Which policies can eliminate the barrier to equal participation–and earnings–in the economy for working women and ensure economic survival for women struggling in poverty? Which strategic policies will help women-owned businesses grow and create more jobs? What strategies or policies could stem the tide of women flooding our criminal justice system? These, and other questions curated by The Women’s Debate, are just a few that are NOT being asked, as demonstrated again by Monday’s first presidential debate hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Women’s Debate has submitted questions directly to Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump to give women’s issues the attention they deserve this election. For the questions, please refer to www.womensdebate.org/questions. The Women’s Debate has also posted these questions for users to vote on at presidentialopenquestions.com.

With three debates to go, including a Vice Presidential debate, let’s hope that women–and voters who care about women’s issues–get some answers.

Dear Secretary Clinton & Mr. Trump

Since 1980, more women than men have turned out to vote in presidential elections.

Yet women’s real issues—the socioeconomic, health, and safety issues that acutely disproportionately affect the lives of women and girls everyday—have been ignored in the debates in favor of superficial and narrowed questions from debate moderators and pundits.

Out of the more than 700 questions posed during 21 primary debates, only 6 addressed women’s issues outside of abortion and Planned Parenthood. How can we substantively discuss policies about fair wages, poverty, how the justice system addresses sexual assault and rape, access to quality health care, and more without acknowledging how they affect more than half the population, and the majority of registered voters?

The Women’s Debate—a nonpartisan campaign urging candidates to go on record regarding key women’s issues—was founded because of that void.

Since its public launch on International Women’s Day, we have worked with partner organizations to collect and curate key policy questions about women’s issues. Thousands of concerned voters have signed a petition asking you, our presidential candidates, to discuss equal participation in the economy, safe and just recourse when confronted with violence and sexual exploitation, and access to quality affordable health care opportunities for all.

We have posted our nine key questions at www.womensdebate.org/questions. Thousands of petition signers are eager to hear your answers.

We hope to hear from you so our voters may be informed—directly from you—about how you view women’s roles in the most important issues facing our nation.

With gratitude,

The Women’s Debate and Our Supporters

How issues affect women is often ignored–the debate organizers certainly do. Women make up half the voters–let’s address our issues and how non-gendered issues affect women half of the time.

-Amy Cross, Washington, DC

Women’s issues are very important to me, unless we make progress on these issues empowerment is just a word.

-Arati Chaudhury, Nashua, NH

Women’s issues are crucial to supporting families.

-Sherri Sandberg, Davis, CA

Our country claims equal rights under the law, but women are still viewed as less important than men. We our disgusted by women being killed and beaten in other countries; however, women in the United States are beaten down with lower wages, being hired for lower prestigious jobs, even with better qualifications, and still viewed as the second supporter in a two parent family. The glass ceiling remains, but we seem thwarted from what we see through that glass.

– Lisa Magrane, Ottumwa, IA

Women continue to be short changed in our economy.

– Jean Robertson, Newburgh, IN

I’m 73 and I’ve been fighting for women’s rights for most of my life. I’d love to see women treated with full equality before I die.

– Judith Maclean, Bayfield, CO

Because women’s issues are our issues.

-Ryan Wilson, Fairhope, AL

I know how things affect women. They are the backbone of our country.

– Jane Inghram, Dayton, OH

More than ever, in an age of single-parent families, mothers bear an enormous load to produce mentally and physically healthy families. Let’s do more to support them!

– Charles Schlangen, San Francisco, CA


Women’s issues are commonly referred to, but seldom actually debated.

– Eric Miller, Trumansburg, NY

These are important issues to me and my family.

-Randi Franklin, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

Man or woman, our leaders need to care equally for ALL citizens!

– Meghan Kilroy, Billings, MT

I’m a human being with a mother, sister, wife, friends and more nieces than you can throw a stick at. And one thing is true, they are all human beings too.

– Michael Blaser, Portland, OR

It is just time. Women’s health and well being, whether economic, psychological or physical, are too important to the well being of the nation. Women shoulder most of the responsibility for raising the next generation. If all is well with women, all is better for the world.

– Janet Reindl-Bransfield, Hockessin, DE

Getting paid differently for the same job for any other reason besides job performance is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.

– John Lucas, Ronceverte, WV

Women’s issues and the environment are at the top of my concerns. I talk to girls and women every day — you ignore us at your peril.

– Kathleen Pfaffinger, Saint Paul, MN

Cambio urgente las mujeres son líderes en nuestro días no mas discriminación a las mujeres es momento de tomar en cuenta.

– Abner Ortiz, Myrtle Beach, SC

Too long women have been kept out of the driver seat.

– Leonard van Gendt, Georgetown, TX

Women’s rights matter. Come on, presidential candidates, we the people say and agree women’s rights matter.

– Joseph Piper, Gainesville, FL

Women matter.

– Sonu Mathew, Bellaire, TX

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