Romney’s Binders Full of Women Comment Spotlights Affirmative Action
One of the most talked about things from last night's Presidential debate? 'Binders full of women.'
It's ignited a firestorm.
The comment was made in response to a question to Mitt Romney about equal pay for women in the workforce.
He said that while trying to staff his cabinet as governor of Massachusetts, he found no female applicants. He asked women's groups to find him qualified female applicants. They then brought him 'binders full of women.'
This has nothing to do with Romney himself. It's the whole concept of Affirmative Action and equal pay.
Since 1967, Affirmative Action policies have mostly benefited women, and white women at that. Or have they?
The thing is, I'm not sure if Affirmative Action has benefited me or not. Working in a male-dominated industry, it may have helped me get my job, but it certainly doesn't help me in my career.
I don't want to get a job just because I'm a woman. If there were no qualified female applicants for Romney's cabinet, there should not have been an issue with it being all male.
Were the 'qualified applicants' only considered qualified BECAUSE they are male? That's a question that is more difficult to answer.
I'd like my talents and skills to speak for themselves. I don't want additional consideration because of my gender, I want an equal chance despite my gender.
What makes me worth only 77% of a man with the same background and work experience as me?
Is it the fact that I might one day get pregnant? That I might potentially have to go on maternity leave?
Maybe it's that I might one day have to choose between caring for my children full-time and working full-time and then choose the former? (Seems to me the pressure of that decision alone should earn me double a man's wage.)
Perhaps it's because women are seen as weaker, less business-savvy, and more emotional.
Just because women express emotion doesn't make them any less capable of performing a job.
I've cried at work. (*Gasp!* No she didn't! How unprofessional!) I know that people thought (and may still think) less of me for it.
Spoiler alert: I've cried while songs are playing and then immediately pulled it together just long enough to do a talk break without any of you knowing what was going on behind the scenes.
How? I'm good at my job.
My outward displays of emotion have nothing to do with my inner strength and ability to do what I'm paid to do.
Is Affirmative Action still necessary? Probably. I work with too many men who make unknowingly sexist comments all the time.
So go on, hire me just because I'm a woman. I'll to go on to prove to you that I deserved the job regardless.
You want to pay me 77% of what a man makes? That's what a penis and some extra testosterone is worth? 23%?
Do me a favor, take me out of your separate binder. I'll do just fine holding my own with the boys. Then maybe you'll realize we don't need Affirmative Action. We need to change the way we look at people.