WASHINGTON, DC — At last night’s Democratic presidential primary debate, the topic of appointing women to key leadership positions in the next administration was directed to both candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden committed to picking a woman as his vice presidential running mate while Senator Bernie Sanders indicated that it is “his strong tendency to move in that direction.”
Former Vice President Biden’s pledge comes after a coalition of women’s organizations and progressive leaders urged the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to select a woman for VP; appoint women to at least half of the positions in the White House cabinet; and ensure racial, religious and gender identity representation in all presidential appointments. The following groups issued statements on former Vice President Biden’s decision to pick a woman as his running mate and urged Senator Sanders to make a similar commitment.
Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority, added:
“It’s exciting to know that we have a real chance at electing a woman Vice President this year; that is long overdue. What’s really important is that we elect a woman with a history of leading on behalf of women — someone who is committed to reproductive freedom, economic justice, racial justice, and the many other issues that affect our lives every day. It’s time that more than half the country finally have a national leader who understands what it’s like to be a woman in America, and who will fight for the progress we need.”
Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet Action, explained:
Women, and women of color in particular, are the base of the Democratic Party and it was the right decision for Joe Biden to commit to putting a woman on the ticket as his running mate. Sanders should do the same. Women have been on the frontlines of the Trump administration’s attack on our communities and our values — and it will take tremendous leadership to get our country back on track. Democrats need to lead in supporting women’s electoral power, protecting reproductive freedom, winning back our courts, combating maternal mortality rates amongst Black women, and launching family-friendly policies like paid leave and affordable childcare. Putting a progressive woman on the ticket is an important first step to moving that agenda forward.”
Rachel Carmona, Chief Operating Officer of Women’s March, said:
“Sexism and women’s leadership have been the elephant in the room for two presidential elections in a row. We know today more than ever, that the only way to guarantee that women’s issues stay on the agenda is if progressive, principled women are the ones setting it.
“Women and our allies deserve progressive, feminist leadership in the White House. Groups like ours are fighting to eliminate the barriers that women, particularly women of color, face in being elected to positions that set our political agenda. We want to tell future generations that they can help set the direction of our country, no matter their gender. Women’s March applauds last night’s clear commitments to women’s leadership in the Vice President role, and thanks the many women’s rights organizations who called on candidates to make that commitment.”
Glynda C. Carr, President and CEO of Higher Heights for America, said:
“This election cycle, Black women are demanding our return on our voting investment in the form of policy priorities that center the issues most pressing to Black women and claiming seats at decision-making tables starting with the Vice Presidency. Vice President Biden declaring his running mate will be a woman is a major move in the direction towards representation in the White House. We urge Senator Sanders to consider the electoral and leadership strength a woman would begin as a running mate.
Black women are expecting to see Black women lead a winning democratic ticket and in the administration starting with a Vice President running mate. There is a dynamic short list of Black women to consider from Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams to Susan Rice, Val Demings and Marcia Fudge and that is just the short list.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, added:
“Vice President Biden’s commitment to name a woman on the ticket confirms what we’ve been saying: Women are a key voting bloc who make up more than half of this country and we vote at higher rates in every election cycle. But it’s also women — particularly women of color — who have been disproportionately hurt by the policies of this current administration. We applaud both candidates for committing to appoint cabinets who not only listen to all Americans, but also reflect the diverse communities they serve.”
Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List, added:
“Quite simply, picking a woman on the ticket is a no-brainer. The list of qualified women is long and diverse, each of whom would offer vital perspective on the issues facing women today. Between the threat to women’s rights and the importance of the women’s vote, it’s past time to ensure our voice is at the table and on the ticket.”
Ai-jen Poo, senior advisor to Care in Action, added:
“The power of women, and women of color in particular to define the future of this country is undeniable. Progressive women have held the moral compass of the nation in times of stability and crisis. Anyone who is serious about leading the nation should be thinking about elevating the leadership of progressive women and women of color at every level of their campaign, their agenda, and their decision-making.”
Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said:
“Joe Biden laid an important marker last night in the Democratic debate, committing to select a woman to run on the ticket with him if he secures the Democratic presidential nomination. Women’s experiences and perspectives must be front and center in this election, with so much at stake for reproductive freedom and other key issues that particularly impact women and families. We urge both Biden and Sanders to not only choose a woman vice presidential candidate, but a woman who has tirelessly championed reproductive rights and unequivocally supports safeguarding and expanding the promise of Roe v. Wade.”