5 Feminist Issues We Hope to Hear About in the Next Presidential Debates

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the first Presidential Debate of the season last night, and it was just as entertaining as we dreamed it would be. Clinton said that Trump lives in his own reality. Trump denied that he was ever in favor of the war in Iraq (again). And an imaginary 400-pound hacker may or may not have stolen confidential files from the DNC.

But aside from the mudslinging and arguments over which candidate actually started the birther movement, some pretty important issues were discussed, like how to improve racial tension and the best way to create jobs. Here are five other issues we hope will be addressed at the next debates.

1. Paid Maternity Leave

The U.S. is the only developed nation without guaranteed paid maternity leave for new moms. While the Family Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of leave, it’s unpaid and can only be given to women who have worked at least one year for a company with at least 50 employees. This policy leads to higher risks of postpartum depression and infant mortality rates, because the mother doesn’t have enough time to take care of herself and her baby. It often forces women, especially women of color, to choose between having a career or having a family.

 2. The Gender Pay Gap

On average, American women are paid 21 cents less for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. For women of color, especially Latina ladies, this number is often even lower. Although it’s been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was established, there’s still a 21% percent pay gap—even though more women are pursuing higher education than men. This denies women access to fairly earned wages, makes it more difficult for single moms to provide for their families, and reinforces the archaic notion that women need a man to make the big bucks—puh-lease!

 3. Public Education

The U.S. ranked 17th in the developed world for overall education, falling behind countries like Finland, South Korea, and Japan. Even Massachusetts, which boasts the best public school system in the country, only has a 54.6% proficiency rate in eighth grade math or reading. Quality public education is a #majorkey for the success of this country overall, but especially for lower income families and single moms who totally rely on the public school system.

 4. Women’s Health

We’d like to hear the Donald and Hillz spar it out over women’s health, especially abortion—a hot topic that has politicians disagreeing across the country. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a Texas law that severely limited abortion access. Meanwhile, 14 states did the same thing and got away with it. A study from the National Abortion Federation found that 88% of all U.S. counties don’t have any abortion providers. Recently, Senator Marco Rubio said a woman shouldn’t be able to get an abortion even if she’s infected with the Zika virus or raped and the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly attempted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Time for the candidates to state their case on how they’ll make women’s healthcare a priority in the White House.

 5. Transgender Rights

Only 18 U.S. states currently have laws that protect transgender individuals from workplace discrimination and 26% of trans people have lost their jobs after coming out. Transgender individuals also face greater housing and healthcare discrimination and are currently the target of a discriminatory bill in North Carolina that says they can’t use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. While Obama has said “no bueno” and organizations like the NCAA have cancelled high-profile events in the state, the bill is still a thing


Catch these topics (hopefully!) and more during the next debates on October 9th and 19th at 9 p.m. EST.


by Samantha Mendoza and Berenice Moog