We feel for the Republican party, we really do. The GOP can't afford to alienate the ladies, yet doesn't have all that much to offer them in exchange for votes, what with this whole "war on women" thing going on. Its initial strategy — denial — hasn't been too successful, although RNC Chairman Reince Priebus gave it his best shot last week when he proclaimed the "war on women" as mythical as "the war on caterpillars," but that, of course, made absolutely no sense. Now, the Republican National Committee is trying a different, smarter tactic: it's attempting to draw attention away from the party's rampant misogyny by attacking the Obama administration for failing its female constituency.
"For far too long women have been left behind in Obama's job market," Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, said last week (on the day after Priebus' caterpillar analogy, we might add). "Of the 740,000 jobs lost since Obama took office, 683,000 of them were held by women. That is truly unsustainable."
The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog looked into those numbers and deemed them "True but False," because they add up, but don't necessarily have anything to do with Obama's policies. The statistics — which the RNC calculated by comparing the decline in the number of all nonfarm employees with the decline in jobs held by women — are measured from January 2009 to March 2012, because Republicans predictably (and unfairly) love to measure job growth starting from the second Obama took office, even though he did so on January 20th, and it took at least five months for his policies, including the stimulus bill, to take effect. If you look at data from the very beginning of the recession — December 2007 — the overall decline in jobs is just over 5 million, with women comprising around 1.8 million of those losses.
Still, even if you measure from the end of the recession, women have gained just 284,000 jobs out of 2.2 million added positions. Men lost more jobs in the recession overall, but now that the economy is doing better, they're recovering jobs faster — the most recent employment report found that male participation in the work force was up 14,000 while female participation fell 177,000. The Washington Post says that's because female-friendly retail and government sectors have laid off more workers in recent months, not necessarily because of Obama. If women continue to lose jobs while men gain them, the Republicans could have a stronger case, but otherwise, the figure is likely "a brief blip that could have little to do with 'Obama's job market'" and more to do with the fluctuations of a slowly recovering economy.
Are Obama's job policies hurting women? [Washington Post]