The women who signed on to the letter also called for the Democratic nominee to make five other commitments.
More than two dozen female leaders are demanding that the Democratic presidential nominee choose a woman as their running mate.
In a letter to the Democratic National Committee and the eventual winner of the primary, top officials at EMILY’s List, the American Federation of Teachers, Working Families Party and several other groups argued that mobilizing women is an essential component in defeating President Donald Trump.
“Democratic victory in 2020 will depend on record-breaking participation by women,” they wrote. “Women are the backbone of the Democratic party. Women are a majority of Democratic voters, volunteers and donors.”
The women who signed on to the letter called for the Democratic nominee to make five other commitments, including appointing a majority-women cabinet, investing in women-led mobilization efforts, and making women-focused economic issues such as paid family leave a priority in the first 100 days.
They also called on the nominee to “lift up and honor the voices and leadership of women serving on your campaigns, including staff and family” and develop a platform that reflects the diversity of women — “Black; Latina; Indigenous; Asian and Pacific Islander; white; undocumented and refugee; disabled; lesbian, bi, queer and trans; urban, suburban, rural.”
Their letter comes after a historically diverse Democratic field of women and people of color has narrowed to two white men, which has disappointed many Democrats. On Tuesday, Joe Biden solidified his delegate lead over Bernie Sanders.
“Put simply, it is time for women’s leadership. In 2018, we delivered the largest recorded gender gap and the largest female congressional delegation to the Democrats,” said Heather McGhee, a distinguished senior fellow at the think tank Demos who signed onto the letter. “These demands represent the minimum the party and nominee will need to do to keep the momentum going.”
AFT president Randi Weingarten said she and other women who signed the letter joined together in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, which happened to be the day Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race.
“Regardless of where people were, there was just a melancholy. There was both a sadness and a determination about what was happening with the need to have female voices out there,” she said. “And so by the end of the dinner, we thought let’s just do some work in common.”
“Particularly in light of the dropping out of every single really accomplished female candidate, we thought that was important,” she continued.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said she hopes that tapping a female vice presidential nominee, as well as meeting the other demands in the letter, will help to unify the Democratic Party.
“A lot of people are wondering what’s going to be the difference this time in 2020, and can the Democrats really pull together a coalition to win. And what’s different is that women have been leading for the past four years,” she said. “If women can hear their issues in this election and actually feel ownership of it, then it’s more likely that it’s not just activist women who turn out for this election.”