No thanks, Diane Sawyer

Editor’s Note: One of Vision 2020’s five national goals is to increase the number of women in leadership positions in all workplaces. In this post we would like to recognize three high school students who began their own campaign to increase women in leadership roles in a different setting.

Three New Jersey high school students made headlines when they found that there is one place in particular that women are not being seen or heard—the presidential debates.. In the 2008 Presidential election debates, Jim Lehrer (PBS), Tom Brokaw (NBC), and Bob Schieffer (CBS) were the moderators. During each presidential and vice presidential debate, the duty of the moderator is to introduce each segment with an issue for each candidate to discuss, then facilitate the discussion between the candidates.

In fact, no woman has moderated a presidential debate since ABC News’ Carole Simpson in 1992.

Now, Montclair high school sophomores Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis, are taking action by launching their own campaign—for a woman to moderate at least one of the three Presidential debates in October.  The goal of their petition on is to reach 150,000 signers before the Commission on Presidential Debates announces its final decision on moderators in late summer.

Maybe next, the three students will start a petition for gender equality on the Commission on Presidential Debates. Only two of its 17 members are women.  

Tell us what your take is on this story.


About equalityinsight

Vision 2020 is a national coalition of organizations and individuals united in their commitment to achieve women’s economic and social equality. Join Vision 2020 today!
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