If Women Really Did Lose More Jobs, Whose Fault is It?

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?



Photo credit: Thinkstock


Lindy E.
Belinda E5 years ago

Dan L, I was a computer programmer (now retired). I took it for granted I would receive a lower salary than the men I worked with, who had the same experience and the same (or less) competence. This was before Women's Lib, and I just accepted it. After all, I *was* just bringing in a second income to bank against the day when I left work to raise a family.

Today, many women are the primary breadwinners. Worse, they are the only breadwinners, and the child caretakers and homemakers besides. Unlike me, they NEED paycheck parity.

And would you please explain to me, now, just why actuarial mathematics is worth more to society than sociology? Answer: it's not. But it's worth more to business, so it pays more. As long as we value profit over people, I guess there will be pay disparity.

Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

Let's blame the vagina for job loss... After all, we're free to say no to what goes in or out of it.

Nicole Pauline Sedkowski
Nicole Sedkowski5 years ago

Excellent article!

Timothy P.
Tim Payne5 years ago

Most politicians are millionaires and they are all the same. Just working for their team and not the people.

Diana C.
Diana C5 years ago

A working man (or woman) voting repugnican is like a chicken supporting Col Sanders.
The republicans are sooooooooo evil. i cannot understand how anyone who is not Big Oil, Big Pharma, big rancher, gun lobby. religious fanatic, multimillionaire would vote for the evil repugnicans. And mrs romney never worked a day in her life. She had plenty of cleaning women, lawn service, nannies, etc. with all her MILLIONS of dollars. I would like to see her getting up at five, getting the kids ready for day care, fixing lunches, and standing on a corner, in the snow, waiting for a bus to be at work at seven, and then putting up with a grouchy boss, fearing for her job, where she is overworked and underpaid, then coming home to clean the house, fix dinner, do dishes, and do laundry. That is working, being a multimillionaire is NOT

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

.5 years ago

Billie C., what you do is called low effort thinking. All Obama's fault, nothing was Bush's fault, done thinking.

Now for a nap.

Seriously, listen to someone besides Rush.

Deb M.
Deborah M5 years ago

Dan L. personal experience even with electrical engineering degree odds are the woman will make less than the man.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

As an accountant who has done numerous statisitical studies, I can tell you it is easy to read them to fit alomst any fact.

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas5 years ago

Timothy P. said: if you hire an employee or CEO for your company and things have gotten worse and there has been change, but not the changes that were outlined or promised after a three year period....would you keep that CEO or employee????? You can't still blame the employee or the CEO that you fired before hiring this person

timothy first off, fact is, we are on a slow sluggish road to recovery but things are better than when bush left office there are modest gains in employement instead of the mass job losses under bush.
if your company is on the verge of bankruptcy and you hire a new ceo to turn the company around, you are going to let him do the job you hired him to do, not block everything he does to try to salvage the company. you sure as hell aren't going to demand he stay the course that drove the company to bankruptcy in the first place. your analogy was a bad one to begin with, because running a country and running a company is like comparing apples and oranges. they are 2 totally different entities.