On October 15th, the fourth Democratic debate will be held in Westerville, Ohio. This time 12 Democrats will take the stage in what is being referred to as the “biggest debate ever.”
Image from Canva; by Brett Sayles from Pexels
The twelve candidates are, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Julián Castro, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard. The one-night affair gives Democratic hopefuls a chance to solidify their frontrunner status or break out amongst the polls.
In 2020 there are a record number of women running for President. Of the five women currently running for President, all but Marianne Williamson will appear on stage Tuesday. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, there have never been more than two competing at the same time in the Democratic or Republican primaries. Despite the historical number of women vying for the Presidency, the state of Ohio where the debate is being held does not fair well in terms of gender parity.
In RepresentWomen’s 2019 Gender Parity Index Ohio ranks 38th out of the 50 states, with 13 points overall. This translates to a “D” grade for the state. Of Ohio’s sixteen representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, three are currently women. However, they have never sent a woman to the U.S. Senate. At the state level, no women represent Ohio in elective executive positions, and of the 132 available seats, 35 women serve in Ohio’s state legislature. Additionally, of the 49 cities in Ohio with 30,000 people or more, seven are led by women mayors. Ohio’s underrepresentation of women in government stands in stark contrast to the four women who are preparing for the debate stage next week.
McKenna Donegan is a junior at Siena College from Syracuse, New York. This fall she is participating in American University’s Washington Semester Program. McKenna joined the RepresentWomen team as a research intern in early September, and is excited to work towards a world where women are represented in elected office and leadership positions.