Tell Ms.: What Our Readers Want to Ask the 2020 Presidential Candidates

On November 20, for the first time in American electoral history, the Democratic debate will be moderated by a panel of four women. This could allow for a unique perspective on what Americans care about—one women have been waiting for. The Ms. team put together the seven questions we hope will be asked at the debate, and then we encouraged our readers to share their own questions for the candidates with the hashtag #TellMs on social media.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite submissions below.

Ms. Readers Would #AskAboutAbortion

Our readers wanted to know as much as possible about the policies candidates would enact to protect and expand reproductive freedom.

“Would you support a repeal of the so-called Gag Rule preventing national and internationally based medical workers from talking about pregnancy prevention and pregnancy termination care with their patients?”
— Jane Weaver (via Facebook)

Ms. Readers Would Also Ask About Childcare, Families and Foster Kids

The reproductive justice focus didn’t end there. Our readers across platforms also submitted questions about parenting, education and other childcare and family policies.

“How will you advocate for single parents and low wage families to help provide affordable quality child care and early childhood education?”
— @artsy_momo (via Instagram)

“What will each candidate do to fix the issues women face in the healthcare system? Specifically, what will you do about the drastic maternal mortality rates, as compared to other developed countries, and especially the gaps between the injury and mortality rates white women experience and women of color experience?”
— @enchanted8 (via Instagram)

“How will you instruct, monitor and/or require State DHS Offices to manage children in Foster Care sleeping on cots in DHS Offices across the U.S.?”
— Aletha Ann Lingo (via Facebook)

(Nasty Women Portraits)

Ms. Readers Would Ask (Even More) About the ERA

We asked the candidates about the Equal Rights Amendment, but our readers were keen to know the specifics of how each candidate would make the amendment’s ratification possible.

“Will you pass the ERA during your term?”
— @loveisallthereis22 (via Instagram)

“What will you do to ensure that the #EqualRightsAmendment is added to our constitution?”
— Betty Folliard (via Facebook)

Ms. Readers Want to Know How Candidates Plan to Address the Epidemic of Gender-based Violence

We know the statistics: one in four women will experience severe violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime, and one in five women will be raped. Our readers want to know what the candidates are going to do to address this epidemic.

“I want to know what’s going to be done to combat sexual harassment and assault, and the further systemized victimization that people undergo when reporting such crimes to employers and police.”
— @stockphootage (via Instagram

…and Ms. Readers Want to Know How They’ll Get It Done

No answer means much if the candidates don’t have a good plan in response to this question.

“How would you work with both parties in Congress to address the needs of our nation?”
— @christinemb366 (via Instagram)


Maddy Pontz is a passionate feminist and storyteller. She’s currently a freelance writer and frequent Ms. contributor, and was previously the community engagement editor at Ms. You can find her on Twitter @MaddyPontz.