Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” actually exists, which actually makes it worse.

You remember Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.” It started as an offhand comment during a 2012 presidential debate following a question about workplace inequality. And seemingly overnight, it snowballed into an internet sensation and became one of the great soundbites from the 2012 campaign.

We all laughed because it embodied the stereotype of Romney as an out-of-touch suit struggling to relate to the average person, a “robo Romney” if you will. Surely he didn’t mean he had literal “binders full of women.”

Oh, but he did.

The Boston Globe uncovered the two binders – which it says weigh in at a cumulative 15 pounds, 6 ounces – containing close to 200 résumés, cover letters and employment documents from 2002 when Romney sought to diversify his cabinet.

According to the Globe, a coalition of women’s groups called the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP) had aggregated information on women interested in holding government positions, turning over actual “binders full of women” to the still-forming Romney administration.

And though Romney may have flubbed his “binders” moment in 2012, the actual narrative runs divergent to the gaffe. He was ultimately praised for the number of women he named to high-level positions in his administration and to state courts while serving as governor of Massachusetts, according to the Globe.


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