Mitt Romney illustrates his stance on gender equality with ‘Binders full of women’

By on October 23, 2012
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First it was Big Bird, now it’s a “binder full of women.” Mitt Romney’s comments in the presidential debate again turned viral. Merely two days between the debate and me writing this article, a dedicated Tumblr account, bindersFullOfWomen, had already collected hundreds of memes jesting about the comment, mundane binders on Amazon.com have received mountains of humorous reviews noting the inability of the binder to really hold women, and remixes and parodies of the sound bite are flooding YouTube.

Its golden comedic value aside, Romney’s comment is a clear reflection of his attitude towards gender equality. Consider, for one, the question which provoked this comment. The moderator for Tuesday night’s debate, Candy Crowley, had asked Romney for his stance on pay equality for women.

Instead of addressing the question on hand, Romney rambled about how he ostensibly tried to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Obviously, he did not have a good answer to the question. Why? Simply because pay equality is not part of Romney’s platform. Caught off guard, he had to improvise.

Still, asking for a “binder full of women” so he can put more women in office is an admirable act on Romney’s part, right? It would have been if it had actually happened. David Bernstein, a blogger from The Phoenix, a Bostonian paper, noted that it had happened the other way around.

Prior to Romney’s election to the governor of Massachusetts, a bipartisan women’s group called MassGAP had already noticed the dearth of women. MassGAP took the initiative to put together the “binder full of women,” which contained the résumés of women qualified for leadership positions. Whoever was elected received the binder. It just happened to be Romney.

Regardless of who took the initiative to make the binder, Romney did not carry through with the binder. A study by the University of Massachusetts Boston shows that the number of women in senior positions declined through Romney’s tenure as governor. In September 2002, before Romney took office, women held 30% of the state’s offices. By the time Romney left office, it had fallen to 27.6%.
President Obama, on the other hand, did not evade the question. The President stated that he is all for equal pay. Not only does he simply say so, Obama has action to show for it. He pointed to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which he signed into law, guaranteeing equal pay for women.

After his comment, Governor Romney will only encounter more trouble garnering votes from women. The “binder full of women,” which was meant to draw support, backfired. It only shows that gender equality is not on his agenda.

On the other hand, it gave President Obama an opportunity to strengthen his rapport with potential voters. This comment, coupled with his less-than-optimal performance during the second debate, may start to erode the advantage that Governor Romney had gained, giving President Obama once again the lead.

Tianjiao Zhan
Staff Writer
tzhan@uab.edu

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  • http://www.facebook.com/russell.murray.370 Russell Murray

    Obama signed into law an amendment called the
    Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the holding of a Supreme
    Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear, regarding the applicable statute of
    limitations. This bill, providing that each gender-unequal paycheck is a
    new violation of the law, was the first signing of the Obama Presidency
    and came almost forty-five years after EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1963. All the LLFPA does is give an extension of 180
    days to sue an employer if there is any discrimination of pay from the
    date of your last paycheck and not the date of when the actual
    discrimination took place. In other words..Obama just signed an
    amendment to a law that had been on the books for 45 years and did not
    create a fair pay law for women. Or, as he would put it… He didn’t
    build that…someone else did…45 years ago. Only 2% voted against it
    which were 9 democrats. No republican voted against the bill which was
    passed and signed by JFK.
    If you’d like another example of Obama’s caring attitude for women just look at his aunt… An illegal alien who lived in government projects for 10 years then 2 years in a homeless shelter. Her nephew is worth over $10,000,000, the President of the United States, and claimed $87,000 in charitable donations in 2010 but she never got a dime from him.
    Instead of being chained to the idealism of liberalism perhaps the writer could open his eyes and really be unique in the world of media!

  • Anonymous

    Russel you are picking at straws andrepeating fox lies and rhetoric. Look at the simple obvious truth. Obama made a woman secretary of state, a woman who was his adversary just months before. He hired her SOLELY on her qualifications. He also appointed 2 women to the supreme court. You should be looking at the facts staring you in the face instead of acting as a pawn for Fox news. “How fortunate for governments that those they administer don’t think” – Adolph Hitler (a famous right wing leader)

    • TruthToPower

      “Picking at straws” and “repeating Fox lies”?? Find a Fox news reference anywhere in my post… What I stated in undeniable FACT and your simplistic reply is hardly one of intellect. Fact is, and it’s been documented, he made Hillary his SoS to keep her from lining up against him in the 2012 primaries, no other reason. I hope you are enjoying your pick for president…

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