Romney is not my BFF - Women's Foundation California

By Ellen Sloan, Women’s Foundation of California board member

As I sat there watching the second presidential debate with my 14-year old daughter, when Mitt Romney tried to make himself my best friend forever (BFF), attempting to convince me that he cares about advancing women, in particular working women, my first reaction was a loud guffaw.  My second reaction was a sinking feeling.

I had a déjà vu moment of when, after business school, I started my career at a large bank in the early 80’s in Chicago.  The management was full of older white men, some of whom could be quite patronizing to a tall 25-year old California blond.  I felt uncomfortable but it wasn’t until I had more work experience and wisdom that I realized why.

I was not valued for my intelligence, earnestness, and skills.  The men were very “nice.” But they did not promote women at the same pace as my male counterparts or give us the same raises.  My female colleagues and I spent the same long hours in the office and on the road as our male colleagues.  We wrote up similarly lengthy, detailed credit reports.  So what was the difference?

It was the early 80’s and women were still making inroads into the business world.  Lily Ledbetter had started her career at Goodyear in 1979, a few years before I started my career.  Lily did not find out about her pay discrepancy until 1992, ten years after I knew of mine.  Lily was braver than me and my female colleagues.  She fought the system and ultimately won a victory for working women.

Romney’s attitude during the second debate and seeming earnestness as he tried to portray himself as a champion of working women brought back those feelings from 30 years ago.  Feelings I had almost forgotten.  Like so many of the policies espoused by the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan team, I feel like we are going backwards 30 or more years.  I want my daughter to be able to achieve whatever she wants to.  I don’t want her to have to relive the travails of my generation.  We have come too far to give up ground.

Romney team’s recent attempts to shake the etch-a-sketch, pivot to the center, and disavow everything they have been saying for the last several years is truly audacious,

We cannot let this happen.  We cannot let Romney and Ryan claim to be something that they are not and have never been – champions of equality be it gender, sexual, or class.  Women are not STUPID!  We know a frenemy when we see it.

Throughout the social media sphere, women are making their voices heard. Just check out Amazon if you don’t believe me.

We cannot be duped by this supposed embrace of the center on women’s issues.  So let’s prove that to them. Let’s speak up and let’s vote our values.


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