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October 17 2012

Binders of Women: Romney Failed Too

Hadley Heath

I love it when Romney talks about all the women he’s hired – mostly because I love watching the liberal Feminists squirm.  If you’re uncomfortable with the idea that employing equal numbers of men and women means equality… then welcome to equity feminism.  You have seen the light.

Employing equal numbers of men and women is parity.  But it’s not equality. 

So you’re right, Feminists, Romney’s attempts to employ more women in his Massachusetts cabinet isn’t proof that he believes men and women are equal.  We need a better gauge of equality.  May I suggest equal opportunities?

Romney was doing all right in last night’s debate until the equal pay question came up.  He fumbled, and here’s how:

I went to my staff, and I said, "How come all the people for these jobs are -- are all men." They said, "Well, these are the people that have the qualifications." And I said, "Well, gosh, can't we -- can't we find some -- some women that are also qualified?"
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.

At this point in the debate, I turned to one of my viewing buddies and said, like many women in America I’m sure: “He’s making it sound like he had to dig up rocks looking for qualified women!”

Listen, the Governor and I are in different generations.  I’m sure times have changed a lot.  Not to sound like a sexist, but let’s face it: I’m 24, and my generation of girlfriends has it waaaay more to together than our male peers.  I could find you 5 qualified women my age for every guy.  And check the statistics on college graduation.  Yes, women are outperforming men.

Still, that’s beside the point.  The Left seized on Romney’s “binders” comment.  Romney almost made a recovery by pointing out that what women really need is workplace flexibility.  YES. 

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.

Someone from the Romney team… please tell him never to mention women making dinner again.  It’s true.  Many women cook for their families.  So do many men.  But Mitt should know better than to feed the fire of the Feminist Left, anxiously awaiting any opportunity to paint the candidate as a 1950’s Mad-Men/Cleavers stereotype.

Working at IWF, I enjoy a lot of workplace flexibility.  I don’t yet have a family, but I use my flextime and work-from-home options to save money on commuting, save money on dry-cleaning, go to lunch at weird hours with friends who don’t work, juggle emails with the occasional yoga video, and yes – cook dinner for myself.  I think men and women both would benefit from more workplace flexibility, so I oppose any efforts to standardize our compensation packages (like the Paycheck Fairness Act, for example).

Romney had a real opportunity to talk about what real equality for women means: equal protection under the law without special benefits.  Anything less than this is a real war on women (like we see overseas).  Anything more than this requires the sexist assumption that women need special help.  

That’s fine that Romney hired a lot of women in Massachusetts.  But dear liberal Feminist friends – I am letting you off the hook.  You don’t have to applaud his efforts for gender parity.  In fact, you don’t have to do any fighting for parity any more.  Not in Congress, not in the CEOs, not in STEM, not in sports.  Join the equal opportunities team.  We’ve got BINDERS full of these women here at IWF.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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