romney binders full of women

Because so do serial killers!

No, not really. Romney’s quote at the presidential debate regarding his search to find female cabinet members – the one that launched the hilarious binders full of women site – ran:

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…

Now, one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort, but number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce, that sometimes they 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 7:00 or 8:00 at night. I need to be able to get home at 5:00 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.

Lets break this down.

Mitt Romney didn’t know a single woman who would be qualified to be in his cabinet? The man ran Bain Capital. There wasn’t one woman there who he knew seemed qualified? The fact that Mitt Romney had to outsource binder assembly to a separate group strikes a very different note than saying “so, when they presented me a list of only men, I called my very qualified friend Jan, and I said, come on board, you would be excellent at this.” Thinking that individual women (Jan) might be qualified in the same way individual men (Bob) might be qualified is very different from realizing “people want to see women, so, I guess, round some up and put them in binders. Doesn’t really matter who as long as they have vaginas.” People don’t really want to see random women pulled out of a binder and employed. They want to feel that a candidate sees women as qualified individuals, just the way he would see a male member of the cabinet.

Except… that Romney seems to think women workers can’t work as hard as men do. They’re kind of like a gentler, feebler version of your male employees.

Look, I am actually fully in favor of flexible schedules. I think flexible schedules are great! I work from 10 to 6 because I run a blog, and also, I am a sleepy sort of person. I probably also make less money and will have less influence on the company than someone who decides they’re going to work 100 hours week. That is okay with me. It gives me time to go pilates and watch – OMG AMERICAN HORROR STORY SEASON 2 STARTS TONIGHT TIVO IT RIGHT NOW.

But I realize it would be insane to assume that all women want the same schedule I do. Setting up the notion in the speech that, if you’re employing women, you’re going to have to readjust their schedule because women workers need to be out at 5:00 on the dot is simply wrong. It’s wrong, and it implies that it does not make sense to hire women if you need people willing to work hard. There are plenty of ambitious women in the world who have no interest in getting dinner on the table for their families (hell, maybe Dad does that). There are plenty of women who have no interest in having children. Just as there are plenty of men who have personality traits that make them well suited to that job, so there are plenty of women. Many of them will stay in the office all night if you want them to.

Just as I, personally, love the idea that we can have flexible schedules, I also think women should be regarded as viable candidates for jobs with inflexible schedules. Because I do think that women are more than just pictures in a binder.


Pic via Binders Full of Women