Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is trying to win the support of women who have turned against him since the beginning of the Republican primary. His stance on health care, reproductive health, public sector jobs and creating more tax breaks for the wealthy while gutting programs many women rely on for their own well-being have made his campaign a tough sell, especially to women under the age of 50 who have been flocking to President Barack Obama.
To try to stop the hemorrhaging, Romney has decided to repaint the Obama administration as the one with a gender problem. Launching his new talking point, Romney and his surrogates are hitting airwaves, newspapers and rallies, claiming that of all the jobs lost since President Obama was sworn in, over 90 percent of those jobs belonged to women.
And he’s right. Sort of. If you really, really stretch the numbers.
Polifact’s fact checker calls the claim “mostly false,” noting, “We found that though the numbers are accurate, their reading of them isn’t….The first problem we find with Saul’s tweet is that it begins counting job losses the first month Obama was in office….We reached out to Gary Steinberg, spokesman for the BLS, for his take on the claim. He pointed out that women’s job losses are high for that period of time because millions of men had already lost their jobs. Women were next.”
Politico’s Josh Boak was more blunt. “There’s a simple reason why job losses look worse for women during Obama’s presidency: Almost 3.3 million men were fired during the George W. Bush’s last year in office, while the losses for women were more drawn out over time.”
NBC’s factcheck agrees. Brian Davidson, an economist at BLS, told First Read, “Do we still have the same amount of women workers relative to men in the ‘net-change’? Yes we do…It’s like trying to pull a bunny out of a hat, but there’s no bunny inside.”
Even worse, if you take off the first month of Obama’s term, more women lost jobs than there were jobs to lose, using the Republican’s own math. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler writes, “If you start the data in February, then the overall job loss is just 16,000 jobs—while women lost 484,000 jobs. (We should note that in a previous column we said that, by picking January, the RNC was using a relative common measure of job growth during a presidency.) How could women lose more jobs than the overall total? It’s a function of the dates one picks. In fact, the picture becomes clearer if you start running the data from the date the recession began — December 2007. With that starting point, the total decline in jobs was just over 5 million, with women accounting for nearly 1.8 million of those jobs.”
It’s disingenuous for the Romney campaign to now be focusing on the economics of women and how the administration has allegedly “failed” them when Romney himself apparently had to think things over first before he could answer when asked if he would repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act President Obama signed into law.
Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that women have suffered economically since President Obama entered office, and, as the country starts recovering and more jobs are being created, hiring for women is lagging noticeably behind that of their male counterparts.
But is that the fault of the administration? Or is it actually a side effect of the Republican party itself? After all, more women than men are employed by the public sector — teachers, government jobs and the like, as well as in more union dominated careers such as nursing. As Republicans in Congress push for government hiring freezes and cut off federal spending, and local Republicans do the same as they take over state legislatures, it’s no surprise that women are feeling the pinch.
The Republican party is the one who created the economic war on women. Do they really think they can win 2012 by saying that now they want to save us?
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