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'Women are going to decide this election': TIME'S UP CEO

Tina Tchen, TIME’S UP CEO and Former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to break down the women's vote in the 2020 election.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: The leads that Biden holds right now in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia are very, very narrow, and in cities like Atlanta and Philadelphia that are putting Biden over the top. So let's talk about this more now with Tina Tchen. She's the CEO of the advocacy organization, Time's Up. And Tina is, I want to note here, also the former chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama and a former assistant to the former President Barack Obama.

Tina, I want to start with the gender gap that we have been seeing here in this vote. I know we have some of the numbers that we can show for everyone at home, roughly a 12 percentage gap right now between men and women. And I've seen a lot of reports that are saying that, actually, the gender gap this year could be historic. I'm wondering if you can explain for us what's driving the very different voting behaviors between men and women in this election in particular.

TINA TCHEN: Well, you know, I think it's a lot of factors, Kristin. And thank you for having me. I mean, I believe that women are going to decide this election, both up and down the ballot. And it's a lot of things. First of all, it is the historic opportunity to have a woman of color as vice president of the United States, the excitement around the nomination of Senator Kamala Harris to be the first Black Asian woman vice president. You saw little girls dressing up as her for Halloween. I mean, that inspiration, you know, that enthusiasm really translated into votes.

And I also think what we've been watching for the last six months is how women have really borne the brunt of this pandemic, right? Women are 80% of frontline workers. Women are taking on 60% to 70% of the additional caregiving that's happening at home with schools out and 4 and 1/2 million childcare slots at risk, right?

Women are bearing that brunt, and I think they see the fact that we need a change to answer these caregiving issues, these frontline issues that women are facing. And they are voting, you know, with-- you know, making their voices heard through their vote on those critical issues.

So I think that's a lot of the energy. It's going to carry over now into what happens next, right? Because the election is only the first step. The next step is, how do we address this pandemic? How do we address this economic crisis? How do we address racial justice? And how do we address what I have been calling a fourth crisis, the caregiving crisis that we've got? And that's what we need to do in the new Congress in the new year.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now when it comes to that gender gap, we're actually seeing some of the biggest discrepancies between Black male voters and Black female voters that at least voted for Trump. 12% of Black men voted for Trump compared to 6% of Black women.

Now just last week, I actually was speaking with the former NAACP president, Ben Jealous, and he essentially blamed chauvinism for this increase in Black male voters over their female counterparts. And, you know, we've been going out and talking with Black male voters that are saying they're motivated actually by economic issues around unemployment and taxes.

I'm wondering if you can highlight which you think it is. Is it the economy? Is it patriarchy? Is it all of the above? And why aren't, if it's the economy in part, why aren't Black female voters motivated by some of those same issues?

TINA TCHEN: So, well, first of all, let me just say that patriarchy is kind of universal. It knows no race or religion or geographic lines. So, you know, the patriarchy is real across the board in lots of communities, including in the Black community. So, you know, I kind of agree with Ben Jealous on that, that that is for real.

But I also think, as I said earlier, Black women are living the economic issues, right? And they have an understanding, right, of how a change needs to happen on that. That this economy that existed before the pandemic that the Trump administration talked about a lot wasn't an economy that worked for Black women, right? It wasn't an economy that worked for the Black community overall.

So it's not like a return to what existed before the pandemic was going to solve the solutions for working people in this country, and especially for the Black community. And I think Black women understand that because, as I said, they are living it every day. They lived it before the pandemic, and they are exa-- it's exacerbated even now over these last six months. And so they have seen that solution.

Now let's be honest. For Black men, you know, a lot of Black men are successful in business, you know, are-- higher earnings, you know, are-- you know, have that view of what the tax system might look like, based on their own experience. And that's not the experience that Black women have and they understand that.

KRISTIN MYERS: Tina, I have about time for one last question with you here. And I want to dive a little bit more into the Black vote, especially because so many folks have been talking about it, particularly in states like Pennsylvania, like Michigan, like Georgia, especially around hugely urban centers of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit.

You know, so we're seeing overwhelmingly, though, we were just talking about those Black voters for Trump, overwhelmingly, Black voters voted for Biden. I'm wondering the importance of that Black vote, especially as we see it in these swing states with these razor thin margins. And we have some comparative stats for everyone to see at home. How important is that Black vote for this election? Do you think it could be the defining voting block for this election for a Biden victory?

TINA TCHEN: Well, we've seen the Black vote's been a cornerstone of democratic coalition, you know, for generations, really. And we are really seeing it in stark relief now in this election. And, you know, it will, you know, I think propel the issues that are of concern to the Black community in to the next several months.

I mean, because as I said before, you know-- and here's the thing for people to understand. Voting and the election was only the first step to making change. And everyone who was geared up and spent a lot of energy getting out the vote and voting on November 3rd, my message to everyone is, don't let up.

Maybe take a day or so off to sort of relax. Celebrate Thanksgiving in your COVID safe way. But then get back to work to make sure that the issues that you care about get addressed, you know, as things happen, both in your statehouse, in your city council, as well as in Congress and in the White House.

That's what we're going to be doing at Time's Up, right? You know, this is only the first step. And we've got to make sure that the issues confronting working women, working families, things like caregiving, get really addressed in the new Congress, things like continuing to eliminate sexual harassment and holding sexual harassers accountable, and building safe, fair, and equitable workplaces for everyone.

Voting was only one part of what you need to do to make sure that happens. And so, I really hope that everybody who stepped up and voted in historic numbers on Tuesday and the weeks before stay engaged. It's so important to stay engaged, and hold your public officials accountable, and continue to speak out on the issues that affect you and your community.

KRISTIN MYERS: Tina, sadly, we have no more time for this conversation, but so enjoyed it. We'll have to bring you back again in the future. Tina Tchen, CEO of Time's Up and also the former chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama. Thanks so much for joining us today.

TINA TCHEN: Thanks for having me.