What you heard:
Mike Pence doesn’t dine alone with women.
What it is:
Mike Pence, when he’s not busy being the delivery boy for executive orders Trump forgets to sign, serves as the US Vice President. Before serving under our *most esteemed* tweeter, he was the Governor of Indiana. There, he enacted a law that women seeking abortions must submit to a medically unnecessary ultrasound and view the results before exercising their Constitutional right to an abortion (a law that was later ruled – you guessed it – unconstitutional). Before attempting to impose his religious views on all women in Indiana, he served as a Tea Party member of Congress.
Women, on the other hand, make up less than 20% of said Congress. They also make, on average, 78 cents to every dollar earned by men (wayyy less if you’re a woman of color). You may also be familiar with women in the news asking for rape by wearing short skirts, or not going further in the workplace because they don’t smile enough. Or because they aren’t tough enough. You know. The usual.
What it means:
Refusing to dine alone with women is a pretty common sentiment among hyper-conservative types in all religions, not just Pence’s Christianity. Often, unmarried Orthodox Jews won’t be alone in the room with those of a different sex; some practitioners of Islam follow the same rule.
However, in today’s American economy, where you get ahead not by your effort during the 9-5, but by the time you spend networking outside the workplace, this rule is incredibly damaging to women. Most decision-makers, even in lady-dominated fields like nonprofit work and communications, are still men. Time spent together outside the workplace, whether traveling to work commitments together or having a drink to celebrate closing a deal, has become a valuable way for employees to connect with bosses and set them apart from their peers. To take that away from all women employees – blanket policy, full stop – is detrimental to their careers and probably illegal.
It also means that women are still viewed as temptresses, as conniving Jezebels preying on innocent men. A man finds you so attractive he couldn’t keep himself from cheating on his wife with you? Your fault. A man thinks your skirt is tight enough that you’re asking for him to grab your ass while you walk by him on the way to the printer? Your fault. A man thinks your professional demeanor is “leading him on” and rapes you when you won’t have sex with him? Still your fault, you dirty Jezebel.