Johanna Zeilstra: Working to Focus Presidential Debates On Women’s Issues


Among 700 questions asked in more than 20 primary debates, only 6 were on women’s issues that were not related to abortion or Planned Parenthood.

As there are many more that merit the attention of our presidential candidates, listen in as Johanna Zeilstra, established business strategist and Global Ambassador for the SmartWomen Project, talks about co-founding The Women’s Debate (, a nonpartisan group curating critical questions on women’s issues to be posed to presidential candidates.

Johanna will talk about the major issues affecting women and girls in the nation that go unaddressed today. She will also discuss her thoughts on which presidential candidates have been bringing up these concerns in their campaign trails. Moreover, she will touch on her own career and experiences, from being on the cover of Fortune Magazine to co-establishing GiveBack, an out-of-the-box philanthropy solution.

Since women make up half of the American population and have a higher voter turnout than men, it is only fitting to have a platform where they can raise the issues affecting them. Support Johanna as she calls on candidates to speak openly on their policies and positions on women.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

• The major issues that affect women and girls that most candidates don’t talk about.
• Whether or not a female candidate like Hillary Clinton will advance policies for women.
• How you can support The Women’s Debate in pushing for a presidential debate on critical women’s issues.


• Women’s issues are just as important for women as they are for men… Women’s issues are human issues.
• These are things that should be at the forefront of some of these questions… (They) are so critical to the health and welfare (of women).

Big Takeaways:

• While women comprise of a big chunk of voters in the United States, the presidential candidates have yet to discuss in-depth the pressing issues that affect them. The Women’s Debate aims to curate questions of this nature to help raise awareness, evaluate the candidates’ policies, and demonstrate the women’s voting power.
• The serious concerns of women and girls go beyond abortion and Planned Parenthood. They involve problems like violence against women, human trafficking, and equal pay.

Related Links & References:

• The Women’s Debate:
• Petition for a live presidential debate focusing exclusively on women’s issues:
• GiveBack:

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