodruff pointed out that more young women in New Hampshire voted for Bernie Sanders and asked Clinton, what are women “missing about you?”
Questions about family leave, gender pay gap, and women serving in the military are all important—as are questions about abortion rights—but this list leaves a lot of issues on the table: rising rates of incarceration and maternal mortality, working moms who live in poverty, unaffordable child care, lack of women in foreign policy and security, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
Now, various national groups want to broaden the discussion of issues that affect women and girls beyond abortion rights. They are accusing the media of bias, and calling out moderators with hashtags like #askaboutwomen.
What would you ask? Here are our suggestions.
1. As U.S. Secretary of State and as First Lady, Hillary Clinton has championed issues affecting women and called their subjugation a “direct threat to the security of the United States.” Donald Trump, do you agree that there is a connection between the oppression of women and terrorism, and what would you do as president to support women’s rights worldwide?
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