By Rachel Bucchino
You probably heard that Vice President Mike Pence calls his wife “mother,” or perhaps that he “never eats alone with another woman other than his wife.”
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.” Due to his practicing evangelical Christianity, the vice president holds strongly attached, devoted sentiments toward his wife.
The Washington Post published an in-depth article about Karen Pence, one that shared the couple’s proposal story and the history behind Mike’s infamous red phone. This antique phone was a gift from his wife, and she was the only person who had the corresponding phone number. As years progressed, Mike still kept this sacred phone on his desk as a constant reminder of the connection and loyalty the two have always possessed for one another.
People buzzed about Pence’s remarks about women. No dinner with a woman besides his wife? For such a powerful figure in the country, does that limit the opportunity provided to women?
However, Pence is not the only political figure in Washington who goes to extreme depths to avoid women. In a 2015 survey of women staffers conducted by the National Journal, “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 female Capitol Hill employee informed the surveyor that her former boss “never took a closed door meeting with me.”
After hearing this news, journalists took to Twitter to voice their opinions. Award-winning reporter Pamela Colloff tweeted: “Trying to imagine what my career would look like if I’d refused to dine solo with male editors and interview subjects.”
Perhaps this restraint dives deeper than the religious aspect. Does Pence disapprove of the female opinion? Or maybe the vice president is just being careful.
Pence’s current boss, President Donald Trump has an “aggressive and predatory” view of women, whereas Pence does not even want to have dinner with them. Trump brags about grabbing them by private areas, but at a celebratory event for women about a week ago, the president gave public recognition to the women serving in his administration — even though there are only three.
The new wave international feminist movement has just begun. It was publicly initiated by the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration. Ever since Trump won the presidency, celebrities and political icons have taken the side of feminists across the globe. There is a call to see a change in opportunity and respect toward women during the next four years, and Pence’s current behavior is not the right start.
Maybe these three women will change Pence’s attitude about eating dinner with women. He will have to dine with them at some point during his administration, right?
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Mike Pence on Facebook.
Rachel Bucchino is a freshman civil engineering major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.