Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” sound bite from last night’s debate spawned its own Twitter account, Facebook page – with more than 271,000 likes, and counting – a Tumblr and countless other online memes.
Here’s the commend that led to it all: ‘I went to a number of women’s groups and … they brought us whole binders full of women,’ former Gov. Romney said at last night’s debate about his search to find more women candidates to work in his Massachusetts cabinet.
For starters, the statement was misleading. Romney did not direct women’s groups to bring him female candidates, Boston Phoenix reporter David Bernstein points out:
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.
That, and the number of women working in Romney’s cabinet, actually declined by 27 percent. The Huff Post reports:
While 42 percent of Romney’s appointments during his first two and a half years as governor were women, the number of women in high-level appointed positions actually declined to 27.6 percent during his full tenure as governor, according to a 2007 MassGAP study.
In the end, whether it’s a Romney campaign or any corporate office ‘binders full of women’ do end up creating jobs. Amanda Hess at Slate.com says she hopes the meme ends soon because ‘binders full of women create cabinets full of women:’
Romney’s lieutenant governor and chief of staff were both women. That puts Romney’s record on hiring women well above the national average. Binders full of women mean cabinets full of women.
By emphasizing the recruitment of women, straight-up ignoring the issue of equal pay, and classifying a standard end of the workday as a perk, Romney is actually advocating for cheaper labor along gender lines!