During the presidential debates, Mitt Romney sparked a social media frenzy with his â€śbinders full of womenâ€ť remark. According to the former Massachusetts governor, he looked at such binders during his search for senior-level staff. The Bay Times did some fact checking on this point, and hereâ€™s what we have learned.
Prior to the 2002 MA gubernatorial election, women comprised approximately 30 percent of appointed senior-level positions in Massachusettsâ€™s government. By 2004, 42 percent of the new appointments made by the Romney administration were women. Subsequently, from 2004-2006 the percentage of newly appointed women in these senior appointed positions dropped to just 25 percent.
As for the â€śbinders,â€ť they refer to an effort by the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP), which was founded to address the issue of the under-representation of women in appointed positions in MA government. The organization brought together a nonpartisan coalition of over 25 womenâ€™s groups to recruit women to apply for government positions within the administration, and recommend qualified women for those positions.
MassGAP approached Romney and his then opponent in the race, Shannon Oâ€™Brien, and asked them to commit to: (1)â€ťMake best effortsâ€ť to ensure that the number of women in appointed state positions is proportionate to the population of women in Massachusetts; (2) Select a transition team whose composition is proportionate to the women in the Commonwealth; and (3) Meet with MassGAP representatives regularly during the appointments process. Both campaigns made a commitment to do these things.
It appears that once Romney settled into his role as governor, however, his commitment waned. The â€śbindersâ€ť at that point must have been shelved.
In other news concerning Romneyâ€™s tenure as governor, the Boston Globe recently reported that he prevented a state agency from creating new birth certificate forms that allowed same-sex couples to be listed as the parents of their children. He even testified before the State Judiciary Committee about the subject of same sex marriage, saying the following:
â€śThe children of America have the right to a mother and a father. Of course today, circumstances can take a parent from the home. But the child still has a mother and a fatherâ€¦Are we ready to usher in a society indifferent about having mothers and fathers? Will our children be indifferent about having a mother and a father?â€ť
In May of this year, he further addressed the issue, telling Fox News, â€śmy preference is we encourage the marriage of a man and a woman and we continue to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.â€ť
If Romneyâ€™s treatment of women and the entire LGBTQ community are strikes, than the third and final blow could concern his wavering views on climate change. The consensus of the scientific community is that climate change is happening and people are responsible. To ignore such pressing environmental issues could hurt all of us, with consequences that may be irreversible.
Romneyâ€™s Harvard Business School Classmate, small business owner, and military veteran Roger Shamel remarked to the MA-based Better Future Project: â€śHarvard Business School prides itself in educating leaders who will change the world. As an alum, and someone with close ties to the school, I can assure you that HBS also tries to teach its future leaders, be they executives, administrators or politicians, to pay attention to facts and moral issues when making decisions. In my opinion, knowing what I know, and what I believe Mitt Romney to know, he is doing neither. In this sense, he is bringing disgrace to Harvard.â€ť