Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says that President Obama’s economic policies amount to the real “war on women,” according to a post at CNN’s “Political Ticker” blog.
The presumptive 2012 nominee was speaking at a Delaware factory when he delivered the remarks. He claimed that 92.3 percent of the “jobs lost” under the Obama administration were positions held by women. Romney was fighting back against news that the president is currently beating him in polls by 19 percentage points with women voters.
Romney’s campaign website claims that under the Obama administration 850,000 women have lost their jobs, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is only one reading of the data and arguably the most superficial to the point of being misleading.
The National Women’s Law Center notes that while the recession was devastating for American working women, who continued to lose jobs at the beginning of the recovery, the vast majority of jobs lost by women were positions in the public sector, an area targeted by Republican budget cuts and austerity measures.
“Heavy job losses in public sector employment have disproportionately affected women and contributed to the dismal employment picture for women throughout the recovery. While women represented just over half (57.2 percent) of the public workforce at the end of the recession, they lost a disproportionate share (69.1 percent) of the 573,000 jobs cut in this sector between June 2009 and March 2012,” said a post at the NWLC website.
Nonetheless, the same Romney website that chides the president for not producing jobs for women proudly boasts of the candidate’s plan to “Reduce The Federal Workforce By 10 Percent Via Attrition” and “empower” states to slash their own budgets without federal oversight, enabling state and local governments to potentially gut their own public programs with no repercussions.
The NWLC states that while the first part of the recovery was particularly difficult for America’s working women, conditions are slowly improving. The group urges lawmakers to reject further cuts in public services “that would mean more jobs losses and increased hardship, especially for women and their families.”
UPDATE: Politifact, the fact-checking organization based at the Tampa Bay Times rates Romney’s statement that 92% of job losses under the Obama administration have been women as “Mostly False.” Calling the numbers “accurate, but quite misleading,” the report said, “First, Obama cannot be held entirely accountable for the employment picture on the day he took office, just as he could not be given credit if times had been booming. Second, by choosing figures from January 2009, months into the recession, the statement ignored the millions of jobs lost before then, when most of the job loss fell on men. In every recession, men are the first to take the hit, followed by women.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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