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 RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Why I Won't Be Striking On March 8<p> Expect to see fewer women in the workplace on Wednesday. The Women&rsquo;s March, the group that organized the January 21 protests, has called for a national boycott of &ldquo;paid and unpaid labor.&rdquo; Women who don&rsquo;t strike are encouraged to wear red. Participants are told to avoid shopping, except for small businesses owned by women or minorities. Organizers are billing this effort as, &ldquo;A Day Without A Woman.&rdquo;</p> <p> I am one of the millions of women who won&rsquo;t be striking, or wearing red for that matter.</p> <p> The Women&rsquo;s March claims that its goal is to send a message to the new administration that &ldquo;women&rsquo;s rights are human rights.&rdquo; But the group&rsquo;s real mission is to advance a progressive policy agenda.</p> <p> January&rsquo;s march was full of former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supporters who were disappointed by the election results. A&nbsp;<a href="https://blog.electiontracking.surveymonkey.com/2017/02/13/surveymonkey-poll-profiles-womens-march-participants/" target="_blank">SurveyMonkey national poll</a>&nbsp;conducted January 26 through 30 found that 85 percent of marchers identify as or lean Democrat and 72 percent are self-described liberals. A large majority of marchers voted for 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. At most, then, 8 percent of marchers voted for President Donald Trump.</p> <p> Throughout the presidential election, many Trump voters spoke out against his awful comments related to women. According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-election-day/election-polls-nbc-news-analysis-2016-votes-voters-n680466" target="_blank">NBC exit polling data</a>, 73 percent of all female voters said they are bothered &ldquo;some&rdquo; or &ldquo;a lot&rdquo; by Trump&rsquo;s &ldquo;reported treatment of women.&quot; Yet Trump won 42 percent of women.</p> <p> If this really was a march in support of the dignity of all women, it would have included much more political diversity, specifically those women who voted for Trump despite his comments.</p> <p> The Women&rsquo;s March movement is less about supporting all women and more about advocating for progressive policy positions on a wide variety of issues, from immigration to the environment. Pro-life women, for example, are not welcome. In January, the organizers of the Women&rsquo;s March revoked partnership with the New Wave Feminists because the group is pro-life. The Women&rsquo;s March&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/womensmarch/status/821112766052401153/photo/1" target="_blank">official statement read</a>, &ldquo;The Women&rsquo;s March&rsquo;s platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one&hellip;.The anti-choice organization in question is not a partner of the Women&rsquo;s March on Washington. We apologize for this error.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;Feminists proudly spoke up in favor of kicking this pro-life group out. Roxane Gay, author of the&nbsp;<em>New York Times&nbsp;</em>bestselling&nbsp;<em>Bad Feminist</em>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/rgay/status/821091788169609217?lang=en" target="_blank">tweeted</a>:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That&#39;s not how it works! The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> &mdash; roxane gay (@rgay) <a href="https://twitter.com/rgay/status/821091788169609217">January 16, 2017</a><br /> <br /> &nbsp;</blockquote> <p> The Women&rsquo;s March effort, then, excludes the 40 percent of U.S. women who believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a recent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2017/01/11/public-opinion-on-abortion-2/" target="_blank">Pew Research Center</a>&nbsp;study.</p> <p> Even the roots of International Women&rsquo;s Day, which is the day the organizers picked to hold the&nbsp;&ldquo;A Day Without A Woman&quot; strike, are Leftist in nature. The first National Woman&rsquo;s Day, which became International Women&rsquo;s Day, was organized in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America in honor of the 1908 garment workers&rsquo; strike.</p> <p> Striking from the workplace and society on Wednesday won&rsquo;t advance women.</p> <p> If participants in the Women&rsquo;s March are truly concerned about being behind in the workplace, they could take concrete actions that would immediately be more productive for women. Marchers could mentor junior female colleagues, giving career advice. They could ask to meet with a boss to discuss ways to take on more responsibility and in turn, earn more money. Or they could work an extra 30 minutes. According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf" target="_blank">2015 American Time Use Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>, men worked longer hours than women. Hours worked is certainly a factor considered in pay decisions.</p> <p> At the very least, dissatisfied women should think about how their participation in the strike will impact the next generation of women. The Superintendent of&nbsp;<a href="http://abc11.com/news/chapel-hill-carrboro-schools-to-close-for-womens-strike/1781677/" target="_blank">Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools announced that their schools would be closed</a>&nbsp;on March 8 as a result of the strike.</p> <p> While organized under the banner of a broad &ldquo;Women&rsquo;s March&rdquo; to benefit all women, it is more accurately a progressive women&rsquo;s effort that excludes millions of women. So don&#39;t feel bad about doing work on Wednesday.</p> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>http://iwf.org/news/2803052/Karin AgnessWed, 8 Mar 2017 05:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRetailers Pulling Ivanka Trump's Clothing Label • Boom Busthttp://iwf.org/media/2802808/Karin AgnessThu, 9 Feb 2017 11:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Women Shouldn't Try To Make The Future Female<p> Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is back with a message for women and all Americans. In her <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-future-is-female-video-statement-makers-2017-2">first post-inauguration statement</a> for &ldquo;the glass ceiling breakers of the future,&rdquo; she said,</p> <p> Despite all the challenges we face, I remain convinced that yes, the future is female. Just look at the amazing energy we saw last month as women organized a march that galvanized millions of people all over our country and across the world.</p> <p> Recorded <a href="http://www.makers.com/about">for AOL&rsquo;s MAKERS</a>, a platform that tells the stories of women leaders, it is no surprise that she sought to inspire women attending the 2017 MAKERS Conference this week in California.</p> <p> But there is a difference between telling women that they are equal to men and telling them that they are better than men. She chose the latter.</p> <p> Instead of an uplifting message for everyone, she pitted women against men with her &ldquo;the future is female&rdquo; mantra. Inherent in this message is the notion that it is a zero sum game between women and men and we have to choose a future that is either female or male, rather than both. Her clear implication is that there is something wrong with men as men, and that we are somehow better off if men are pushed to the sidelines.</p> <p> These ideas are becoming increasingly prevalent in popular culture. Take the proliferation of a new set of verbs women use to complain about the way men interact with women&mdash;mansplaining (when a man explains something to a woman in a supposedly condescending way), manterrupting (when a man interrupts a woman) and manspreading (when a man spreads his legs when sitting so as to take up more than one seat on public transportation).</p> <p> And then there are these signals from celebrity icons, such as single actress <a href="http://www.redonline.co.uk/red-women/interviews/january-jones-interview">January Jones who said in an interview</a> that her 5 year-old son doesn&rsquo;t need a dad around:</p> <p> It&rsquo;s good to have strong women around a man. To teach him [her son] to respect women. He doesn&rsquo;t have a male person in his life saying &lsquo;don&rsquo;t cry&rsquo; or &lsquo;you throw like a girl&rsquo;. All those shitty things dads accidentally do.</p> <p> Actress Lena Dunham <a href="https://twitter.com/RSQViper/status/793960614079188992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">tweeted out an animation in November asking</a>, &ldquo;How are you feeling about the extinction of white men?&rdquo;</p> <p> It&#39;s not the end of men, it&#39;s the evolution of men into better men. (beautiful animation by Sophie Koko Gate!) <a href="https://t.co/Qtf0xyT5Ad">pic.twitter.com/Qtf0xyT5Ad</a></p> <p> &mdash; Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) <a href="https://twitter.com/lenadunham/status/793929098926166016">November 2, 2016</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> On campus, this anti-male attitude is apparent in the emergence of new programs to address &ldquo;toxic masculinity.&rdquo;</p> <p> The Duke Women&rsquo;s Center launched this school year the <a href="http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2016/09/deconstructing-masculinity-duke-mens-project-aims-to-facilitate-discussions-of-male-privilege-and-patriarchy">Duke Men&rsquo;s Project</a>, a nine-week program to &ldquo;create a space of brotherhood fellowship dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy.&rdquo; One member of the leadership team said, &ldquo;[The goal of the initiative is to] critique and analyze their own masculinity and toxic masculinities to then create healthier ones.&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course, it is intellectually interesting to consider society&rsquo;s expectations for men and how those have changed over time. Yet that doesn&rsquo;t seem to be what is going on here. The message is that the traditional traits associated with men are bad and need to be suppressed. Such a message applied to women would be recognized as prejudice and discrimination at its worst. Why should this anti-male narrative be considered ok?</p> <p> For women to succeed, women don&rsquo;t have to stamp out men or see men as the enemy. For most women, much happiness is tied up in having great relationships with men&mdash;fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, friends and colleagues.</p> <p> Recognizing that society will benefit if we encourage both the best in women and men, the Network of enlightened Women (known as NeW), the organization I founded, launched <a href="http://www.gentshowcase.com/">The Gentlemen Showcase</a> in 2010, an annual national contest to honor young gentlemen. Young men compete in two categories, the College Contest and the Under 30 Contest. Nominations are open throughout the month of February and national online voting begins March 1.</p> <p> In the nomination form for Andrew Sund, the winner of the 2016 College Contest, his nominator wrote, &ldquo;He always has a smile on his face. He makes everyone around him feel important. Andrew lives his life to serve others.&rdquo;</p> <p> The Gentlemen Showcase is a positive program to promote better relations between young men and women. Praising the men who treat everyone with the respect they deserve might just lead to more gentlemen.</p> <p> Secretary Clinton, the future shouldn&#39;t be female or male&mdash;but one of women and men working together. That&rsquo;s the real definition of equality.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802786/Karin AgnessWed, 8 Feb 2017 11:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAudi's Misleading Super Bowl Message To Young Girls<p> For many of the millions of Americans who will watch the Super Bowl, the entertainment is as much about the commercials as the football. Our collective memories of notable Super Bowl ads, from Apple&rsquo;s 1984 introduction of the Macintosh to Budweiser&rsquo;s frogs, often last longer than the highlights of the games themselves.</p> <p> As more Americans cut the cord with TV, and turn to commercial-free viewing options like Netflix, the Super Bowl provides a once-a-year occasion to grab the nation&rsquo;s attention, raising the stakes for advertisers.</p> <p> Companies compete for the attention of our diverse country. One hotly debated political question is the status of women in America, specifically when it comes to equal pay, and what actions the government should or should not take to benefit women. The post-inauguration Women&rsquo;s March in DC, for example, was littered with posters demanding equal pay for women.</p> <p> In its Super Bowl ad, Audi chose a side in this debate by perpetuating the myth that women make only 79 cents for every dollar a man makes in the same job. The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6u10YPk_34">ad features</a> a young girl relentlessly competing against boys in a cart race while her father&rsquo;s voice asks questions about the world in which his daughter is growing up:</p> <p> What do I tell my daughter? Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma? That her dad is worth more than her mom? Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets.&rdquo;</p> <p> Then the screen flashes, &ldquo;Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work.&rdquo;</p> <p> The ad has already amassed more than 4 million views since being released on Wednesday. Audi has succeeded in getting the nation&rsquo;s attention. But not all of that attention is positive. There are 36,261 negative thumbs down reactions verses a mere 2,956 thumbs up reactions on YouTube where the video was posted.</p> <p> Some people slammed Audi for its message in the YouTube comments section&mdash;from calling the ad &ldquo;100% unadulterated liberal propaganda&rdquo; to one commentator writing,&ldquo;What do I tell my daughter? Tell her that if she wants to earn equal pay, she should get a degree in Engineering instead of Gender Studies.&rdquo;</p> <p> Another commentator responded back to the ad with a different set of questions:</p> <p> First, why would you ever tell your daughter that she is worth less than any man she would ever meet?&nbsp; And why would you ever insult your own wife and mother by telling your daughter that they were worth less than their male counterparts?&nbsp; Also, why would you ever tell her that a person&#39;s value is based solely on how much money they earned?&quot;</p> <p> They are right to critique Audi. Audi posted the video on Twitter with <a href="https://twitter.com/Audi/status/826811795117465601">this tweet</a>:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Women are still paid 21% less than men. As a brand that believes in progress, we are committed to equal pay for equal work. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DriveProgress?src=hash">#DriveProgress</a> <a href="https://t.co/bmQKrNr9l4">pic.twitter.com/bmQKrNr9l4</a></p> &mdash; Audi (@Audi) <a href="https://twitter.com/Audi/status/826811795117465601">February 1, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The line that women make 79 cents on the dollar men make has been debunked. The statistic behind that line, which by the way is <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/archive/women-in-the-labor-force-a-databook-2014.pdf">now at 82 cents</a>, is a comparison of the median earnings of women and men who work in full-time wage and salary jobs. It does not compare women and men in the same job with the same education, years of experience, or hours worked, for example. These are choices that individuals make and choices that they should be able to make, even if a choice leads to a lower salary.</p> <p> When <a href="https://twitter.com/Audi/status/826937589366001664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">questioned on Twitter</a> whether Audi pays women less, Audi countered that women are paid equally when certain factors are added to the equation&mdash;likely the very same factors that its ad ignores:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> <a href="https://twitter.com/TueborFrog">@TueborFrog</a> When we account for all the various factors that go into pay, women at Audi are on par with their male counterparts.</p> &mdash; Audi (@Audi) <a href="https://twitter.com/Audi/status/826937589366001664">February 1, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> While New England quarterback Tom Brady has desperately tried to keep politics, specifically his relationship with President Donald Trump, out of the Super Bowl, Audi has found a way to inject politics into the conversation.</p> <p> The Audi ad provides a powerful visual of a girl competing with the boys. No surprise, the daughter ends up winning the race. What could have been an empowering message is transformed into a message that young girls are victims in our society. Audi should have left the political message out and stuck to the racing.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802745/Karin AgnessFri, 3 Feb 2017 16:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe 10 Most Ridiculous College Protests Of 2016<p> As we close the book on 2016, it&rsquo;s time to look back on the year on American college campuses. It was <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/karinagness/2015/12/30/ten-most-ridiculous-college-protests-of-2015/#6b9a92901379">another year</a> filled with protests, many fueled by Republican Donald Trump&rsquo;s victory. Here are the top ten most ridiculous college protests of 2016:</p> <p> <strong>10. Cornell Students Hold A Post-election &ldquo;Cry in&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> Cornellians held a &ldquo;cry in&rdquo; over hot chocolate to &ldquo;mourn&rdquo; Trump&rsquo;s victory on campus. <em>The Cornell Daily Sun</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://cornellsun.com/2016/11/09/devastated-cornellians-mourn-election-of-donald-trump-at-cry-in/">reports</a>&nbsp;that students, &ldquo;sat in a circle to share stories and console each other, organizers encouraging attendees to gather closer together and &lsquo;include each other.&rsquo;&rdquo; Additionally, students signed posters in protest.</p> <p> <strong>9. UT Austin Students Organize &ldquo;Cocks Not Glocks&rdquo; Protest</strong></p> <p> On the first day of classes at the University of Texas at Austin, students picked up and strapped on dildos to protest Texas&rsquo;s new &ldquo;campus carry&rdquo; law permitting licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns on campus. More than 5,000 dildos, which were donated by sex shops, were <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/25/cocks-not-glocks-texas-campus-carry-gun-law-protest">distributed over five days</a>.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active end ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> <strong>8. UMass Students Hold A &ldquo;Shit-in&rdquo;</strong></p> <p> For a week, students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst planned a &ldquo;shit-in,&rdquo; occupying restrooms <a href="http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8409">to demand more gender-neutral facilities</a>. The <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/enlightenedwomen.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdzE9tMTITfrsB_dwhX5OBktsdCrgV-56QweOzMLb1mYMsrZw/viewform?c=0&amp;w=1">&ldquo;shit-in&rdquo; sign up google form</a> gave protesters the option of sitting alone or &ldquo;with other sitters&rdquo; and the choice of a &ldquo;&lsquo;Men&rsquo;s&rsquo; rooms&rdquo; or &ldquo;&lsquo;Women&rsquo;s&rsquo; rooms.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>7. UC Merced Students Seek To Disarm Campus Police</strong></p> <p> Some students organized as Uplifting People Power to Resolve Issues of Spaces and Equity, known as UPRISE, at the University of California Merced protested in favor of disarming the campus police. Why? Because <a href="http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/29775/">the presence of campus police is &ldquo;harmful to the campus climate,&rdquo;</a> as reported by <em>The College Fix.</em></p> <p> <strong>6. Gettysburg College Students Sit Down Against Hate</strong></p> <p> Students at Gettysburg College gathered in November on the steps of Penn Hall to sit down in protest of hate. In a letter on behalf of the student participants, senior Joseph Charles Recupero III <a href="http://gettysburgian.com/2016/11/students-stage-sit-in-to-protest-hate-on-campus/">wrote</a>, &ldquo;Tonight we will sit, because we cannot stand for hate.&rdquo; The students also apparently slept against hate. The Gettysburg Recreation Adventure Board (GRAB) gave participants sleeping bags. And they had the chance to meet with the president of the college. Acknowledging that they still had to figure out the next step to destroying hate, Recupero wrote,</p> <p> To be honest, I am still confused about what to do next. I have gathered all of these people, AMAZING PEOPLE, who simply want to acknowledged as equal, as worth more than the names they call us. Earlier this evening, someone told me that this is the original machine that destroys hate, and behalf of everyone out here, I am extending a hand in partnership.</p> <p> <strong>5. Smith College Students Host Anti-Colonial Thanksgiving</strong></p> <p> The Smith Students for Justice in Palestine group <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1711850615801953/">hosted an &ldquo;Anti-Colonial Thanksgiving&rdquo;</a> to &ldquo;address the parallel struggles of the Standing Rock Sioux and the Palestinians of Gaza, who are fighting to protect their water tables from the poison of capitalist imperialism.&rdquo; The Facebook event details reminded potential attendees that, &ldquo;All of us&hellip; have seen or felt firsthand the pervasive physical and psychological violence of imperialism and colonialism.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>4. UChicago Students Block Michigan Avenue Traffic For Free Tuition Protest</strong></p> <p> Wearing caps and gowns, two University of Chicago students <a href="https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2016/10/24/two-students-arrested-blocking-traffic-michigan-av/">were arrested</a> for blocking traffic by chaining themselves together to protest for free public college in Illinois. They blocked traffic outside of the Art Institute of Chicago to encourage a trustee there and major donor to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to support free higher education at public colleges. Nevermind that the University of Chicago is a private institution.</p> <p> <strong>3. Oberlin Students Demand Low Grades Be Abolished</strong></p> <p> It is no surprise that Oberlin students made the list again this year. Students signed a petition asking that all grades below a C be abolished. <a href="http://theweek.com/speedreads/626361/oberlin-students-want-abolish-midterms-grades-below-c">It seems that they are struggling</a> to simultaneously keep up with the demands of their activism and classes.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> <strong>2. Hampshire College Students Lowered And Burned The American Flag</strong></p> <p> Hampshire College students lowered and eventually burned an American flag the week Trump won<em>. </em>After the flag was lowered, the administration, &ldquo;made the decision to leave the flag at half-staff on Thursday out of respect for the anguish they were feeling, even while recognizing that for others in our community the flag connotes very different meanings,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8383">wrote Beth Ward</a>, the secretary of the college, according to <em>Campus Reform</em>.</p> <p> As a result of the flag burning, there was an empty flagpole on Veterans Day.</p> <p style="margin-left:37.0pt;"> <strong>1.&nbsp; </strong><strong>Faculty And Students Try To Silence UVA Founder Thomas Jefferson</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:.25in;"> After University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan&nbsp;sent out a post-election email that included a quote from UVA Founder Thomas Jefferson&nbsp;to calm the University community, UVA faculty drafted a letter demanding that Sullivan stop quoting Jefferson. <a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/11/professors-ask-sullivan-to-stop-quoting-jefferson">Signed by 469 faculty and students,</a>&nbsp;the letter <a href="http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Students-professors-ask-Sullivan-to-stop-quoting-Jefferson-401168055.html">stated</a>,</p> <p style="margin-left:.25in;"> In the spirit of inclusivity, we would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson&rsquo;s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it.</p> <p style="margin-left:.25in;"> Yes, UVA faculty and students are trying to erase Jefferson from the university he founded.</p> <p style="margin-left:.25in;"> As college students and their parents prepare for 2017, let&rsquo;s all resolve to end the ridiculousness on campuses in the year ahead.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802464/Karin AgnessFri, 30 Dec 2016 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStop Creating Campus Bubbles<p> <em>Saturday Night Live&rsquo;s</em> recent sketch, <a href="https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-bubble/3428577">The Bubble</a>, offered hope for Americans depressed about the election&mdash;&ldquo;What if there was a place where the unthinkable didn&rsquo;t happen and life could continue for progressive Americans just as before?,&rdquo; SNL asked in the fictitious advertisement for a &ldquo;planned community of like-minded free-thinkers and no one else&rdquo; opening in January 2017.</p> <p> SNL deserves credit for poking a little fun at its loyal fan-base, which includes many would-be residents of &ldquo;The Bubble.&rdquo; Some Americans don&rsquo;t have to wait to live in bubbles. They are already living on college campuses.</p> <p> After Republican candidate Donald Trump won the presidential election, American colleges treated students as if their bubble had just been burst. For many, it had.</p> <p> Students across the country expressed their sadness, anger and a whole host of other emotions. Many campuses responded by coddling students. Consider the following examples from the Ivy League.</p> <p> Some students begged for exams and assignments to be postponed or canceled and some faculty obliged.</p> <p> At Yale University, a professor <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3921048/Yale-professor-makes-economics-midterm-optional-students-distraught-Trump-winning-election.html">made his Econ 115 exam optional</a> in response to desperate pleas from students who were &ldquo;in shock over the election returns.&rdquo;</p> <p> Harvard history lecturer Brett Flehinger, currently leading a course titled, &ldquo;American Populisms: Thomas Jefferson to the Tea Party + Trump,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/11/10/professors-classes-post-election/">said he</a> &ldquo;knew right away that he would be unable to teach&rdquo; the class as usual after Trump won. He said, &ldquo;People were emotionally not in a position to learn&rdquo; and &ldquo;Students were pretty emotionally knocked down,&rdquo; according to <em>The Harvard Crimson.</em></p> <p> The Engineering Student Council President at Columbia called for an extension on assignments and exams within the School of Engineering and Applied Science, &ldquo;given that the elections results have left people feeling triggered, anxious, and unwell,&rdquo; <a href="http://columbiaspectator.com/news/2016/11/09/after-trump-victory-some-professors-move-postpone-midterms">according to the <em>Columbia Spectator</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p> <em>The Daily Pennsylvanian </em>reports that University of Pennsylvania Professor Sarah Jane McCaffery offered a makeup date for her Management 104 midterm exam, <a href="http://www.thedp.com/article/2016/11/professors-cancel-exams-after-election">writing</a> &ldquo;I have heard from an unusual number of students this morning that they are unwell. Seems like there&rsquo;s something going around&hellip;.I am not a health professional and feel ill equipped to judge who is and who is not well enough to take the midterm today.&rdquo;</p> <p> Other students planned public demonstrations.</p> <p> The day after Trump won the election, Cornellians held a &ldquo;cry in&rdquo; to &ldquo;mourn.&rdquo; <a href="http://cornellsun.com/2016/11/09/devastated-cornellians-mourn-election-of-donald-trump-at-cry-in/"><em>The Cornell Daily Sun </em>reports</a> that students, &ldquo;sat in a circle to share stories and console each other, organizers encouraging attendees to gather closer together and &lsquo;include each other.&rsquo;&rdquo; Students could pick up tissues and hot chocolate. Also, they had the chance to sign posters in protest.</p> <p> Brown University students staged a walkout, during which they held signs, such as &ldquo;Declare Brown a Sanctuary Campus,&rdquo; and delivered a list of demands to the office of the Brown president.</p> <p> At <a href="https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2016/11/dartmouth-reacts-surprising-trump-victory">Dartmouth</a>, students joined a sit-in on campus that served as the starting point for a &ldquo;walk for love and justice.&rdquo;</p> <p> Still other students retreated to safe spaces.</p> <p> At Princeton University, while some students were protesting, others gathered, &ldquo;<a href="https://paw.princeton.edu/article/students-gather-steps-nassau-hall-protest-trump">not to seek solutions</a>, but to provide an opportunity to be vulnerable and to freely express feelings of anger and confusion.&rdquo;</p> <p> One dorm at the University of Pennsylvania set up a &ldquo;breathing space&rdquo; with cats, a puppy, coloring and snacks, so students could &ldquo;decompress in a low-key and low-stress environment,&rdquo; <a href="https://statesmanonline.org/2016/11/10/penn-reacts-to-clinton-loss-with-canceled-classes-and-coloring/">according to <em>The Statesman</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p> The post-election reaction at universities across the country, including some of our top universities, is teaching students the wrong lessons about how to live with people who think differently, overcome obstacles and deal with defeat.</p> <p> Having your candidate lose is tough. Every American who has been loyal to one party over the last decade has experienced this. Many have gone through a range of emotions on election night and then returned to their jobs and lived their lives as usual the next day. Employees don&rsquo;t get deadlines pushed back or work canceled when their candidate loses an election.</p> <p> Our universities are doing students a disservice by coddling them. They won&rsquo;t be prepared for post-graduation life. Or worse, they will demand that their world after college be transformed into a new bubble.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802256/Karin AgnessWed, 30 Nov 2016 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAt Thanksgiving, Sit Next To Someone Who May Challenge Your Opinions<p> Thanksgiving marks an annual pilgrimage home for many college students, and with it, uncomfortable questions on majors, post-graduation plans and significant others.</p> <p> One university is preparing students for an added potential worry this year&mdash;how to handle Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends who might have a different opinion.</p> <p> In Georgetown University Medical Center&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="https://gumc.georgetown.edu/news/thanksgiving-conversation-survival-guide-post-election">Thanksgiving Conversation Survival Guide Post-Election</a>,&rdquo; Georgetown University School of Medicine clinical psychologist Mary Ann Dutton offers seven tips:</p> <p> Avoid alcohol and substances that reduce ability to think clearly and to control anger</p> <p> Don&rsquo;t sit close to those who might challenge your opinions</p> <p> Remind yourself and others of areas of common ground</p> <p> Change the topic (&ldquo;What I&rsquo;d really like to hear about is&hellip;&rdquo;)</p> <p> Suggest talking at a later time</p> <p> Avoid disrespectful behavior and abusive language</p> <p> If you feel the conversation is going south, politely excuse yourself from the table</p> <p> College is supposed to be a place where young adults go to learn together. Part of the educational process is learning how to absorb, understand and engage new ideas. That includes learning how to discuss issues with people who have a different opinion on them. Sometimes the differences are small and agreement can be reached. Sometimes agreeing to disagree is the best course.</p> <p> Certainly, students aren&rsquo;t the only ones who sometimes find talking politics at Thanksgiving stressful. According to an <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/americans-idea-talking-politics-thanksgiving-stressful/story?id=43661049">ABC News and SSRS</a> online survey, 45 percent of Americans anticipate politics will be discussed at Thanksgiving and 38 percent said the idea of talking politics is at least somewhat stressful&mdash;14 percent said it is very stressful.</p> <p> But disagreeing with an aunt or uncle while talking politics over turkey shouldn&rsquo;t immediately trigger students to experience uncontrollable anger or feel a need to leave the table. The tips on Georgetown&rsquo;s list are revealing of the campus environment today. Instead of fostering intellectual diversity, campus administrators these days often coddle students&rsquo; emotion and stifle dissent.</p> <p> This list is the result. Students shouldn&rsquo;t need a list of tips for how to handle life off campus. That is what college should be preparing students for every day.</p> <p> Colleges shouldn&rsquo;t create a campus bubble filled with people who all believe the same ideas.</p> <p> That one of the top universities sent out a press release advising, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t sit close to those who might challenge your opinions,&rdquo; speaks volumes about the state of higher education today.</p> <p> Universities should be encouraging students to do the opposite: Go sit next to someone who may challenge your opinions.</p> <p> Ask someone older about their life experiences and what they have learned about the personal impact of policy changes. What is it like when the president&rsquo;s party loses the White House? What advice do they have when the candidate they voted for didn&rsquo;t win?&nbsp;What policies do they remember as having worked effectively under different presidents?</p> <p> We are about to have another major national conversation about health care. What worked well before the Affordable Care Act and what needed to be improved? The answers will vary.</p> <p> Americans disagree about politics and policy. We should all be thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where we can disagree publicly by, for example, sharing our political frustrations on Facebook. That is not the case everywhere. Facebook blocked about 55,000 pieces of content in about 20 countries between July 2015 and December 2015, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/technology/facebook-censorship-tool-china.html"><em>The New York Times</em></a>. And the company is developing a new tool to allow geography-based censoring in a bid to get Facebook into China.</p> <p> Students should be able to listen, ask questions, offer an opinion and answer questions without ruining Thanksgiving.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802217/Karin AgnessWed, 23 Nov 2016 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUniversity Of Virginia Faculty Shouldn't Silence Thomas Jefferson<p> There are many instances of the silencing of speech and an instinct to censor at American universities.</p> <p> One bright spot is that the President of the University of Virginia has stood up to faculty who demanded that she stop quoting the Founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson.</p> <p> After Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election, University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan <a href="http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Students-professors-ask-Sullivan-to-stop-quoting-Jefferson-401168055.html">sent out an email</a> to calm the University community.</p> <p> This was no pro-Trump email. Sullivan acknowledged students might be feeling &ldquo;anxious about what the future holds.&rdquo; She diplomatically reminded the University community that our government includes a system of checks and balances and that our country has made it for more than two centuries.</p> <p> She encouraged students to &ldquo;use your imagination to conceive and create the world that you and your generation want for yourselves.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yet, she made one big mistake in the eyes of some faculty members by quoting Jefferson. She wrote in her email,</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;By coincidence, on this&nbsp;<em>exact</em>&nbsp;day 191 years ago&mdash;November 9, 1825, in the first year of classes at UVA&mdash;Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students &lsquo;are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes.&rsquo; I encourage today&rsquo;s UVA students to embrace that responsibility.&rdquo;</p> <p> To many UVA faculty, the mere act of quoting Jefferson was offensive.</p> <p> A member of the UVA faculty <a href="http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Students-professors-ask-Sullivan-to-stop-quoting-Jefferson-401168055.html">drafted a letter</a>, which was <a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/11/professors-ask-sullivan-to-stop-quoting-jefferson">signed by 469 faculty and students,</a> calling on Sullivan to stop quoting Jefferson,</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;In the spirit of inclusivity, we would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson&rsquo;s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it.&rdquo;</p> <p> The letter drafted by Assistant Psychology Professor Noelle Hurd continued,</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotes undermines the messages of unity, equality, civility, and inclusivity that you are attempting to convey.&rdquo;</p> <p> <a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/11/professors-ask-sullivan-to-stop-quoting-jefferson">Politics Professor Lawrie Balfour said</a>,</p> <p> &ldquo;Again and again, I have found that at moments when the community needs reassurance and Jefferson appears, it undoes I think the really important work that administrators and others are trying to do.&rdquo;</p> <p> Sullivan didn&rsquo;t back down or apologize for quoting Jefferson.</p> <p> I earned two degrees from UVA. In our world of identity politics, I would be considered one of the excluded. After all, I am a woman and it wasn&rsquo;t until 1969 that the Board of Visitors at UVA voted to lift restrictions on admitting women.</p> <p> My seven years spent at UVA for college and law school were enriched because of Jefferson&rsquo;s presence at the University&mdash;I learned from his successes, failures, rights and wrongs. They were discussed openly and in great detail.</p> <p> I spoke on a panel at the UVA Law School on the future of feminism earlier this week. I mentioned to a student beforehand that I planned to include a Jefferson quote. I was cautioned that this might elicit a negative reaction.</p> <p> The students handled it just fine.</p> <p> But that this is even an issue demonstrates a change in the environment from when I was a student there a decade ago. There is much more of an instinct to find offense and then demand a silencing of speech.</p> <p> It truly seems absurd that the faculty of Jefferson&rsquo;s University would want to erase Jefferson from his own university. But that is where we are today.</p> <p> Jefferson once <a href="https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/famous-jefferson-quotes">wrote</a>,</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;This institution [University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.&rdquo;</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s not limit the intellectual environment at UVA. University faculty could host discussions on what Jefferson did right and wrong. But the UVA faculty shouldn&rsquo;t demand that all of his words be censored from UVA.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2802156/Karin AgnessThu, 17 Nov 2016 13:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat A Fright: Counseling For Offensive Costumes At The University Of Florida<p> As Halloween approaches, Americans young and old are readying their costumes for a night of fright and fun. Besides the usual ghosts, superheroes, and witches, some people are likely planning creative costumes that make light of current events. Expect to see more than a few donning &ldquo;Make America Great Again&rdquo; hats or pantsuits and blonde wigs to imitate our presidential candidates.</p> <p> At the University of Florida, students who are offended by these or other Halloween costumes now have the option to take advantage of around-the-clock counseling.</p> <p> According to a <a href="http://gatortimes.ufl.edu/2016/10/10/halloween-costume-choices-4/">University of Florida memo</a>,</p> <p> If you choose to participate in Halloween activities, we encourage you to think about your choices of costumes and themes.&nbsp;Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people.&nbsp;</p> <p> The memo informs students that if they are offended, they can email the U Matter, We Care program and &ldquo;there is a 24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center available to speak by phone.&rdquo;</p> <p> Furthermore, students can inform the Bias Education and Response Team, which is ready to, &ldquo;respond to any reported incidents of bias, to educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources.&rdquo;</p> <p> Intervening in Halloween costume choices is the latest example of college administrators treating students more like delicate children than mature adults.</p> <p> Unfortunately, the University of Florida isn&rsquo;t the first university to send such a memo.</p> <p> Last year, <a href="https://d28htnjz2elwuj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/06103238/Email_From_Intercultural_Affairs.pdf">The Intercultural Affairs Committee</a> at Yale sent an email to students&nbsp;on Halloween costume guidelines to discourage students from wearing offensive costumes. In response, Erika Christakis, Associate Master of Silliman College and Lecturer at the Yale Child Study Center,<a href="https://d28htnjz2elwuj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/09070305/Email_From_Erika.pdf">&nbsp;emailed students</a>&nbsp;of the residential college, challenging them to think more deeply about the issue&mdash;about what is offensive, the role of the university and the role of students.</p> <p> Christakis wrote, &ldquo;we seem afraid that college students are unable to decide how to dress themselves on Halloween.&rdquo;</p> <p> Her email continued:</p> <p> American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition. And the censure and prohibition come from above, not from yourselves! Are we all okay with this transfer of power? Have we lost faith in young people&rsquo;s capacity &ndash; in your capacity &ndash; to exercise selfcensure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you?</p> <p> Her comments outraged students and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEFD_JVYd0&amp;list=PLvIqJIL2kOMefn77xg6-6yrvek5kbNf3Z&amp;index=3">upset students publicly confronted her husband</a>, Nicholas Christakis, the Master of Silliman College and a Yale Professor.</p> <p> The suggestion that Yale students should be able to think through Halloween costumes without intervention from administrators and deal with any costumes they consider offensive on their own was considered treason to many Yalies. Erika and Nicholas Christakis cancelled their spring courses and resigned from the residential college within the year.</p> <p> Some people make bad decisions about costumes. But the University of Florida and other universities should be working to cultivate an environment in which students make good decisions and can manage a situation on their own when others offend them.</p> <p> The role of the university is not to remove any and all distasteful or offensive occurrences from the students&rsquo; lives.</p> <p> Maybe a student will dress up as a mature college student this year&mdash;university administrators don&rsquo;t seem to think they exist anymore.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801795/Karin AgnessMon, 17 Oct 2016 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Hillary Clinton Should Learn From Margaret Thatcher<p> Today would have been Margaret Thatcher&rsquo;s 91st birthday. The Iron Lady was born on October 13, 1925. During her lifetime, she rose to become a leader on the world stage and a true ally to the United States. While she was Britain&rsquo;s first female prime minister, she is more well-known for what she did in office than her sex. Thatcher fought the perils of socialism at home and communism abroad.</p> <p> Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should learn this lesson from Margaret Thatcher.</p> <p> Thatcher certainly didn&rsquo;t take on the feminist label and famously said, &ldquo;I owe nothing to women&rsquo;s lib.&rdquo; Allan Mayer, her biographer, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/margaret-thatchers-tart-words-about-women-in-power/274785/">wrote</a>, &ldquo;In Margaret Thatcher&rsquo;s view, her sex is an irrelevancy, and she is annoyed by people who make too much of a fuss over it.&rdquo;</p> <p> While Thatcher didn&rsquo;t ignore her sex or the sex of voters, she did not make it the justification for her campaign and leadership. For example, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/9979399/Margaret-Thatcher-A-life-in-words.html">she said</a>, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got a woman&rsquo;s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.&rdquo;</p> <p> And she said, &ldquo;Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.&rdquo;</p> <p> Clinton has had an uneasy relationship throughout her two presidential bids with the historic nature of her candidacy. She downplayed it in 2008 compared to 2016 until the end of her campaign. At her last campaign rally at the National Building Museum, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91282297">she said</a>, &ldquo;Although we weren&rsquo;t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it&rsquo;s got about 18 million cracks in it.&rdquo;</p> <p> She has taken a different approach in 2016. At her first campaign rally, she mentioned her sex right away. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/politics/hillary-clinton-gender-merits/">Clinton said</a>, &ldquo;I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I&rsquo;ll be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.&rdquo; And then her<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GzGAW7k2V8"> campaign released</a> a &ldquo;44 boys is too many!&rdquo; video advertisement featuring girls reading letters to Clinton encouraging her candidacy. She has continued to bring up how much her victory would mean to little girls in America and made that a campaign theme.</p> <p> Yes, if Clinton wins, she will be the first female president. That will always be part of her legacy. But if she wants to be remembered for more than her sex, which she should, then she would be wise to learn from Thatcher and not make that her central focus.</p> <p> A true victory for American feminism would be that the first woman president is remembered for being a great president, not just the first woman president.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801757/Karin AgnessThu, 13 Oct 2016 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat To Expect In The Second Presidential Debate<p> The work week ended with two bombshells&mdash;<em>The Washington Post</em> obtained and posted a 2005 video of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump saying inexcusable things about women and WikiLeaks released alleged Clinton campaign emails showing excerpts from paid speeches that she has refused to release herself. Americans don&rsquo;t have to wait any longer for October surprises.</p> <p> But many are anxiously awaiting to see what the second presidential debate on Sunday night will bring.</p> <p> One of the key questions for the debate on Sunday is whether Trump will show up prepared for it or not, assuming Trump is still in the race.</p> <p> Trump won the support of legendary Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight who was known for his extreme game preparation when he was coaching. In a stump speech during the hotly contested Indiana primary, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/04/27/bobby-knight-calls-trump-most-prepared-man-in-history-to-run-for-president/">Knight said of Trump</a>, &ldquo;You folks are taking a look at the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States, that man right there.&rdquo; This was not the case at the first debate.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active end ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> Much talk leading up to the first presidential debate on September 26 centered on a contrast between Trump taking a more relaxed approach and Clinton leaving the campaign trail to practice. It showed. Trump was unprepared for predictable questions and missed opportunities to nail Clinton on her weaknesses. Take a question on cybersecurity&mdash;why didn&rsquo;t he hammer on her email scandal?</p> <p> And then there is the woman question. <a href="http://will%20a%20question%20about%20women%20trip%20up%20trump%20this%20time/?"><strong>Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.</strong></a>, it was predictable that either the moderator or Clinton would press Trump on his inappropriate statements about women. After all, he has struggled on these questions from Trump&rsquo;s first debate with Fox&rsquo;s Megyn Kelly raising the issue. Trump failed to answer Clinton&rsquo;s question on his use of language when talking about women.</p> <p> Now there is the &ldquo;Access Hollywood&rdquo; video of Trump boasting to Billy Bush about the terrible way he treats women as sex objects. That issue is going to come up. His comments are indefensible. He needs to be prepared to apologize again and respond sincerely. Prominent Republicans are withdrawing their support and more and more are calling on him to step down. Senator Mike Crapo, who had endorsed Trump, issued a statement this morning rescinding his endorsement and asking for Trump to step aside. In an interview with <em>The Washington Post</em> this morning, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/amid-growing-calls-to-drop-out-trump-vows-to-never-withdraw/2016/10/08/8c0b5b7a-8d68-11e6-bff0-d53f592f176e_story.html?postshare=8561475940907652&amp;tid=ss_tw">Trump said</a>, &ldquo;I&rsquo;d never withdraw. I&rsquo;ve never withdrawn in my life.&rdquo;</p> <p> The person who could replace Trump is his Vice Presidential running mate Governor Mike Pence. Pence hands down won the one and only vice presidential debate on Tuesday. Pence came across as calm, measured and trustworthy&mdash;characteristics that voters want in a president and vice president and are sorely missing this election cycle. His opponent, Senator Tim Kaine, came across as an annoying dog nipping at heels. Pence did what he needed to do&mdash;made America more comfortable with him after the debate.</p> <p> As for Clinton, she has been on the national political stage for more than two decades, so her expectations are higher. She needs to get better at answering questions about her scandals from the deleted emails to the latest from WikiLeaks. And she has to continue to try to get people excited to vote for her, including those staunch Senator Bernie Sanders supporters and Independents. One way to do this is to win people to her side, and the other, is to turn more people against Trump.</p> <p> There are so many sensational stories this election cycle, it is no wonder that important policy issues like the failures of ObamaCare aren&rsquo;t getting their due.</p> <p> Tune in at 9pm EST Sunday to see some inevitable fireworks and maybe some policy discussions.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801694/Karin AgnessSat, 8 Oct 2016 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMillennials Need New Policies, Not New Hashtags<p> The White House held its <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2016/09/27/millennial-outreach-and-engagement-summit">Millennial Outreach and Engagement Summit</a> on Tuesday for young people to come together and share how they are going to persuade their peers to sign up for ObamaCare. The fourth Open Enrollment period begins November 1, 2016.</p> <p> According to a June Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services <a href="https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-06-21.html">media release</a>, younger and healthier adults are more likely than average to remain uninsured. The CMMS lists how young people benefit from having insurance, such as protecting against catastrophic costs from a serious illness, and then hits at the larger issue&mdash;young people signing up &ldquo;contributes to a more balanced Marketplace risk pool and lower costs.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s the key.</p> <p> For ObamaCare to work, younger, healthier people must sign up to subsidize older people who generally consume more healthcare.</p> <p> This Administration has all kinds of &ldquo;new&rdquo; strategies to try to reach young people who have not signed up for ObamaCare, operating on an assumption that millennials aren&rsquo;t signing up because they don&rsquo;t know about it or don&rsquo;t realize the supposed benefits&mdash;not because young people might be weighing their options and purposely opting out.</p> <p> There is a public-private partnership with Lyft for discounted rides to attend Open Enrollment events, a faster email response plan, and even a #HealthyAdulting hashtag campaign. This echoes a long history of efforts to try to get young people to sign up&mdash;from encouraging <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/11/27/obama-wants-to-insert-the-individual-mandate-into-millennials-thanksgiving/#168522e03ec8">parents to talk to their kids during Thanksgiving</a> to celebrity spots to President Barack Obama appearing on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnW3xkHxIEQ">&ldquo;Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis&rdquo;</a> to pitch young people on signing up for ObamaCare and ensuring them that, &ldquo;healthcare.gov works great now.&rdquo;</p> <p> Millennials don&rsquo;t need new hashtag campaigns. What they need are new policies.</p> <p> Two conservative women&rsquo;s groups, the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and the Network of enlightened Women (see my affiliation in my bio), are leading the way, by offering the <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/Working_for_Young_Women.pdf">Working for Young Women report</a>. This Report includes more than a dozen policy reform ideas to create a more dynamic society in a responsible way&mdash;not just suggesting more &ldquo;free&rdquo; government programs that will shift costs to the next generation or new slick advertisements trying to fit millennials in old programs. The Report encourages millennials and in particular, young women to rethink old issues.</p> <p> Take health insurance. According to a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/194204/millennials-job-hoppers-not.aspx">Gallup poll published in August</a>, only half of millennials plan to stay with their company one year from now. Changing health insurance regularly is a headache. Millennials should advocate for unlinking health insurance from employment.</p> <p> Or student loans. Despite increases in government loans, which are intended to make college more affordable, college costs keep rising. Approximately 70 percent of graduates leave college with student loan debt, averaging $30,000. There seems to be an endless number of administrators, deans and provosts on college campuses. Millennials should push for accountability in higher education and make cost-conscious decisions. For example, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels imposed tuition freezes to force Purdue to rethink spending. This caused pressure on other universities in Indiana to freeze tuition as well for fear of losing good students.</p> <p> Conservative policy reforms will benefit young people, including young women. These policies are about returning power to individuals and creating a more flexible, dynamic society.</p> <p> Millennials don&rsquo;t need more slick marketing campaigns from the White House. They need new policy ideas, and conservatives have them.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801599/Karin AgnessFri, 30 Sep 2016 12:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat To Watch For In The First Presidential Debate<p> Two-thirds of registered voters expect to watch the first Trump-Clinton debate, <a href="https://morningconsult.com/2016/09/25/trump-edges-clinton-ahead-first-debate/">according to a recent Morning Consult poll</a>. It is on track to become the most watched debate ever and might even get close to Super Bowl viewing numbers. The first Republican primary debate shattered records. 24 million people tuned in to watch the first Republican primary debate, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/07/media/gop-debate-fox-news-ratings/">the highest-rated primary debate in television history</a> and bigger than the MLB World Series games.</p> <p> Republican nominee Donald Trump knows how to make good TV and people want to see what he will do, which explains much of the interest. Instead of focusing only on the entertainment value of the debate, here are some things we should be watching for:</p> <p> Will a question about women trip up Trump this time?</p> <p> From <a href="https://shop.hillaryclinton.com/products/the-woman-card">&ldquo;Woman Cards&rdquo;</a> being sold on her campaign website to a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GzGAW7k2V8">video</a> showcasing little girls reading letters to Hillary Clinton encouraging her candidacy, Clinton has made the possibility of making history by becoming the first female president a key narrative of her campaign. She relies on this narrative to different extents depending on the circumstances.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> Women were an important constituency to President Barack Obama winning in the last presidential election. Obama won women by 11 points, and won single women, 40 percent of female voters, by 36 percent. It is no wonder Clinton offers many policies in the name of helping single working women.</p> <p> Trump has struggled in previous debates when it comes to &ldquo;women questions,&rdquo; so expect some question that will hit on this from the moderator or a comment baiting Trump from Clinton.</p> <p> A memorable moment in the first primary debate occurred when Fox&rsquo;s Megyn Kelly asked Trump about some of the comments he had made about women, specifically calling them &ldquo;fat pigs,&rdquo; &ldquo;dogs,&rdquo; &ldquo;slobs&rdquo; and &ldquo;disgusting animals.&rdquo;</p> <p> In a later debate, Carly Fiorina was asked if she would like to respond to a disparaging remark Trump made that people wouldn&rsquo;t vote for &ldquo;that face,&rdquo; her face. She said she would let the comments speak for themselves: &ldquo;I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.&rdquo;</p> <p> Will the candidates focus on issues?</p> <p> The three topics of the debate are &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Direction,&rdquo; &ldquo;Achieving Prosperity&rdquo; and &ldquo;Securing America.&rdquo; According to a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2016/09/25/National-Politics/Polling/release_446.xml?tid=a_inl">Washington Post-ABC News poll</a> out this week, 32 percent of registered voters say that the economy and jobs is the most important issue in choosing a candidate, while 23 percent picked terrorism and national security.</p> <p> There has been much talk about which candidates have detailed plans on these issues and what those plans entail. The debate will be an opportunity for Clinton and Trump to lay out some more specifics.</p> <p> But will Clinton and Trump resist the temptation to take shots at one another?</p> <p> This month, Clinton claimed half of Trump&rsquo;s supporters fit into a &ldquo;basket of deplorables.&rdquo; She later expressed &ldquo;regret&rdquo; for this comment. And this weekend Trump responded to Clinton inviting outspoken Trump critic Mark Cuban to attend the debate by tweeting that he &ldquo;perhaps&rdquo; would invite Gennifer Flowers to the debate. While NBC&rsquo;s Lester Holt may try to keep the candidates on the planned topics, we all will be watching to see who throws the first personal attack.</p> <p> Which Trump will show up?</p> <p> Throughout the primary season, Trump promised Republicans that he would become more presidential during the general election. He often seems to be playing a game of one step forward and one step backward in this regard, but has shown some discipline to stay on message lately. This is his time to get beyond the Trump rally attendees and make his case to tens of millions of Americans.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> Will America like the candidates better after the debate?</p> <p> Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether either candidate will be able to leave a more favorable impression on viewers after the debate. 57 percent of registered voters have an <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-clinton-trump-in-virtual-dead-heat-on-eve-of-first-debate/2016/09/24/b99c95de-81cb-11e6-8327-f141a7beb626_story.html">unfavorable impression of Clinton</a>. Trump has the same unfavorable number. In a <a href="https://nextgenclimate.global.ssl.fastly.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NextGen-Battleground-Millennial-Benchmark-Topline-F07.27.16.pdf">survey this summer</a>, millennials rated Trump and Clinton with higher unfavorables than Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series.</p> <p> It is difficult to win the vote of people who view you unfavorably. Tune in at 9pm Monday night for the 90 minute debate to see if either candidate can win over voters.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801523/Karin AgnessSun, 25 Sep 2016 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum'Pinksourcing' Is The Latest Misleading Equal Pay Effort<p> Many celebrities have issues that get discussed in very public ways, even on reality TV shows such as <em>Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew</em>. The issue a new comedy HuffPost series, &ldquo;Celebs Have Issues,&rdquo; tackles in its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kristen-bell-has-the-cheap-labor-your-company-is-looking-for-women_us_57d94fa0e4b09d7a6880a4b8?utm_hp_ref=kristen-bell">first episode</a> isn&rsquo;t about a failed relationship or addiction, but instead a public policy issue&mdash;equal pay for women in the workplace.</p> <p> Dressed in pink, actress Kristen Bell makes a pitch that the way for companies to save money is not through outsourcing production &ldquo;to far away countries like India, China and Narnia,&rdquo; but through &ldquo;Pinksourcing,&rdquo; hiring a female labor force, because women are paid less than men. As she strolls through cubicles, she says, &ldquo;With Pinksourcing, women are a bargain at the workplace, since you only have to pay them 77 cents on the dollar.&rdquo;</p> <p> Added bonus? &ldquo;They smell nice&rdquo; and bring in baked goods.</p> <p> Bell&rsquo;s jokes may be funny, but the video further misleads American women about the facts regarding pay in the workplace.</p> <p> Many women have embraced the 77 cents on the dollar statistic as evidence that they face systematic discrimination in the workforce and as a reason to support additional federal legislation.</p> <p> The Equal Pay Act, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy, made sex-based discrimination in pay illegal and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate based on sex in the workplace.</p> <p> The 77 cents number is more complicated than Bell lets on.</p> <p> The statistic Bell cites compares the <a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-245.pdf">median earnings</a> of full-time working men and women overall in our economy, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.</p> <p> It doesn&rsquo;t compare two men and women working in the same job. It doesn&rsquo;t take into account a lot of choices that men and women make that no doubt impact earnings&mdash;including choices such as education level, years of experience, type of job and <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/karinagness/2016/06/30/new-report-men-work-longer-hours-than-women/#44cb193663e3">hours worked</a>.</p> <p> Bell then mocks those women who choose to leave the workforce, &ldquo;Women don&rsquo;t even really want to be working anyway. They&rsquo;d rather be home taking care of the family, while their husband gets to make life choices and follow his dreams and play fantasy football.&rdquo;</p> <p> While this is a comedy series, Bell makes it sound as if no woman in her right mind would ever make this choice. Some women do make the life choice to leave the workforce. That&rsquo;s ok. Women who leave the workforce to take care of their families should be treated just as equally as women who forge ahead to the C-suite. The women&rsquo;s empowerment movement should be about empowering women to make that decision.</p> <p> It is not just celebrities who get the equal pay issue wrong.</p> <p> When misleading information a celebrity is spreading is part of a narrative that could influence legislation, it especially needs to be debunked.</p> <p> Presidential candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/hillaryclinton/status/721068854042972160">Hillary Clinton has repeatedly raised the equal pay issue and tweeted</a> on April 15 this year, &ldquo;A typical woman working full-time is paid just 79% of what a man makes, but there&rsquo;s no discount for being a woman.&rdquo;</p> <p> The 77 cent or now 79 cent statistic is often used by Clinton to justify new equal pay legislation that would increase federal government regulation of employment pay decisions. But Clinton doesn&rsquo;t talk about the secondary effects of the legislation, such as making it more expensive to hire employees, including women.</p> <p> Bell, who sang with other celebrities at the Democratic National Convention, is taking on an important policy issue. Just as actresses get to know the characters before taking them on, Bell should get to know the equal pay issue before speaking out about it.</p> <p> Before women of America embrace Bell&rsquo;s &ldquo;Pinksourcing&rdquo; video, they should take a closer look at the 77 cents on the dollar statistic and the misleading way it has been used to justify calls for more equal pay regulations.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801441/Karin AgnessFri, 16 Sep 2016 10:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservative Women Are The Underdogs On Campus<p> In a recent interview on the popular blog Humans of New York, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton <a href="http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/150127870371/i-was-taking-a-law-school-admissions-test-in-a">described one of the obstacles</a> she has overcome in her long journey towards the White House. While taking the law school admissions test at Harvard, Clinton was one of the only women in the room. &ldquo;I was feeling nervous,&rdquo; she explained. And a group of men heckled the women with comments such as, &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t need to be here&rdquo; and &ldquo;There&rsquo;s plenty else you can do.&rdquo; One even warned her that she was threatening to take his spot, which would result in death from being drafted to Vietnam. &ldquo;And they weren&rsquo;t kidding around,&rdquo; Clinton said, &ldquo;It was intense. It got very personal.&rdquo;</p> <p> In the early 1970s, it is easy to imagine that a go-getting woman like Clinton might draw hostility from college men who were threatened by her ambition. Back then, women <a href="http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/statistics/jd_enrollment_1yr_total_gender.authcheckdam.pdf">made up just 10 percent of first year students enrolled in law school</a>. This type of treatment fanned the flames of feminism in the 1970s as women looked for camaraderie and to change the system.</p> <p> But in 2016, it is difficult to imagine that many women on college campuses today feel similar pressure. After all, women make up almost 50 percent of first year enrollment in law schools and earn a majority of bachelor&rsquo;s degrees.</p> <p> Unfortunately, bias and even harassment remains a real problem on America&rsquo;s college campuses. In many cases, it&rsquo;s conservative students who are the subject of unwanted pressure and hostility from their fellow undergraduates and faculty. The irony of the current underdog story on college campuses is that it&rsquo;s Clinton&rsquo;s feminist standard-bearers who are often to blame for marginalizing conservative women.</p> <p> I was laughed at by a staff member when I asked our Women&rsquo;s Center at the University of Virginia if they would be open to cosponsoring an organization for conservative women.</p> <p> As the leader of what became a national organization for conservative young women, the Network of enlightened Women (known as NeW), I hear stories semester after semester from women who are frustrated that their campus feminist counterparts mock them, insult them and try to shut them down. From peer attacks on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, to very public organized protests against conservative female speakers, conservative women receive the message that they don&rsquo;t belong.</p> <p> Conservatives need to take a page out of the playbook of the 1970s feminists who transitioned from &ldquo;consciousness raising&rdquo; groups into a larger public movement to cause change and recruit new members. It is time for conservative young women to stop hiding their conservative views and shout their conservatism.</p> <p> To facilitate this, today NeW is launching the #ShesConservative social media campaign as part of a national effort to create a community for young conservative women. The initiative gives women a platform to share their stories of why they are conservative. <a href="http://www.shesconservative.com/">In a campaign video</a>, the students interviewed mentioned being called, &ldquo;unintelligent,&rdquo; &ldquo;ignorant,&rdquo; &ldquo;uneducated,&rdquo; &ldquo;anti-women,&rdquo; &ldquo;stupid&rdquo; and &ldquo;heartless&rdquo; when asked how people respond to finding out they are conservative.</p> <p> The #ShesConservative campaign shatters stereotypes about what young women believe today and who makes up the conservative movement. Not all young women are liberals. As part of the effort, students took photos in a &ldquo;This Is What A Conservative Looks Like&rdquo; t-shirt and submitted essays.</p> <p> Paige Lisicki, a student at American University, <a href="http://www.shesconservative.com/paige-lisicki.html">wrote</a> that she knew she was conservative, &ldquo;when I received my first paycheck at age 16 and found out the government didn&rsquo;t think I was smart enough to save for my own retirement and forced me to pay into social security, a failing big government program.&rdquo;</p> <p> Ashley Sheek, a student at Western Carolina University, <a href="http://www.shesconservative.com/ashley-sheek.html">wrote</a>, &ldquo;I am a God-fearing, free-market-loving woman who doesn&rsquo;t need government to be strong and successful.&rdquo;</p> <p> Harvard student <a href="http://www.shesconservative.com/emily-hall.html">Emily Hall wrote</a> that she is conservative because she believes in the Constitution, personal responsibility and &ldquo;defending our freedoms.&rdquo;</p> <p> These young women are the faces of conservatism.</p> <p> Over and over in her campaign, Clinton has said that her victory will ensure that girls know they can do anything they want to do. Well, these young women speaking out are letting other women and the world know that young women can be pro-woman and conservative. This might encourage their detractors to at least come to the table for dialogue, rather than automatically dismiss them.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2801383/Karin AgnessMon, 12 Sep 2016 13:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum