Over 100 women’s groups, collectively represented by the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), and comprised of over 6 million women launched a formal protest of the exclusion of women as moderators in the presidential and vice-presidential debates. According to a NCWO press release, the Council expressed its concerns regarding the lack of women in the debates in a letter to the Chair and Board of Directors of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Dr. Martha Burk, Chair of the NCWO said, “Female moderators would bring a perspective and emphasis that is now totally lacking.” Dr. Jane Smith, CEO of the National Council of Negro Women, an NCWO member group, agreed, pointing out that candidates spoke about Social Security, but failed to mention the one group Social Security reform would affect most–women. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, another NCWO member group, said, “We hear a lot about the gender gap in elections, but nobody’s talking about the gender gap in how the questions put to candidates are framed and presented. It’s never too late to remedy a gross injustice.”