Republicans, Democrats Fighting Over Working Women

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President Obama is hosting a well-timed White House Forum on Women and the Economy Friday, in which 10 women in the administration talk about Obama's record on jobs for women, just as Democrats have been attacking Republicans for waging a "war on women." (It seems a little bit inspired by Tina Brown's popular women's conferences, but a lot less glitzy, as you can see at left.) Republicans are launching a counter-attack: Thursday the Republican National Committee char Reince Preibus denied the war's existence, and Friday RNC co-chair Sharon Day said it was Obama who was hurting women more. It's nice to see Republicans and Democrats fighting to prove who loves working women the most -- and only 42 years since Mary Tyler Moore threw her little hat in the air. But it seems like it's men who need the help.

"For far too long women have been left behind in Obama’s job market," Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day said Friday. Last week, Day wrote an op-ed in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel saying women are worse off under Obama. "Wives like me wonder how to keep our family's finances in order. In the Obama economy, wages are shrinking… Businesswomen like me wish Obama would stop attacking job creators." Meanwhile, a White House press release on the forum feels ripped from the MTM era: "Today, more than ever, women are essential breadwinners in most American families. Yet women in our economy and our work force still aren’t getting a fair shake, earning just 77 cents on every dollar paid to men." So did an anonymous female Democrat's complaints to Real Clear Politics' Alexis Simendinger that the Obama administration has had a "tin ear" when it comes to women's stuff. Few women work in the West Wing, she said, and the ones who do don't last. "Obama’s jobs plan has been so male-oriented," the woman told Simendinger, focused on construction instead of, say, the health care industry. Women don't want "shovel-ready" jobs because they don't want to work with shovels.

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But these charts from from the St. Louis Fed show a shovel-oriented jobs policy would help people who need it: dudes. The rate of participation in the labor force by men has dropped significantly:

While the ladies have gone the opposite way:

(Gray bars mark recessions.)

Even polls of successful men show they feel they're on shakier ground. Women are more optimistic about their own businesses than men, a Hartford study finds this week. And men are more likely to think the federal government should help small businesses. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.