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The Best (and Worst) Moments for Women During Last Night's Democratic Debate

The first Democratic debate in the 2016 election cycle took place in Las Vegas last night, which made sense because, well, it was quite a show. From Bernie Sanders shouting that nobody wants to hear about Hillary Clinton's "damn emails," to Jim Webb admitting that he (maybe?) killed a guy in Vietnam, the candidates were vibrant, colorful, and well worth staying up past our bedtimes for. 

Image courtesy of Giphy

Some of the most interesting moments had to do with their respective stances on certain women-centric issues, like paid leave, wage inequality, and reproductive healthcare. While they're all mostly in agreement that women deserve the right to choose and make the same amount of money as men, they also have different versions of how this should play out for the American people.

Here, a few of the best and worst moments for women during last night's democratic debate. 

The Best

Hillary Clinton Opens with a Bang
She hasn't been shy about her support for Planned Parenthood, paid leave, and wage equality, but she was the only candidate to mention all three in her opening statement.

Bernie Sanders Steps It Up
Sanders showed he's there for women and families as well. He proved he's up for some big-time economic changes, saying, "In my view, what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, [implement] pay equity for women workers ... and make every public college and university in this country tuition-free."

Martin O'Malley Is Also a Man Who Supports Women
Not to be outdone, Martin O'Malley also reminded the crowd of his history of supporting working mothers. "I have to agree with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders: The genius of our nation is that we find ways in every generation to include more of our people more fully in the economic life of our country," said O'Malley "We need to do that for our families, and especially so that women aren't penalized in having to drop out of the workforce ... we would be a stronger nation economically if we did that."

Clinton Calls Out the Opposition
When CNN corresponant Dana Bash asked Clinton about how we would pay for paid leave benefits, Clinton found a way to tie it back to her base of female voters. "Well, look," she said, "You know, when people say that — it's always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say, 'You can't have paid leave, you can't provide healthcare.' They don't mind having big government to interfere with a woman's right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They're fine with big government when it comes to that. I'm sick of it."

Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb...Try
It was pretty clear that this debate was mostly between Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley, and Chafee and Webb weren't shy about being frustrated by that. However, each of them did have a chance to highlight their support of American women. Chafee was able to mention his support of a woman's right to choose, and Webb...well, we have a lot of questions there.

Image courtesy of Giphy

The Worst

Was That Sexist?
With Hillary Clinton running for president, a new set of rules and standards comes into play. While she is able call out the fact that she is a woman, and remind voters that she would be the first woman president, her opponents can't (and shouldn't) really say anything about that. Which is why it was kind of awkward when Bernie Sanders said that "all the yelling in the world" wouldn't change America's problem with guns. He directed his comment to Clinton, who shot back an epic side-eye. Is telling a woman to stop yelling sexist? Twitter was the judge of that...

Bathroom Breaks Are Different, Too
On a similar note, during the second break, moderator Anderson Cooper made a quip that Clinton took her time getting back to the stage. "You know, it does take me a little longer," she joked. And giggled. Which was kind of nice, in that "wow, she is a real person after all!" way. Because you know what? It does take us longer. Deal with it. 

Image courtesy of Giphy

There Just Wasn't Enough
While Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley all managed to slip in some remarks on women's issues, we wanted to hear A LOT more from them. We want to know not just that the candidates support paid leave, but how they plan on implementing it. We want to know that they're invested not just in talking about the wage gap, but finding ways for working women of all ages and races to become financially independent. And we want to know if they can find some way for us to stop the attacks on women's healthcare once and for all. 

Caitlin Abber is the Senior Editor at Follow her on Twitter.

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