Deep Conversations: When Hillary and Trump Debate Again, Hope They Talk About Gender

America, it’s time to face reality. This 2016 election jumped the shark with the Donald Trump/Billy Bush October Surprise  (Access Hollywood video, 2005). Soon afterthe Hillary Clinton campaign came under scrutiny when Wikileaks revealed a trove of emails from the campaign leaders, plus some of the text of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street. Since it is highly, highly unlikely that the upcoming, and final, Presidential Debate will yield insight into education reform, I propose that many of the questions deal with improving the quality of life for all in the USA, regardless of gender. At least the audience would perhaps glean more insight into these candidates whose public lives have been so carefully constructed.

The questions below reflect my interest in the topics of home labor and housekeeping. One of the pivotal books on this topic is Nickel and Dimed (2001), by Barbara Ehrenreich. I loved using this book in a non-traditional-aged college class I taught at a super cool Midwestern college.

Questions for the candidates:

  • How does your participation in the institution of marriage shape your opinion on equal pay for equal work?
  • If sexual harassment in the workplace is intolerable, how can the workplace be re-imagined as an equalizing force in small communities and in larger society?
  • What percentage of the GDP is derived from housekeeping?
  • How much should traditional homemakers earn for their housework?
  • Do the candidates have any “chores” they routinely do at home and if so, what are they and why do they do them?
  • Assuming that the candidates have paid home staff, what is the average rate they pay their respective staffs?