Why Mike Pence's Dining Habits are Sparking a Debate

March 30th 2017

Kyle Jaeger

The Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to dine alone with women who aren't his wife may be more than a extreme measure to remain faithful. The Atlantic's Olga Khazan argues it's a symptom of a narrow view of women that extends beyond Capitol Hill and into the world of business. 


There are real repercussions associated with this attitude, Khazan argues, including the isolation of women in the workplace in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Women tend to prefer having male "sponsors" in the office — executives who can advocate for their ideas and views and who are able to facilitate career growth — several studies have found. That's because, fairly or not, men are perceived "to be better-connected and more powerful," which is supported by research findings that "men hold more than 85 percent of top management positions in big companies," Khazan explained.

In business, as in politics, being able to maintain close contact to higher-ups is a key part of advancement. Being denied such contact contributes to systemic gender inequality. Women are still paid 73 to 84 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to a 2016 analysis published by the Economic Policy Institute.


In short, centuries of gender inequality have disproportionately elevated men up the corporate ladder. As a result, women need to develop professional relationships with men in order to have their voices heard, and their careers advanced. So, when men refuse to associate with women for fear that they will cause them to stray in their marriages, women suffer. 

"Without access to beneficial friendships and mentor relationships with executive men, women won’t be able to close the gender gap that exists in most professions," Kim Elsesser, a researcher at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, told The Los Angeles Times.

[h/t The Atlantic]