Fiorina: Now Is the Time to Have a National Conversation About Women in the U.S.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, said a performance-based pay scale should be installed across the federal government.

“Despite it already being law, the left wants to further legislate equal pay, yet they support the seniority systems in government and unions that reward not merit, not performance but time and grade. We know these systems pay for years worked rather than performance, disproportionately impacting women,” Fiorina said at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner in Washington.

“This is something that government can change. We as conservatives and libertarians who believe in merit and excellence, let’s work together to move to a pay-for-performance meritocracy and make promoting high-achieving men and women a top priority. We also need to give women the tools that they need to rise through these meritocracies—and that starts with reforming our education system.”

Fiorina argued that Democrats are on the “wrong side” of education policy.

To support her position, she cited the head of the Chicago teachers union saying they could not be held accountable for the performance of students in their classrooms because too many of them were poor and from broken families.

“What was she saying? If you are poor and you come from a broken family, then you don’t have potential. You don’t have God-given gifts. But across the country students in California fought back, arguing that their constitutional right to an equal education was being violated by state laws that protected ‘grossly ineffective teachers’ and they won,” Fiorina said.

“In Louisiana, this administration sued to shut down a program that allowed students to leave their failing public school. That’s right. They sued to put disadvantaged kids back into schools that they knew were failing. The left is on the wrong side of this issue. They continue to protect the status quo and teachers unions and it is hurting our children.”

Fiorina said now is the time to have a national conversation about the state of women in the U.S.

“Change is difficult and slow. I’ve experienced this reality firsthand and I know that, unfortunately, the playing field is still not level. When I first started at AT&T, my male colleagues held a meeting with new clients at a strip club. When I got into the cab the morning of the meeting and told the driver where I was going, he asked me if I was the new act,” she said.

“A few years later, my boss introduced me to my new team as the ‘token bimbo.’ When I started at HP, I was also called a bimbo – and a word that also starts with B and rhymes with witch – words that definitely weren’t used to describe male CEOs at other, similar companies.”

Fiorina said a reporter, referring to Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, told her he had never talked to a presidential candidate with pink nail polish.

“Another reporter asked me if I thought hormones would prevent a woman from serving in the Oval Office. Here’s a question for you, ladies. Can you think of an example of when a man’s judgment has been clouded by hormones – including in the Oval Office?” she said to laughter from the crowd.

Fiorina, who is gaining traction in recent polls, argued that the progressive view of feminism is not about women but about ideology.

“Their policies are not working for women. The economic policies of this administration have been devastating: 3 million women have fallen into poverty in the last 6 years – 1 million fewer women are working under President Obama,” she said. “In California – a state that has been governed by liberal policies for a decade – they have the highest poverty rates in the nation with over 3 million women living below the poverty line.”

Fiorina called for removing women from “webs of dependence” that prevent them for moving forward.

“Under our current system, a woman who is making less than $30,000 dollars is actually punished by these programs if she is offered a raise to $55,000 dollars. She will take home less to her family and be ineligible for the benefits on which she—and they—were depending. In fact, regardless of income, women are more likely to be downwardly mobile than men,” she said.

“The bottom line is that the policies of our government today make tough decisions even tougher. We have too many people tangled up in webs of dependence that we have created. Our government programs must be reimagined from top to bottom not because we want to save taxpayer money – although we will – but because we need to save lives.”

Fiorina declined to answer follow-up questions after her speech.