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The White House Flips, Then Flops on Women in the Workplace

Not as deft as Carney’s skillet flipping abilities.

7:18 AM, Apr 22, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
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A few months ago when Obamacare was in free fall, many were left scratching their heads when the Democrats were touting stay-at-home motherhood as one of the perks of Obamacare.

Forget shattering the glass ceiling; instead Obamacare was going to afford women the opportunity to do what they really wanted -- stay home with their kids. There was even the implication that women should be doing this instead of remaining “job-locked” -- a much touted, terrible condition from which women everywhere needed rescuing. Here’s Joe Biden on The View back in February:

How many of you are single women with children in a dead-end job, you're there because of your health insurance. You would rather have the opportunity to spend the next couple of years with your child until they get -- if that was your choice, until they get into primary school. You're now trapped in that job because if you leave, you lose your health insurance. Now you’ll be able to make an independent choice: Do you want to stay in that job and still have health insurance, or do you want to stay in that job even though you can get health insurance absent that job? It gives women a great deal more freedom.

Put aside the fact that liberals never cite the virtues of stay-at-home motherhood and mock those who dare say that women can’t “have it all” or those who actually choose and enjoy homemaking. After all, the White House was desperate at the time to invent any positives about Obamacare in the face of rising premiums and deductibles, smaller networks, and plan cancellations.

Who were all these desperate, destitute moms that would love to stay at home, if only they could buy their own health insurance? We never really found out.

But it turns out more women actually have been staying at home over the last few years, the overall majority of them by choice. From USA Today:

A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of mothers of children under 18 who don't work outside the home has risen over the past decade to 29% in 2012, up from 23% in 1999. Two-thirds of them are "traditional" married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands, but a growing number are unmarried.

Why hasn’t the White House since tried to attribute the trend to Obamacare? Maybe because it would run counter to this month’s mantra: the gender pay gap. Apparently, the remaining job-locked women not freed from their shackles by Obamacare are once again facing oppression -- and not just from unequal wages. From January to March of this year, an additional 216,000 women became unemployed (seasonally adjusted, women 16 and older). One wonders how many of those women were taking Nancy Pelosi’s advice and “following their passions,” and how many received unwelcome layoff notices, directly or indirectly related to Obamacare.

The 77-cents pay disparity factoid has been roundly debunked by many, and the general consensus is that controlling for various factors like career choices, hours worked, and taking time off to raise a family, women make roughly the same as men. In fact, Warren Farrell, author of “Why Men Earn More,” calculated that single, childless women in their 20s “earn 17 cents more on every dollar a man of the same age makes.”

As if Jay Carney’s verbal gymnastics trying to defend the White House’s median pay gap and still attack the private sector for its gap weren’t hypocrisy enough, let’s also not forget that this is the same White House that Ron Suskind wrote about in “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President,” in which he detailed an atmosphere of female exclusion. White House communications director Anita Dunn declared, “this place would be in court for a hostile workplace....Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.” Council of Economic Advisers chair Christina Romer “felt like a piece of meat” after Larry Summers’s behavior in a meeting.

And if that still isn’t a satisfactory level of hypocrisy, we were also treated to a rare inside view of Carney’s life this month. The Washingtonian highlighted Carney’s wife Claire Shipman’s new book (which her husband hawked from the White House podium last month). Aside from the much ridiculed and photoshopped pictures, the substance of the article is quite informative.

Not only does ABC contributor Shipman admit that women are different than men -- a carnal feminist sin -- she also contends that women may be in part to blame for disparities in the workplace.

Men are more comfortable taking risks, and tend to more easily shrug off failure. Women, on the other hand, stew, worry, ruminate, and second-guess themselves…..

‘We are hoping that by thinking of confidence as a key factor in success, women will start to understand it’s not just that the deck is stacked against us or that the workplace isn’t fair,’ she says. ‘It’s also that our lack of confidence may be a factor in affecting what we can achieve.’

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Shipman is primarily a stay-at-home mom, presumably making less money per week than a man performing equal work with longer hours. However, since her career move predates Obamacare by a year, not even Carney’s wife was a job-locked victim:

Shipman works part-time now for ABC News, something she’s done for five years, which has given her more flexibility to write and hang out with her children. Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.

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