Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” remark has been well worked over by now. Certainly there’s plenty to say about it, from its factual inaccuracy to the hideous followup comments about female employees needing to make it home in time to make dinner to the fact that the original question was about pay inequity, not hiring inequity, to the obvious objectification (take note: You can’t actually fit a woman into a binder). But there’s one point that, so far, I haven’t heard anyone make: That Romney’s non-answer is tacitly acknowledging the very problem that he’s trying to avoid addressing. Here is the full clip:
Romney acknowledges that, during his time as governor, men were given almost exclusive consideration for high-level positions. He also acknowledges that highly qualified women existed who could and did fill those positions. Presumably he knows that his situation is not unique; in other areas of both the public and private sectors, men are also favored for high-level positions at the expense of equally qualified women. Yet he acts as though dealing with the issue temporarily in one place has absolved him from either creating a long-term solution to the lack of women in Massachusetts government or from showing any concern whatsoever that the same thing might be happening in other places.
Inequity in both pay and hiring practices are real problems that can’t be solved through the sort of cursory, sporadic action that Romney favors. We need systematic solutions that deal with the problem as a whole, and we need politicians who understand that “I once did something tangentially related” isn’t an answer.
From the looks of it, the women in the audience were about as impressed as I was.
Image from the Binders Full of Women tumblr, naturally.