The Washington Times reported that conservative feminist group Independent Women’s Forum has given the president a binder of conservative-minded women for high level administration positions after their frustration over their belief that SEC head nominee, and former New York U.S. Attorney, Mary Jo White is not qualified for any other reason than her gender. They believe that the Obama’s administration nominated her just to appease the “obsession” of leftist progressive to have equality for women in government. The Executive Director of the IWF Sabrina Schaeffer stated, “IWF believes that women and men should be judged on their merits, not on their sex to reach some arbitrary goal of a certain gender balance.” I’m not sure why she thinks the goal of more women in government, albeit still way below anything resembling proportional to the population, is “arbitrary.” There may be some qualms about the appropriateness of her nomination (the New Yorker is uncomfortable with the revolving door between private and public sectors, as she has recently worked as a private lawyer defending Wall Street execs), but to say that she was nominated only because she was a woman disadvantages women as a whole as much IWF is arguing against doing. She is as fine as any male appointee (and most male appointees to public positions have also taken advantage of the revolving door the New Yorker discusses).
This lady economist believe that affirmative action works to ensure opportunities for well-qualified people, like Ms. White, to be considered for top leadership positions without judgments about their gender being a factor. Affirmative action is about taking gender out of the equation, not putting it in. When pro-active efforts are made to ensure that disadvantaged groups get opportunities afforded to more advantaged groups, we open the pool to well-qualified people and we can begin to overcome cognitive biases against those groups. This makes the government and the economy function better.
Also, if you want to get real angry, check out the IWF’s website’s “issues” page with such reports as “Using ‘Equality for Women’ as Cover for Big Government” and “Want More Time For Yoga? Stop Wasting Time on Baseless Fear of Chemicals.” I think the IWF is using “Equality for Women” and “Feminism” as a cover for supporting conservative issues that do nothing to pro-actively help women gain greater equality in government, culture, society and, last but not least, the economy.