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!
Most five-year-olds finger-paint. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/aelita-andre-5-year-old-painting-prodigy-new-york-agora-gallery_n_1598196.html" target="_hplink">Aelita Andre</a> is about to have her second solo show as "the youngest professional painter in the world" at New York's Agora Gallery -- her first showing raked in up to $30,000 per painting. Andre is the daughter of two painters; at nine months old, she crawled onto her parents' canvasses and began to paint.
15-year-old <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/kuhao-blind-teen-plays-piano-songs-video_n_1403034.html" target="_hplink">Kuha'o</a> has been blind since infancy, but he hasn't let his loss of vision deter him from his dreams. He is able to play any song on the piano after listening to it only once. In just two days, his instrumental version of the dubstep song "Cracks" by Freestylers racked up <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBfEHF_7vxg&list=UUFIxsG6xSy8Q7fQ2tgrzmbA&index=2&feature=plcp." target="_hplink">more than 60,000 views</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/30/autistic-child-billy-joel-piano-man-video-viral_n_1463687.html" target="_hplink">Six-year-old Ethan</a>, who is on the autism spectrum, has an extraordinary talent for music. At just four, he began playing The Beatles' "I Will" by ear. Now, his cover of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpF3326_b5g&list=UUkxYCucMvYEjrgokL4nDmbA&index=5&feature=plcp" target="_hplink">has gone viral</a>, boasting more than 1.2 million views.
Piano teacher Judith Fairchild works with student Marissa Liu, 6, Thursday, May 17, 2012 in her Memphis, Tenn. home. Marissa just recently won the Grand Prix at The X Sonatina and Sonata International Youth Piano Competition sponsored by the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas in Corpus Christi. She is apparently the youngest winner ever in the competition's history. Part of the prize is, Marissa, who can't reach the piano pedals, will be performing at Carnegie Hall in December. (AP Photo/Alan Spearman, The Commercial Appeal)
Jourdan Urbach rehearses at the Pierre Hotel prior to a ceremony where he will receive the nation's highest public service awards, the Jefferson Awards, Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in New York. Urbach is a violin prodigy who has channeled his musical talents to raise more than $5 million for pediatric medical research around the globe, headlining benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other venues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
In November 2012, the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3oNVmSaMsE" target="_hplink">5-year-old Internet sensation from Hong Kong</a> shut down <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/5-old-piano-prodigy-too-good-true-183547955.html/" target="_hplink">the conspiracy theorists of YouTube</a> with a live performance of the fast-paced Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composition, "Flight Of The Bumblebee," on <em>Ellen</em>. There were a few big differences between this, Tsung Tsung's U.S. television debut, and the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">viral video from the fall that introduced us</a> to the Hong Kong talent. Tsung was noticeably less smiley than he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">when we first fell in love</a>. In fact, he was almost deadly serious, clad in a snazzy white tux instead of his usual pajamas. Luckily all his dramatic moves were still there, including a new closer he whipped out in which he throws his hands up "<a href="http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1076600/hong-kong-child-piano-prodigy-wows-american-tv-audience" target="_hplink">like a gymnast after a golden Olympic performance</a>."
Tsung Tsung, Part 1
Speaking of the earlier adorable video of little Tsung Tsung smiling away, here it is. The YouTube clip surfaced in September 2012 and quickly made its way to Reddit, where commenters so in awe of Tsung's lightning fast hands questioned the video's authenticity. You <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">know where we stand on that though</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/nine-year-old-artist-kier_n_1669610.html" target="_hplink">This summer</a>, nine-year-old <a href="http://kieronwilliamson.com/" target="_hplink">Kieron Williamson</a> sold 24 paintings in 15 minutes for the very-adult price of $386,000. He began painting at the ripe old age of six, and has been unwaveringly supported by his doting mother who recently wrote a biography about the young painter, modestly titled "Kieron Willimason Coming to Light -- The Remarkable Story of A Child's Gift to Painting."
Eleven year old Ethan Bortnick has already performed with the likes of Beyonce and Elton John, and claimed a Guinness Book of World Record's title as the world's youngest solo musician to headline his own tour, which he first did at the age of 9. This summer, the piano phenomenon wrapped up another solo tour, on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/ethan-bortnick-piano-prodigy-video_n_1707536.html" target="_hplink">a 22-city sweep of America</a>.
Seven-year-old Alma Deutscher may not be able to reach the pedals of her piano without a little help from a stack of books, but the young pianist, violinist and composer is the latest sensation in the classical world. In an NBC News video from this fall (seen to the left), the tiny talent is seen cooly composing a cello sonata and performing her own musical creations on both the piano and violin. Deutscher, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/prodidy_n_1967652.html" target="_hplink">favorite of British actor Stephen Fry</a>, wrote a short opera called "The Sweeper of Dreams" earlier this year, a feat that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9604486/Is-Alma-Deutscher-the-new-Mozart.html" target="_hplink">prompted comparisons to Mozart</a>.
Try not to headbang along to this video of six-year-old Jaxon Smith drumming to the Foo Fighters' song Pretender. According to the video's description, the self-taught percussionist weighed just one pound when he was born in 2005. He's grown up to be quite a rocker, performing songs by Rush, The Who, Heart (yep, "Barracuda"), the Silversun Pickups, Tool, Rage Against the Machine and more. For more of Jackson's amazing drumming, head over to the profile of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/U2RUSHFAN?feature=watch" target="_hplink">YouTube user U2RUSHFAN</a>.