Hilary Rosen kerfuffle misses the point of Romney’s real disconnect with women by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog. Check it out too.

Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, a CNN commentator unaffiliated with the Obama campaign, made a dumb remark that quickly became a media obsession. Ann Romney, she asserted, shouldn’t be called on to speak about economic pressures because the former first lady of Massachusetts had “never worked a day in her life.” Anyone who ever raised children knows it’s hard work, so it was a story “with legs.”
The Romney campaign, eager to get traction with the women’s vote, was quick to respond, and the Obama campaign quickly disavowed Rosen’s remark.

At first Rosen defended her statement, trying to put it in context, explaining that she had meant to point out the difficulty of both raising children and having no choice about also working outside the home, as two thirds to three quarters of American women do.

Ann Romney raised five boys, has done volunteer work, survived breast cancer and struggles with MS. She is warm and puts the human face on her businessman, bottom-line husband. But the real story for and about women is not Ann Romney. It’s candidate Mitt, many of whose positions and policies are inimical to a majority of women. Yes, women share men’s concern about economic uncertainty, job creation and the federal debt. But they also are extremely focused on education, health and the environment. A majority disagree with Romney’s positions on reproductive rights, contraception and stem cell research. They respond more to rhetoric about community than about rugged individualism. And they are perfectly capable of figuring out when the expected GOP nominee is twisting the facts in a blatant pitch to close the gender gap.

And therein lies the story the media should be focusing on. Romney says that women have lost more jobs than men since Obama became President, but he’s conveniently not looking at the entire recession, which began at the end of 2007. According to the Wall St. Journal,  the number of male workers to fall during the sweep of the recession was 4.6 percent; the loss of female workers was 2.7 percent.

Male workers are more heavily engaged in manufacturing and construction work, which are the first jobs to go away (not reflected in the cherry-picked numbers Mitt Romney is using). After the male-dominated industries take the hit come losses of teachers, health care workers, clerks and other support staff, traditionally women. Then follow the state and local government budget cuts, where women are also disproportionately represented.

It’s Mitt Romney’s willingness to misinterpret the jobs numbers to appear sympathetic to women that shows his lack of sensitivity and understanding of women’s economic struggles. Women are legitimately annoyed by Hillary Rosen’s inartfully dismissing Ann Romney’s creds, but women are not going to be swayed by Mitt Romney’s matinee idol looks and fictitious interpretations of the economy and what to do about it.
I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts in the comments section below.

2 Responses to Hilary Rosen kerfuffle misses the point of Romney’s real disconnect with women by Marjorie Arons-Barron

  1. Renee Aste says:

    While we all agree it was poor judgment to bring Ann Romney into the discussion by bring up her lack of person income, the economy is important.

    Yesterday I attempted to engage in a conversation on Facebook, that sadly turned into a partisan pissing contest, so I did my best to disengaged. We all have bad days.

    Back about 13 years ago I worked part-time at an investment firm with the hours of 6-10pm, making over 15 dollars an hour as customer service for their retirement accounts.

    The economy doing well and in the mid-90s it only cost 2500 a semester to go to UMASS Lowell. Our worst fears were Y2K and joking that we didn’t having flying cars as the future promised. We were all going to be millionaires off the Internet. Most of my fellow co-workers were parents (mothers/fathers), who at one time were full time, but with children day-care was cost-prohibitive.

    When the economy is strong, companies are willing to bend over backwards for their employees and fit and be flexible to their needs, including benefits like health-care. It isn’t that we don’t care about education and the environment, but the ability not to worry about having a family is a big deal. To have a family, that means parents need flexibility in their work schedules.

    Access to free contraception may be nice for the majority of women, but free contraception doesn’t solve the bigger issue of what woman want, we want the financial security to have the family. Free preventive medicine to avoid a baby doesn’t give us that. Just as we have no choice to work, we now end up having no choice to limit the size of our families if we don’t have flexibility and housing/college debt takes away everything we earn or have faith that the economy won’t dip again.

    BTW the liberal in question was mocking my use of NFP, when I mentioned I use to pay for my contraception in the past. He also stated it was ‘senseless’ to have more then two children (I have four), and I was a religious right-wing extremist.
    NOT COOL, considering I’m against school vouchers, against the death penalty, against torture, I care for the environment, OK with unions, and believe in humane immigration laws that can be enforced.

    13 years ago I would of informed this individual Bill Clinton was in office, but he was too busy calling me a liar who was trying to twist his words around. Remember that 90’s catch phrase, ‘it’s the economy, stupid’. How is it really different today?

  2. Renee Aste says:

    Just as addition to my thoughts in regards to the want of employment flexibility here is a recent post from Freakonomics.

    One Woman’s View of the Female Wage Gap


    “If I could add this non-scientific but beyond anecdotal research:
    I’ve called hundreds of women for executive roles in carrying out searches for our clients. They simply say “No thanks.” Perhaps they are a single parent and the current role is 20 minutes from home and the one I’m calling about is 50 minutes to an hour away. And these are executive roles.
    They say “no thanks” because they are unable to travel or commit the hours for the job that would move their careers further upward. To take that “exceptional” role.
    I call it, “Why very good is better than exceptional.” They have roles that are “very good” that also allow them to be closer to picking up kids, etc”