The most eye raising comment made in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night was Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.” This was Romney’s answer to a question about equal pay for women. Instead of focusing on pay…he claimed that as governor of Massachusetts, he had been so dismayed at the lack of female cabinet candidates that he sent women’s groups out to find them.
And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.
This immediately set off a viral sensation on the Internet. The “Binders Full of Women” Facebook page already has over 200,000 likes. The American Bridge Super PAC already has BindersFullofWomen.com up and running.
Nothing says classy employer like,
Bring me my binders full of women!
This phrase by Romney just goes to show how out of touch he really is with the economic issues that women are so bothered about. It played right into the perception that so many women have feared about a Romney administration – that a president Romney would be sexist and set women back.
Not only is the “binder full of women” comment highly offensive to women but it also appear to be a lie.
According to political writer David S. Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix:
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.
As if it could get any worse…Romney dug the knife in further on women’s issues when he later chose to share an anecdote about one of his female employees.
I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said: ‘I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school.’ So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”
Mitt then went into a rant listing the economic carnage of the Great Recession on women, without pointing out that Republicans cutting government jobs across the country has had a disproportionate effect on women.
Well if Mitt Romney wanted to close the gender gap…he sure has a funny way of doing so. The likelihood that Romney will pick up any more votes from the female population is now slim to none thanks to the most offensive remark ever made in the history of presidential debates. Well Done Mitt. Well done. See it for yourself in all its splendor.
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