© 2012 John Casimir O'Keefe

A Question About Binders

By now, most of us have all seen the memes going around on the whole “a binder full of women” statement made by Mitt Romney during the Presidential debate on October 16, 2012. We have all heard the jokes and the quips pointed at Romney. There are those fact-checking the statement to see if what he said was true or not. There are some questions on whether he asked the women’s groups for names, or if the women’s groups approached him before he was elected Governor (it has been said that the women’s group approached both Romney and his democratic opponent to sign a “letter of intent” to bring women into high government positions). There is also the question of his appointing 17 of his first judges (all male) before women’s groups started to make it an issue – he then appointed two women. But with all that said, and I am certain each side will spin it their way, as is the way of politics, all I desire to do is ask Romney one simple question:

After your “30 years as a successful businessman” how come, with all your vast business experience you did not know any qualified women to start with?

I am surprised that you did not know any qualified women to start with – did you not meet any qualified women in your years of business? In all your years of being a “successful businessman” you mean you never worked with a woman who you believed would be a good fit for your cabinet? I mean, I am not a “successful businessman” (though, I guess I could be seen as an average pastor) but I know that if I were elected Governor I could look to my past to find some amazingly talented, qualified and creative women to fill my cabinet. Women I have worked with, worked for and even worked against. Women who, through their connection with me, have changed my views on faith, my journey and how I view both myself and others; women who have added to my collective thoughts and challenged me in my life. Strong women, powerful women, talented women whose voices hold authority and compassion.

Your statement that you needed to outreach to others to find qualified women to fill your cabinet speaks more to me about how in the past you never worked with qualified women, but when you were in the public eye you needed to “make the effort” to look like you cared. For me, I do not need a binder filled with qualified women to find people to serve in my cabinet, all I need to do is look to my past and present to see powerful, qualified, creative women who can (and do) change the world.

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