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Carly Fiorina: Your Comments are So Yesterday


Carly Fiorina’s comments about Barbara Boxer’s hair style undermines women everywhere. It was more than an ‘open mic gaffe’ – for a heavily scripted and media-trained former Fortune 500 CEO and current federal office candidate, the comment (including the delivery of the comment) was reckless, childish and unprofessional on every level.

Over 10 years ago, the White House Project published its first research report on women candidates’ perception based on press. Women candidates had more qualitative and personal descriptors included in the story, which downplayed their stance on issues. We (I was executive director of the organization at that time) found a statistically significant difference in female candidate treatment across the board, but not by a lot, indicating a ‘societal acceptance’ on how women were treated in the press and in general by our society. Fiorina’s comments underscore that unacceptable and out-dated treatment.

When we presented our research at a briefing on Capital Hill, the Congresswomen in attendance were more than grateful to have their suspicions statistically confirmed. Yet, the informal and non-partisan dialog in that room was quite remarkable – collaborative, action-based and supportive. An example of how women can get business done in Congress.

That was over 10 years ago. Fiorina’s comment undercuts the progress – through very hard work and perseverance – that ALL women have made to shatter traditional perceptions that keeps the glass ceiling in place.

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