Why the next presidential debate should focus on women's issues

05/25/2016 11:22 pm ET

It is remarkable that we are in a time where more women than men are graduating from college; entering professions that have been traditionally male dominated; and not only running but winning positions in public office. Yet women continue to earn less than their male peers for the same work, are more likely to live in poverty and continue to be exploited both physically and sexually. Every year in the United States, it is estimated that between two and four million women are assaulted by their spouse or partner.

Has the battle for women's rights been won?

Women make up more than half of the American population and turn out to vote more than men, so we expect to be taken very seriously during this presidential election. Women want proof that presidential candidates understand our diverse needs and unique challenges faced every day. We want to know how our next president plans to tackle gender-based discrimination and champion women's rights domestically and overseas.

To date, during the presidential debates, the word “women” has been associated with their reproductive system, yet critical issues like women's health, economic opportunities, and the epidemic of violence against women and girls remain eerily absent from these discussions.

When it comes time to elect our next president in November, women want to see our political leaders explain how they plan to build a more equal America for us all, and make meaningful commitments to change women’s lives for the better, at home and around the world. This must start with a live presidential debate focused on issues identified by women. 

The Women's Debate is a nonpartisan campaign urging our current presidential candidates to hold a live, televised debate addressing women's issues specific to economic, health and safety policies. Considering that women are a tremendous voting block, we should demand to know how the candidates plan to effectuate policies that better our lives. It is not up for debate that empowering women and giving us equal access and protection under the law betters society as a whole. 

The Women's Debate is currently collecting signatures via a petition on change.org to demand candidates speak openly about their positions and policies on women. Have a question relating to women's issues that you want answered? Submit your query to womensdebate.org.

I'm ready for a Women’s Debate. Are you? 

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