binders-full-of-womenI’m really confused over all the outrage and apparent offense over Romney’s “binders of women” statement from the second presidential debate on DATE. Anyone who heard him or takes a moment now to listen to the preceding two sentences *should* be able to mentally insert the word “resume” into his statement.

In fact, if the phrase is considered in context Mitt Romney should be given some award by Working Mother magazine or the like. Seeks out women candidates? Check. Promotes based on ability instead of either gender or quota? Check. Flex time to accommodate family life? Check.

To add to my puzzlement, to my knowledge to date there hasn’t been a single complaint of inappropriate conduct against Mitt Romney. Campaigns always bring out the worst of someone’s background. I’m fairly confident that you could name one or two (or three….) of Bill Clinton’s accusers, or even Clarence Thomas’ without thinking too hard. But Romney? Nada. Zilch.
And I can’t recall another politician ever using his wife’s first name so frequently—and with such apparent affection and tenderness. While most candidates usually refer to “my wife,” Romney must have said “Ann” at least three times in his 10 minute speech at the Al Smith dinner the other night.

By all accounts, he seems to be a faithful husband, loving father, and concerned church leader and neighbor. I mean, seriously–when’s the last time we heard accounts during a political convention of the candidate helping to hang laundry?
I think this speaks volumes of his character, and probably explains why—when there is nothing else to sling—people have to work so hard to find something, anything, over which to be offended.

As for me, I got my first W-2 providing job at age 15 and have pretty much been working ever since. I’ve been in male dominated work environments, passed over for recognition in favor of a male colleague, experienced (mild) sexual harassment, and had trouble finding childcare so I could go to work. As a working mother, it would be a dream to have a boss like Romney.

So, to anyone who feels the need to be offended: Try adding the word “resume” to Romney’s statement, and then let me know how you feel.

Editor’s Note: Also be sure to check out Sarah Bowman’s article on this issue.

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  1. I have mixed feelings on Romney for some of his stances in other areas, but his treatment of women is definitely not one of them. Thanks for the article – I, too, was puzzled why so many people seemed so upset by a comment that was taken out of context. I would think that his stance of women on the workplace would be something everyone could agree on, and applaud him for!

  2. I less concerned about the binders comment than the fact he lied about seeking out women for positions. The women’s group came to both candidates prior to the election, having compiled the binders of resumes themselves and asks both camps to get more women in state positions.

    Fact is, Romney did hire women, for a year or two, and then, after deciding to tack hard right to prepare for his Presidents runs, pretty much shelved that outreach and the number of women in appointed positions declined again. That demonstrated once again that Romney will do what is politically expedient and flip the moment it’s no longer needed.

  3. I’m a woman, so maybe I can help you understand. Of the many years Mitt worked at Bain, he could not find ONE well qualified woman to hire?! He needed to consult a ‘binder full of women’ because he knew not ONE person qualified? Of the many women graduating with honors, trying to earn the same as their male counterpart, it is a telling statement.
    The fact that he felt the need to follow that statement with the many exception he had to make for those women to ‘get home and put food on the table’ just sealed the deal.

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