A prominent Massachusetts women's group is disagreeing with the now infamous "binders full of women" comment made by former Gov. Mitt Romney during Tuesday's Presidential debate.
As reported by Digital Journal on Wednesday, Romney garnered much attention with his "binders full of women" comment during the Presidential debate on Tuesday.
During the debate, the question of pay equity for women was presented. Romney responded by saying:
"I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men. I went to my staff, and I said, 'How come all the people for these jobs are -- are all men.' They said, 'Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.' And I said, 'Well, gosh, can't we -- can't we find some -- some women that are also qualified?'
So we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. 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"
The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus has a very different version however. A statement issued by the caucus on Wednesday said that the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP) actually approached Gov. Romney and candidate Shannon O'Brien prior to the election. It was also the bipartisan MassGAP group that approached Romney after he was elected Governor and provided him with information on women qualified to fill various Cabinet posts.
"Prior to the 2002 gubernatorial election, MassGAP approached the campaigns of candidates Shannon O'Brien and Mitt Romney and asked them both to commit to: (1).“Make best efforts” 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 this process."
The statement goes on to say:
"Following the election, MassGAP formed committees for each cabinet post in the administration and began the process of recruiting, interviewing, and vetting women applicants. Those committees selected top applicants for each position and presented this information to the administration for follow-up interviews and consideration for appointment."
Romney also stated that:
"I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America."
MassGAP, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, and the Office of the Governor
Number of female appointments to senior staff posts made by Gov. Romeny
According to the MassGAP website, 42% of the new appointments made by Governor Mitt Romney were women during the period of 2002-2004. They also refer to the same UNY Albany study and say Massachusetts was widely recognized for that achievement, but go on to say that MassGAP was given credit for the accomplishment.
Those numbers fell dramatically however between 2004 and 2006. According to a UMass Boston study, the total number of women appointed to senior staff positions was cut nearly in half, falling from 42 percent to 25 percent.
Romney's record during his time in the private sector does not reflect a hiring trend of senior staff or business partners either. According to the Guardian, Romney did not have any women partners when he was CEO of Bain Capital during the 1980s and 1990s.