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Fact-checkers and economists: Romney’s “war on women” claim ignores the facts

Mitt Romney’s extreme positions on birth control, abortion, and women’s health have left him struggling to find support among women. Hoping to deflect the criticism, Romney is now claiming that it’s President Obama—not him—who is conducting a “war on women.” On Fox News, Romney falsely declared:

“Over 92 percent of the jobs lost under this President were lost by women. His policies have been really a war on women.”


Independent fact-checkers and economic experts have labeled Romney’s claim highly misleading. To insist that the President’s policies have caused women to lose jobs “ignores critical facts.” As Princeton University economist Betsey Stevenson said, “I don’t think you could point to a single piece of evidence that the pattern of job loss: men first then women, is due to the president’s policies. It’s a historical pattern that has held in previous recessions.” MSNBC reports that Romney’s numbers “don’t tell the whole story.”

In the year before President Obama took office, women lost 1,353,000 private sector jobs. In the month of his inauguration, private-sector jobs filled by women fell 288,000—the worst month on record. Though he inherited an economy in free-fall, President Obama has overseen 25 consecutive months of private sector job growth. Under his leadership, women have gained 1,166,000 private sector jobs in those months. In fact, women have regained more than three times the number of private sector jobs in the last 33 months of the current recovery than they did in the same period of the 2001 recovery under President George W. Bush. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up more of the workforce now than they did in January 2008 before the financial meltdown.

Small businesses are the primary engines of job creation, and the Obama administration supported more than 16,000 loans to women-owned small businesses totaling more than $4.5 million. After a 10-year delay, President Obama implemented a new program to make sure that women-owned businesses can access federal contracting programs. The President’s Education Job Fund would also support 320,000 jobs, including about 220,000 jobs for women.

The President is not just dedicated to ensuring job growth among women, but making sure that women are treated equally in their jobs. The first bill he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which makes it easier for a woman to seek equal pay. He also created the National Equal Pay Task Force to address and tackle the obstacles that prevent women from receiving equal pay for equal work.

When first asked whether Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, the Romney campaign told reporters, “We’ll get back to you on that.”