When I worked at a large Manhattan law firm as a young associate, I rarely spent time with my bosses outside of work hours — we would go for celebratory team drinks when we won a big case and we’d eat together if we were traveling, but otherwise, cocktails or meals with colleagues were purely social affairs among lawyers of the same class year, who didn’t hold any influence over each other’s careers. Working at that firm was my first job in the legal field, and not knowing any better, it didn’t occur to me that to thrive professionally, I needed to do anything more than be a dedicated employee who did great work.
These men, mostly law school classmates who worked at different firms or companies, would mention after-work drinks with a partner or the senior attorneys in their group. Once we had all been working for a few years, I noticed they would mention weekends golfing at a partner’s club, or afternoons at a baseball game with their boss and a prospective client. Sometimes, these same young men, who were at the same stage of their professional lives as I was, would mention the advice they got from partners during these informal outings — tips on how to bring in business or how to position themselves to make partner someday. It was clear that the partners in question saw these young men as bright and promising, perhaps younger versions of themselves — men they could relate to, could see themselves in, and therefore wanted to mentor. It was clear their informal social outings strengthened this personal and professional bond, and gave these younger men a leg up in their careers.
At my firm, there were female partners too, of course, many of whom mentored younger women. But nearly all of them were married with children and, unlike the married fathers, didn’t have a partner at home who would do most of the child care well into the evening, so they could go out after work or golf on the weekends. As a general rule, the women worked hard during the day so they could be home in time for dinner, then got back online by 8 to work into the night. Coffee or a quick lunch was on the mentorship agenda, not cocktails or tee time. As a young lawyer, none of this struck me as personally detrimental; it took some years and some distance to reflect on how these systematic disadvantages privilege men’s careers and hurt women’s, even if no one is intentionally trying to screw women over.
I thought of those quiet inequalities when the Washington Post published a story on Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, highlighting an interview from 2002 where Mike Pence says he never has dinner alone with another woman, ostensibly to avoid sexual temptation. In his telling, this is a way to keep his marriage strong — asked if Pence continues to abide by this rule, Pence’s office told Cosmopolitan.com that this line was being taken “entirely out of context” but went on to say Pence “set a standard to ensure a strong marriage when he first came to DC as a congressman, clearly that worked.”
For women, though, personal policies like Pence’s keep our career prospects weak.
If Pence can’t eat alone with a woman — which also implies he’s not allowed to be alone with a woman — the end result is that he’s going to work with, mentor, and promote men over women. In politics, after-work dinners and drinks are where meetings are routinely held, strategies are hashed out, career advice is doled out, information is shared, and relationships are built. If men like Pence won’t engage with women one-on-one in informal settings, it’s the women who miss out — because it’s still men who run the show. It would be awfully hard for a woman in any high-powered industry to have a same-sex-only dining rule, because there are simply so few women at the top of their fields in politics, business, technology, and law. Ladies-only lunching (or dining of any kind) would mean the inability to meet individually and informally with the overwhelming majority of leaders in your field.
That isn’t the case for men, who can surround themselves almost entirely with other men — not just because there are so many more men around in high-profile positions, but also because few bat an eye at male-only rooms. Imagine if Hillary Clinton were president and her Cabinet was 90 percent female — she would be accused of leading with her vagina. And if she had refused to be alone with men, well, it’s hard to imagine we’d even know the name Hillary Clinton. But Pence can have a whole career where he doesn’t spent time alone with women, and now works in an overwhelmingly male White House, without major backlash.
Just as disturbing as the wake of women whose careers may have been stymied by Pence’s policies is the assumption underlying it: that women, simply by existing, are inherently sexually tempting.
This view of women as either sexual temptresses or beacons of morality is an old one — we’re virgins or whores, wholesome wives and mothers (or both — Pence reportedly calls his wife “mother”) who deserve respect but are rendered asexual, or we’re sex objects who lead men astray and are unworthy of respect because, the cliché goes, we don’t respect ourselves. Either way, we’re not full, complex human beings. And in the workplace, it means we aren’t treated as professionals who should be recognized for our work and abilities, but potential personal threats whose ability to work can be constrained for male benefit.
The reality is that most people are fully capable of dining with people of the opposite sex — or the same sex — without cheating on their spouses or partners. And while it’s fine for couples to take necessary steps to protect their marriage from infidelity, it crosses a line when those steps handicap the women you work with. Pence’s reasons for avoiding dinners with women sound a lot like arguments in favor of requiring female modesty — that if a woman shows her thighs or her shoulders or her hair or whatever body part is at issue depending on culture and context, men will be distracted and unable to function, so better to require women either cover up or stay home. Perhaps a better solution would be to make men stay home if they can’t function in view of human legs (or shoulders or ankles or noses or whatever disembodied piece of a woman is deemed inherently sexually tempting). And by extension, perhaps men who can’t be alone with women without being sexually tempted by them are a liability, and shouldn’t be in charge of anyone or anything.
All of this bleeds into policy. If “wife or whore” is the lens through which you see women, and with it the assumption that wives have babies while whores have illicit sex, you’re probably less likely to support the smorgasbord of policies that help real-life women — women who don’t fit into manmade boxes — live full, happy, pleasurable lives. The policies that let us go to school and work and have sex for pleasure and have children without bankrupting ourselves include things like affordable contraception, accessible abortion, paid parental leave, insurance coverage through pregnancy and for children, a fair living wage without a penalty for being a woman or a mother, and a workplace free of discrimination or harassment. These are not policies that have particularly robust support from the GOP or the White House, in large part because of the conservative traditionalism that infuses the Republican Party and Pence himself.
In other words, it’s not just Pence’s female colleagues and underlings who suffer because of his “no girls allowed” dining rule and the mindset that justifies it; it’s women across America.
Refusals of Canadians at American land crossings dropped 8.5 per cent between October and the end of February compared with the same five-month period a year earlier, according to U.S. government statistics.
The total number of Canadian travellers denied entry also dropped: 6,875 out of 12,991,027 were refused entry, a refusal rate of 0.05 per cent.
Between October 2015 and February 2016, 7,619 out of 13,173,100 Canadian travellers were denied entry to the U.S., a refusal rate of 0.06 per cent.
Even if you don't like Trump nor his policies, it is refreshing to see someone elected whom actually makes an effort to fulfill his campaign promises to his base. Whether he succeeded or not, he's tackled literally every issue and it's only been 100 days.
Trump's threats to impose a 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber and to dismantle our dairy supply management system through a NAFTA renegotiation should be countered by increasing our exports to Europe, China, and elsewhere. ... If we ship Alberta oil east and REFINE it in places like Northern Ontario, we can essentially get off the world oil grid, producing, refining, and consuming all of our own oil. ... It's time to boost trade with other markets. Trump is facilitating this move.