QUESTION FROM KATHERINE FENTON: [Video mark 35:13]
In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?
MITT ROMNEY: [Video mark 38:05]
Thank you. And important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men. And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we – can’t we find some – some women that are also qualified?” And – and so we – we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. 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.
I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.
Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.
We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers – they’re going to be anxious to hire women. In the last four years women have lost 580,000 jobs. That’s the net of what’s happened in the last four years. We’re still down 580,000 jobs. I mentioned 3 1/2 million women, more now in poverty than four years ago.
What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford.
This is what I have done. It’s what I look forward to doing and I know what it takes to make an economy work, and I know what a working economy looks like. And an economy with 7.8 percent unemployment is not a real strong economy. An economy that has 23 million people looking for work is not a strong economy. An economy with 50 percent of kids graduating from college that can’t find a job, or a college level job, that’s not what we have to have.
MODERATOR CROWLEY: Governor?
MITT ROMNEY: I’m going to help women in America get good work by getting a stronger economy and by supporting women in the workforce.