Women in Politics: America Needs Female Moderators at the 2012 Presidential Debates

Recently, the names of many prominent female journalists have been thrown around as potential moderators for the upcoming presidential debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates

A recent Change.org petition brought attention to the issue when it asked a compelling question – why haven’t women moderated a presidential debate in the past 20 years, especially when women vote more than men, and when our country is supposedly more progressive and supportive of strong female leaders?

The issue here isn’t to necessarily have a female presidential debate moderator just simply to have a woman filling that role; the point is to make sure that women with caliber and renown are given the opportunity. 

Prominent female journalists like Christiane Amanpour, Leslie Stahl, Diane Sawyer, Candy Crowley, Katie Couric, Gwen Ifill, Barbara Walters, Rachel Maddow, and Greta Van Susteren, have worked their way up the ladder, combated sexism and stereotypes, defied expectations, and succeeded in unimaginable ways proving to the world that they are just as capable of hard-hitting news as their male counterparts. 

For these women to succeed in such a competitive, cutthroat environment, where beauty is often heavily tied into a woman’s capabilities, they had to be better and work much harder than their male counterparts. These are women to celebrate and respect, and there’s no better way of showcasing our appreciation for their incredible accomplishments than by acknowledging their high caliber work and giving some of these women a chance to moderate such a prestigious debate.

I’m not saying that we should simply give a woman a spot as a moderator solely because she’s a woman. I believe that the best way we can give such women the credit they are entitled to, which we so abundantly heap onto their male counterparts, is to present them with an opportunity to be considered for the position that allows them to represent the American people.

Lastly, this idea of inviting new, engaging, reputable moderators, regardless of gender, race, etcetera, should be a consistent practice, not something brought about or changed temporarily because of a petition or a few news articles. Using the same moderator, notably Jim Lehrer, becomes boring and predictable. It’s about time that we not only add some fresh blood to the pool of candidates in the running, but also include these outstanding female journalists and seriously consider them as excellent options for the role of moderator.

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Avantika Krishna

Avantika, a graduating Trinity University, is Studying Political Science and Human Communication. A feminist, a human rights activist, and an advocate for youth activism in politics and social issues, Avantika contributes her time to various initiatives around her community and university. Follow her on Twitter @itsavantika and reach out to her for any opportunities (or really anything else!).

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