On Sunday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) sought to advance the GOP’s rebranding effort among female voters by suggesting that Republicans have long “led the fight for women’s equality.” The statement came just days after Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act and sought to downplay the problem of equal pay for equal work by suggesting that Democrats were using the issue to distract from Obamacare.
Now three days later, a prominent member of the Republican movement further undermined the party’s campaign to appeal to women voters by suggesting that the current pay gap isn’t wide enough. In an op-ed published by the Christian Post, Phyllis Schlafly — the founder of the Eagle Forum — maintained that increasing the pay gap will help women find suitable husbands:
Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.
Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all. [...]
The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.
Schlafly has long been crusader for “traditional values” within conservative movement and the Republican party, serving as a member of the National GOP Platform Committee as recently as 2012 and as a delegate to the National Convention. Her Eagle Forum PAC has also donated thousands to prominent Republicans like Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Ted Cruz.
Since losing the presidential election in 2012, Republicans have repeatedly tried to enhance the GOP’s appeal beyond its traditional white male voting base. In 2013, the Republican National Committee published a widely discussed “autopsy,” promising to “addresses concerns that are on women’s minds in order to let them know we are fighting for them,” and held training sessions advising candidates to simply avoid talking about rape. Schlafly’s comments appear to undermine that effort.