Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Your Mother’s Women’s Studies Course<p> Is it possible to get a balanced education when it comes to women, history, and policy on college campuses? The 2014 graduation season suggests not&mdash;Ayaan Hirsi Ali&rsquo;s invitation to speak at Brandeis University was rescinded because some students objected to her views, Condoleezza Rice withdrew as the commencement speaker at Rutgers University after leftist students and faculty protested honoring the former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, and IMF Chief&nbsp;<a href="">Christine Lagarde withdrew</a>&nbsp;from speaking at Smith College after a student petition condemned her for her alleged role in &ldquo;strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.&rdquo;</p> <p> Too many traditional academic institutions seem to have given up entirely on the idea of free speech and the value of a diversity of opinions. Fortunately, there are new options for students who want alternative viewpoints and to learn to think critically about these topics:&nbsp; They can take an online course launching this month&mdash;<a href="">Sex, Lies and Women&rsquo;s Studies</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> Part of a new&nbsp;<em>Conservative University</em>&nbsp;initiative, class topics in this course cover feminism, pay inequality, healthcare reform for women, the &ldquo;war on women,&rdquo; and the current state of women&rsquo;s studies programs on campus. And it&rsquo;s free. The course gives students the ammunition they need to better understand these issues and serves as a resource for students when only one side is presented in class.</p> <p> This is not your mother&rsquo;s women&rsquo;s studies course.</p> <p> Lecturers include syndicated columnist Mona Charen, Manhattan Institute Scholar Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum Health Policy Director Hadley Heath, author Kate Obenshain, and President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education Star Parker.&nbsp; These women challenge much conventional wisdom on campus. The course trailer is&nbsp;<a href="">now</a>&nbsp;available.</p> <p> The course kicks off this week with my lecture on women&rsquo;s studies. What&rsquo;s wrong with women&rsquo;s studies departments? There is plenty to discuss, since women&rsquo;s studies departments, centers, and other programs on campus overwhelmingly present a one-sided view of how women should view society, and what we should seek in our personal lives, as well as from the government. These institutions mold how young women view politics and policy today. We see their influence in how we talk about women and policy&mdash;think &ldquo;war on women.&rdquo;</p> <p> It doesn&rsquo;t have to be this way.&nbsp; Many students are eager to take classes on the history of feminism and learn about how women gained rights in this country, such as the right to vote, but don&rsquo;t know what they are getting into with women&rsquo;s studies courses.</p> <p> Women&rsquo;s studies grew out of the women&rsquo;s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and has been explicitly dedicated to promoting feminist activism. Even the website tagline for the National Women&rsquo;s Studies Association reads, &ldquo;Leading the field of women&rsquo;s studies in educational and social transformation.&rdquo; This is not about learning about the past, but activism.</p> <p> The first women&rsquo;s studies department was created in 1970 at San Diego State University.&nbsp; Now students can take these classes all over the country&mdash;there are more than 900 programs in the U.S. with over 10,000 courses and an enrollment larger than that of any other interdisciplinary field, according to a&nbsp;<a href="">Ms. Magazine study</a>. And there are programs in more than 40 countries.</p> <p> Women&rsquo;s studies departments emerged partly because of concern that other academic fields ignored or distorted the experiences of women. These academic pursuits are foiled, however, when teaching becomes replaced by social organizing and serious scholarly inquiry is replaced by an unquestioning political agenda. Sadly, that&rsquo;s what we have today, and it is especially visible as we see how women who hold more conservative views about femininity, sex differences, and ways for women to live fulfilling lives are rejected by the women&rsquo;s studies establishment.&nbsp;<a href="">Sign up</a>&nbsp;for the course to learn more.</p> <p> Students tired of hearing one side of issues on campus and who want to hear alternatives will benefit from spending an hour listening to these lectures.</p> <p> <em><a href="">Follow Karin Agness on Twitter.</a></em></p> AgnessSun, 22 Jun 2014 20:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCommencement Conservatism<p> This graduation season, seniors will sit through what seem like endless speeches full of life advice. Many will hear from politicians &ndash; at least a dozen Senate and House members, a majority of the members of President Barack Obama&rsquo;s cabinet, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Colin Powell, among others, are scheduled to speak &ndash; but this won&rsquo;t be an easy crowd for those politicians.</p> <p> According to the most recent data released in April from Harvard&#39;s Institute of Politics&rsquo; &ldquo;Survey of Young Americans&rsquo; Attitudes Toward Politics and Public Service,&rdquo; 62 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds agree with the statement that &ldquo;elected officials seem to be motivated by selfish reasons,&rdquo; and 58 percent agree with the statement that &ldquo;elected officials don&rsquo;t seem to have the same priorities I have.&rdquo; Even Obama doesn&rsquo;t have a majority of support of this demographic. While his approval rating has increased 6 percentage points, from 41 percent to 47 percent, since the November survey, it is down 9 points from the first survey conducted, during the 2010 midterm election cycle. And more than twice as many young Americans believe things are on the wrong track rather than the right one.</p> <p> This disillusionment with politicians might be to the advantage of young people, because it will encourage them to question slick proposals offered by government officials to fix problems. Take Obamacare. For Obamacare to work, it depends on young, generally healthier people signing up to share the cost of care for older, generally sicker people. We&rsquo;ve seen a number of efforts by the administration to try to get young people to enroll in Obamacare &ndash; the president appeared on &quot;Between Two Ferns,&quot; the administration recruited celebrities to promote Obamacare, and Obama&rsquo;s team created a &ldquo;Health Care for the Holidays&rdquo; website to provide a guide for parents on how to talk to their kids about enrolling. And this doesn&rsquo;t even include ads by outside groups, such as the infamous &ldquo;brosurance&rdquo; ad, which encouraged young men to sign up with a keg stand. Yet only 39 percent of young Americans support Obamacare in the Harvard survey. But just disapproving of Obamacare isn&rsquo;t enough.</p> <p> If young people want things to get better, they must take stock of the world they are entering upon graduation, learn from their mistakes and vote for policies that will improve society and particularly the economy for the next group of graduates.</p> <p> With distrust at these levels, you&rsquo;d think young people would be ready to vote and vote for changed leadership. But according to this survey, less than one in four (23 percent) young Americans say they will &ldquo;definitely be voting&rdquo; in the upcoming midterm elections, a decrease of 10 percentage points since the fall survey. There does seem to be more enthusiasm among traditional Republican constituencies &ndash; 44 percent of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 say they are &ldquo;definitely voting&rdquo; versus 35 percent of 2012 Obama voters who say the same.</p> <p> New graduates should do a reality check. Young people were one of the president&rsquo;s most loyal constituencies. Yet, his policies are making it more difficult for them to get a job out of college, let alone to embark on a path to true success. Graduating seniors still face high unemployment. It&rsquo;s time to recognize that this generation deserves better and hold elected leadership accountable for their failures.</p> <p> Twenty-nine percent of 18 to 29 year-olds agree with the statement that &ldquo;political involvement rarely has any tangible results.&rdquo; That means almost a third of this demographic doesn&rsquo;t believe that joining the political process leads to change.</p> <p> But they should also consider this: Not getting involved in politics guarantees that their interests won&#39;t be taken seriously. Politicians delivering graduation speeches will try to inspire the students to change the world. Graduates instead should take a look at the world around them and use their distrust of government to fight for a new era of rolling back government&rsquo;s power and returning it to citizens like them.&nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women.&nbsp;</em></p> AgnessFri, 16 May 2014 07:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCosmo: Swapping Fashion For Liberal Politics<p> A recent lead story,&nbsp;&ldquo;<a href="">How the GOP&rsquo;s Block of the Minimum Wage Bill Hurts Women</a>,&rdquo;&nbsp;was hard to miss at the top of the homepage &mdash; it was in bright pink under &ldquo;Must Read!&rdquo; and was directly above the headline, &ldquo;4 Problems All Women With Big Boobs Have While Shopping.&rdquo;</p> <p> Anyone who still claims women&rsquo;s magazines are harmless when it comes to politics should take a look. Conservatives in particular must go where the battles are to win women, and that includes women&rsquo;s magazines with headlines on diet tricks, guy tips and fashion styles because that&rsquo;s not all that is in them. Despite none of the major categories listed on the navigational toolbar (Relationships, Celebs, Beauty &amp; Fashion, Health and Work) mentioning politics, politics seeps in, sometimes covertly and sometimes more obviously.</p> <p> And Cosmopolitan is increasingly entering the political realm. In April, Cosmopolitan announced that it hired Feministe blogger and&nbsp;<em>Guardian</em>&nbsp;columnist Jill Filipovic to cover politics. In her first article in this role, she begins by hitting hard on Republicans:</p> <p> <em>In case Republicans hadn&rsquo;t made their view of women clear in their crusades against contraception and their&nbsp;<a href="">closure of abortion clinics</a>, they&rsquo;ve moved from your uterus to your pocketbook. First came their unanimous rejection of a bill that would have guaranteed&nbsp;<a href="">equal pay for women</a>. And yesterday, Senate Republicans&nbsp;<a href="">blocked a measure</a>&nbsp;that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current rate of $7.25. That&nbsp;<a href="">legislation</a>&nbsp;would have allowed women across the United States to earn a livable wage, narrow the pay gap, and keep their families above water.</em></p> <p> Cosmopolitan should hire someone to write a response piece, or if not, at least disclose that it is a mouthpiece for liberal policies and the Democratic Party.</p> <p> A response piece would debate a number of her points.</p> <p> Though Filipovic is right that economic policies, such as the minimum wage, are women&rsquo;s issues, she doesn&rsquo;t acknowledge how raising the wage results in job loss and therefore can harm the same people it&rsquo;s supposedly trying to help. As any good shopper knows, when something costs more, you can buy fewer of them. And in fact, the&nbsp;<a href="">Congressional Budget Office</a>&nbsp;estimated that if the minimum wage went up to $10.10 as proposed, 500,000 jobs would be eliminated. Where is the sympathy for the hardship these women will face?</p> <p> Then comes equal pay legislation. She repeats the debunked line that women make just 77 cents for a dollar a man makes. This is willfully misleading. Even feminist&nbsp;<a href="">Hanna Rosin</a>&nbsp;wrote that using the number in this way doesn&rsquo;t add up, because that statistic doesn&rsquo;t take into account the differences in hours worked, industries chosen, and years of experience. In a much talked-about press conference, Jay Carney acknowledged this while justifying why the White House itself has a considerable wage gap under the 77-cent logic used by Filipovic.</p> <p> What&rsquo;s worse is that Filipovic directly bashes the Republican Party. She writes, &ldquo;The Republican Party serves two distinct but sometimes overlapping factions: Big corporate interests and social conservatives.&rdquo; Apparently, that&rsquo;s it. She doesn&rsquo;t take into account people who choose the Republican Party because they believe that limiting government&rsquo;s power is the best way to preserve liberty and help Americans. It wasn&rsquo;t that long ago that Americans elected a Republican president, and Republicans control the House today. In caricaturing what the GOP stands for, she dismisses a huge part of the population.</p> <p> The Republican Party is aware it has work to do when it comes to women. The Growth and Opportunity Project report, an autopsy on what went wrong in 2012 released by the Republican National Committee, noted that President Barack Obama won women by 11 points and he won single women, who make up 40 percent of female voters, by 36 percent.</p> <p> With stories like&nbsp;<a href="">this one on</a>, it is no wonder that the Republican Party is having a difficult time winning over single women. But Republicans cannot give up &mdash; we need to call out blatant bias wherever we see it, and make sure that women&rsquo;s magazine readers are also getting the other side of the story.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women.</em></p> AgnessWed, 7 May 2014 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCollege students need intellectual diversity on campuses • Rick Amato Show AgnessTue, 6 May 2014 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTime for More Uncomfortable Conversations<p class="p1"> <span class="s1">I was recently in New Orleans participating in what was supposed to be a debate at Tulane with a professor. This professor, who has a Ph.D. in Women&rsquo;s Studies, began her presentation by stating that feminism taught her to reject the &ldquo;debate&rdquo; construct, and, instead, to have &ldquo;uncomfortable conversations.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Regardless of what this feminist professor says, for the benefit of students, true debates are needed on feminism and what it means to be a successful woman today. The Left has taken hold of this movement and incorrectly defined empowerment for women today.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Sometimes true debate is the last thing these feminist professors want. Earlier this semester, I was invited to debate another outspoken feminist professor, but then the student organizers informed me that this professor turned it down because she didn&rsquo;t have an advance copy of my opening speech. Another professor, who was less knowledgeable on the subject, agreed to participate as a matter of principle, and the feminist professor attended the debate instead &mdash; this is hardly a show of strength for her beliefs.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Administrators also seem uncomfortable with a rigorous discussion of competing ideas at times. Rutgers University president Robert Barchi thwarted an effort by the <a href=""><span class="s2">Faculty Council at Rutgers University New Brunswick</span></a> to rescind Condoleezza Rice&rsquo;s invitation to speak at commencement this spring. Rice served at the highest levels of the government &mdash; first as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State &mdash; but the faculty denounced her because she held these positions in the George W. Bush administration. As a result of continued faculty and student protests, Rice withdrew, not wanting to become a distraction.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">The president of Brandeis University ran the opposite direction. Brandeis University announced it was no longer going to give Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree at commencement after complaints about her past comments. The official statement said, &ldquo;We cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University&rsquo;s core values.&rdquo; Somalia-born Hirsi Ali suffered genital mutilation as a child and escaped an arranged marriage by obtaining political asylum in the Netherlands. There she became a member of parliament. She is an outspoken defender of women&rsquo;s rights around the world.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">The <a href=""><i>Wall Street Journal</i></a> published an abridged version of what she would have said if given the opportunity to speak at Brandeis: &ldquo;We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I&rsquo;m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.&rdquo; The students didn&rsquo;t have the opportunity to hear her. The silver lining is that at least this controversy started a larger discussion on intellectual diversity on campus today.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">It is one we need to continue to take seriously. Students benefit from intellectual diversity on campus, whether in the classroom or as a part of extracurricular events. Even at commencement, we see an imbalance. According to a study of high-level former and current officials and operatives conducted by <a href=""><i>Campus Reform</i></a>, Democrats outnumber Republicans as commencement speakers by a two-to-one margin.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">After visiting a dozen campuses this semester, I can tell you that we need more debates on feminism today. Women&rsquo;s institutions on campus overwhelmingly present a one-sided view of what women should seek in their personal lives as well as from the government.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Conservatives must push back. At the same event at Tulane, I pointed out the problems with the Life of Julia infographic created by the Obama campaign during the last election showing what life would be like under President Barack Obama, which involved government interaction at every major stage in a woman&rsquo;s life. A Tulane student asked what was wrong with this, as she said she wanted to be able to rely on the government. I was gratified to be able to provide my opinion to her, explaining that I don&rsquo;t believe this is what previous generations of women&rsquo;s-rights advocates fought for &mdash; the idea of women dependent on the federal government. She may not have agreed with me at that moment, but I hope that it gave her something to think about and opened her mind for the next time she saw an infographic or read an article about women and public policy.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Our &ldquo;uncomfortable conversation&rdquo; taught me that we must engage more on campuses to give an alternative view and encourage students to think more critically about issues. After all, that&rsquo;s what an education is supposed to be, isn&rsquo;t it?</span></p> <p class="p2"> <span class="s1">&mdash; <i>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women.</i></span></p> <p class="p2"> Follow Karin on <a href="">Twitter</a>.</p> AgnessMon, 5 May 2014 17:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCountering Campus Culture One Man at a Time<p> College students are departing for popular spring break destinations such as Cancun, Myrtle Beach and Panama City this time of year. These trips often bring out their worst behavior&mdash;from reckless alcohol consumption to destruction of property.&nbsp; But those worried about the college culture can take heart that many undergrads still embrace and act according to more traditional values.</p> <p> This month, the Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW, is running the&nbsp;<a href=";">NeW Gentlemen&rsquo;s Showcase</a>, a national contest to identify and honor campus gentlemen. To participate, women nominate college men by submitting a picture&nbsp;<a href=";brandloc=DISABLE&amp;app_data=chk-53357ce868314">on&nbsp;Facebook</a>&nbsp;with a note on why their nominee is a true gentleman. These nominees then compete for a $500 scholarship and the title of 2014 Gentleman of the Year. The contest runs through March 31.</p> <p> The nominations of these men push back against the common caricature of the modern college man. Take the nomination of TJ Mason from the University of Virginia, which highlights that he is respectful and values women as intellectual equals, rather than conquests.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Yes, he embodies the classic notions of chivalry &ndash; I have never seen him fail to hold the door or treat any woman with less than the utmost respect and humility. He is a trustworthy, upstanding member of the University of Virginia&rsquo;s community of trust, holding his personal honor and integrity above all. But what strikes me about TJ is his respect for the modern woman. As a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, he goes head to head with women on a daily basis and displays a level of respect and esteem for female intellect that I am positive all NeW women can appreciate. He is a thoughtful listener, someone you can turn to for a cup of coffee to discuss anything from relationship woes to U.S. foreign policy. Rather than taking advantage of the &lsquo;hook-up culture&rsquo; that pervades all college campuses, TJ still believes in dating; he is more interested in getting to know women who share his values.&rdquo;</p> <p> What makes up a college gentleman? A few common themes emerge from the nominations.</p> <p> A college gentleman shows respect for others, regardless of who they are or what they can do for him. Here&rsquo;s how Derrick Simms, a nominee from California State University, Los Angeles, is described by his nominator:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Whether he is on campus or on set, Derrick unabashedly shows respect and consideration to everyone he is around. As a true gentleman, these traits are demonstrated not only through words but through actions. He is one of few who not only opens the door for his loved ones but strangers as well.&quot;</p> <p> A college gentleman prioritizes helping others. Ivan Yim, a nominee from the University of Florida, was recognized for his selfless spirit and volunteer work.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;As a Dance Marathon Operations team captain, Ivan not only believed in the mission of Children&rsquo;s Miracle Network Hospital, but freely supplied his time and support to encourage a healthier future for suffering children.&rdquo;</p> <p> A college gentleman is willing to stand up for what is right. Take this description of Christian Keen from Santa Fe College:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Being a gentleman is not something that can be accomplished by simple acts of kindness; it is a lifestyle. A gentleman is someone who stands up for his beliefs. More importantly, he will stand up for others when no one else will because it is the right thing to do.&rdquo;</p> <p> And a college gentleman takes care of the way he presents himself. Here&rsquo;s how Logan Mauk, a nominee from Virginia Tech and member of the Corps of Cadets, is described by his nominator:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Even though his schedule is constantly busy, he is always willing to drop what he is doing to change a friend&rsquo;s spare tire or lend a listening ear. And we can&rsquo;t help but mention the fact that whether in his uniform or not, he is always dressed to impress!&rdquo;</p> <p> The women noted how these men acted on campus&mdash;with a respectful attitude, spirit of volunteerism and willingness to stand up to what is popular.</p> <p> Worried about college men today? There is a lot of work to be done to counter the anything-goes attitude on many campuses, but gentlemen on campus aren&rsquo;t going unnoticed. We must encourage more of them.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessFri, 28 Mar 2014 14:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum"Ban Bossy" campaign meets critics • Rick Amato Show AgnessMon, 24 Mar 2014 03:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum'Bossy' Ban: The Main Problem With Feminism Today<p> The women we are honoring during Women&#39;s History Month fought for our country, led political movements and started businesses. Many did so in the face of threats to their own safety and vicious personal attacks. Being called bossy would have been the least of their worries.</p> <p> But what is the latest effort launched to encourage girls to achieve? Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of&nbsp;<em>Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead</em>, and Anna Maria Ch&aacute;vez, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts, have partnered to launch a campaign to ban an adjective --&nbsp;<a href="">bossy</a>. Rather than trying to ban words that some might find offensive, women&#39;s groups should promote leadership skills, including developing a thick skin.</p> <p> It&#39;s easy to dismiss this &quot;ban bossy&quot; public service campaign as just an overzealous effort to help girls or even a shrewd business move to sell more copies of Sandberg&#39;s book, but this campaign is indicative of one of the main problems with feminism today -- the idea that women are victims in need of more and more special protection.</p> <p> What&#39;s the justification for banning bossy? Besides anecdotes from Sandberg, Ch&aacute;vez and other women about having hurt feelings after being called &quot;bossy&quot; as little girls, the campaign relies on outdated information about girls today.&nbsp;<a href="">The Leadership Tips for Girls</a>&nbsp;handout features an alarming statistic -- &quot;By middle school, girls are 25 percent less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.&quot;</p> <p> This statistic comes from data collected over 15 years ago, from 1992 to 1997. With all of the efforts to advance girls in school, is it fair to rely on this statistic from 15 years ago as a centerpiece of the campaign?</p> <p> The handout laments uncertainty about the role of women in society. Tip #9 claims, &quot;You&#39;re growing up in a world that&#39;s still confused about how powerful it wants girls to be.&quot; But this is an effort geared toward girls in the U.S., and it is hard to see how our education system is systematically sending the message that girls ought not aspire as high as boys.</p> <p> After all, those same girls who supposedly are falling behind in elementary school&nbsp;<a href="">make up a majority of college students and earn a majority of bachelor&#39;s degrees</a>. They also benefit from programs created to encourage more girls to go into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. And the White House Council on Women and Girls&nbsp;<a href="">was established</a>&nbsp;in 2009 &quot;to ensure that each of the agencies in which they&#39;re charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support.&quot; There is no counterpart focused on men and boys.</p> <p> The bigger issue in the U.S. might be that women are unsure themselves of exactly how powerful they want to be in their careers. According to a&nbsp;<a href="">Pew study</a>&nbsp;released last March, only 37 percent of today&#39;s working moms and 22 percent of non-working moms prefer full time work. How about the men? According to the research, &quot;Fully 75 percent of fathers with children under age 18 say working full time is ideal for them.&quot;</p> <p> If women are given the choice and many prefer not to work full time, there are going to be fewer female bosses, regardless of whether girls are called bossy or not.</p> <p> We should be teaching leadership skills to girls and boys, not just prohibiting words. There are some helpful suggestions on the website, such as not making statements sound like questions, a habit of some women. Girls are encouraged not to apologize before speaking and not to be afraid to ask for help. Tips like these should be more of the focus of this effort.</p> <p> An important part of being a great leader is having the courage to stand up to what is popular. Yet the promotional video features celebrities, including Beyonc&eacute;, whose lyrics aren&#39;t always the most empowering to women. Perhaps she could make a pledge to only offer positive images of women in her songs and encourage other artists (like her husband Jay-Z) to do the same.</p> <p> Yet we can&#39;t -- and shouldn&#39;t try to -- rid the world of the word bossy. CEOs, presidents and other leaders didn&#39;t get to where they are by complaining about every slight. They got there by being good leaders, overcoming obstacles including name-calling and taking advantage of leadership opportunities. Sandberg and others should remember that.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the&nbsp;<a href="">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>&nbsp;and founder and president of the&nbsp;<a href="">Network of enlightened Women</a></em></p> <p> <strong>Follow Karin Agness on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessFri, 21 Mar 2014 11:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLet’s Really Talk About ObamaCare<p> This month, I received an email with the subject line &ldquo;How did the talk go?&rdquo; After a moment of panic that I was supposed to have a serious talk with someone and hadn&rsquo;t, I clicked to find an email from&nbsp;<a href="">Organizing for Action</a>. Addressing me as &ldquo;Friend,&rdquo; Organizing for Action wanted to check on me &mdash; making sure that I had found time to talk about health care with my friends and family over the holidays and asking me to report back on how the conversation went.</p> <p> Not only did Organizing for Action launch a&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Health Care for the Holidays&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;campaign with detailed instructions on how to have a talk with Millennials about enrolling in ObamaCare, but now it wants a status report on my progress?</p> <p> ObamaCare supporters are sounding a little desperate to get Millennials on board for ObamaCare. And the latest enrollment numbers show why. A week ago, the&nbsp;<a href="">Department of Health and Human Services released demographic data revealing</a>&nbsp;that only 24 percent of those who signed up for an exchange before Dec. 28 were between the ages of 18 and 34. Only 24 percent.</p> <p> But, according to a&nbsp;<a href="">White House briefing,</a>&nbsp;almost 40 percent of the seven million people officials hope will enroll in the first year must be between the ages of 18 and 35 for the marketplace exchanges to work properly. The system depends on younger, generally healthier people to bear more of the cost of coverage of older, generally sicker Americans.</p> <p> Only two jurisdictions, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, had youth enrollment of greater than 30 percent, while Arizona, Maine and West Virginia have a particularly long way to go with only 17 percent of enrollees in this demographic.</p> <p> <a href="">On a conference call with reporters</a>, Nancy Delew, the acting Health and Human Services secretary for planning and evaluation, said that the administration expects younger adults are just waiting until the end of the enrollment period to sign up.</p> <p> Yet a recent poll suggests that young people aren&rsquo;t just being lazy and putting off signing up for ObamaCare.<a href="">According to a&nbsp;national poll&nbsp;</a><a href="">conducted by Harvard&rsquo;s Institute of Politics</a>, 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds disapprove of ObamaCare.</p> <p> The Obama administration needs to linger on that for a moment: Young Americans disapprove of ObamaCare. And there is a good reason. Young Americans are being asked to pay too much for coverage that most won&rsquo;t need. That&rsquo;s a flaw that is difficult to hide, no matter how glitzy, high-tech or personal the marketing strategy.</p> <p> But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that the Obama administration is going to give up marketing to Millennials.</p> <p> Next month, for example, the administration is buying&nbsp;<a href="">ads to air during the Olympics</a>&nbsp;and Feb. 15 has been deemed&nbsp;<a href="">National Youth Enrollment Day</a>. Last year, the administration tried recruiting the NFL to promote ObamaCare, convened a meeting at the White House of celebrities to recruit them to sell ObamaCare and even convinced&nbsp;<em>People</em>&nbsp;magazine&rsquo;s &ldquo;Sexiest Man Alive&rdquo; to tweet about enrolling.</p> <p> Young people don&rsquo;t just need to be marketed to more. They should reject these overtures.</p> <p> The White House ought to take a break from talking to Millennials about the supposed benefits ObamaCare and instead do a little listening. Officials will likely hear the many reasons why young Americans are rejecting the government program. Millennials, for example, are wrestling with high levels of unemployment and underemployment. And they resent being stuck with increased premiums.</p> <p> Perhaps that&rsquo;s the conversation I should report back to Organizing for Action. The group may not want to hear it, but it&rsquo;s what many Millennials are actually saying about ObamaCare.</p> <p> By&nbsp;<a href="" title="Posts by Karin Agness">Karin Agness</a>&nbsp;///&nbsp;January 20, 2014</p> AgnessMon, 20 Jan 2014 12:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAgness • Christie facing probe for hurricane relief funds • Cavuto (01.13.2014) AgnessMon, 13 Jan 2014 20:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTreat Millennials as Adults in 2014<p> How can President Barack Obama regain his rock-star status with the Millennial generation? That&#39;s a question that weighs heavily on the White House after a&nbsp;<a href="">poll released this month</a>&nbsp;shows that Millennials are turning on Obama.</p> <p> Here&#39;s an idea that I bet isn&#39;t getting much play in the West Wing: How about in 2014, the President start treating Millennials like adults instead of adult children? Even better, he could support policies that will enable more Millennials to lead adult lives by getting jobs and becoming financially independent.</p> <p> Millennials are becoming a tougher sell for the President. According to a&nbsp;<a href="">national poll of 18-to-29-year-olds conducted by Harvard&#39;s Institute of Politics</a>, the President now has the lowest job approval rating, 41 percent, among this group since he took office. And 47 percent of those in this age cohort would recall the President if that were possible.</p> <p> The President&#39;s personal popularity and job approval haven&#39;t just suffered -- a majority, 57 percent, of 18-to-29-year-olds disapprove of ObamaCare, the President&#39;s signature legislative achievement. Less than three out of 10 of uninsured Millennials said they would definitely or probably enroll in insurance through an exchange when they are eligible. By more than a two to one margin, Millennials believe that the quality of their care will get worse under ObamaCare and 51 percent believe their cost of care will increase.</p> <p> This isn&#39;t just a major political problem. It has serious policy implications. The Obama Administration needs young people to sign up--in fact, according to a&nbsp;<a href="">White House briefing this summer</a>, almost 40 percent of the seven million people they hope will enroll in the first year must be between the ages of 18 and 35 for the marketplace exchanges to work.</p> <p> What is the Administration&#39;s response to studies, reports and polls showing the lack of enrollment of Millennials and their declining support for the law? More and more marketing efforts and ad campaigns.</p> <p> The Obama Administration has convened a meeting of celebrities, reached out to the NFL, held wine-and-cheese parties for moms and even produced a&nbsp;<a href="">&quot;Health Care for the Holidays&quot;</a>&nbsp;website targeting parents to try to convince them to sell ObamaCare to their kids during the holidays.</p> <p> The President&#39;s team is putting on a full-court press to try to get young people to sign up for ObamaCare and doing it in a way that treats these young adults like simple-minded children.</p> <p> Take the latest marketing move that&#39;s making headlines: Pajama Boy.</p> <p> <a href="">The President&#39;s Organizing for Action tweeted out a picture</a>&nbsp;of a young man in a red and green checkered pajama onesie holding hot chocolate with the message, &quot;Wear pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance.&quot;</p> <p> This is how the Administration views young people -- as perpetual children. To the Administration, young people are sitting around in onesie pajamas in their parents&#39; basement just waiting for their parents to explain to them how the world works.</p> <p> Sadly, Pajama Boy is the world the President is creating for too many Millennials. Millions of young adults are living at home because they can&#39;t find jobs. According to&nbsp;<a href="">Generation Opportunity</a>, the effective unemployment rate, which is adjusted to include those who have quit looking for work, for 18- to-29-year-olds is 15.9 percent for November 2013. With ObamaCare discouraging the creation of full-time jobs, it seems unlikely that many of those currently honing their Xbox skills will be starting their careers anytime soon. ObamaCare also pushes Millennials health care costs up by shifting costs onto younger, healthier enrollees. And then there are Social Security costs, Medicare costs and student loans.</p> <p> But sitting around in pajamas is not what young people want, which I suspect is why the President is losing the support of young people. Obama&#39;s 2013 message to young people hasn&#39;t been about working hard, taking on more responsibility and becoming independent. Instead, Obama&#39;s message is simple -- never grow up; let us take care of you. This message isn&#39;t resonating. To win over young people in 2014, the Obama Administration should rethink how it can implement policies that actually lead to more job opportunities so that Millennials can get out of their pjs and make their mark on the world.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the<a href="">&nbsp;Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>&nbsp;and founder and president of the&nbsp;<a href="">Network of enlightened Women</a>. Follow her on twitter&nbsp;<a href="">@KarinAgness</a>.</em></p> AgnessThu, 26 Dec 2013 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAgness • Will the HHS' ObamaCare courting tactics work with Millennials? • On The Record (12.17.13) AgnessTue, 17 Dec 2013 20:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama Wants To Insert The Individual Mandate Into Millennials' Thanksgiving<p> While most Millennials prepare for a day of turkey, football, and, of course, awkward personal questions from relatives, President Barack Obama has figured out a way to add a new complication to our Thanksgiving dinners. How?</p> <p> The President&rsquo;s Organizing for Action has launched a&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Health Care for the Holidays&rdquo; campaign</a>, complete with a video in which the parents tell their Millennial child that they have something really important to talk to him about. What might that be? The adult child imagines his parents springing on him that they are going to move in with him, have joined a cult, know what he did on a trip to Vegas or even that they got matching tattoos.</p> <p> Turns out they want to talk to him about buying health insurance.</p> <p> This campaign is just the latest desperate attempt by ObamaCare supporters to try to hector young Americans into the exchanges. This year, the Administration convened a meeting of celebrities, reached out to the NFL and held wine-and-cheese parties for moms to try to recruit these groups to sell ObamaCare. Now ObamaCare supporters are trying to invade a holiday.</p> <p> The Administration seems to think the reason why Millennials are hesitant to sign up is because of a lack of persuasive messaging. But the problem isn&rsquo;t with the Administration&rsquo;s sales tactics&mdash;the problem is with the product itself. ObamaCare&rsquo;s coverage mandates and pricing restrictions mean that healthy young Americans will be overpaying for the insurance they buy. In fact, a&nbsp;<a href="">study from The National Center for Public Policy Research</a>&nbsp;found that millions of single people ages 18-34 without children would be at least $500 better off in 2014 if they opted out of insurance and paid the penalty.</p> <p> Not surprisingly, the early enrollment data shows that young Americans aren&rsquo;t rushing to buy their ObamaCare policy.&nbsp;<a href="">White House analysis</a>&nbsp;suggests that&nbsp;2.7 million of the 7 million people they hope will enroll in the first year must be between the ages of 18 and 35 for the marketplace exchanges to work. That&rsquo;s almost 40 percent. But&nbsp;<a href="">early reports indicate</a>&nbsp;that enrollees were generally older people with medical problems. For example, in Kentucky,&nbsp;<a href="">almost 3 out of 4 enrollees were over 35</a>.</p> <p> Sadly, the Administration doesn&rsquo;t seem to have figured out that just talking about ObamaCare differently isn&rsquo;t going to make it more attractive to young people. On the&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Health Care for the Holidays&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;webpage, there&rsquo;s a packing list, tips on how to plan the talk, suggestions for starting the conversation about the need to buy health insurance and even an option to pledge to have the talk. As to the tips, the website encourages parents to find a quiet place, start the talk early and be honest about their feelings.</p> <p> This latest campaign is more evidence that liberals view young people less as adults and more as malleable children.</p> <p> Take the Colorado ObamaCare&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s Get Physical&rdquo; advertisement</a>&nbsp;featuring a cute couple and birth control pills with the caption, &ldquo;OMG, he&rsquo;s hot! Let&rsquo;s hope he&rsquo;s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.&rdquo; Or the&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Brosurance&rdquo; advertisement</a>&nbsp;that includes a young man doing a keg stand with the caption, &ldquo;Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier. Don&rsquo;t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s insulting that these ObamaCare advocates presume that the way to connect with young people is by referencing sex and alcohol.</p> <p> Though it isn&rsquo;t just these messaging tactics that are insulting. The entire government-knows-best attitude present in these ObamaCare marketing efforts is an insult to American citizens. Mr. President, please keep your individual mandate out of my Thanksgiving dinner!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at Independent Women&#39;s Forum and founder of the Network of enlightened Women.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessThu, 28 Nov 2013 23:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Right Stuff on Campus <p> It&rsquo;s easy for conservatives to write off college campuses as impenetrable liberal strongholds and to regard women students in particular as a lost cause. But three efforts to reach young women with conservative ideas &mdash; a magazine, a speaker recruitment, and a campus-based organization &mdash; demonstrate that conservatives can make some headway.</p> <p> Conservatives should be emboldened by these successes and use the lessons from them to develop more ways to influence the experience of college students today. There is plenty of room for more victories in the years to come.</p> <p> Take the popular women&rsquo;s magazines that litter the typical campus.</p> <p> Walk into any dorm and you&rsquo;re likely to find women&rsquo;s magazines lying around in the common areas &mdash; magazines such as&nbsp;<em><a href="">Cosmopolitan</a></em>, whose latest issue has the following headlines splashed across its cover around a heavily airbrushed photograph of an actress squeezed into a minidress: &ldquo;21 Mind Blowing Sex Moves,&rdquo; &ldquo;Cosmo&rsquo;s Best Birth Control Tips Ever,&rdquo; &ldquo;263 Hot Looks and Sexy Hair Secrets,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Crazy Sex Confessions!&rdquo;</p> <p> But that&rsquo;s not all that&rsquo;s in these magazines. After the 2012 election, Instapundit&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="">Glenn Reynolds noted</a>&nbsp;that popular women&rsquo;s magazines often include &ldquo;soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft &mdash; or sometimes not-so-soft &mdash; hits on Republicans.&rdquo; He argued that one of the best ways Republican donors could use their money is to buy women&rsquo;s magazines and women&rsquo;s websites in an effort to reach female &ldquo;low-information voters&rdquo; &mdash; &ldquo;women who don&rsquo;t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who&rsquo;s mean and who&rsquo;s nice, who&rsquo;s cool and who&rsquo;s uncool.&rdquo; A recent effort shows he might be onto something.</p> <p> Realizing the need for a women&rsquo;s magazine that provides an alternative version of female empowerment, some young women in New York City launched&nbsp;<em><a href="">Verily Magazine</a></em>.&nbsp;<em>Verily</em>&nbsp;is self-described as featuring &ldquo;fashion that is worthy of the woman, relationship articles that go beyond sex tips, and strong cultural and lifestyle journalism.&nbsp;<em>Verily</em>&nbsp;is the modern woman&rsquo;s go-to guide on how to lead a fulfilling, integrated life.&rdquo;</p> <p> In contrast to&nbsp;<em>Cosmopolitan</em>, the August/September issue of&nbsp;<em>Verily</em>&nbsp;includes the following headlines on its cover: &ldquo;Speak His Language: Bridging the Communication Divide,&rdquo; &ldquo;Are Elite Degrees Wasted on Stay-at-Home Moms?&rdquo; and &ldquo;Juice Cleanses: Fact vs. Fiction.&rdquo;</p> <p> How refreshing.</p> <p> <em>Verily</em>&nbsp;hasn&rsquo;t made it to convenience-store racks, but it&rsquo;s great to see it competing in the arena. It is an uphill battle, but a serious effort to launch a women&rsquo;s magazine promoting more culturally conservative ideas to a target audience of women ages 18&ndash;35 is something to celebrate.</p> <p> Meanwhile, on the campus political front, we aren&rsquo;t just competing but are winning some important battles. Just this month the&nbsp;<a href="">student government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill</a>&nbsp;cut the proposed budget of the College Republicans, which included funding for a visit to campus by Katie Pavlich, a twentysomething conservative woman who is already a news editor at, a&nbsp;<em>New York Times&nbsp;</em>bestselling author, and a Fox News contributor.</p> <p> Undeterred by claims that she and another proposed conservative woman speaker were &ldquo;non-intellectual,&rdquo; UNC students launched an online fundraising campaign, and conservatives stepped up &mdash; the goal was met&nbsp;<a href="">within hours</a>. Pavlich will be speaking at UNC.</p> <p> Students, regardless of their political beliefs, benefit from the chance to hear outside conservative speakers on campus. Specifically, speakers like Pavlich serve an important role of challenging the dominance on campus of women&rsquo;s-studies programs and women&rsquo;s centers promoting a liberal feminist agenda.</p> <p> Students inspired by Pavlich and other conservative speakers are fortunate to have the opportunity to join a growing number of conservative groups on campus.</p> <p> For years, students who wanted to belong to a women&rsquo;s organization could join chapters of the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, or various other feminist groups. Students open to conservative ideas simply didn&rsquo;t have any options. That&rsquo;s why I founded the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), an organization for conservative university women. Started as a book club at the University of Virginia to provide an alternative to campus feminism, NeW now has expanded to over 20 campuses nationwide. In NeW, students have the opportunity to read books often left off college syllabi, become part of a larger network of conservative college women, and learn how to speak out for conservative principles on campus.</p> <p> Will a magazine, some campus speakers, and a campus-based organization turn a majority of college women into conservatives in time for the 2014 elections? No. But are these efforts strengthening the resolve of women who have conservative values? Yes. Are they getting women to question staunchly held views on campus? Yes. And are they influencing the discussion on campus? Yes.</p> <p> To have a bigger impact, we need to play the long game, and not cede the next generation of women to the Left. Conservatives have a lot of work to do, but these are victories we should celebrate.</p> <p> <em>&mdash; Karin Agness is the founder and president of the&nbsp;</em><a href=""><em>Network of enlightened&nbsp;Women</em></a><em>&nbsp;(NeW) and&nbsp;a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.&nbsp;Follow her on Twitter @KarinAgness.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessMon, 16 Sep 2013 19:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUNC-CH student committee drastically cuts College Republicans funding, stifling diversity <p> Before reaching age 30, Katie Pavlich is already a news editor, a New York Times bestselling author and a Fox News contributor. But during a debate over whether to give College Republicans at UNC-Chapel Hill money to bring her and Ann McElhinny, a filmmaker and investigative journalist, to campus, student government leaders argued against the funding, calling these women &ldquo;non-intellectual,&rdquo; &ldquo;non-academic&rdquo; and &ldquo;unreliable,&rdquo; according to The Daily Caller.</p> <p> The College Republicans asked for $8,000, which was cut to $3,000. This is less than the $5,100 given to the Siren Womyn Empowerment Magazine, a feminist organization, and the $4,000 for the UNControllables, an anarchist group. It&rsquo;s also far less than the $12,000-plus the College Republicans received last year.</p> <p> Some in student government might find benign ways to explain the budget process, but it will be difficult to explain away the student leaders who called McElhinny and Pavlich &ldquo;non-intellectual.&rdquo; If Pavlich were a liberal journalist, MSNBC contributor and New York Times bestselling author of a book on climate change, for example, it is difficult to imagine student government leaders using the term.</p> <p> The budget cut wasn&rsquo;t the end of the story. Realizing the need to get conservatives on campus, UNC students successfully launched an online fundraising campaign and raised enough money to pay for the speakers.</p> <p> But it also should be a wake-up call for conservatives around the country. We must not concede campuses. We must encourage greater intellectual diversity on campus today and support the outside groups and individuals who are working to bring about a change in campus culture.</p> <p> Conservatives have seen study after study on the heavy skew of campus staff. Campus Reform, which bills itself as a higher education watchdog that &ldquo;exposes bias, abuse, waste and fraud on the nation&rsquo;s college campuses,&rdquo; reported that 96 percent of the faculty and staff members at Ivy League colleges who contributed to the 2012 presidential race donated to President Barack Obama.</p> <p> The Daily Princetonian reported that of the 157 university faculty and staff members who donated directly to the presidential candidates, only two of those donations went to Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama received over $169,000; Romney, $1,901.</p> <p> We also see a disparity in the people universities invite to speak to students. The annual commencement speakers survey by the Young America&rsquo;s Foundation revealed that 62 liberals and 17 conservatives were scheduled to speak at the 2013 commencement ceremonies for the top 100 universities as listed by U.S. News and World Report.</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" noshade="noshade" size="2" width="100%" /> </div> <p> <strong>We cannot count on universities to provide intellectual diversity on campus.</strong>&nbsp;That makes outside opportunities &ndash; such as listening to speakers and participating in club activities &ndash; critical.</p> <p> The good news is that students themselves are eager for such opportunities. Groups for conservative students like the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) are growing. Students are looking for a chance to discuss ideas left off college syllabi.</p> <p> In fact, conservative campus organizations that bring in voices not often heard in the classroom are doing universities a service. Even those who disagree with a conservative speaker can learn something by listening to the speech, evaluating the arguments and trying to come up with tough questions.</p> <p> Consider the case of Katie Pavlich. Young women on campus, regardless of their ideologies, should be inspired by her story. Here&rsquo;s a young woman who, after graduating from college, started writing for an online publication. As a result of her insightful news coverage, she was invited on some TV shows to discuss her analysis. Her hard work led to the opportunity for her to write a book, and that book ended up on the New York Times bestsellers list. With all of the talk of the need for more role models for women, shouldn&rsquo;t coeds be encouraged to listen and learn from Pavlich&rsquo;s experience?</p> <p> Promoting intellectual diversity on campus shouldn&rsquo;t be just a conservative cause: Hearing a wide array of ideas benefits students and the learning environment overall. Yet conservatives must make this cause their own and support the students and organizations on and off campus who are working to give conservative views a fair hearing.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessMon, 9 Sep 2013 19:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum