In which we attempt to salvage Miss Utah Marissa Powell's confounding answer to her Miss USA Q&A session. See what Powell said in the video embedded below.
00:13: "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"
Awesome question, NeNe Leakes! According to a study by the American Association of University Women, women who have recently graduate college and work full-time earn only 82 percent of what their male counterparts do. A lot of this gap has to do with gender politics. Women face a lot of stereotypes in the workplace, whether it's that they're can't do "men's work," that they should be caregivers rather than breadwinners, or that they need to act like "ladies" rather than being ambitious. And mothers have it even worse: women who take maternity leave often find that they've been replaced or had their hours cut once they return. Really, you could answer this question with one word: sexism. BOOM. Mic drop, get out of there.
00:17: "I think we can relate this back to education."
Okay, it's not the most obvious answer, but it's still valid. About 57 percent of college students are women, but in 2009-2010, women received only 21.4 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded to those in the fields of math, computer science, and engineering. Fields in science, engineering, technology, and math tend to have higher-paying jobs. Girls keep up with the boys in these subjects up through high school, but seem to drop off in these fields once they reach college. Maybe more teachers mentoring young women who show aptitude in science and math in high school could encourage them to major in related subjects in college.
00:27: "[Long Pause]"
Hey, it's cool, everyone gets nervous. Just take a deep breath, smile, and think.
00:29: "...Figure out how to create jobs."
Create jobs! Okay, kind of tailed off there, but that works too! Right now, women are disproportionately affected by the unemployment rate, so job creation will definitely help women out. Definitely a huge problem.
00:38: "That is the biggest problem, and, I think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this..."
Hey! Starting to give part of a good answer! Men being seen as leaders is definitely a stereotype perpetuated by sexism, one that keeps the percentage of women CEOs at big companies to 4 percent.
00:42: "So we need to ... [Pause] ... create education better."
"Create education better"? Girl. That is not a sentence. Create more opportunities for women in science and math education! Create more jobs in leadership positions for women! Create a better workplace environment for women! Create a much better sentence than the one that just came out of your mouth!
00:47: "So that we can solve this problem."
Is the problem your answer? Because that problem is so not solved. I honestly have no idea what "problem" you were talking about in that mess of an answer. Oh, even host Giuliana Rancic feels bad about this — she just called you "sweetheart." Well, at least now I definitely know that there's a problem with women's education. Hopefully we can start solving this problem by better educating the kind of girls who enter beauty pageants.