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FORTUNE and TIME’S UP Now Launch Digital Candidate Forum ‘Ask the Candidates’

Changing Laws & Policy, Debates, Equity, Federal Policy, Power, Safety, TIME'S UP 2020

Today, less than one week before the Iowa Democratic caucuses, FORTUNE magazine and TIME’S UP Now announced their first-ever digital forum, allowing presidential candidates to focus exclusively on issues related to gender equity and working families.

To create FORTUNE and TIME’S UP Ask the Candidates About the Issues That Matter to Working Women, TIME’S UP experts collaborated with FORTUNE to develop questions that would most directly get at key economic and equality issues facing women voters today: sexual harassment, paid leave, pay equity, childcare, pregnancy discrimination, and diversity in leadership.

“The women’s economic issues that are part of TIME’S UP’S platform are ones that FORTUNE has been committed to covering as the leading publication reporting on women in business, since the launch of our Most Powerful Women franchise over 20 years ago,” said FORTUNE Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf. “As journalists, we are proud to partner with TIME’S UP to continue to raise awareness of these issues, and how the elected officials and candidates vying to serve our country view them.”

Four of the 15 remaining candidates for President participated in video interviews. Another eight answered the questions via email or recorded their own videos. Two did not participate in any form while President Donald Trump answered select questions through a White House spokesperson.

For many years, and even during this historic presidential election cycle, the issues featured in the FORTUNE and TIME’S UP forum have been relegated to secondary status in the political conversation. In fact, a TIME’S UP original analysis, found that over the course of two decades (1996-2016), debate moderators rarely — if ever — asked candidates on either side of the aisle to define their policy positions on these four critical issues.

However, this year’s election is notably different. This is the first presidential cycle since the ‘MeToo’ hashtag went viral. A CBS News poll released this month found that the majority of U.S. adults, including men and women, have favorable opinions of TIME’S UP and #MeToo, and that they believe the movements are making progress in raising awareness about sexual harassment and misconduct. A recent report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas cites TIME’S UP and #MeToo as part of the reason for a growing trend in corporate action on the behavior of business leaders and organizational culture.

In response, moderators and candidates are starting to pay attention, too: the latest TIME’S UP report counted eight questions on these topics this cycle — compared to eight questions total in the 20 years prior. However, both FORTUNE and TIME’S UP hope this partnership inspires a larger conversation about the key issues facing women and people of color in the workplace today.

“Issues like the pay gap and sexual harassment are systemic problems, deeply ingrained in the unequal gender and racial power dynamics found in nearly every industry of our economy,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now. “These issues deserve a town hall of their own, and we’re grateful to FORTUNE for giving these issues, which are so fundamental to women’s lives, the scrutiny they deserve.”

View the full feature including candidate Q&A’s and videos — by texting 2020 to 306-44 or visiting FORTUNE’s website. Follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #TIMESUP2020.


TIME’S UP™ Now is the nonpartisan and not-for-profit advocacy arm of TIME’S UP. We advocate for safe, fair, and dignified work for all in the public and private sectors, calling for an end to harassment and other related forms of discrimination on the job. And we fight to rebuild the systems that have taken away women’s power for far too long. TIME’S UP Now is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.