From the Atlantic
In a recent, in-depth Washington Post profile of Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, a small detail is drawing most of the attention: “In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”
In context, this choice is not especially surprising. The Pences are evangelical Christians, and their faith animates both their policy views and how they express devotion to one another. Eight months into their courtship, the Post reporter Ashley Parker writes, “Karen engraved a small gold cross with the word ‘Yes’ and slipped it into her purse to give him when he popped the question.”
But, especially in boozy, late-working Washington, the eating thing rankled. Sure, during the day, you can grab coffee instead of a sandwich. But no dinner? Doesn’t that cut an entire gender off from a very powerful person at roughly 8 p.m.? To career-obsessed Washingtonians, that’s practically happy hour—which, apparently, is off-limits too.
This is so bad. How can ambitious women cultivate the networking connections that are so useful? Or perhaps, how can they utilize their assets to their ultimate potential?
Pence is not the only powerful man in Washington who goes to great lengths to avoid the appearance of impropriety with the opposite sex. An anonymous survey of female Capitol Hill staffers conducted by National Journal in 2015 found that “several female aides reported that they have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.” One told the reporter Sarah Mimms that in 12 years working for her previous boss, he “never took a closed door meeting with me. … This made sensitive and strategic discussions extremely difficult.”
OK, we get the picture. Women want to be part of the club, but can’t when men keep them at arms length.
Naturally enough, this is totally rational behavior by men. All that it takes to ruin a career is one accusation. If there is never a situation where there could be an unwitnessed event, so much the better. Furthermore, it is important to stop possible speculation before it ever starts by avoiding situations that might generate such.
There seems to be a recurring theme with Feminism. The rules are changed as they desire, with men altering behavior in a rational way to compensate. Naturally Feminists desire men to alter behavior in only the manner desired by them, not as men deem fit. One wonders how much the Feminist’s ever really truly gain…
when men avoid professional relationships with women, even if for noble reasons, it actually hurts women in the end. “The research is irrefutable: Those with larger networks earn more money and get promoted faster. Because men typically dominate senior management, there’s evidence that the most valuable network members may be men,” wrote Kim Elsesser, a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, in the Los Angeles Times recently. “Without access to beneficial friendships and mentor relationships with executive men, women won’t be able to close the gender gap that exists in most professions.”
Here is something that is deemed unfair to women. So naturally there should be a government imposed solution. Perhaps there will be quotas for men mentoring/sponsoring women. Maybe, they will dispense with everything and double down on the promotion of women. I can think of all sorts of heavy handed / clumsy solutions that could be implemented. Probably you can also.
As for the root cause of this issue, it is very real. Personally, I shy away from women at work. I have mentored many junior workers, never have they been women. It is all about risk (and lack of reward).