Sometimes a tweet can say it all: "Missing from the debate: #women #fairpay #childcare #paidsickdays #kids #moms #debatemoderator - #risers #momsvote #Kids2012"
Let's face it: Last night both Governor Romney and President Obama missed a chance to win over women and mom voters.
The debate last night was supposed to cover domestic policy issues, including three segments on the economy. Yet somehow the debate happened without either candidate uttering the word "women," much less talking about key economic security policies which significantly impact women.
Viewers were left scratching their heads, wondering how the preset debate agenda items titled, "Economy I, Economy II, and Economy III" could have left out women, children, and families, particularly when:
Women are holding up our economy.
Since over 80 percent of women in our nation have children by the time they're 44 years old, kids are a big part of the equation too. Not just because early investments in children's health and education programs save taxpayer funds in the long run (It's arithmetic!); not just because kids need safe, enriching places to be so their parents can work; but also because children are the economic engine of our future.
Fair pay, the price of child care, and a lack of sick days and paid leave to care for themselves, children, and the elderly are among key economic issues in women and mothers' daily lives. Any discussion about the economy that leaves out women, mom, and families fails to hit the mark.
Moms, and the issues they face, shouldn't be relegated to 30-second TV ads.
After all, women and moms comprise more than 50 percent of the electorate -- and we're now networked online unlike any other time in history, with more than 90 percent of moms online and more than 36 million women actively either writing or reading blogs. Moms are the ultimate fact checkers.
Moms want candidates willing to debate on the issues that we face each day. A poll recently conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research found 57% of women voters (including 75% of Hispanic women and 80% of African American women, as well as 65% of women under 50) say they are more likely to support an elected official who supports paid sick days, a critical family economic security policy. And, a recent First Focus poll shows that voters want candidates to focus more on children. In fact, nearly two-thirds feel the 2012 presidential campaigns should increase their focus on children's issues.
Our nation's future economy depends on our current investments. Any discussion of our economy must include discussion of how our nation prioritizes women, moms, children and families.
In future debates the candidates must speak to real-life, daily economic issues impacting women and families, like the cost of childcare, women's reproductive health, as well as the lack of pay equity for women, sick days, paid family leave, common-sense solutions to address issues facing immigrant families, and the lack of investments in our nation's children.
FYI: Many state election voter registration deadlines are right around the corner so take a moment right now to make sure you and at least 4 of your friends are registered to vote!
Follow Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rowefinkbeiner