Women’s voices and the election

This was in my inbox from Ultraviolet.  They have a petition going and everything.  There’s not much to be said that I can say better than they’ve said.  Take a look, sign it, add your question and add your voice.

Zero. Zip. Zilch. That’s the number of times women or women’s issues came up in last night’s debate.

Women are driving participation in this election. Women’s issues–from access to affordable contraception and health care to pay equity–have dominated the political debate since February. And also, by the way, we are 52% of the population. So it’s no wonder that focus groups from last night’s debate are showing women outraged that these issues didn’t come up even once.1

We deserve to have the issues that affect us directly and that millions of us care so deeply about debated by the presidential candidates.

That’s why so many of us fought so hard to get the Commission on Presidential Debates to appoint a female moderator for the first time in 20 years. Candy Crowley will be moderating the next debate, and while the format will be a town hall, Crowley will have a say in what questions get asked and she’ll control the follow up questions.

Can you sign the petition asking Candy Crowley to make sure issues that impact women–like birth control, pay discrimination and access to health care services–are included at the next debate? We’re hoping to send her and her staff comments and signatures from thousands of concerned women by Monday morning.

Add your name.

When you sign the petition, you can add what questions you would like to see asked in the comments box and we’ll make sure to get that over to Crowley and her staff on Monday too.

Last night covered a host of issues that are deeply important to women and men–like job creation, tax policy, student loans and the future of Social Security and Medicare. But a lot of equally important issues–like the ability of government to interfere with the personal medical decisions of women or whether pay equity protections need to be in place–were wholly ignored. And that’s not fair to women and their families.

Under-representing women and the issues that matter to them is sadly not a new problem in politics or media coverage of elections. This year alone, news coverage of Planned Parenthood featured quotes from women just 26% of the time. In coverage of birth control women were only quoted 19% of the time. Even NPR only quotes women 23% of the time.2

And if there were ever an election where women needed the loudest voice possible, it would be this one.

Time is short, but Candy Crowley and debate organizers are watching the reaction to this debate closely as they choose topics and questions for the next one. Focus groups are showing that women are frustrated–and we need to show Crowley and the rest of the debate organizers how many of us are demanding that issues we care about are included. Please sign today.

Add your name today.

Thanks for speaking out!

–Nita, Shaunna and Kat, the UltraViolet team

1. How Did Voters React to the Debate?, ABC News, October 3, 2012
2. Gender Gap of Women Voices in Broadcast TV, Radio and Print, 4thEstate.net

This is how stuff gets done, folks.  One person at a time, one voice at a time, until it is a thundering chorus that shakes the heavens and the earth.  If we fight for our rights together we cannot be forgotten, ignored, or defeated.


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