A conservative feminist group is questioning President Obama's decision to nominate former New York U.S. attorney Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming somewhat tongue in cheek that it has compiled a "binder full of women" who are better suited for the job.
"We, obviously, believe that women have a tremendous amount to offer the workforce," said Sabrina L. Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women's Forum. "But I would rather see a man or a purple polka-dotted monster in the position, as long as they have the right ideas and values."
The Independent Women's Forum, a conservative alternative to the liberal National Organization for Women, said Thursday that Ms. White's nomination was "tainted" by pressure on the Obama administration to hire more women for top jobs in the president's second term. The group argues women should be hired based on merit, not gender.
"Unfortunately, President Obama's nomination of U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White is tainted with the question of whether it was done to satisfy liberal feminists, or because she's really qualified for the job," Ms. Schaeffer said. "Women shouldn't be used as tokens to satisfy an obsession over gender parity coming from the left."
The IWF on Thursday released its own group of conservative women that it believes are qualified for top leadership positions in the administration in a report called the "Binder of Women Candidates for High Office." The phrase echoes the now-famous formulation used by GOP president nominee Mitt Romney during the second candidates' debate with Mr. Obama in October.
Among the IWF's recommendations: Foundation for Government Accountability Vice President Christie Herrera; Nina Owcharenko, director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies; and Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican.
"Of course, IWF believes that women and men should be judged on their merits, not on their sex to reach some arbitrary goal of a certain gender balance," the group said in the report. "IWF has created a binder of highly qualified women in hopes that they will be recognized for high office and can advance our shared vision of a limited government and greater economic liberty."
The IWF also warned that Ms. White's selection for the SEC does not even the score. "We applaud Ms. White for her achievements, but I hope the president doesn't consider such a narrow lens as gender sufficient for nominations," Ms. Schaeffer said.
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