Vice-President Mike Pence has remained in the background since Donald Trump took office on January 20, mainly due to Trump’s extreme measures and behavior. A recent Washington Post article that profiled Pence’s wife Karen may change the focus.
The Pences are deeply religious and have been married for 32 years. Once Pence became a congressman, the couple devised a “marriage mandate” to avoid any innuendo or sending the wrong impression. The mandate stipulates that Pence does not dine with any woman alone except his wife, and anyone who assists him with late-night work must be male. In addition, if Pence attends an event where alcohol is served, his wife must be by his side. Appearances are everything in Washington, and the Pences have made sure to cultivate the right one.
Similar policies have spread throughout Capitol Hill. A survey conducted in 2015 indicated that many female staffers are now banned from meetings, being alone in a car or office with their male superiors and even attending nighttime events in an official capacity because of the fear of rumors or bad press. The Harvard Business Review conducted research in 2010 that found men generally avoid sponsoring or advocating for women in the workplace because it might be mistaken for romantic or sexual interest.
Pence’s mandate has led some to question if he would make an exception for a female Chief of Staff, or even Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway. Some are uncertain if Pence would agree to meet a female reporter alone for a simple interview. While it is uncertain what will happen going forward, it seems Pence is starting make waves right along Trump.