Gender on the Debate Stage: November Numbers

Betsy Fischer Martin | Nov 21, 2019


For a full recap of the November Atlanta, Georgia debate numbers, head here.

After six debate nights, produced by seven news organizations, with a total of 602 questions, it finally happened!  It took a debate moderated by four female journalists to ask more than two unique questions related to issues central to the lives of women and families. Last night, question topics included child care and paid family leave, women in politics, reproductive rights, and sexual violence and harassment against women. Additionally, the candidates themselves actually brought up topics such as maternal health, pay equity, human rights, and sexism in responses to other topic areas.

So overall, it felt like a really good night for women substantively and visually. In terms of the on-stage optics, in addition to the all-female moderator team, a record 40% of the debate contenders were women.

All told, a total of 89 rapid-fire questions and rebuttal prompts were directed at the candidates on the stage over the course of just over two hours. 38 (42%) of the questions posed went to the four women on stage.

Of the 38 questions and prompts that went to women candidates:

Overall the main topics covered were:

The next debate will be held on December 19th in Los Angeles and will be hosted by PBS Newshour and POLITICO. With even more stringent debate entry criteria, the field is likely to be smaller than last night. So far, only six candidates have qualified, including three of the four female candidates still running: Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris.

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