Mississippi gov’s surprising remark on working moms
June 4th, 2013
07:47 PM ET
1 year ago

Mississippi gov’s surprising remark on working moms

Updated 1:11 p.m. ET Wednesday 6/5

(CNN) – The recently renewed debate over working mothers gained more traction Tuesday when a Republican governor suggested the country’s education problems were the result of both parents holding jobs.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, speaking at a Washington Post education forum, seemed to anticipate the backlash his comments may spark, but proceeded anyway after being asked why America’s schools had fallen behind compared to other countries.

“I’m going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? Should I tell you the truth? I think when both parents started working. When the mom’s in the workplace – it’s not a bad thing, I’m going to get in trouble, I can see the e-mails tomorrow – but now both parents are working, they’re pursuing their careers, it’s great,” Bryant said.

Later, he added that “In today’s society, parents are so challenged. Not just the mom, the mom and the dad. They’re working overtime, they’re trying to balance both of them in the workplace. That’s just one of the small features that we’ve seen.”

His remarks come after a refreshed debate over women in the workplace, sparked in part by a report last week showing a record number of women are the sole or primary breadwinner for their families.

In four out of 10 households, women are now the main earner, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Pew Research Center.

In a survey of Americans, Pew researchers found surprising reactions to a greater role of women in the workplace.

Fifty-one percent said they believe children are better off when a mom stays home with the kids and doesn't hold a job. Only about 8% said the same about fathers.

Half also said the increase in the number of women working for pay has made it harder for marriages to succeed. On the other hand, two thirds said it has made it easier for families to live more comfortably.

Curiously, 79% rejected the idea that women should return to their "traditional roles."

Bryant's spokesman Mick Bullock released a statement Wednesday, saying the governor was "plainly" stating that parents should not be "left out of the equation when it comes to addressing literacy and education for children."

"Many families don't have a lot of time because they are balancing both parents being in the workplace-something the Governor and First Lady understand," he added. "Both of them worked full time outside the home while rearing two children. This lack of time puts pressure on families, and it impacts children and their education."

CNN's Kevin Liptak and CNNMoney's Annalyn Kurtz contributed to this report.


Filed under: Mississippi
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. sassysticks53

    The Stupid Party attacking women again! Idiots!

    June 4, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. Debbie

    It's not surprising its ignorant. And the GOP continues to wonder why they have problems with the female vote. I was a Republican for over 35 years and once the GOP accepted and invited the far right social, economic, and religious radicals into the party I left and became an Independent. The GOP has lost its way and a good portion of voters.

    June 4, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    You lose contentment and become Greedy–is the main problem in Today's society. You rather earn more and pay to uncle Sam than being Happy and lead the life. You do not eat golden rods. Why work more and ignore the family? Total absurd. So, I advise not to be Greedy. Not worth it.

    June 4, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    I'd say the trouble with today's education problems are partly a result of republicans' war on education, because basically keeping people stupid and uninformed is the only way these clowns get any votes. look at all the anti-education policies the repugs support, higher interest rates for college loans, vouchers for kids to leave the public schools for private, read that 'christian' schools, etc, and it's obvious they don't want an educated society with enough common sense to never vote republican.

    June 4, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. mychelle

    Well maybe it's time for fathers to stay home with the kids for a change?

    June 4, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  6. MaryM

    No Governor, The Nation Not funding Education and Mississippi's not funding of Education is the problem

    June 4, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Mom's need to stay at home with the babys , the real problem with education is the price of cigarets and energy drinks !

    Stop obama care , and make ammunition cost less .

    Paul / Cruz 2016

    June 4, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Bt

    For most women it's not a choice. I love how Republicans with great government benefits and high paying jobs pontificate about how women should stay home. In the mean time the min wage has been stagnant for years, average pay has been declining for the working class, and republicans have cut all high tech job training so companies move to countries where the government foots the bill for training. It's disgraceful. Company CEOs say they have to pay to train workers in the US but they don't in Mexico (or Germany which is doing just fine). It's a pathetic lack of vision sacrificed at their idiotic ideology of "everyone should just figure it out for themselves" so they can give tax cuts to the 1%ers who finance their campaigns.

    June 4, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. Len

    Typical GOP.....They will never learn!

    June 4, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    One word to this governor . . . . . . Mississippi!!!

    June 4, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Former GOP

    .......Just how STU pid is my old party?

    June 4, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Norma jean

    When women with families work...it seldom is to pursue a career and seldom so the family can buy a new car every year or two but very often it is the high cost of raising a family. Food,education medical care....any number of things that one salary can no longer cover ..... Most women would like to stay at home and run a hea;thy happy household but it comes close to impossible......If you can't picture the financial end of this......just picture what has happened to the prices at the gas stations now as opposed to a few years ago........things get MORE expensive,,...not less!!!!!!!..

    June 4, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Justjean

    If both parents working is a problem see that they are PAID enough that one can stay home or both work part-time so the kids get all the attention they need. But even if that happened you would still have difficulty getting some parents to CARE.

    June 4, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Jim kulley

    both parents can make it work if they take time to parent !!!

    June 4, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. John

    On behalf of all sane Mississippians I would like to apologize for the governor being a complete moron.

    June 4, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. CMI

    Why pay the dad $20.00 per hour when you get the Mom for $10.00 and the Dad for $10.00 thereby getting twice the work for the same money?

    June 4, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  17. SokrMom

    Ah, those red state politicians–always trying to lead the charge backward from progress!

    June 4, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  18. plain&simple

    Education funding have anything to do with the problem??? How about jobs ??? Deadbeat dads??? Minimum wage...maybe these things might factor in as well.

    June 4, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    The Republican Party has been usurped from within by the Tea Party. The Republican Party is extinct. I think history is going look back at the re-election of Pres. Barack Obama and recognize that as the moment the party died. Proof of that is given by the misreading of polls by the Romney campaign, and the complete on-air meltdown by Karl Rove on election night.

    The establishment Republicans proved themselves to be a failure to the Tea Party and the brooms have been brought out to sweep them away. Bye-bye, GOP. Happy birthday, GOTP.

    June 4, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. El Flaco

    We should outlaw divorce. And we should retro-actively repeal any divorces that have ever been granted. Everyone must return to their first spouse – and you have to make it work this time.

    June 4, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. darknesscrown

    Most people disagree with the GOP platform on basically everything...so...

    June 4, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  22. Carol

    We know the Mississippi governor is a nut job! I raised my two daughters alone and today they are successful. One is going for her doctorate this coming year. Take that!!!

    June 4, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  23. Ellis Vener

    Perhaps Governor Bryant, you'll now explore the reason that in many families both parents need to work outside of the house?

    Might it have to do with 1% of the populace now controlling 20% of the wealth in America?

    Might it have to do with the reality that wages for middle and poorer class families have been squashed while the very elite in large businesses are busy making sure their compensation rises all out of proportion to what they actually do?

    June 4, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. Dan Ari

    Where is the journalism? Every single one of the countries that did better on PISA or TIMSS than we did has a higher percentage of working mothers. The facts are completely against his claim, but we didn't get the facts. We didn't get journalism. We got a reprinted press release.

    June 4, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  25. Howard's Daddy

    Republicans being out of touch, how shocking.

    June 5, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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