Remember Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s “47%” moment last week when an audio clip from a Tea Party fundraiser released by the Morning Call caught Congressman Fitzpatrick making an inelegantly stated comment about supporting people who sign the front of a paycheck?
According to women’s groups in the 8th Congressional District, the political pundit class missed an equally important story by stopping at the paycheck comments.
The Pennsylvania National Organization for Women is asserting that nestled in Fitzpatrick’s remarks was the inference that it is men, not women, who take risks and start businesses.
Here’s Fitzpatrick’s quote in its entirety, with the part in question underlined:
“And one of the principles is that we need to support people who have a history and know what it is like to sign the front of a paycheck, not the back of a paycheck, the front of a paycheck also includes you took a risk and you build a business on your own without the federal government standing next to you as you’re signing a personal guarantee it’s just you and your wife and your banker, you know that’s it. Taking that kind of a risk.”
Women’s groups are now saying that the “you and your wife and your banker” line insinuates that women do not own businesses.
Helene Ratner, the Vice President of Pennsylvania NOW and Bucks County NOW, said that “[r]egardless of whether women sign the front or the back of paychecks, they deserve real representation in Congress. Congressman Fitzpatrick should recognize that it is often husbands standing by their wives as they start small businesses.”
Pennsylvania NOW was formed in 1971, growing out of organizing efforts to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
According to the group’s website, PA NOW nonprofit, grassroots organization with over 13,000 members and 20 chapters in Pennsylvania.
CREDO SuperPAC’s “Women Against Fitzpatrick” Committee also released statements making a similar claim.
“We knew that Fitzpatrick had a problem with women when he voted to defund Planned Parenthood and re-define rape,” said Brenda McCullough, a member of Women Against Fitzpatrick. “But, to insinuate that only men start businesses is flat out sexist and offensive.”
April Dibenedetto, another member of the group, added that “[a]s if the paycheck comment weren’t enough, Mike Fitzpatrick seems to have forgotten that this isn’t 1950, and that wives, husbands, partners and singles all run thriving businesses, take risks that pay off, and sign BOTH sides of paychecks.”
Women Against Fitzpatrick is a group comprised of local women who are running a neighbor to neighbor campaign to “help spread the message in their communities about Rep. Fitzpatrick’s disastrous record on women’s issues.”
Helene Ratner of PA NOW added that “Congressman Fitzpatrick’s remarks go beyond a simple gaffe when you consider the long struggle women have had against the male/female perception bias for doctors, lawyers, business owners and scientists. I look forward to a future for my daughter where a sitting congressman would never make this kind of gender assumption.”