Monday, April 16, 2012

Women: Don't Let Romney's Lies Fool You

With Romney under attack from the Obama campaign for policies it says are anti-woman (such as Romney’s opposition to abortion rights and support for federal de-funding of Planned Parenthood), Romney has tried to turn the tables, pointing to a statistic that shows the unemployment rate for women is recovering more slowly from the recession.

Here’s what Romney said in a Fox News interview on April 11:
Romney, April 11: He [Obama] has lost 800,000 jobs during his presidency. And by the way, do you know what percentage of those jobs lost were lost by women? Over 92 percent of the jobs lost under this president were lost by women. His policies have been, really, a war on women.

Romney’s statistic is accurate. It’s true, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that between January 2009, when Obama took office, and March 2012, there has been a net decline of 740,000 jobs for both men and women, and that among women there has been a net loss of 683,000 jobs. The Romney campaign did the math and calculated that 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under Obama were lost by women. But is that a result of Obama’s policies, as Romney says?

Look at the chart below which was developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and displayed on

The Tampa Bay Times fact-checking website,, this week rated the claim that women had experienced 92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama administration to be “mostly false” because “the numbers are accurate but quite misleading.”
By the time Obama took office in January 2009, both male and female employment were in a steep decline that continued for over a year. Male employment hit bottom in February 2010, and female employment continued to slump for another seven months, bottoming out in September 2010. And as the chart clearly shows, the job recovery for women not only started later, the rate of recovery has been slower.

Why is that? “If you look back to the start of the recession, many of the industries (construction and manufacturing) that were very hard hit initially were male-dominated,” said Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, in an interview with

It wasn’t until later that jobs like retail and government jobs, particularly teaching jobs, began to take a hit, affecting women more, Dorfman said. Those jobs have been slower to recover.

Men have fared worse in the recession, she said, mainly because industries such as construction and manufacturing – male-dominated industries – have been harder hit than education and health care – female-dominated sectors.

“There’s an argument that some of the recent job losses have been from state and local governments,” said Dan Mitchell, an expert on fiscal policy issues at the libertarian Cato Institute. He said “women are disproportionately affected” now that federal stimulus funds no longer support state and local payrolls.

About 78 percent of the decline in people on payrolls has been a decline in government employment, said Stevenson, now an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. And, she said, women have absorbed 76 percent of the net decline in government jobs.

None of this information supports Romney's claim that President Obama's "policies have been, really, a war on women". Another lie from Mitt Romney.

Romney claims President Obama has "set women back 20 years".

“What president has the worst record on female labor force participation? Barack Obama! In History! We’ve gone back 20 years! The progress that has been made of more women getting into the work force has been stepped back 20 years by virtue of this president’s policies.”

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the participation rate of women in the work force is virtually unchanged from 20 years ago. In March of 2012, 57.7 percent of women were in the work force, compared with 57.8 percent in March of 1992. The participation rate has been slowly declining since its peak of 60.3 percent in April of 2000.
During the same 20 year period, the labor participation rate for men has dropped from 75.3 percent to 69.9 percent.

Another lie from Mitt Romney, but that's no surprise.

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