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. Vanessa

    Maybe he should make it easier for women to get birth control and/or abortions in his state if he doesn't like so many mom's working outside of the home,

    June 5, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Well, maybe if American companies weren't so intent on hiring illegals at low wages and no benefits, laying off Americans in the process, both parents wouldn't have to work. Ditto on American companies shipping jobs overseas. Ditto on Republicans not wanting to spend a dime on investing in OUR country and would rather wage war and cater to foreign corporations.

    Maybe if YOUR party wasn't so intent on bringing down President Obama, our economy would be better and both parents wouldn't HAVE to work.

    June 5, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. Nothing At All

    No governor, the real reason is Mississippi is one of the most backward states in the nation.

    June 5, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  4. AAM

    No that's not why schools are failing when the most popular shows on channels dedicated to documentaries are "Ancient Aliens" and "Finding Bigfoot" it shows the direction that society is going. Baffoons are being up held as credible scientists and actual reading is falling by the wayside. When the actual thirst for knowledge is replaced with "hey its on TV so it must be true" that is when schools and education fail.

    June 5, 2013 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  5. monday isaac

    it might be true women to stay home may improve children's behavior than those who work.

    June 5, 2013 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  6. Monica Oliver

    I would like to see some evidence against his point!? Having a good parent at home can only foster security, confidence, and education. Parent involvement is a key factor in determining success. He only used the "mom" example because that was the traditional parent who stayed home. If parents are being pulled by the demands of a job that takes the primary focus away from children. Get off you liberal high horse and listen the man has a valid point about children needing less materials things and more quality time.

    June 5, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Once again a rethug putting women down for working and not staying home barefoot and pregnant.
    Then again, I don't have the facts in front of me, but Mississippi is probably one of the lowest, or the lowest, in education in the US. He probably also thinks that women's brains go south (pun intended) after having babies and that is why they are not good leaders in companies.
    Education might have kept this clueless governor from being elected in the first place.

    June 5, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  8. howard taylor

    To many factors to name just one. We both worked and our kids scored well on their exams. It may have been beneficial when people had large families; but with small families there is plenty of quality time for the family.

    June 5, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  9. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Another Akin,Mourdoch clone. The Guns Over People tea potty are filled with them. 2014 comes quickly for them.

    June 5, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  10. Peter

    "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.

    Get in trouble with who? Cavemen who want their wives to cook and clean all day?

    June 5, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. Sara

    Lol....and the level of intelligence is equal to the sewer.

    June 5, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  12. NameTeri

    I would had loved to stay home with my children. Dragging toddlers out of bed when it's still dark and bundling them up, belting them in car seats, then trudging through snow and ice to bring them to daycare is not my idea of fulfillment. I worked because in order to pay the mortgage on a modest home in a relatively safe area within a decent school district, put food on the table and keep up with health insurance, I had no choice. Two incomes have become a necessity for so many families just to sustain a middle class life style.

    June 5, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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