Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
Romney buried himself with women in so many ways last night it was hard to keep up. I posted this on Facebook last night, pondering Mitt’s use of the word “if”:
‘I am enjoying the “binders full of women” meme. I am. But there was one single word Romney used I find important – “if”. When addressing the young woman with a question about the disgusting ongoing wage gap Romney said “if we’re going to have women in the workforce…” and then he said some other nonsense. “If” we’re going to have women in the workforce? Women ARE the workforce. Its a small word but speaks volumes about Romney. “If” says Romney doesn’t get working women and that those women are paid less (women of color even less than white ladies). What he should have said, if he really cared and actually got it is “Working women deserve equal pay for equal work”. If? Please.’
And other lady friends chimed in, including my friend Meadow Braun (fab writer at White Girl In Black Face) who questioned the use of the word “we’re”:
Equally problematic is the word “we” … “if we’re going to have women in the workforce.” Who’s we? Apparently they are the men folks who decide who gets to work. That’s some paternalistic BS. “Oh gee thanks for deciding I’m allowed to work, Mitt.”
NOTE : (Thanks to Irin Carmon @ Salon – transcript says “you’re” not we’re – which is kinda even more fabulous because Mitt doesn’t create jobs. Except for house staff. My apologies – posted that last night after horrific Yankees loss and just as I was tucking my old ass into bed.)
And, of course, since we’re going to allow women to work, we do need to make special arrangements for them to get home tp slide the hot-dish in the oven.
Ooh Gad, it’s hatdish (h/t to my MN relatives)
But back to the binder. So many women, factcheckers and friends are all over the binder full of women noise. But for me this is a good breakdown of Mitt Romney’s tale of seeking out women because he was so concerned that he sat down to a hulking, mahogany table full of menfolk when he took over the Governorship. this from The Atlantic:
The Boston Phoenix‘s David Bernstein says the story isn’t true – that women’s groups had been pushing these binders and that they were created by a bipartisan coalition of women’s advocates:
What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
Regardless of who served as inspiration for creating the binders, Romney used them and MassGAP today says they got results:
In 2002 women held approximately 30% of the top high-level appointed positions in the Commonwealth, even though they compose 52% of the population. To rectify this inequity, more than 25 women’s organizations banded together to form the bi-partisan MassGAP Project for the purpose of increasing the number of women in high-ranking appointed positions in Massachusetts and achieving fairer representation of women. MassGAP sought to eliminate the difficulty that state executives say they experienced whenever they tried to find qualified women for high-ranking positions. MassGAP did this through providing names and resumes of qualified women for top appointments.
Between January 2002 and July 2004, 42% of the new gubernatorial appointments made by Governor Mitt Romney were women. Massachusetts was widely recognized for that achievement and MassGAP was given credit for it. In a survey by the State University of New York (SUNY), Massachusetts was ranked first in the nation in the percentage of women holding top state positions. As the Boston Globe noted at that time, “Women fill 10 of 20 top positions in Governor Mitt Romney’s administration, making the Commonwealth one of five states that come close to matching the percentage of top women appointees to the proportion of women in the overall population.”
This accomplishment is significant. Nowhere else in Massachusetts government–not in the legislature, not in statewide offices, and not in municipal offices–are the numbers for women anywhere near as good. This fact was acknowledged by the Women’s National Republican Club, which presented Governor Romney with its 2005 Exemplary Leadership Award for his work in recruiting and promoting women to cabinet and senior-level positions in his administration. At the dinner in Manhattan at which the governor was feted, he attributed his success in attracting “top-level women to serve in [my] Administration to the MassGAP program spearheaded by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus shortly after the 2002 gubernatorial election.”
Romney finds women very useful. He likes to pander to them and lie about the government controlling your decisions on birth control. And employers – no way they can tell me how to plan my family! And thank goodness for the busy ladies over at MassGAP – without their hard work, he couldn’t have absconded with it to last night’s debate. And my goodness, thank you for letting us cook dinner at night for our families because “if’ “we’re” allowed to work – we have to have flexible schedules to take care of the Second Shift.