If you were around back in 1968, the above slogan may be familiar to you. Virginia Slims, those oh so slim and, dare I say sexy, cigarettes targeting the feminine market utilized this slogan as well as a few others: ‘It’s a Woman Thing’ and ‘Find Your Voice’. I was reminded of this marketing campaign when I first read about Emma Axlerod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel, three 16 year old high school students from Montclair, NJ. The connection? While tackling a civics assignment designed to engage youth in politics they discovered that there had not been a woman moderator for a Presidential Debate in 20 years! You’ve come a long way baby? Apparently not as far as we would like. This discovery spurred these three young Shenomenal Women into action!
Armed with print outs of comments from their petition launched on Change.org and more than 100,000 signatures, they attempted to deliver the petition in person to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Right you are, they were turned away. Undeterred by the rejection, their efforts then hit main stream media. Results, for the first time in 20 years a woman, Candy Crowley of CNN, will serve as the moderator during a presidential debate.
You may wonder what’s the big deal, why is it so important that a woman be a moderator for at least one of the debates? Simply put the issues near and dear to women are quite different then those of men. Most women are concerned with issues surrounding ‘caring’ and ‘thriving’. It is in our nature, as women, to want those close to us and those not so, to not simply survive, but to thrive, and for this to happen we need to care, care about and for each other.
My thanks to these three young women who found their voices and used them to remind us that in our efforts to become truly equal, we indeed have come a long way but our journey is not yet over.