Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate said, ‘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 reaction of his statement was swift. Internet memes sprung up within no time and the hashtag #bindersfullofwoman became a trending topic on Twitter.
However, apart from the entire furor, the problem is that the story behind it is false, according to two women who initiated a campaign in 2002 to recruit female candidates in Massachusetts administration.
These women who are a part of MassGAP, a bipartisan coalition of women’s groups dedicated to increasing the number of women appointed to top government jobs, approached Romney and his democratic challenger Shannon O’ Brien before the 2002 gubernatorial elections to get a pledge for greater women participation.
Carol Hardy-Fanta, former co-chair of MassGAP’s higher education committee said, ‘It was an initiative of women’s organizations, not to force [Romney’s] hand, but to make it be something he had to follow through on. He didn’t go out looking for these binders.’ Chairwoman of MassGAP, Liz Levin said that the group spent months in identifying and collecting resumes for qualified women. She further added that Romney had little involvement with MassGAP and provided his lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, to coordinate with the organization as far as women recruitment was concerned. Moreover, Romney never even met MassGAP.
In another development of the story Amanda Henneberg, a spokesperson for the Romney campaign said that the details are not important. She stated that, ‘The incoming Romney administration worked with MassGAP to find the best qualified women for top positions in Massachusetts government.’