We like to have fun with the presidential candidates, and the debates are not any different. Americans, being the gluttons for entertainment that we are, tune in to see which of the elephants in the three-ring circus we will vote for. But three young women are asking, where’s the female ring leader?
On Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and in the news, women especially are talking about the petition for a woman moderator. The petition is advocating for a woman to moderate “at least one of the three 2012 presidential debates." The petition reads "Instead of just being angry, we decided to do something — that’s why we started a petition on Change.org asking the Commission on Presidential Debates, which selects moderators, to choose a woman to moderate a presidential debate in 2012.”
In the ladies petition letter, they recognize that women have come a long way in the past few years, “We’ve learned a lot about women in politics in our history class, but we were shocked to find out that it’s been 20 years since the last time a woman moderated a presidential debate …Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice served as Secretary of State, Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, and Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were major players in the 2008 presidential campaign.” They question why despite these advances, there has been a lack of women as moderators.
With the increase of women in the media, and female involvement in public policy at national and international levels, the question of why there aren't more women moderators is certainly warranted. Is it institutionalized or individual sexism, or just a plain lack of get-up-and-go from women? While there are many women that argue on both sides of the issue, in reality it’s probably a combination of all of these factors.
Yes it is true that policy and especially media have been male dominated arenas, but what we are going through in these fields, could rightly be considered birthing pangs.
I’m sure many women had aspirations of reaching higher positions but settled for working “fluff” or entertainment gigs, many others may have decided to settle down and have a family. Unfortunately for those women, a generic work place is not conducive to birthing mothers who are raising kids and running a home. Instead of managing a career, women are working “jobs,” many do not have the time or energy that is needed to devote to actively pursuing and advancing a career. That is why many give up, settle for the job they have, or move on to other arenas. But, this fact should not discredit the women who have not settled or stalled after the birth of their children, but have continued to pursue their corporate careers.
We are in a moment of transition in most areas in this country, economically, educationally, and otherwise. Things are changing for better or worse. Solutions must be made for birthing mothers who want to continue to work, solutions must be made to decimate the walls of racism, and classism, and sexism, solutions must be made for better work environments in order to be healthy.
In order to reach these solutions women and men everywhere should come together to collaborate to reach an agreement; none of us can do it alone. But, while saying that, I would also reach out to these women and say, don’t look to the slave master to grant you your freedom. It is up to every individual to blaze their own path; I am responsible for my behaviors, responses, and choices. No one will hand me my freedom and opportunities on a silver platter. If I want something I’m going to find a way to take it, or create something bigger and better.
The commission won’t allow or have a women as moderators? Fine. If that's the case then women should be creating debates that caters to women and women's issues; this would be a great effort led by the League of Women Voters. It could even be broadcast on YouTube or followed on Twitter. Act first and create viable alternatives for women and others will have no choice but to adapt or die.
The three ladies who wrote this change.org petition have shown initiative and drive by starting this successful petition and I’m sure by also taking the Commission by surprise. The best way to make change is to agitate and persevere; all I can tell these women is to continue doing what their doing. The agitators always have the last say.
Power never takes a back step only in the face of more power - Malcolm X
Disclaimer: This post in no way is trying to disparage the work that women do in their career at home.