Thank goodness: we FINALLY heard a question specific to women’s health during the candidate debates. The vice presidential candidates laid out stark differences on their tickets’ viewpoints on abortion, which is a good start — voters need much more info on the issues like this that directly affect women. But what’s next?

We have no guarantee that the remaining debates (and the national conversation that follows them) will address how the crucial issues at stake affect women.

We’re doing all we can to change that, including sharing this list of questions and data with Candy Crowley, moderator of tonight’s town hall-style debate. Can you help us spread the word and change the discussion? If you’d like to see questions about women’s employment, education opportunities and health addressed, will you share this post with your friends, family and followers?

Answers The Public Needs to Hear

Women’s Economic Security

What would you do to alleviate poverty?
  • Women and children continued to be disproportionately affected by poverty in 2011. One in seven women is poor, and the national poverty rate for all women was 14.6 percent in 2011 (compared with 10.9 percent for men).
  • The rate was almost 26 percent for black women and almost 24 percent for Hispanic women.
  • Learn more: Women’s Poverty Rate Stabilizes, Remains Historically High
Do you think the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage should be increased? Should these wages be tied to inflation?
  • The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour – about $15,000 for a year of full-time work. For tipped employees, the federal minimum cash wage is $2.13 an hour. These rates have not increased since 2007 and 1991, respectively.
  • In 2011, women made up about two-thirds of all workers who were paid minimum wage or less, and women were nearly two-thirds of workers in tipped occupations.

Education & Employment:

How would you address the persistent pay gap between men and women?
What would you do to increase the number of girls and women in science, technolocy, engineering and mathematics fields?
  • Studies have shown that to compete in the global economy, America needs to produce approximately 1 million more science, technology, engineering and math professionals than currently produced.
  • Yet women and girls continue to face discriminatory barriers to entering and staying in these classes and fields. Women typically comprise less than 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computer science and engineering/engineering-related fields.
  • Learn more: The Next Generation of Title IX: STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Given the strong agreement about the importance of a child’s earliest years to his or her future development, what would you do to ensure that working parents, especially low-income working parents, have the child care they need to work and their children need to start school ready to succeed?
Do you think it is important to continue to increase diversity on the federal bench? How would you do so?
  • The Supreme Court had two remarkable “firsts” over the past four years – the appointment of the first Latina justice and the first time three women have sat on the Court at the same time.
  • While the lower federal courts have seen the number of women and minorities on the bench increase, only 51of the 165 active judges currently sitting on the 13 federal courts of appeal are female (about 31%)..
  • Learn more: Women in the Federal Judiciary: Still A Long Way to Go
How would you address the barriers and discrimination that pregnant workers continue to face?
  • Today, women make up about half the workforce.
  • More women continue to work while they are pregnant, and families are more dependent on women’s income than ever.
  • Over the past decade, complaints of pregnancy discrimination on the job have increased by 35 percent.

Health & Reproductive Rights:

How would you reduce the maternal mortality rate, which has doubled in the United States in the past 25 years?
Should all insurance plans cover maternity care? If so, how would you ensure it?
Should health insurance companies be permitted to charge women more than men for the same coverage? What would your approach to this issue be?
How would you ensure that women will be able to access needed health care services?
  • One in four women reports going without necessary health care, including important preventive services, due to cost.
  • In the United States today, 1 in 7 women live in poverty, and low-income women disproportionately lack access to critical reproductive health care — from testing for reproductive cancers to information about birth control to pre- and post-natal care.
  • Learn more: Women’s Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act: Frequently Asked Questions
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