Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS 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 ForumKarin Agness C-SPAN Summer Meeting (08.15.2013) AgnessThu, 15 Aug 2013 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy the Young Should Hate Obamacare<p> Even Obama&#39;s celebrity friends can&#39;t convince young voters the bill is a good idea.</p> <p> With the help of celebrity endorsements, speeches and videos, Barack Obama overwhelmingly won the support of young people in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.&nbsp;Now Obama is calling on his celebrity friends to make one more sales pitch to young people.&nbsp;This time, he is trying to sell them the Affordable Care Act.&nbsp; Young people should reject this third attempt at winning them over.</p> <p> Last week, Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the President, convened a meeting of celebrities to recruit them to sell the ACA &ndash; and&nbsp;<a href=";">Obama himself stopped in the meeting</a>.&nbsp;<a href=";">A White House official&nbsp; reportedly said</a>&nbsp;that these celebrities were chosen because they&nbsp;&quot;expressed a personal interest in educating young people about the Affordable Care Act.&quot; Actor Kal Penn (a former Obama administration official), comedian Amy Poehler, Funny or Die&#39;s Mike Farah and YouTube&#39;s Daniel Kellison attended. What about Oprah?&nbsp;She sent a representative, as did singer Alicia Keys.</p> <p> Celebrities hawk all types of unpopular products to young people &ndash; but they might be facing their biggest challenge yet with Obamacare</p> <p> The ACA&#39;s individual mandate requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine starting January 1, 2014.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=";">According to a presentation from a recent White House briefing</a>, for the marketplace exchanges to work, 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. Of the uninsured between&nbsp;<a href=";">18 and 35, 96 percent have no chronic conditions.</a>&nbsp;This is in stark contrast to the only half of those between 55 and 64 who have no chronic conditions.&nbsp;</p> <p> That&#39;s the real key to the challenge that these celebrities will have in convincing young people to enroll in Obamacare &ndash; these young, healthy people will be paying to cover the costs of older, generally less healthy people.&nbsp;</p> <p> Typically, insurers adjust premium costs based on how much you are expected to cost them in payouts, and take factors such as your age into account.&nbsp;Yet the ACA limits this practice, mandating that insurers can only charge older people, for example, as much as three times the rate charged to younger people.&nbsp;One&nbsp;<a href=";">study predicts</a>&nbsp;a 42 percent premium cost increase for those between the ages of 21 and 29.</p> <p> These celebrities will have to come up with a rather slick sales pitch because for most young Americans, this insurance will be a pretty bad deal. This isn&#39;t selling Doritos, Budweiser or a Ram Truck.&nbsp;That&#39;s why using celebrities is just one part of a larger marketing plan to reach young people.&nbsp;The administration is working to enlist everyone from mothers to the National Football League to help with this difficult job.</p> <p> The administration is using parent-activist groups, organizing wine-and-cheese parties for mothers and working with women&#39;s magazines to reach young people through their mothers. But the administration shouldn&#39;t be so sure that mothers are going to jump on the ACA promotion bandwagon as they too become aware of the impact Obamacare will have on health insurance costs for their children.</p> <p> But it seems that&nbsp;the NFL realized that promoting Obamacare to its audience is a losing game.&nbsp;After these discussions became public, Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications at the NFL <a href="">announced</a>,&nbsp;&quot;We currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act&#39;s] implementation.&quot;&nbsp;No partnership with a sports league has been announced.</p> <p> Young people should watch out for and reject overtures from celebrities trying to hawk Obamacare.&nbsp;The more they learn about the ACA, the more likely they are to conclude that repealing it is more in their interest.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum and founder and president of the Network of Enlightened Women.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessTue, 30 Jul 2013 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumYou Don’t Need a Sugar Daddy to Get Ahead<p> &nbsp;</p> <p> After the pomp and circumstance of graduation, many recent graduates now face the harsh reality of failed job hunts and substantial student loan debt. What&rsquo;s a twenty-something to do?</p> <p> According to Brandon Wade, founder of&nbsp;<u><a href=""></a></u>&nbsp;&mdash; a website that facilitates relationships between young, attractive people (primarily women) and older, wealthier people (primarily men) &mdash; some young Americans are finding rather creative ways to make ends meet in these hard times. Wade&nbsp;<a href=";utm_source=feedly">told the Washington Examiner</a>&nbsp;that his website has seen a spike in new (mostly female) members in June and that, &ldquo;By June graduates who have yet to land a job in their desired fields have very few options open to them: settle for less pay than they deserve or settle for a job they don&rsquo;t want.&rdquo; Or, apparently, use his service to trade sex for financial support.</p> <p> The website, launched in 2005, is explicit in defining its niche,&nbsp;<a href="">billing itself as</a>&nbsp;&ldquo;the largest dating website for those seeking mutually beneficial arrangements &mdash; i.e., a relationship between a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mommy, and a Sugar Baby.&rdquo; It brags that &ldquo;no other dating website is focused exclusively on helping the rich and successful meet the young and beautiful!&rdquo;</p> <p> Yes, this really exists. And some people are using it. A quick browse shows profiles with women listing what they expect, including one who wants up to $10,000 a month, and the website boasts it has helped thousands of its members find arrangements.</p> <p> One college sophomore is quoted on the website as saying: &ldquo;Men my age are too immature. My current arrangement is wonderful. Unlike other cash-strapped students, I am pampered with expensive gifts. My sugar daddy is the sweetest man I know. He is my mentor, my benefactor and my lover.&rdquo;</p> <p> For current students, recent graduates and their parents, no doubt this is a frustrating time.&nbsp;<a href="">According to Generation Opportunity</a>, the unemployment rate for 18-29-year-olds in May was 11.6 percent (10.6 percent for women). If you count the additional 1.7 million young Americans who have quit even looking for jobs, the unemployment rate for young people jumps to 16.1 percent.</p> <p> Yet is this really the best that young women and men can hope for?</p> <p> While some companies, like, are exploiting the sluggish economy and the obstacles that young people face, other organizations are creating professional development opportunities to help students and recent college graduates enter the traditional job market.</p> <p> Young people in Washington, D.C., for example, have the opportunity to attend a number of evening events this summer designed to offer them advice on pursuing employment options. This week, America&rsquo;s Future Foundation, a non-profit network of liberty-minded young leaders, is co-sponsoring an event,&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;Welcome to Washington: Networking for Career Advancement,&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;to give interns the chance to meet and get practical tips from some successful young professionals.</p> <p> The Network of Enlightened Women, the nation&rsquo;s premier organization for conservative university women, hosts its annual National Conference this week. The conference kicks off with&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;A Night to Network&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;networking reception on Thursday for interns and young professionals, which includes time for attendees to meet with others in their industry. And the Friday session features a professional development panel on how to succeed in the workplace.</p> <p> These are just two examples of organizations creating programs to meet the demand of young people eager for assistance as they launch their careers.</p> <p> Students and young professionals should be seeking out and taking advantage of networking and learning opportunities as well as exploring the less-than-ideal jobs that are available, which will still provide important real-world experience as well as income. Young adults need to find ways to take advantage of the opportunities out there, rather than being taken advantage of themselves.</p> <p> <em>Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the&nbsp;Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum&nbsp;and founder and president of the&nbsp;Network of Enlightened Women.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> AgnessWed, 26 Jun 2013 17:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRemember the Wonder of Men<p> This Sunday, one group of kids across the country will be giving their fathers ties, sports gear,&nbsp;homemade&nbsp;art, or some other tokens to express their appreciation on Father&#39;s Day.&nbsp; Unfortunately, there will be another group of kids for whom the holiday is a painful reminder that they don&#39;t have a relationship with their fathers.</p> <p> Why do a growing portion of kids in America have no active father in their lives to celebrate this weekend?</p> <p> According to Dr. Helen Smith in her new book,&nbsp;<em>Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream</em>&nbsp;--&nbsp;<em>and Why it Matters</em>, one reason is that society is stacking the deck against men, causing many to go &quot;on strike&quot; from traditional responsibilities.&nbsp; These men aren&#39;t just lazy, but instead are making choices based on incentives.</p> <p> Smith writes, &quot;Most men are not acting irresponsibly because they are immature or because they want to harm women; they are acting&nbsp;<em>rationally</em>&nbsp;in response to the lack of incentives today&#39;s society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers.&quot;</p> <p> Smith argues that feminism has gone too far, creating a feminized world of female privilege, where men no longer are treated as equals.&nbsp; She cites examples of men opting out of college, marriage, and fatherhood.&nbsp;</p> <p> Much of the popular literature today on men focuses on the lack of men growing up.&nbsp; In&nbsp;<em>Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys</em>, Kay Hymowitz argues that a new period of extended adolescence has emerged in the 20s -- a &quot;pre-adulthood&quot; stage.&nbsp; An image of a 25-year-old guy in his parent&#39;s basement playing a video game quickly comes to mind.</p> <p> Smith adds to the popular discussion on&nbsp;the status&nbsp;of men by highlighting the role society plays in determining where men are today.&nbsp; Take education.&nbsp; On some campuses, the ratio is already 60% female to 40% male.&nbsp; The University of Vermont in Burlington has so many women that it is often referred to as &quot;Girlington.&quot;&nbsp; Interestingly, instead of celebrating the dominance of women on campus, when I visit campuses with an uneven ratio like this, a common complaint from young women is about the lack of men.</p> <p> Why the tilted ratio?&nbsp; Smith points out ways in which our education system has changed into one that&nbsp;favors&nbsp;girls at the expense of boys, citing the work of Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of&nbsp;<em>The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming our Young Men</em>.&nbsp; For example, competition, like games of dodgeball, is out, and as a result, boys are often less engaged in their school experience.&nbsp; This lack of engagement can lead to less success at school early on, having consequences for the future education of these boys and even an impact on their earning potential.&nbsp; It is no surprise that more men are opting out of an education system in which they are less engaged.&nbsp; Instead of outrage at a system in which men are falling behind, we celebrate women&#39;s achievements and lament those few areas (like math and the hard sciences) where they haven&#39;t yet dominated men.</p> <p> Smith&#39;s book is a reminder that life should not be a zero-sum game between men and women.&nbsp; She writes, &quot;Our society has&nbsp;forgotten&nbsp;the wonder of men in its quest for retribution against men and boys who often weren&#39;t even alive when women were being discriminated against.&quot;</p> <p> Too many children today could tell you about the wonder of men -- or at least the wish for a man in their lives.&nbsp; Besides just wanting a father in their lives, studies have shown that children without strong relationships with their fathers, for example, are at a higher risk of poverty and delinquency.</p> <p> This Father&#39;s Day, we should remember to celebrate those dads who are working hard to help their kids -- and consider how to reform society to create an environment where more men are involved in their kid&#39;s lives.&nbsp;</p> AgnessSun, 16 Jun 2013 21:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA Step Forward for the GOP With Young People<p> During the 2012 election, young voters could have abandoned President Barack Obama, expressing their disappointment with the tough job market, an uncertain overall economy, and his failure to deliver anything resembling &quot;hope and change.&quot; That didn&#39;t happen: Young voters stuck with Democrats, overwhelmingly supporting Obama over his Republican challenger.</p> <p> From a Republican perspective, there seems to be a disconnect between the impact of Democratic policies on the lives of young people and which political party young people favor. Looking forward, the question is can Republicans make that connection? If so, how?</p> <p> Many pundits dismiss young voters as a lost cause for Republicans -- they presume, for example, that a message supporting the value of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free enterprise won&#39;t resonate with young voters. The College Republican National Committee isn&#39;t buying into that story line. Instead, the CRNC is taking steps to figure out how Republican candidates can better reach young voters, publishing a report this month,&nbsp;<a href="">The Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation</a>, detailing its research and offering suggestions.</p> <p> The report concludes that Republicans need a &quot;fundamental re-thinking of how we can connect our policy ideas to the broad narrative of economic growth and opportunity, and how we can credibly demonstrate that a Republican vote is an intelligent move.&quot;</p> <p> While the report offers plenty of criticism of the Republican Party and analyzes its technology, policy and brand shortcomings, where the report is particularly valuable is in those places where it offers concrete suggestions based on original research for how to appeal to young people.</p> <p> For example, supporters of smaller government and fiscal responsibility shouldn&#39;t give up hope: There is a way to make their message more appealing to this audience. While the young people studied seemed to be unclear on what criticisms of &quot;big government&quot; even meant, similar messages, such as the need to cut spending, did resonate with young voters. Across all six focus groups, respondents generally agreed that government was spending too much. Thus, a change in how an issue is discussed can make a positive difference. In this case, they can build support for fiscal responsibility by focusing specifically on cutting spending rather than talking more generally about &quot;big government.&quot;</p> <p> But this doesn&#39;t mean the process will be easy.</p> <p> Take the issue of health care. A number of studies have shown that Millennials are likely to be hit with increased health care premiums as a result of the Affordable Care Act. According to a comprehensive joint House-Senate report&nbsp;<a href="">released</a>&nbsp;earlier this year, younger Americans could see their premiums climb by as much as 189 percent. Another study&nbsp;<a href="">predicts</a>&nbsp;a 42 percent increase for those between the ages of 21 and 29 due to the Affordable Care Act&#39;s age rating restriction.</p> <p> According to research cited in the report, while health care is a second-tier issue behind the economy and the national debt, 41 percent of the young people surveyed thought the overall impact of the Affordable Care Act would be positive, and young people preferred how Democrats handled health care by a 63-37 margin. That&#39;s a big gap, which won&#39;t be easy to close. And, once again, a large segment of young people, perhaps unknowingly, support the Party that advocated for policies that will likely hurt them financially.</p> <p> Young voters haven&#39;t always skewed so heavily for Democrats. President Ronald Reagan, for example, won the youth vote. Republicans should be encouraged that the report found that the message of cutting spending, traditionally associated with the Republican Party, does resonate with young voters.</p> <p> The CRNC is taking an important first step of recognizing the need to reach young voters more effectively and researching how to do so. Republicans need to capitalize on this information, and go further to figure out how to connect the dots between the political parties&#39; policy positions and the actual impact those policies have on people&#39;s economic prospects. If they don&#39;t, the GOP may be in for continuing electoral disappointments.</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> AgnessThu, 13 Jun 2013 15:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum