Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Economic Violence Doesn't Help The Cause Of #MeToo Or Equal Pay<p> Hollywood actresses speaking out probably stopped more women from becoming Harvey Weinstein&#39;s victims. They also sparked the important #MeToo conversation.</p> <p> This movement has exposed and taken down industry titans for sexual harassment and sexual assault. And it has served as a catalyst for reevaluating how women are treated in the workplace. We all agree that women shouldn&rsquo;t face physical violence at work, whether sexually motivated or not.</p> <p> But just months after Weinstein&rsquo;s victims started a national discussion on sexual harassment and sexual assault, the conversation is being diverted to a different issue.</p> <p> As often happens with popular causes, opportunists are now piggybacking on the #MeToo campaign to exploit it for their own purpose. What started as women (and some men) coming together to share their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault at the hands of powerful men and calling for much-needed change is being manipulated into a movement that equates pay differences with physical violence. In a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">guest column for&nbsp;<em>The Hollywood Reporter</em></a>,&nbsp;Tarana Burke,&nbsp;Ai-jen Poo&nbsp;and&nbsp;Monica Ramirez, three activists who attended the Golden Globes with actresses, wrote:</p> <p> The Golden Globes felt historic. Because it felt that perhaps gender equity might be within reach after decades of work to bend the arc toward justice, but we were quickly reminded that violence comes in many forms, from physical and the emotional to the economic. While Hollywood is trying to address its problem with sexual violence, we want to underscore that the failure to pay women fairly is another way of exacting violence on women workers by devaluing their worth and contributions.</p> <p> These activists are equating the idea that women get paid less than men for the same work with &ldquo;sexual violence&rdquo; by referring to it as economic violence (hat tip to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Emily Jashinsky</a>). But these are very different things, particularly when one understands the misleading analysis that has been used to convince many women they face widespread pay discrimination at work.</p> <p> Those who argue that women make less on the dollar that men earn frequently point to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;data as evidence. But the statistic at issue (<a href="" target="_blank">83 cents here</a>) measures the median earnings of women and men in full-time wage and salary jobs. It does not compare two similarly situated people. For example, it doesn&rsquo;t factor in many of the choices that women and men make&mdash;including education, years of experience and hours worked&mdash;that influence earnings.</p> <p> In&nbsp;<em>The Hollywood Reporter</em>&nbsp;op-ed, the three activists write: &ldquo;The average&nbsp;wage gap for women overall is 80 cents to the dollar,&rdquo; citing a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">National Women&rsquo;s Law Center Fact Sheet</a>&nbsp;that also compares median earnings of full-time workers.</p> <p> Although the limitations of using this comparison as evidence of rampant discrimination has been debunked, some on the political left continue to cite it as a justification for more workplace regulations and oversight. There is a downside to more regulations, which impacts women. Greater regulations impose costs on businesses, the same businesses that women start and hire women.</p> <p> Any actual or perceived pay inequality isn&rsquo;t the same thing as physical violence. Equating the two belittles victims of violence. And it hurts the momentum to root out sexual assault by turning a cause we can all rally behind into a partisan issue.</p> AgnessTue, 16 Jan 2018 15:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Seven Most Ridiculous College Protests Of 2017<p> There has been no shortage of political protests this year. And especially on college campuses. Here are the top seven most ridiculous college protests of 2017.</p> <p> <strong>7. University Of Pennsylvania Graduate Students Stage A &ldquo;Work-In&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> In past years, students have organized a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">&ldquo;shit-in&rdquo;</a>and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">&ldquo;cry in.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;This year, graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">protested the Republican tax bill in Congress</a>&nbsp;with a &ldquo;work-in.&rdquo; Participants were called on to sit outside the Offices of the President and Provost and &ldquo;read, or grade, or do any kind of work to demonstrate how vital our work is the Penn community.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>6. University Of Cincinnati Students Protest The &ldquo;State Of The Nation&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> College students today point to a myriad of school administration or national policies as &ldquo;triggers&rdquo; to protest. But some University of Cincinnati students seemed to run out of identifiable policies. So they decided to just showcase their general unhappiness by protesting the &ldquo;state of the nation,&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">as reported by&nbsp;<em>The College Fix</em></a>. It was a silent protest,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">according to one student</a>, so that participants could &ldquo;force people to witness our experiences without creating room for debate or differing opinions.&rdquo;</p> <p> <fbs-ad ad-id="article-0-inread" position="inread" progressive=""></fbs-ad>Shutting down debate and diversity of opinion is the opposite of what should be happening on campuses.</p> <p> <strong>5. University Of California, Berkeley Students Protest Mid-Term Exam</strong></p> <p> At the University of California, Berkeley, four students demanded a take-home essay rather than an in-class exam,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">as reported by&nbsp;<em>Campus Reform</em></a><em>.&nbsp;</em>These students disrupted the exam. When the professor offered to talk with the students outside the classroom, the protesters decided to complain to the Department of Ethnic Studies instead.</p> <p> <strong>4. Reed College Students Stage A Sit-In For Divestment</strong></p> <p> Reed College students&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">staged a sit-in</a>&nbsp;in the administrative building calling for divestment from Wells Fargo &ldquo;because of the company&rsquo;s ties to private prisons, &lsquo;police militarization&rsquo; and the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.&rdquo; The students&rsquo; demands were rejected&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">in a statement</a>that recognized that, &ldquo;Regardless of any private beliefs held by the members of the Investment Committee, Reed College operates according to a long-standing principle (stated in its Investment Responsibility Policy) of eschewing any political or social justice positions that do not directly affect the fulfillment of its educational mission.&quot;</p> <p> <strong>3. Brown University Alumni And Students Protest Female CEO Receiving Honorary Degree</strong></p> <p> With a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"> petition</a>, Brown University community members called for the University to change course and not award an honorary degree to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi because she &ldquo;is not only an advisor to Donald J. Trump, she makes $29.8 million a year selling junk food produced with links to child labor, human rights abuses, and deforestation.&rdquo; More specifically, the organizers complained that (1) as a member of President Donald Trump&rsquo;s Strategy and Policy Forum of business leaders, Nooyi is &ldquo;complicit in the current administration&rsquo;s racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and anti-environment agenda;&rdquo; (2) PepsiCo &ldquo;appropriates social movements;&rdquo; and (3) &ldquo;PepsiCo&rsquo;s supply chain is riddled with irresponsibly produced palm oil.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>2. University Of Wisconsin-Madison Students Organize A &ldquo;Bonerfide Penis Arts Fest&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> The Cocks Not Glocks student group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison protested Young Americans for Freedom hosting Katie Pavlich to speak on the Second Amendment with a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;Bonerfide Penis Arts Fest.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;The protest entailed signs of &ldquo;dick art that has ZERO literary, artistic, political, educational, or scientific value.&rdquo; Participants were also encouraged to tie a dildo to their backpack.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Facebook event page</a>&nbsp;included a picture of a protester holding a &ldquo;Time to be hard-on gun culture&rdquo; sign with a penis drawing and read:</p> <p> <fbs-ad position="inread" progressive=""></fbs-ad>Bring your favorite art supplies! We will provide a giant roll of craft paper and a megaphone. Make crappy dick art with us! Write dumb dick poems! Give us bad anatomy lessons! Facts about sexuality and sexual assault don&rsquo;t matter to Katie or YAF, so they don&rsquo;t matter to us either. Get up and present your work and we&rsquo;ll give you a free new protest dildo from Good Vibrations.</p> <p> <strong>1. Arizona State University Students Protest For Credit</strong></p> <p> Students enrolled in a &ldquo;Global Politics of Human Rights&rdquo;&nbsp;class were&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">given the option</a>&nbsp;of a group project instead of a final paper. No surprise that they chose the group project. They decided to organize a protest, forming a human &ldquo;wall against hate!&rdquo; with a political agenda.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">As reported by the&nbsp;<em>Arizona Republic</em></a>, &ldquo;[t]he focus was opposition to many of President Donald Trump&rsquo;s policies, with deportations and a call for a new border wall the major focuses.&rdquo;</p> <p> Students were given credit for protesting Trump&rsquo;s policies. That sums up the state of affairs on campus today.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessSun, 31 Dec 2017 10:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservative Women Are Women Too<p> In the latest attack on Republican women, comedian Chelsea Handler&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">tweeted</a>&nbsp;out a video to promote her Netflix show mocking White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders&rsquo; looks. The video spoofs Sanders providing a make-up tutorial, and includes a joke that President Donald Trump asked a Sephora employee to turn Sanders into a woman.</p> <p> This mean-spirited ad is from the same comedian who holds herself up as a champion of the women&rsquo;s empowerment movement, for example, by leading the Women&rsquo;s March in Park City, Utah last January.</p> <p> Handler could have criticized Sanders&rsquo; politics or policy positions. Instead, she promoted an attack on the White House Press Secretary suggesting she is not a woman. The attack shows how liberals often see conservative women&mdash;as not fully developed women at all.</p> <p> <fbs-ad ad-id="article-0-inread" position="inread" progressive=""></fbs-ad>Handler&rsquo;s approach to confronting a woman with right-of-center views isn&rsquo;t an outlier. In October, Democrat Steve Krieg used a similar tactic when attacking Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York in his effort to unseat her:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> But Elise, I recognize her, I&rsquo;m not going to say as a little girl, I recognize her as a child. And it has nothing to do with her age. I see her as a child because she&rsquo;s a child. She thinks like a child. She has people set things up for her, she has people put their words in her mouth and she happily repeats them. And I think recognizing her, I would go after her in that way. And I apologize if that&rsquo;s mean but that&rsquo;s how I would do it.</p> <p> Stefanik is a Harvard graduate and the youngest woman elected to Congress. But to her Democrat challenger, she is a child. Why? Because she holds Republican views. And thus, to this Democrat, there is no way she is a fully formed adult woman capable of choosing her own positions.</p> <p> Prominent figures on the Left get a free pass with this line of reasoning, even the most powerful female voices.</p> <p> Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for example,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">claimed that women who voted against her were bullied by men.</a>&nbsp;And Former First Lady Michelle Obama&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">told an audience that</a>, &ldquo;Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.&rdquo;</p> <p> Conservative women are used to facing criticism that includes claims they aren&rsquo;t educated or their minds aren&rsquo;t fully formed.</p> <p> Such views imply that women aren&rsquo;t capable of evaluating policy positions. But women can and do choose to be conservative and vote Republican. They do so for a number of reasons and based on a number of issues. Whether it is advocating for the repeal of regulations to boost the economy or health care reform, women support conservative public policies because they believe such plans are best for America. And they choose their policy views independently.</p> <p> It is time for modern-day self-proclaimed feminists to recognize that part of the success of the true feminist movement in this country is that women are empowered to think for themselves&mdash;and that means that they won&rsquo;t all think or vote the same.</p> <p> Disagreement is a sign of women&rsquo;s advancement. As much as Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s supporters viewed her defeat as a failure of feminism, in many ways it was a sign of how far we have come. Women vote based on issues, not on whether the candidate is male or female.</p> <p> Conservative women aren&rsquo;t men dressed up as women. Conservative women aren&rsquo;t children. Conservative women aren&rsquo;t victims bullied into voting a certain way by men.</p> <p> Conservative women are women too.</p> AgnessMon, 18 Dec 2017 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Conservative Women Are Persisting<p> Former First Lady Michelle Obama <a href="">told an audience this week that</a>, &ldquo;Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.&rdquo; This follows remarks from Hillary Clinton herself similarly <a href="">criticizing women</a> who voted against her as being weak.</p> <p> It is as if these former First Ladies believe no woman could ever choose to oppose a liberal politician if the politician happens to be a woman. And that if a woman decides to be conservative, she doesn&rsquo;t count as a woman any longer. The hashtag #ShePersisted doesn&rsquo;t seem to apply when it&rsquo;s conservative women standing up or liberal women doing the silencing. Unfortunately, this attitude is often widespread on American college campuses.</p> <p> In partnership with <em>Campus Reform</em>, the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) (see affiliation in my bio) asked students at George Washington University <a href=";">on video</a> what they thought about conservative women and how conservative women are treated on campus. When asked &ldquo;what would you say about conservative women,&rdquo; students replied:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;Not many nice things&hellip;needing more enlightenment.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;The conservative women are sortof looked at as anti-women.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;Personally, I think they&rsquo;re just like not educated or maybe hiding something. I don&rsquo;t know, there has to be something wrong.&rdquo;</p> <p> One student said of the campus response to conservative women, &ldquo;This kindof sucks, I feel like if you are a conservative woman&hellip;people don&rsquo;t really respect you as much and they are kindof harsh to you.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yes, it does &ldquo;suck.&rdquo; This is why NeW launched a <a href="">#ShesConservative social media campaign</a>&nbsp;this month as part of which college women wearing &ldquo;This Is What A Conservative Looks Like&rdquo; shirts submit photos and essays and then share them on social media with the hashtag #ShesConservative. These women are standing up proudly for conservatism, showing that conservative women exist on campus and encouraging more young women to speak out as conservatives.</p> <p> In her essay, Danielle Root, a senior at the University of South Florida, wrote:</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not going to lie; being a conservative woman in this day and age is a very tough thing. You have to constantly put up with the interrogation from your &lsquo;fellow&rsquo; students as to why you think the way you do; like you have a disease of some sort.</p> <p> Andrea Maldonado, a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University, wrote:</p> <p> Stepping into the highly liberal climate of my college campus freshman year I was presented with some challenges that I never expected. As a conservative woman, I quickly realized that my opinion was automatically regarded as incorrect or at the very least uninformed. From professors and their snide in-class comments to the brazen judgements of other students, it was made very clear that a conservative opinion was not welcome. It blew my mind that a community full of such diverse and intellectual individuals could only support a limited range of views.</p> <p> Danielle and Andrea are right. It&rsquo;s tough being a conservative woman in some circles. It&rsquo;s time for the campus environment to change so that fewer women have an experience like Danielle or Andrea.</p> <p> That change starts with feminism. In her essay, Emily Hall, a senior at Harvard University, explains why feminism is partly to blame:</p> <p> I am conservative. I am a woman. I am an undergraduate student at Harvard. These three parts of my identity are not in conflict with one another; yet, their intersection too often is questioned by my peers. It seems as though the numerous intelligent, conservative, female role models go unnoticed by most women on campus today. Instead, feminism has devolved into a mass of identity politics and an intersectionality that feels like a contest to see who suffers from the most victimhood. That&rsquo;s not my feminism&mdash;it&rsquo;s not what I believe in and it&rsquo;s not what my many role models believe in. I&rsquo;m proud to instead be part of a movement that can lift up women without driving down men, a movement that celebrates the accomplishments of incredible, trailblazing women like Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Carly Fiorina, and Nikki Haley.</p> <p> #ShesConservative is just a snapshot of that movement. It&rsquo;s a way to show that we are proud of being conservative and we aren&rsquo;t afraid to stand up to the liberal orthodoxy on college campuses and in young professional circles across the country.</p> <p> Obama and Clinton need to learn that they don&rsquo;t have a monopoly on the women&rsquo;s empowerment movement. Many women self-identify as conservative specifically because they believe conservative policies are better for women. These are the women who are truly persisting in today&rsquo;s political climate.</p> AgnessFri, 29 Sep 2017 06:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Clinton Shouldn't Blame Women For Her Election Loss<p> Hillary Clinton was the first woman to win one of the major party nominations for President of the United States. There are many positive lessons she could teach women candidates and women who aspire to run&mdash;it&rsquo;s too bad that she is instead spending her time accusing women voters of being weak, and effectively discouraging other women from trying to run.</p> <p> In her new book out this month, <em>What Happened</em>, Clinton casts blame on a variety of different people and groups for her loss, including women. In a <a href="">NPR book publicity interview</a>, Clinton recounted a conversation she had with Sheryl Sandberg, author of <em>Lean In </em>and someone at the forefront of the discussions about women in leadership:</p> <p> And Sheryl ended this really sobering conversation by saying that women will have no empathy for you, because they will be under tremendous pressure&mdash;and I&rsquo;m talking principally about white women&mdash;they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for &ldquo;the girl.&rdquo; And we saw a lot of that during the primaries from Sanders supporters, really quite vile attacks online against women who spoke out for me, as I say, one of my biggest support groups, Pantsuit Nation, literally had to become a private site because there was so much sexism directed their way.</p> <p> I don&rsquo;t know who these women are that Clinton believes are being cajoled by the men in their lives into voting against her. The women I know vote for the person they think is the best candidate. Sometimes that is the same person as their significant other, sometimes it&rsquo;s not.</p> <p> Clinton set herself up as a trailblazer throughout her presidential campaign, with constant talk of breaking down glass ceilings and winning the highest office in the land on behalf of women. Yet Clinton herself has a pretty dismal view of women, suggesting that women don&rsquo;t&mdash;and can&rsquo;t&mdash;evaluate the policy positions of candidates and then make the decision of who to vote for on their own.</p> <p> Clinton isn&rsquo;t the first feminist to suggest that women are still, nearly 100 years after winning the right to vote, being used by men at the ballot box. <a href="">Gloria Steinem gave a similar explanation</a> for why young women were choosing Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary season in a Bill Maher interview: &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re young, you&rsquo;re thinking: &lsquo;Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s profoundly insulting to the young women who supported Sanders based on the principled belief that he would have made the best candidate and was superior to Clinton, as a true outsider and advocate of radically transforming the American economy. Frankly, it&rsquo;s the kind of sexism and belittlement of women that feminists are supposed to resoundingly reject.</p> <p> Early feminists fought so that women could vote for the best candidate&mdash;regardless of whether that candidate was a man or a woman. That&rsquo;s a very different vision than Clinton&rsquo;s version of feminism&mdash;that women should always vote for the female candidate no matter what the voter thinks of her positions.</p> <p> Maybe instead of trying to explain why she lost as a female candidate, Clinton might look around and learn from some successful female candidates. A <a href=""><em>New York Times </em>piece</a> headlined, <em>The World&rsquo;s Most Powerful Woman Won&rsquo;t Call Herself a Feminist, </em>describes how Angela Merkel, Germany&rsquo;s Chancellor, has taken a different approach as a female candidate than Clinton:</p> <p> Angela Merkel has spent her political career playing down her gender: shunning a feminist label, offering modesty, caution and diligent preparation as an implicit contrast to male swagger. The chancellor seems to be coasting to re-election next Sunday as the most powerful woman in the world.</p> <p> Not emphasizing the &ldquo;she&rdquo; part of her candidacy might have worked for Clinton or it might not have, but it&rsquo;s refreshing to see a politician whose instinct isn&rsquo;t to focus on gender identity first and blame sexism for every stumble.</p> <p> While it would be tough for Clinton to celebrate women voting for someone else, in some ways, it is a victory for women that women aren&rsquo;t a monolithic voting bloc, but instead vote for a variety of candidates based on a variety issues.</p> <p> Ultimately, part of competing with men is learning how to handle both victory and defeat. Clinton&rsquo;s post-election defeat blame game shows that&rsquo;s a lesson that at least one woman hasn&rsquo;t mastered.</p> AgnessMon, 18 Sep 2017 10:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIvanka Backs White House Plan To Pause Obama-Era Equal Pay Reporting<p> The White House announced this week that it won&rsquo;t move forward with an Obama Administration rule requiring businesses to collect and report employee pay data by sex, race and ethnicity.</p> <p> The <em>Wall Street Journal <a href="">reports</a></em> that Neomi Rao, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s enormously burdensome. We don&rsquo;t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination.&rdquo;</p> <p> I have no doubt that the people working at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs want women to be paid equally to men. The difference between these Trump Administration officials and their Obama Administration predecessors is that the current officials are paying more attention to the costs as well as benefits of any rule. Yes, this rule would create more information for the government, though it&rsquo;s unlikely it would capture what role discrimination plays in workplaces.</p> <p> But it would also impose major costs. Under this rule, private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees would be required to submit pay data by sex, race and ethnicity across 12 job categories. This rule doesn&rsquo;t just require checking another box or two, but imposes real paperwork and hours costs on employers. The <a href="">Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimated</a> that collecting and reporting this data would impose an annual burden of more than 1.8 million hours on filers, costing more than $53 million. That&rsquo;s money that companies won&rsquo;t be able to use for hiring workers, raising pay or expanding operations.</p> <p> Some will argue that&rsquo;s a small price to pay if it helps ensure equal pay for women. Unfortunately, the idea that this would help that cause is a stretch. After all, these data points don&rsquo;t paint the entire picture of compensation packages or pay decisions. It is an imperfect comparison. Compensation packages often include more than just pay&mdash;health care benefits, 401(k) contributions, flexible hours and more can be part of compensation discussions. Worse, this requirement could make our workplaces more rigid, with employers less willing to provide flexibility as part of job packages for fear of how that might look on reports.</p> <p> Employers consider many factors beyond just title and hours worked in deciding pay&mdash;most obviously performance. That isn&rsquo;t collected in the data. Just like with the wage gap data, which simply compares the wages of full-time working women and men, these numbers won&rsquo;t reflect significant differences in work choices that individuals make. The wage gap data, for example, does not factor in education, years of experience and hours worked, all of which influence earnings.</p> <p> You can be for equal pay and against this regulatory burden. I am. And so is Ivanka Trump</p> <p> Trump is self-described on Twitter as an &ldquo;advocate for the education &amp; empowerment of women &amp; girls.&rdquo; She regularly weighs in on issues related to women and girls, including discussions about sex-based discrimination in workers&rsquo; pay.</p> <p> In April, the First Daughter <a href="">tweeted</a> for Equal Pay Day, a fictitious holiday promoted by feminists that supposedly marks how much longer women must work in the next year to catch up to what men earned in the previous year:</p> <p> <a href="">#EqualPayDay</a>&nbsp;is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p> &mdash; @IvankaTrump</p> <p> In her prime-time <a href="">speech at the Republican National Convention</a>, she also addressed equal pay:</p> <p> As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I&#39;m far more fortunate than most. American families need relief. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties, they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.</p> <p> He will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right along side of him.</p> <p> Yet, with this announcement, Trump said in a statement <a href="">as reported by</a> the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</p> <p> Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results. We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.</p> <p> It is a positive step in the equal pay discussion that one of the leaders in the women&rsquo;s empowerment movement is recognizing the costs and negative consequences of additional government rules. Too often leaders of women&rsquo;s movements and efforts buy into the simplistic idea that government regulations can solve problems cost-free, but the truth is that they often do more harm than good. It is nice to see this Administration taking those into account.</p> AgnessTue, 5 Sep 2017 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Women Want 97 Years After Winning The Right To Vote<p> Friday marks the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, in 1920.</p> <p> Unlike many women around the world, American women have a voice in politics and policy. Women throughout the nation are influencing legislation, helping hold leaders accountable, and running for office, including to be President of the United States.</p> <p> The media often implies that women have uniform political views. But they don&rsquo;t: Women made up a majority of voters in the last presidential election and voted based on a variety of issues.</p> <p> After the 2016 election, <a href="">a poll</a> by <em>The Economist</em>&nbsp;and YouGov&nbsp;found that less than a fifth of female voters agreed on one issue as being the most important. Eight different issues received 5% or more in response to a question to identify &ldquo;the most important issue for you&rdquo;&mdash;the economy at 17%, social security at 15%, health care at 14%, terrorism at 12%, the environment at 8%, education at 8%, immigration at 6%, and abortion at 5%.</p> <p> In 2017, I asked a group of women who all advocate for policies that maximize freedom what motivates them to vote and why women should take voting and participating in the political process seriously.</p> <p> United States Representative Susan Brooks said:</p> <p> It is so important for the future of our country to have strong female leaders in public service. Women have certainly left their marks in America&rsquo;s history books and a lot has been accomplished by women, for women, since the 19th&nbsp;Amendment of the Constitution granted women the right to vote 97 years ago. I want to encourage all of us to consider how much farther we can go in the next 100 years. Today, women in public service can easily be characterized as red, white and few. When women have the same opportunities and access to the same resources as men, we all benefit. We need more women to support our female leaders. We need to serve as mentors for the next generation of female leaders. We need to encourage women of all ages to pursue leadership and take that big leap&nbsp;by running for public office.</p> <p> Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Programs at EdChoice, explained why she votes:</p> <p> I vote because it&rsquo;s my duty as a citizen&mdash;and I do love the privilege of being a citizen of the United States. I&rsquo;m motivated as a conservative to help elect candidates who will respect and preserve our free market economy, adhere to the rule of law, and value life and individual liberty. I care most about these issues: Educational freedom and school choice because our next generation of leaders must be educated well enough to understand free markets, defend separation of powers, and possess the character and ability to think independently, and religious liberty because it is essential to preserving our freedom; this is non-negotiable.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, President of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, explained why health care is a key issue for her:</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Our country has moved toward letting government control our health care system.&nbsp; Increasingly government is not only paying for or subsidizing most people&rsquo;s health insurance, but regulating every aspect of health care, which is discouraging innovation and leading to higher health care costs. This needs to change. It needs to change not only so that Americans can enjoy a better health care system, but also to help restore government to its proper role in our lives and in society.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Alison Winters, Senior Policy Fellow at Americans for Prosperity, focused on economic freedom:</p> <p> We should celebrate the 19th Amendment which gave women an important right&mdash;to be treated no differently than any other citizen when selecting our country&rsquo;s leaders.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s a fundamental tenant that the rule of law in a free society should apply equally to all. I do find it ironic that the 16th Amendment which granted Congress the right to tax income including women&rsquo;s&mdash;should they have any&mdash;was ratified before the 19th&nbsp;Amendment.&nbsp;Women who are entrepreneurs and business owners, really all Americans,&nbsp;would greatly benefit from tax reform that makes our code simpler, more efficient, and more fair.</p> <p> Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget and Entitlements at The Heritage Foundation, also stressed the importance of economic policies:</p> <p> I vote because I believe that government programs and Americans&rsquo; increased dependency on them have left individuals, families, and our nation less free and less prosperous. I vote because I believe natural consequences and rewards are the best kind and the government is limiting both through massive welfare and social insurance programs (that encourage people to make poor choices) as well as crony spending, excess regulations and high marginal taxes (that discourage hard work and entrepreneurship).</p> <p> Natalie Foster, Host of Love At First Shot on NRA TV, said:</p> <p> Nothing in the world is more important to me than my family and our founders empowered us by ensuring our God given right to defend ourselves and our loved ones. Though too many mistake it for a dividing line,&nbsp;I emphatically believe that our Second Amendment right is a uniting force.&nbsp;It applies to all law-abiding Americans regardless of color, faith, class, gender, etc and I&rsquo;m so grateful to be able to protect it for generations to come with every vote I cast.</p> <p> And Lisa Daftari, Editor-in-Chief of <em>The Foreign Desk</em>, mentioned national security:</p> <p> The most important things to us as thriving young women are issues like the economy, which inevitably will affect our growth and opportunities available to us and of course, national security, which determines our safety and existence. These are the two issues that are most important to me, as a woman covering the plight of women around the world. I am extremely cognizant of the freedoms and opportunities we have.</p> <p> Different issues motivate different women to vote&mdash;no surprise. Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of&nbsp;<em>City Journal, </em>cautioned against women voting just based on sex:</p> <p> I vote not as a conservative woman but as a conservative&hellip;.Ideally, any voter should seek to return the country to the meritocratic principle and to replace identity politics with a focus on personal responsibility and bourgeois self-discipline.</p> <p> Since the 1964 election, the number of female voters has been greater than the number of male voters. It is the duty of all voters, regardless of sex, to become educated on issues and make sure to advocate for policies that secure our basic liberties. We owe that to the women and men who fought for the 19th Amendment.</p> AgnessThu, 17 Aug 2017 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew Position Will Fundamentally Change The Experience Of Men At Princeton<p> What does it mean to be a Princeton man? Regardless of how you might answer that question today, it will be drastically changing in the near future if Princeton University has anything to say about it.</p> <p> Princeton is the latest university to provide specific programming to try to change men on campus, and is currently looking to hire an &ldquo;<a href="">Interpersonal Violence Clinician and Men&rsquo;s Engagement Manager</a>.&rdquo; In addition to providing clinical support for the men at Princeton, &ldquo;[t]he Manager will develop and implement men&rsquo;s programming initiatives geared toward enhancing awareness and challenging gender stereotypes&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p> This position will be housed in the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources &amp; Education office. While of course it is important for universities to foster an environment of mutual respect between the sexes and not tolerate violence on campus, this position reeks of a larger concerted effort to reject any form of masculinity and label men as inherently toxic.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s one responsibility Princeton&rsquo;s new hire will have:</p> <p> Leads and expands a violence prevention initiative, Men&rsquo;s Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community (MAVRIC), promoting an environment for healthy male social development by challenging belief systems and social constructs that contribute to violence and offering alternative options.</p> <p> All responsible parents try to teach their sons and daughters how to grow up to be respectful adults, and make sure that respecting others is part of their &ldquo;belief system&rdquo; and committing violence against women isn&rsquo;t. Yet Princeton administrators seem to assume that this isn&rsquo;t the norm and that the cause of sexual violence on campus is that American men as a whole are raised to be violent toward women. In fact, culturally, there are many social constructs (ones that ironically liberal feminists often try to breakdown), like the idea of chivalry, that encourage men to treat women with even more respect. Somehow, I doubt this concept will receive much attention during this violence prevention initiative.</p> <p> These male-focused positions popping up on campus are just the latest in the Left&rsquo;s ongoing effort to use college campuses to inculcate social change and advance their political agenda. In fact, Princeton makes it pretty explicit that candidates for this position need to be rooted in progressivism. Two of the &ldquo;essential qualifications&rdquo; include, &ldquo;Masters or doctorate in social work, psychology, women&rsquo;s and gender studies, public health, or related graduate degree,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Able to balance strong commitment to social justice with a capacity to navigate complex organizational systems.&rdquo;</p> <p> Women&rsquo;s studies departments emerged out of the women&rsquo;s movement of the 1960s and 1970s and have established themselves as one of the most dependable tools of the Left on campus. And the term &ldquo;social justice&rdquo; has been taken over by the Left to mean supporting liberal causes and ideas. In other words,</p> <p> the job description itself signals an unmistakable political agenda.</p> <p> Princeton is hardly alone in its drive to take action against &ldquo;toxic masculinity.&rdquo;</p> <p> Last year, the Duke Women&rsquo;s Center launched the&nbsp;<a href="">Duke Men&rsquo;s Project</a>, which a leader of the program described as, &ldquo;[The goal of the initiative is to] critique and analyze their own masculinity and toxic masculinities to then create healthier ones.&rdquo; The Project includes a nine-week course to &ldquo;create a space of brotherhood fellowship dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy.&rdquo; Similarly, the <a href="">UNC Men&rsquo;s Project</a> &ldquo;works to promote healthier&nbsp;masculinities&nbsp;on campus and to shift the culture of masculinity toward more non-violent norms.&rdquo;</p> <p> And Brown has a webpage dedicated to &ldquo;<a href="">Unlearning Toxic Masculinity</a>&rdquo; in part to create, &ldquo;safe spaces for men to unpack all of the things they have learned about masculinity and what it means to be a man. The goal is to&nbsp;help&nbsp;those socialized as men to&nbsp;unlearn some of the notions that have led to such profound harm being enacted toward others and toward themselves.&rdquo;</p> <p> There is nothing wrong with studying what it means to be a man and encouraging a healthier culture to help men flourish. Yet we should be weary of new college positions and programs that seem to have a political agenda&mdash;one that seeks to demonize men and masculinity and to push our country further Left.</p> AgnessWed, 26 Jul 2017 14:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumExcluding Conservatives From Female Empowerment Campaigns Is Bad Politics And Bad Business<p> GoldieBlox, a company promoting engineering as a career to young girls, launched a new #BeLikeHer campaign today. The hashtag campaign celebrates female role models in sports, politics and STEM fields, and encourages participants to post a photo with a sign naming their favorite female role model above the hashtag.</p> <p> This sounds like a positive, uplifting campaign that we could all get behind.</p> <p> But the <a href="">first image in the 2 minute 35 second video</a> is a re-creation of the Women&rsquo;s March with young girls wearing pink pussy hats and holding signs that say, &ldquo;A Woman&rsquo;s Place Is In The Revolution,&rdquo; &ldquo;She Persisted,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Resister!&rdquo;</p> <p> The liberal bias of the campaign immediately turns off conservative women like me. After all, the Women&rsquo;s March wasn&rsquo;t a march for all women. It was a progressive political effort. A&nbsp;<a href="">SurveyMonkey national poll</a>&nbsp;conducted January 26 through 30 found that a large majority of marchers voted for Hillary Clinton&mdash;79 percent said they voted for Clinton, 8 percent said they voted for Jill Stein and 5 percent said they didn&rsquo;t vote. Of course, the video does not include any images of Republican politicians advocating on behalf of women.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> Later in the video, Clinton is featured as a &ldquo;She-ro&rdquo; and Michelle Obama is named. There is no doubt that the company picked a political side&mdash;just readhis accompanying <a href="">blog post</a>&nbsp;that explains why Clinton is included:</p> <p> While Hillary Clinton didn&rsquo;t become the next U.S. president, her campaign ignited women to stand up, march and make their voices heard. Across the U.S. (and around the globe),&nbsp;<a href="">millions</a>&nbsp;came out in over 600 cities, across 60 countries on all continents. People poured into streets to fight for a host of issues, including women&rsquo;s rights, immigration reform, racial equality, and much more.</p> <p> ngIf: vestpockets &amp;&amp; !sidebar_expanded</p> <p> Certainly, the Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate is a role model for many young girls, but so are some female Republican leaders. There is no reason to leave out all Republican women, such as Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao or U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.</p> <p> Women&rsquo;s empowerment efforts should stop excluding conservative women. They shouldn&rsquo;t limit the pool to Democrats. Young girls who look up to Carly Fiorina can go into STEM fields too. Fiorina ran a technology company and champions a more inclusive version of feminism.</p> <p> <a href="">GoldieBlox&rsquo;s mission</a> is to help more young girls get into STEM fields:</p> <p> GoldieBlox is the award-winning children&rsquo;s multimedia company disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores globally and challenging gender stereotypes with the world&rsquo;s first girl engineer character. Through the integration of storytelling and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles, GoldieBlox creates toys, books, apps, videos, animation and merchandise; the tools that empower girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures.</p> <p> This one-sided political video isn&rsquo;t anything new for GoldieBlox. Their <a href="">&ldquo;Girl power 2015&rdquo; video</a> showcases little girls dressing up as famous women. The second girl is dressed as Clinton with an announcement, &ldquo;Hillary is in the house,&rdquo; and the next is &ldquo;Notorious RBG,&rdquo; short for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Once again, no Republican women are featured.</p> <p> Ensuring girls have the opportunity to pursue their career dreams shouldn&rsquo;t be a partisan issue. GoldieBlox is a private company that purposely may be appealing to liberal parents to buy its toys.</p> <p> For companies like GoldieBlox, including right-of-center women in their effort to empower young girls would be good politics and good business. Conservatives want young girls to have the chance to become engineers just as much as liberals do. And beyond politics, GoldieBlox should remember that conservatives buy toys too. But some probably won&rsquo;t if they realize that the company is perpetuating the unfortunate stereotype that only liberals represent women.</p> AgnessTue, 18 Jul 2017 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy To Read Beyond The Headlines On Equal Pay And The White House<p> Breaking news from CNN: White House women earn less than their male coworkers. The news, to many, lends more evidence to the theory of the gender wage gap&mdash;that women face widespread discrimination in the workplace and get paid less just because they are women. As usual with the equal pay issue, the headline presents a much starker picture for women than is actually the case.</p> <p> According to the <a href="">article headlined</a>, &ldquo;White House pays women 80 cents for every dollar paid to men,&rdquo; CNN found that, &ldquo;[w]omen working in the White House earn an average salary of 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male colleagues.&rdquo; While the average salary among men is about $104,000, the average salary among women is only approximately $83,000.</p> <p> With a quick read, it would be easy to miss the word &ldquo;average,&rdquo; but this is important.</p> <p> The article refers to the <a href="">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;82 cents statistic, which measures the median earnings of women and men who are full-time wage and salary workers. Like the average comparison in the CNN analysis, this number does not compare people in the same job. Also, it does not take into account different decisions, such as hours worked, years of experience or education.</p> <p> The <a href="">article continues</a>, &ldquo;The disparity is primarily due to more women filling lower-ranking jobs. Half the men working at the White House make $95,000 or more annually, while half the women $70,100 or less.&rdquo; This is the key. As is often the case in discussions of equal pay, the analysis isn&rsquo;t comparing a man and a woman in the same job.</p> <p> Under President Barack Obama, similar articles were written. In 2014, <a href=";wprss=rss_politics">the <em>Washington Post </em>reported</a> the following:</p> <p> The average male White House employee currently earns about $88,600, while the average female White House employee earns about $78,400, according to White House data released Tuesday. That is a gap of 13 percent.</p> <p> It is unfortunate to see headlines that reinforce a misleading view about women and the workplace. Readers would be wise to look beyond the headline and learn what is actually being compared when they encounter statistics about equal pay.</p> AgnessWed, 12 Jul 2017 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew Report: Women CEOs Make More Than Men<p> Americans are used to headline after headline about the gender pay gap when it shows men earn more, on average, than women. Feminists have even created a holiday for it&mdash;Equal Pay Day&mdash;to supposedly mark how far women must work into the next year to make up for the difference in what men earned in the previous year.</p> <p> But what happens when it is reversed?</p> <p> Comparing <a href="">median compensation packages</a> of S&amp;P 500 leaders who held the job for a year, 21 female CEOs received a median of $13.8 million compared to the $11.6 million median earned by the 382 male CEOs last year. This isn&rsquo;t new&mdash;women CEOs have made more than men in six of the past seven years. And three of the 10 highest paid executives are women.</p> <p> <em>The Wall Street Journal </em>headline is, &ldquo;Female CEOs Earn More Than Male Chief Executives.&rdquo;</p> <p> But just like the wage gap statistic, there is more to the story than the headline suggests. When it comes to female CEO salaries, it is a small pool so doesn&rsquo;t tell us much more than that some women have been able to earn a lot. Similarly, it is a median comparison and there are many factors that go into CEO pay&mdash;for example, performance and whether the CEOs are trying to transform their companies.</p> <p> The data behind Equal Pay Day&rsquo;s wage gap statistic is equally important.</p> <p> The&nbsp;<a href="">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;just measures median earnings of women and men in full-time wage and salary jobs to calculate the statistic used for the wage gap narrative, not two people in the same job. It does not take into account many of the choices that women and men make&mdash;including education, years of experience and hours worked&mdash;that influence earnings.</p> <p> And, in fact, the prominence of the wage gap narrative might be benefiting women CEOs. <a href=""><em>The&nbsp;Wall Street Journal </em>quotes</a> Robin Ferracone, the head of a company that advises board compensation committees, &ldquo;Boards don&rsquo;t want to shortchange their female CEO in today&rsquo;s environment, when pay equality is such an issue.&rdquo; They &ldquo;err on the side of being generous.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s great to see women CEOs doing well and they deserve to be compensated for their contributions. Women should applaud the success of working women at all levels of our economy. Yet we shouldn&rsquo;t fixate too much on statistics like this one that make good headlines, but don&rsquo;t tell us much of the story.</p> AgnessWed, 31 May 2017 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCompanies Are Offering New Mothers More Perks Without Government Mandates<p> Need help planning a gender reveal party? If you work at Fifth Third Bancorp, a Cincinnati-based banking and financial services institution, your first phone call might not be to your mother, but instead to your employer.</p> <p> Fifth Third Bancorp provides a <a href=";mod=e2fb">maternity concierge service</a> to help expectant employees and those with infants under a year with tasks such as rescheduling a baby shower, ordering birth announcements and picking strollers. The purpose of the program is to help mothers stay and advance in the workplace&mdash;Fifth Third Bancorp <a href=";mod=e2fb">found</a> that employees who have taken maternity leave in the last 12 months leave the company at almost twice the rate of all women at the firm.</p> <p> This program may or may not work. But it is a reminder that businesses are increasingly focused on trying to retain good employees, including those employees who may feel overwhelmed with the prospect of combining a job with parenthood or want to take time off to have children. Businesses aren&rsquo;t just doing this for the PR or to be kind. They believe it&rsquo;s in their business interest. Attracting and training talent is expensive, so investing in keeping great employees can be good for their bottom line.</p> <p> Fifth Third Bancorp isn&rsquo;t alone in offering more and more perks to women, and men, about to have a child. Some of these benefits are pretty creative and focus on easing the challenge of working with a new child at home:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="">Johnson &amp; Johnson offers</a> temperature-controlled delivery service for nursing mothers to ship breast milk back home when on work travel.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Start-up <a href="">Gusto</a> offers meal delivery and house cleaning.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Etsy Inc. and Ernst &amp; Young <a href="">offer parental-leave coaching</a>.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And <a href="">Netflix made headlines in 2015 when it announced a new leave policy</a>, allowing new moms and dads to take unlimited leave during the first year after a child&rsquo;s birth or adoption.</p> <p> ngIf: vestpockets &amp;&amp; !sidebar_expanded</p> <p> This is all without any federal government mandate requiring that they provide such support to workers.</p> <p> In <a href="">his much-anticipated 2018 Budget</a>, &ldquo;A New Foundation For American Greatness,&rdquo; President Donald J. Trump prioritizes paid parental leave. The budget includes a proposal for six weeks of paid family leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, using the Unemployment Insurance system and calling on states to establish leave programs. Providing paid parental leave was a theme throughout Trump&rsquo;s campaign, seemingly at the urging of his daughter, Ivanka Trump, a working mother of three.</p> <p> But before we have a national discussion of how government can help more expectant employees, it&rsquo;s important to recognize all that businesses are already doing. Even without the requirement that they must provide paid parental leave, the <a href="">U.S. Census Bureau found that</a> a majority, 56 percent, of full-time working mothers who worked during pregnancy used paid leave before or after the birth of their first child.</p> <p> And the <a href="">Family and Medical Leave Act</a> provides certain employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for the birth and care of a newborn or adoption or foster care placement.</p> <p> The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics <a href="">National Compensation Survey</a> found that 91 percent of civilian full-time workers have unpaid family leave, 15 percent have paid family leave, 78 percent have paid sick leave and 87 percent have paid vacation.</p> <p> Businesses are already increasingly trying to find ways to support workers&mdash;but not all businesses are in a position to provide the same level of benefits and there can be real downsides to a one-size-fits-all mandate, which could make it harder for businesses to hire workers or lead to lower pay.</p> <p> As odd as it might sound to some to have your company reschedule your baby shower, this concierge service shows that many companies are making great efforts to retain mothers in the workforce without a government mandate&mdash;and that&rsquo;s a trend worth celebrating.</p> AgnessWed, 31 May 2017 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThis Is What It's Like Speaking As A Conservative Woman On Campus<p> Conservative speakers are under fire on college campuses. Here is my report from the front lines.</p> <p> The Arch Conservative, a campus journal at the University of Georgia, invited me to Athens to speak to undergraduates about feminism. I titled the speech &ldquo;Opportunity Feminism: How The Left Killed Feminism (and How The Right Can Fix It).&rdquo; It is a critique of modern feminism and discussion of popular public policy topics, such as equal pay.</p> <p> Before I even stepped foot on campus, students argued on the Facebook Event Page about my speech. One student wrote of my work, &ldquo;Open minded and directly rejecting data are very different things.&rdquo; To which a student replied, &ldquo;Her work is tragic smh.&rdquo; (&ldquo;Smh&rdquo; is short for &ldquo;shake my head.&rdquo;)</p> <p> As the comments heated up, The Arch Conservative responded on Facebook, &ldquo;We truly would like to emphasize that we WANT those in attendance to pose questions to our speaker; after all, there is no better way to learn than to challenge ideas.&rdquo;</p> <p> I took the pre-event discussion as a victory. Students were at least sharing my articles and considering the issues. Referring to one of my articles, a student posted:</p> <p> It kinda makes it sound like &lsquo;because women are lazy and don&rsquo;t work as hard as men&rsquo;, rather than &lsquo;women aren&rsquo;t generally offered the same projects and over time that men are offered and are expected to ask to be given a chance&rsquo;&hellip;Statistics are misleading but pretending you know the cure or cause for sestemic [sic] problems in our economy with only the proof of a well thought out argument isn&rsquo;t real proof and undermines what feminism is.</p> <p> She didn&#39;t get my argument. But I imagine this might have been the first time that this student and others read an article by a conservative woman on policy. Score a point for intellectual diversity.</p> <p> Students packed the classroom. Some students sat on the stairway aisle floors. The students hosting me arrived early and ended up sitting on one side of the room. Students who expressed outrage sat together on the other side. There seemed to be no middle ground&mdash;during my speech, I&rsquo;d look to one side and see smiles and the other and see frustration.</p> <p> Most of the students listened attentively. But one young woman with a scowl on her face kept raising her hand. The hour long talk turned into 90 minutes with questions taking up half the time.</p> <p> A young man asked the first question, inquiring how he could promote feminism as a man. He said, &ldquo;My female feminist friends tell me that I&rsquo;m privileged as a male, so can&rsquo;t talk about feminism.&rdquo;</p> <p> (This isn&rsquo;t the first time I have been asked this question. That this is a common question I get on campus signals that modern feminists stir up a war-between-the-sexes, us vs. them mentality.)</p> <p> A student voiced her disagreement with my remarks and asked, &ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t it a problem that women are saddled with children?&rdquo; Our fundamental divide was that this student and some of the others just couldn&rsquo;t understand that many women make the choice to leave the workforce to take care of their children and love doing so. The student kept repeating that the patriarchy exists, so women actually don&rsquo;t have a choice. We went back and forth on this point and audience members chimed in with outbursts. One of the leaders of The Arch Conservative finally had to stand up to ask her peers to be respectful and stop interrupting.</p> <p> After a couple more questions, a student yelled out to me, &ldquo;You are perpetuating white feminism. You need to take a more intersectional look at feminism.&rdquo;</p> <p> In the last question of the evening, I was criticized for not discussing a whole host of issues, such as genital mutilation. I had limited time, so couldn&rsquo;t cover every issue. The student seemed dissatisfied with me pointing that out, as if not covering every issue was an indictment of me or my speech.</p> <p> The delegitimizing didn&rsquo;t end with the Q and A. After the event, one audience member took to Facebook with a 400 work post attacking my speech and expertise.</p> <p> The media covers political and free speech fireworks happening at one campus or another, but the fact of the matter is, outbursts by liberal students and efforts to delegitimize conservative speakers are all too common on campus.</p> <p> To speak on campus as a conservative is to be challenged&mdash;and sometimes ridiculed&mdash;before, during, and after.</p> <p> But it is also an opportunity to provide a point of view that is often missing and bolster the conservative students on campus.</p> <p> Despite some of the rudeness, I enjoyed the back-and-forth with the students, even those who blame me for perpetuating the patriarchy. I hope they did too.</p> AgnessTue, 9 May 2017 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhite House struggles to get out from under Russia controversy • On the Hill/Fox 5 DC AgnessTue, 11 Apr 2017 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Equal Pay Day Is A Flawed Holiday<p> Sheryl Sandberg and her&nbsp;<em>Lean In&nbsp;</em>circles have organized the #20PercentCounts campaign to give female consumers a discount on Equal Pay Day, April 4. This holiday created by feminists supposedly marks how far women must work in 2017 to earn what men did in 2016. The campaign is based on the idea that if women make 20% less than men, they should pay 20% less for purchases.&nbsp;</p> <p> Charging women less in relation to equal pay is not a new idea. Back in 2015, the Way Station bar in Brooklyn&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">sold drinks</a>&nbsp;to women at a 23% discount. This year,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">two businesses in Richmond, Virginia</a>&nbsp;are offering 21% discounts&mdash;Brewer&rsquo;s Caf&eacute; is giving discounts to women, while Chop Suey Books is giving discounts to all customers.</p> <p> What is new is that Sandberg&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">enlisted</a>&nbsp;300 local businesses in 25 cities to give 20% off discounts or other offers as participants in this campaign. National partners include LUNA, Lyft, Procter &amp; Gamble and Salesforce.</p> <p> &ldquo;We have to understand that the pay gap is happening to women and men with similar jobs that require similar skills and similar educational levels&mdash;and that has a real impact,&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Sandberg said.</a></p> <p> But that is not what the so-called pay gap statistic where the 20% number comes from measures.</p> <p> Modern feminists use the statistic that women make 82 cents on the dollar compared to men as evidence of rampant discrimination, but what the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;is actually measuring with the 82% number is the median earnings of women and men in full-time wage and salary jobs. This statistic does not take into account significant differences in labor choices. Specifically, the statistic does not factor in many of the choices that women and men make&mdash;including education, years of experience and hours worked&mdash;that influence earnings. For example, among full-time employees, men worked 8.2 hours compared to women working 7.8 hours,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">according&nbsp;to the 2015 American Time Use Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>.&nbsp;This statistic is not a comparison of two similarly situated people.</p> <p> Sandberg and her friends promoting the&nbsp;#20PercentCounts campaign overlook that sex-based pay discrimination is already illegal and has been illegal longer than she has been alive. President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, making sex-based discrimination in pay illegal. And Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination in the workplace based on sex illegal.</p> <p> Of course, the businesses that are trying to capitalize on the &ldquo;Equal Pay Day&rdquo; holiday are using a marketing tactic to appeal to female customers. But participants are perpetuating an unfortunate myth that women pay a 20 percent tax just because they are women. And unnecessarily pitting men and women against each other.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not worth the 20 percent discount.</p> AgnessTue, 4 Apr 2017 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum