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Woman Moderator Petition: Teen Girls Fight For First Female Moderator For 2012 Presidential Debates

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WOMAN MODERATOR PETITION
Handout / Montclair Patch

As living proof that teenage girls can and do change the world, three young women have launched a major online petition for a woman moderator for the 2012 presidential debates. Nearly 120,000 signatures later, the girls are in Washington, D.C. today to hand-deliver their petition to the Commission on Presidential Debates and the Democratic and Republican National Committees.

Three high school students from Montclair, New Jersey -- Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel --recently launched a Change.org petition to promote gender equality in the upcoming election. The petition now has garnered over 118,000 signatures out of 150,000, and the girls have launched a separate petition urging the Obama and Romney campaigns to support their call for a woman presidential debate moderator. This petition has received 55,000 out of a targeted 75,000 votes. A similar petition on UltraViolet.org calling for a woman moderator has garnered another 50,000 signatures.

"Women and men will never be truly equal in our country until they’re one and the same in positions of power and both visible in politics," the girls write on the petition page. "There is no reason why a woman shouldn’t have a chance to show what she’s capable of by moderating debates in the upcoming election."

It has been 20 years since a woman last moderated a general presidential debate -- the last time was in 1992 when Carole Simpson of ABC News led the discussion. The girls explained that they were "shocked" to find out that only men had moderated the debates for the past two decades.

“It’s important for teenage girls to see women with political power,” Elena Tsemberis told MassLive.com. “The more we only see men in positions of authority, the more girls teach themselves to believe we’re not as worthy or important or capable as men.”

Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told CBS News that she is not sure if she'll meet with the students today, but that they are guaranteed a meeting with a staff member.

Do you support the girls' petition? Is it important for young women to see examples of female leaders in politics? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen!

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