Women in binders: should Romney's comment affect your decision?
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:11
If you're looking for binders full of women to stimulate your pension, then Governor Romney has you covered.
A gaffe by the governor has received widespread criticism, especially at UNCW where approximately 60 percent of campus is female–all to avoid answering an important, and still unanswered, question.
It all started when an audience member during the second presidential debate asked Romney how he planned to make women equal in the workforce, specifically concerning payroll. Without even answering the question, Mr. Romney walked around the issue by boasting about his honorable crusade into the world of women applicants after pointing out a lack of qualified female professionals. Deflecting the question, he demonstrated his point by arguing his collection of women—apparently a stack of resumes residing in binders neatly tucked away in his office corner for him to choose from—as being a prominent accolade in his standing with the female population.
But what is the reality? Did Romney actually find the women applicants to fill his binder?
The truth is, Romney did not actively search for applicants like he suggested; they came to him. Before he took office, they were recruited by a bipartisan coalition called MassGAP.
Even if you didn't tune in to the second presidential debate, it's likely you heard about his comment on his recruitment methods being outlandish or inappropriate. Although Romney did not to intend the comment to be of comedic value, I couldn't help but laugh when the words “binders of women” left his mouth. Without proper insight into the significance of his answer, it is easy to let the potentially offensive nature slip past us.
Pairing the two words “women” and “binders” usually does not equate to any recruitment strategies I've heard of. As a matter of fact, I think the more appropriate association here would be a little more risqué than mere politics. What Mr. Romney created was the perfect metaphor to induce a mountain of criticism and questions from female voters.
Although I'm positive Mr. Romney did not mean to undermine female professionals, to make the association between women and binders is, for lack of a better word, binding. When binders full of women were brought up during the debate, I was unsure whether they were still on-topic or took a departure into the latest Macy's catalog.
Romney’s awkward choice of words suggested that his view of feminism is associated with a time when women worked predominantly second-rate jobs sorting through office supplies for their male bosses. What I find most alarming is not the nature of his comment, but his avoidance of the true issue at hand. As I mentioned earlier, the question remained unanswered and Mr. Romney did not give a concise answer concerning the wages of women, but instead focused on job opportunity—which I still believe he answered in a vague manner. It also concerns me how Romney could mislead the public on how he obtained the information when it is clear MassGAP was in charge of the original recruitment before Mr. Romney ever took office.
Once November comes, take a step back and look at the larger picture. Take into consideration no single point made in either candidate's campaign but, rather, their investment in the future progression of our country. Romney was naive in phrasing that particular answer during the debate, but I would not let one petty gaff make one's decision on who they should vote for in this election.
Both sides have their tragic falls that transcend past simple debates about metaphors and office supplies.