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.org33968Policy Focus: Flexible Scheduling<p> As much as 17 percent of the American workforce&mdash;which means about 25 million people&mdash;have irregular work schedules. They work in shifts or are oncall, which means that employers can assign them to work just shortly before that work period begins. While employers have long used shift workers, in recent years, employers have increasingly used &ldquo;just-in-time&rdquo; scheduling. Under this arrangement, employees must be available to work, and it&rsquo;s up to the managers to decide whether to use them based on business needs.</p> <p> There are obvious benefits for this approach: It&rsquo;s efficient, meaning businesses can avoid costs when workers aren&rsquo;t needed. And businesses can respond when workers request last-minute schedule changes. But just-in-time scheduling can create problems, too. When shifts are added at the last minute, it can be hard for workers to make plans and to have a reliable income. For example, it can be difficult for working parents to juggle childcare arrangements if their work schedule is unpredictable.</p> <p> Lawmakers have sought to discourage employers from using these arrangements through law and regulation. However, these well-intended efforts can backfire on workers, making it more likely that employers will reduce workers&rsquo; hours, and automate and consolidate their workforce in response to higher employment costs. These regulations also overlook how employees benefit from this flexibility. The best way to help workers is not to micromanage scheduling practices but to focus on job creation so workers can find employment relationships that meet their needs.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/flexible_scheduling_PF17.pdf"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Policy%20Focus/click-for-pdf_zpspauhaxeu.png" style="width: 550px; height: 91px;" /></a></p> <div> &nbsp;</div> http://iwf.org/publications/2804574/Carrie L. LukasFri, 18 Aug 2017 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFemale Leaders Say Google ‘Intolerant’ in Firing Engineer for Memo on Gender Differences<p> Women in leadership roles are among those expressing disappointment that tech giant Google fired a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/8/16111724/google-sundar-pichai-employee-memo-diversity">senior software engineer</a>&nbsp;for writing and distributing a memo ruminating on evidence that men and women are different.</p> <p> Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor to City Journal, told The Daily Signal in an email that conclusions reached by the fired Google employee, James Damore, were fair.</p> <p> &ldquo;Google&rsquo;s intolerance for scientific research bodes poorly for America&rsquo;s long-term competitiveness,&rdquo; Mac Donald said, adding:</p> <blockquote> <p> Damore&rsquo;s memo was a reasoned, careful analysis of the emerging knowledge of gender differences, as well as a thoughtful call for a reassessment of Google&rsquo;s monolithic political culture. And yet like Harvard&rsquo;s former president, Larry Summers, he has lost his job because he dared to challenge the dominant narrative about absolute gender equality in every cognitive competence and emotional orientation.</p> </blockquote> <p> Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can&#39;t be done alone.&nbsp;<a href="http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/08/female-leaders-say-google-intolerant-firing-engineer-memo-gender-differences/#dear_reader">Find out more &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p> Larry Summers, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.harvard.edu/about-harvard/harvard-glance/history-presidency/lawrence-h-summers">past president</a>&nbsp;of Harvard University, drew controversy in 2005 when he&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jan/18/educationsgendergap.genderissues">said&nbsp;</a>men perform better than women in academic areas such as math and the sciences, and that mothers&rsquo; wariness of long office hours helps account for a shortage of women in senior positions in science and engineering.</p> <p> Damore said men and women are especially gifted in various abilities due to biological makeup.&nbsp;In his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scribd.com/document/355823379/Google-s-Ideological-Echo-Chamber#download&amp;from_embed">memo</a>, he wrote at one point:</p> <blockquote> <p> The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and &hellip; these differences may explain why we don&rsquo;t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there&rsquo;s significant overlap between men and women, so you can&rsquo;t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.</p> </blockquote> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#c93b2e;"><strong>Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, said in a statement sent to The Daily Signal that Google was wrong to fire Damore.</strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#c93b2e;"><strong>&ldquo;This is another sad example of how afraid too many people&mdash;and companies, organizations, and even colleges&mdash;have become of actual discussion of ideas,&rdquo; Lukas said. &ldquo;This employee offered a thoughtful and entirely defensible perspective on a topic that needs honest debate, and was sadly punished for it.&rdquo;</strong></span></span></p> <p> &gt;&gt;&gt; Video Commentary:&nbsp;<a href="http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/08/why-did-google-freak-out-and-fire-an-employee-for-spurring-an-honest-discussion/">Why Did Google Freak Out and Fire an Employee for Spurring &lsquo;Honest Discussion&rsquo;?</a></p> <p> Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where she studies the politics of gender and feminism, told The Daily Signal in an email that Damore&rsquo;s firing is political:</p> <blockquote> <p> Google has excommunicated James Damore for crimes against the Pink Police State. Damore&rsquo;s memo was awkward&mdash;but civil and mostly reasonable. Women who disagreed were free to shoot back a reply&mdash;or better yet, challenge him to a code-off. Instead, moral panic ensued.</p> </blockquote> <p> &ldquo;Google claims to welcome viewpoint diversity&mdash;[but actually does so only] as long as those viewpoints accord with their own,&rdquo; Sommers said.</p> <p> Damore,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsweek.com/who-james-damore-alt-right-furious-after-google-fires-engineer-over-anti-647716">28</a>, had worked for Google&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsweek.com/who-james-damore-alt-right-furious-after-google-fires-engineer-over-anti-647716">since 2013</a>&nbsp;after receiving his doctorate&nbsp;in systems biology from Harvard.</p> <p> In his memo, Damore&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scribd.com/document/355823379/Google-s-Ideological-Echo-Chamber#download&amp;from_embed">said</a>&nbsp;fewer women than men may work in technology because of different interests:</p> <blockquote> <p> Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men, also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing. These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing.</p> </blockquote> <p> In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.blog.google/topics/diversity/note-employees-ceo-sundar-pichai/">prepared statement</a>&nbsp;provided to The Daily Signal, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said parts of Damore&rsquo;s circulated memo violated the company&rsquo;s code of conduct because of its &ldquo;harmful gender stereotypes&rdquo;:</p> <blockquote> <p> [W]e strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.</p> </blockquote> <p> Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that she expects Damore&rsquo;s case to go to court.</p> <p> &ldquo;I am surprised that Google fired him &hellip; because I believe it is illegal,&rdquo; Nance said, adding:</p> <blockquote> <p> The Supreme Court under Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois in 1990 specifically said that viewpoint discrimination is illegal for employment purposes. And the other thing is I don&rsquo;t think they are doing women any favors.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p> In&nbsp;<a href="https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/88-1872.ZO.html">Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois</a>, the high court held that &ldquo;promotion, transfer, recall, and hiring decisions involving low-level public employees may be constitutionally based on party affiliation and support,&rdquo; according to Cornell University Law School.</p> <p> But Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, noted that a private company makes its own decisions on who to hire and fire.</p> <p> This firing, suggested Anderson, author of<a href="http://www.tinyurl.com/RTAamazon">&nbsp;the book&nbsp;&ldquo;Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom</a>,&rdquo; highlights an inconsistency on the left. &nbsp;</p> <p> &ldquo;Google is free to operate in accordance with its anti-science androgynous belief system,&rdquo; Anderson told The Daily Signal in an email.</p> <p> &ldquo;So, too, Americans who believe we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other, should be free to run their organizations in accordance with their beliefs.&rdquo;</p> <p> The Manhattan Institute&rsquo;s Mac Donald said the story may have been different if Damore was a woman.</p> <p> &ldquo;Firing a female would put you further in the red, so you want to hold on to your females at all costs,&rdquo; she said, adding:</p> <blockquote> <p> So it is a question of whether the diversity imperative here [that is] improving the female to male ratio trumps the imperative for ideological conformity. They certainly would have had to think more about their decision, but whether a female would have ultimately been spared the ax is difficult to predict. &nbsp;Maybe she would have been sent to re-education camp. &nbsp;</p> </blockquote> http://iwf.org/media/2804524/Carrie L. LukasWed, 9 Aug 2017 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSexism May Affect Women’s Careers, but It’s Not What Sank Hillary Clinton<p> Why do so few women become the CEOs of major corporations, despite the tremendous gains women have made in terms of academic achievement and throughout the rest of the workforce? That&rsquo;s a hot topic among social scientists and other researchers, and the New York Times&rsquo; Susan Chira is the latest to delve into it, with an article featuring stories from women who fell just short of that elusive corporate throne. Chira sums up her findings: &ldquo;What their stories show is that in business, as in politics, women who aspire to power evoke far more resistance, both overt and subtle, than they expected would be the case by now.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s important to listen to women who have had an insider&rsquo;s view of the workings of our country&rsquo;s most powerful corporations. Sexism, both overt and subtle, may help explain the dearth of female CEOs, and the public &mdash; and particularly industry leaders &mdash; ought to consider how stereotypes and assumptions about the necessary qualities for a good chief executive impact hiring decisions.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s too bad that researchers and reporters ended up politicizing this discussion. Rather than letting these female executives speak for themselves, Chira tries to tie them to Hillary Clinton, suggesting that the bias they might have faced was also at the root of Clinton&rsquo;s loss in last year&rsquo;s election:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The parallels with politics are striking. Research in both fields, including some conducted after Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s loss, has shown it&rsquo;s harder for assertive, ambitious women to be seen as likable, and easier to conclude they lack some intangible, ill-defined quality of leadership. . . .</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> For her part, Mrs. Clinton is writing a book and speaking out more acidly than she allowed herself on the campaign trail. &ldquo;Certainly, misogyny played a role&rdquo; in her defeat, she told a rapt, partisan crowd at the Women in the World summit in April. She described what she saw as the thought bubble among some voters for President Trump: &ldquo;He looks like somebody who&rsquo;s been president before.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The fury and revulsion aimed at Mrs. Clinton &mdash; as well as the more open misogyny in some quarters in the wake of the election &mdash; has led many women to question whether they&rsquo;ve underestimated a visceral recoil against women taking power in any arena.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Many fear they already know the answer.</p> <p> This claim needlessly alienates readers who didn&rsquo;t support Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s candidacy for reasons that have nothing to do with her sex. Also, Chira undercuts her credibility: If she buys into the idea that sexism explains why Hillary Clinton lost, then I can&rsquo;t help but wonder if she also cherry-picked the stories of the other women profiled in her article and guilelessly bought the sexism charge when there were other, more plausible explanations for why a woman didn&rsquo;t become a CEO.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Some studies show that many voters have a bias for female candidates and are more likely to want to vote for a woman absent other information.</p> <p> After all, while female politicians, including Mrs. Clinton, face unique challenges &mdash; such as a press corps that&rsquo;s more likely to fixate on a female candidate&rsquo;s appearance and family life than they would that of a male candidate &mdash; being a woman also has tremendous advantages. In Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s case, the Democratic National Committee did just about everything possible short of a full-on, Soviet-style election rigging to ensure that Mrs. Clinton won her party&rsquo;s nomination. Why did they go to such lengths? A big part of it was the drive to shatter the glass ceiling and finally put a woman into the Oval Office. In fact, it&rsquo;s hard to imagine that a candidate with Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s background and baggage would have been considered by her party if she hadn&rsquo;t been a woman. For all the challenges that being a woman brings, it was also Clinton&rsquo;s biggest asset and the foundation for her campaign.</p> <p> Studies of people&rsquo;s attitudes about female candidates are similarly mixed. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of disadvantages, such as challenges getting financing and accessing local political networks, but other studies show that many voters have a bias for female candidates and are more likely to want to vote for a woman absent other information.</p> <p> Much like the constant use of wage gap statistics that dramatically overstate the differences between the earnings of men and women in similar jobs, the reluctance to acknowledge that sexism can work both ways complicates public discussions of these issues and undermines progress. That&rsquo;s a shame. We should all want to live in a society that helps everyone fulfill his or her potential, which means we should take seriously the issue of how lingering stereotypes impact the workplace, particularly at the highest levels. That requires honest discussions and resisting the instinct to blame outcomes we don&rsquo;t like &mdash; from statistical differences between men and women to election results &mdash; on sexism.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804439/Carrie L. LukasFri, 28 Jul 2017 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBias Against Female Corporate Executives? Maybe, But Sexism Didn’t Sink Hillary Clinton<p> Why do so few women become the CEOs of major corporations, despite the tremendous gains women have made in terms of academic achievement and throughout the rest of the workforce? That&rsquo;s a hot topic among social scientists and other researchers, and the New York Times&rsquo; Susan Chira is the latest to delve into it <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/sunday-review/women-ceos-glass-ceiling.html">with an article</a> featuring stories from women who fell just short of that elusive corporate throne. Chira sums up her findings: &ldquo;What their stories show is that in business, as in politics, women who aspire to power evoke far more resistance, both overt and subtle, than they expected would be the case by now.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s important to listen to women who have had an insider&rsquo;s view of the workings of our country&rsquo;s most powerful corporations. Sexism, both overt and subtle, may help explain the dearth of female CEOs, and the public&mdash;and particularly industry leaders&mdash;ought to consider how stereotypes and assumptions about the necessary qualities for a good chief executive impact hiring decisions.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s too bad that researchers and reporters ended up politicizing this discussion. Rather than letting these female executives speak for themselves, Chira tries to tie them to Hillary Clinton, suggesting that the bias they might have faced was also at the root of Clinton&rsquo;s loss in last year&rsquo;s election:</p> <p> The parallels with politics are striking. Research in both fields, including some conducted after Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s loss, has shown it&rsquo;s harder for assertive, ambitious women to be seen as likable, and easier to conclude they lack some intangible, ill-defined quality of leadership. &hellip;</p> <p> For her part, Mrs. Clinton is writing a book and speaking out more acidly than she allowed herself on the campaign trail. &ldquo;Certainly, misogyny played a role&rdquo; in her defeat, she told a rapt,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/08/opinion/sunday/hillary-clinton-free-to-speak-her-mind.html">partisan crowd</a>&nbsp;at the Women in the World summit meeting in April. She described what she saw as the thought bubble among some voters for President Trump: &ldquo;He looks like somebody who&rsquo;s been president before.&rdquo;</p> <p> The fury and revulsion aimed at Mrs. Clinton &mdash; as well as the more open misogyny in some quarters in the wake of the election &mdash; has led many women to question whether they&rsquo;ve underestimated a visceral recoil against women taking power in any arena.</p> <p> Many fear they already know the answer.</p> <p> This claim needlessly alienates readers who didn&rsquo;t support Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s candidacy for reasons that have nothing to do with her sex. Also, Chira undercuts her credibility: If she buys into the idea that sexism explains why Hillary Clinton lost, then I can&rsquo;t help but wonder if she also cherry-picked the stories of the other women profiled in her article and guilelessly bought the sexism charge when there were other more plausible explanations for why a woman didn&rsquo;t become a CEO.</p> <p> After all, while female politicians, including Mrs. Clinton, face unique challenges&mdash;such as a press corps that&rsquo;s more likely to fixate on a female candidate&rsquo;s appearance and family life than they would that of a male candidate&mdash;being a woman also has tremendous advantages. In Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s case, the Democratic National Committee did just about everything possible short of a full-on, Soviet-style election rigging to ensure that Mrs. Clinton won her party&rsquo;s nomination. Why did they go to such lengths? A big part of it was the drive to shatter the glass ceiling and finally put a woman into the Oval Office. In fact, it&rsquo;s hard to imagine that a candidate with Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s background and baggage would have been considered by her party if she hadn&rsquo;t been a woman. For all the challenges that being a woman brings, it was also Clinton&rsquo;s biggest asset and the foundation for her campaign.</p> <p> Studies of people&rsquo;s attitudes about female candidates are similarly mixed. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of disadvantages, such as challenges getting financing and accessing local political networks, but <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/01/06/abacus-data-poll-gender-stereotypes_n_6425758.html">other studies</a> show that many voters have a bias <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/sabrinaschaeffer/2015/04/21/the-gender-bias-that-just-isnt-there-voters-are-ready-for-a-woman-president-who-fits-their-ideology/#6c8033c34b9e">for female candidates</a> and are more likely to want to vote for a woman absent other information.</p> <p> Much like the constant use of wage gap statistics that <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/433991/equal-pay-days-misleading-math">dramatically overstate</a> the differences between the earnings of men and women in similar jobs, the reluctance to acknowledge that sexism can work both ways complicates public discussions of these issues and undermines progress. That&rsquo;s a shame. We should all want to live in a society that helps everyone fulfill his or her potential, which means we should take seriously the issue of how lingering stereotypes impact the workplace, particularly at the highest levels. That requires honest discussions and resisting the instinct to blame outcomes we don&rsquo;t like&mdash;from statistical differences between men and women to election results&mdash;on sexism.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804408/Carrie L. LukasWed, 26 Jul 2017 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWATCH: How would the GOP health care plan affect women?<p> My colleague Amanda Marcotte and I sat down for Salon Talks with Carrie Lukas, president of the &nbsp;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a>&nbsp;(IWF), to discuss how the unresolved debate over health care policies in the Republican-dominated Congress impact women&rsquo;s health issues.</p> <p> IWF is a conservative and libertarian organization that creates&nbsp;messages about how women and families can be empowered by the free market rather than big government. With headlines like, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2804348/In-the-Poconos,-Another-Small-Business-Falls-Victim-to-Unnecessary-Licensing">In the Poconos, Another Small Business Falls Victim to Unnecessary Licensing</a>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2804340/Who-Cares-for-the-Caregivers--">Who Cares for the Caregivers?</a>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2804311/Trump-Education-Department's-Likely-Changes-in-Campus-Sexual-Assault-Policy-Causes-Angst-Among-Activists">Trump Education Department&rsquo;s Likely Changes in Campus Sexual-Assault Policy Causes Angst Among Activists</a>,&rdquo; IWF writes about health care, women at work, education, women in politics and more.</p> <p> <strong>When it comes to women&rsquo;s health, is there an imbalance in health care costs?</strong></p> <p> <strong>Carrie Lukas:</strong> If you&rsquo;re an infertile woman, let&rsquo;s say &mdash; or a woman who doesn&rsquo;t want to have kids &mdash; I can imagine saying, &ldquo;You know what, my insurance has gone up the same as a woman who&rsquo;s had five kids.&rdquo; I don&rsquo;t know why everybody should have to be subsidizing maternity expenses.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.salon.com/2017/07/24/watch-how-would-the-gop-health-care-plan-affect-women/"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">WATCH HERE</span></strong></a></p> http://iwf.org/media/2804376/Carrie L. LukasMon, 24 Jul 2017 07:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEnough palace intrigue, Americans want real solutions to real problems • Happening Nowhttp://iwf.org/media/2804354/Carrie L. LukasThu, 20 Jul 2017 12:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIn Defense of High-Tech Parenting<p> Summer presents a lot of challenges for parents. Finding (and paying for!) childcare, keeping kids at least a little engaged in academics, and helping kids learn to grapple with boredom and entertain themselves are all on the list. Many people would also add controlling their kids&rsquo; access to technology: We don&rsquo;t want our kids wasting the summer months inside playing mindless video games or watching YouTube clips of other kids opening Shopkins packages.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve written about this challenge and the discipline of maintaining a healthy relationship with <a href="https://acculturated.com/kids-alright-parents-need-limits-technology/">technology</a> and not letting it rule your life. But this summer, I&rsquo;m also appreciating anew all the ways that technology makes parenting&mdash;and just about everything else&mdash;much easier.</p> <p> Take shopping, which is one of my least favorite chores to do with the kids. I dread dragging everyone in and out of the over-heated car, buckling up car seats, and then repeatedly saying no to all the requests for toys and treats that they don&rsquo;t need and I don&rsquo;t want to pay for. Obligatory shopping trips are now less and less frequent since I can go online for most of what our family needs. I no longer put together a long shopping list so I can remember scotch tape, laundry detergent, and a present for my son&rsquo;s friend&rsquo;s birthday party. Those are purchased in real time, without having to drive anywhere, with a couple clicks on my phone.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m still in the habit of regular grocery runs to replenish fruit, bread and meats. But I know others who are turning online to take care of that too, with services like <a href="https://www.amazon.com/fmc/offer">AmazonFresh</a> and <a href="https://www.freshdirect.com/index.jsp">FreshDirect</a> that deliver groceries to your door. WalMart, Kroger, and others are also making it easier for moms by giving them the option to pick out their groceries and pay for them online before coming to the store. Someone then just loads the bags right into your trunk so the shopper never even has to leave the car.</p> <p> This kind of convenience means a lot for busy parents, especially those juggling work responsibilities. People often complain about how the availability of technology can make it feel like you are never fully away from the job&mdash;we find ourselves returning work emails on Sunday or just before we go to sleep at night&mdash;but they also create flexibility that can be a big help, particularly when you are trying to make the most of the summer. If your work revolves around a computer, you can spend more time visiting family and at new destinations while still keeping the ball rolling at work. With a phone doubling as a hotspot and a laptop, the travel day on a road trip can also serve as a productive work day, reserving vacation time for the fun stuff.</p> <p> And technology also provides a lot of fun stuff, particularly for kids. My knee-jerk response to my son&rsquo;s request to play a game on the computer is a groan. But when I looked at what he was actually asking to play, it turned out it was a program that they introduced at school. It was a typical video game platform, with a character trying to break through to a higher level, but the core challenge was a series of math drills. I&rsquo;d been bothering him to complete worksheets to keep those skills fresh over the summer, so it seemed like an easy call to say yes to a video game that he wanted to play but that also checked off a bit of summer homework.</p> <p> I try my best to limit the time my almost twelve-year-old daughter spends talking with her friends on one of the (too many) interactive platforms that are available, but recently she&rsquo;s been asking to go online and work on a long story that she and a friend are writing together using Google docs. She&rsquo;s also rallied her younger brothers and sisters to create plays and other videos that they record on a phone. Sure, much of the time is spent trying out all of the different effects and they end up clustered around another screen. But at its core, it&rsquo;s creative and I&rsquo;ll take it as a harmless way to fill the summer hours.</p> <p> I still like the idea of low-tech kids who rely on their imaginations and can enjoy nature without the distraction of a smart phone, and work to make sure that phones and computers don&rsquo;t become the centerpiece of our lives. But done right, technological innovation really is progress, solving real problems and making our lives easier and richer.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s something for parents to appreciate this summer.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804334/Carrie L. LukasTue, 18 Jul 2017 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Technology Can Solve Workplace Challenges<p> Technology has long been helping people&mdash;particularly women&mdash;in their quest to balance work and family responsibilities. The ability to work from home, tele- and video-conference into work meetings, has created new work paradigms; the internet has created new ways for part-time workers and entrepreneurs to make money from their homes.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s another way that technology can help improve work life for women: By giving women access to information about how companies treat their female employees. USA Today explains how one online service is doing just that:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> Even with the rise of sites like Glassdoor and Monster, many women are still left wondering exactly how prospective employers handle gender-specific issues in the workplace like&nbsp;family leave and pay equity.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> To find out, female job seekers are turning to Fairygodboss, a job review site exclusively&nbsp;for women. The site provides crowdsourced intel on how female-friendly company policy is at thousands of businesses.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> The 2-year-old start-up just released their&nbsp;2017 rankings of the best companies where women are happiest&hellip;.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> The rankings were based on the responses from almost 15,000 women about overall job satisfaction, gender equity&nbsp;and likelihood of recommending&nbsp;their company to another woman.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> The data is pulled from the anonymous job reviews that Fairygodboss uses&nbsp;to create company profiles.</p> <p> This is great information for employees to have: women who want a company that is dedicated to supporting their advancement, and that will offer flexibility if and when they have children, have a new tool for identifying what companies might be the right fit for them. And it&rsquo;s also important for employers to learn directly from employees and prospects what workers want most from their employers. Sites like this will give employers an incentive to try to do right by their workers so that they can earn a reputation as a place where quality employees want to work.</p> <p> Unsurprisingly, most of the companies that top the list as the best places to work are large and primarily employ higher-skilled workers. But this kind of information could help women and workers at all income scales. Employers that rely more or hourly or lower-skilled workers also have an incentive to attract and retain the best, most reliable workforce possible. They will have to compete against other employers for such workers and will benefit from having a reputation of treating employees well.</p> <p> Finding solutions to help people balance work and family responsibilities isn&rsquo;t easy, especially because not all workers&mdash;not even all women&mdash;want the same type of support from their employers. But more information, and true flexibility, is a key to helping people find employment situations that suit them and to encourage businesses to meet the needs of workers.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804322/Carrie L. LukasMon, 17 Jul 2017 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLibertarians' Lost Voice in the Paid Leave Debate<p> Policy leaders are pressing the government to ensure workers have paid time off. Whether government has any businesses dictating what benefits must be included in the employment packages of Americans is rarely considered. The libertarian perspective is all but entirely absent in the discussion. That needs to change.</p> <p> Our federal government has limited responsibilities, and micromanaging leave practices isn&#39;t one of them. Even the best-intentioned policies have unintended consequences that backfire on those they are supposed to help. We need to call out policymakers who use the excuse of a safety net to justify any new rules and regulations that needlessly restrict options for all Americans.</p> <p> That&#39;s the predictable tactic employed by the Left, which is pushing extensive paid leave programs with increasing success. San Francisco&#39;s city council created a city-wide paid leave mandate on top of California&#39;s state paid leave program. Washington, DC just created an even more generous program.</p> <p> Liberal women&#39;s groups and progressive activists regularly promote social media memes charging the United States is alone in the world in failing to guarantee paid time off for workers. They imply this deficiency is latent sexism or a lack of compassion for workers, women, and children.</p> <p> But some on the Right are also embracing this logic. The American Enterprise Institute&mdash;considered a free-market organization&mdash;just released a joint report with the more liberal Brookings Institution, entitled &quot;Paid Family and Medical Leave: An Issue Whose Time Has Come.&quot; The authors noted they&#39;d disagreed about the particulars of the best policy solution, but &quot;unanimously agreed that some form of paid parental leave should be offered to help workers at the time of birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.&quot;</p> <p> They outline a &quot;compromise plan&quot; to provide eligible workers with 70 percent of their wages for eight weeks of gender-neutral paid parental leave. This new federal entitlement program would be funded by a dedicated payroll tax and cuts to other spending.</p> <p> AEI&#39;s report came just after the release of the President&#39;s budget outline, which included funding to expand the state-based Unemployment Insurance system with the goal of providing workers with a similar benefit.</p> <p> There is pushback against sweeping new government entitlements. The Independent Women&#39;s Forum (where I work) argues that policymakers should instead seek policy reforms that help workers while minimizing economic disruption. Allowing workers to save tax-free for when they need time off for work is one such idea.</p> <p> The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) could also serve as a model to provide a financial boost to lower-income workers who lack paid leave benefits. The IWF argues that any government intervention ought to be need-based, rather than a mandated entitlement program that would effectively do to our compensation system what ObamaCare did to health insurance.</p> <p> The public likes the idea of government doing something to make sure new parents have a benefit that lets them spend more time at home with their children. But often overlooked is that the money has to come from somewhere. Businesses forced to pay more for benefits have less for increased wages.</p> <p> Mandates that make employees more expensive offer less incentive for businesses to hire more and more highly skilled employees (that&#39;s bad news for lower-wage workers). Employers may avoid hiring those most likely to use benefits, particularly women. A government one-size-fits-all paid leave program would also discourage voluntary alternative work arrangements like job-sharing and telecommuting that benefit employers and employees.</p> <p> Allowing the government to dictate what must be in our employment contracts is another chip off the block of basic liberty and self-determination. It becomes illegal for an employer to offer a job that doesn&#39;t fit the government rule. As an employee, you can&#39;t choose to take a greater share of your compensation as take-home pay; you can&#39;t decide to save on your own for time away from work in the future; government has decided how this must be handled.</p> <p> There is also the matter of fairness. A paid leave mandate creates winners and losers. People with families and children will receive the benefits, while those who cannot or choose not to have children will pay for benefits they are far less likely to use.</p> <p> That doesn&#39;t mean that companies shouldn&#39;t offer leave benefits. Rather we should allow employers to create a variety of work relationships that appeal to their employees&#39; unique needs. Some workers will gravitate to businesses offering more robust benefits. Others may prefer companies that compensate with higher pay. Enabling people to act on their preferences is what the marketplace is all about.</p> <p> The United States is a Constitutional Republic with a federal government that is supposed to have limited powers used for very specific purposes. Micromanaging employment contracts or taxing some citizens to give money to others shouldn&#39;t be among those powers.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804304/Carrie L. LukasThu, 13 Jul 2017 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTax reform: Why conservatives needs to compromise • Coast To Coasthttp://iwf.org/media/2804307/Carrie L. LukasWed, 12 Jul 2017 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMaybe Our Public Officials Are Working ‘Too’ Hard<p> It doesn&rsquo;t take much to start a tweet war, which is something that UN Ambassador <a href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/882630480272732160">Nikki Haley</a> found out over the July Fourth holiday. Her tweet&mdash;Spending my 4th in meetings all day. #ThanksNorthKorea&mdash;set off a parade of angry rejoinders, pointing out how many other Americans, including soldiers, police officers and other emergency personnel, are working in far more difficult circumstances and make greater sacrifices for their country than she is in giving up her day off.</p> <p> Yes, Ambassador Haley&rsquo;s tweet was a little ill-considered: On the list of our concerns about North Korea&rsquo;s nuclear aggressions&mdash;like the potential for an actual nuclear strike or all-out war against an unhinged tyrant&mdash;the inconveniences caused to public officials ranks rather low. Yet public officials are people too. Just as any of us would be unhappy if told at the last minute that we must cancel a planned vacation day for a workplace crisis, I&rsquo;m sure Haley was disappointed to have her holiday plans upended.</p> <p> The response to her tweet suggests that people aren&rsquo;t just frustrated by unattractive complaining; many have a sense that our public leaders aren&rsquo;t working very hard. Whether talking about elected leaders or corporate CEOs, the assumption often seems to be that the real work is done by the rank-and-file, who toil without breaks for low-pay, while bosses attend fancy events, play golf, and enjoy other perks of their positions, without having to do much real work.</p> <p> But survey research suggests that stereotype isn&rsquo;t accurate. In fact, those with higher earnings tend to work longer hours than those with lower earnings. That&rsquo;s a big change from the past when those with more wealth also enjoyed more leisure time. But in fact, as explained in <a href="http://www.nber.org/digest/jul06/w11895.html">this National Bureau of Economic Research paper</a>, while total hours worked declined for men during the 1900s, the share of those working greater than fifty hours a week started to rise in the 1970s, particularly among the highly educated and highly paid. Of course, these higher-earners are generally working in physically pleasant environments&mdash;they aren&rsquo;t involved in backbreaking labor or braving the elements outdoors&mdash;but it does contradict the stereotype of the lazy executive sipping martinis and enjoying months-long vacations.</p> <p> The public has more reason to be bitter when it comes to the pay packages received by public sector workers as compared to private sector workers. Especially when benefits are taken into account, people working for government tend to be much more <a href="https://federalnewsradio.com/pay-benefits/2017/04/govt-spends-17-percent-more-on-feds-compensation-than-private-sector-cbo-says/">highly compensated</a> than similarly qualified workers employed by private companies, and this includes much more paid time off and shorter work weeks.</p> <p> In fact, the generous benefits promised to state government workers, which taxpayers pay for, are a big driver of many state&rsquo;s financial problems. People living in Illinois are facing a financial crisis that threatens to disrupt basic services, and have plenty of reasons to be frustrated by the unfairness of this system. For too long, government-worker unions have negotiated with elected officials who promise more and more generous compensation in return for their support. Taxpayers seldom have anyone representing their interests at the table. That needs to change and balance ought to be restored.</p> <p> Yet the problem of the overpaid government worker doesn&rsquo;t mean that most top officials are failing their constituents by not working hard enough. Taxpayers do have an interest in making sure that elected officials aren&rsquo;t abusing their positions and taking needlessly lavish vacations on the taxpayer dime, but we should also recognize that we want elected officials to step away from work for their mental health and ultimately our own good.</p> <p> In fact, we could use a lot more laziness in Washington. Certainly, we want Congress to get back to the business of repealing the Affordable Care Act and reforming our indecipherable tax code; and we want the White House working full-steam to roll back all the red tape that Washington has generated. But as for the red tape creators&mdash;the bureaucrats that populate our alphabet soup of agencies and lawmakers hungry to pass another counterproductive law just to show they are &ldquo;doing something&rdquo;&mdash;we&rsquo;d all be better off if they spent more of their time at the beach, rather than working overtime to micromanage our lives.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804277/Carrie L. LukasMon, 10 Jul 2017 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs cutting back minimum wage a good move by Missouri? • Fox & Friendshttp://iwf.org/media/2804272/Carrie L. LukasFri, 7 Jul 2017 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat America’s Craft Beer Culture Teaches Us About Freedom from Bureaucratic Red Tape<p> When I moved to Austria in 2008, the woman trying to teach me German would often poke fun at America. Among her dated stereotypes was the notion that we unfortunate Americans were condemned to choose among Bud, Miller, or Coors, swilled out of cans or kegs and fueling an unhealthy&mdash;and dreadfully unsophisticated&mdash;beer drinking culture.</p> <p> Of course, that wasn&rsquo;t reality in 2008, and is even less so now. Yet there was a grain of historical truth in what my teacher said: For decades, after government prohibition initially killed beer brewing in America, the market was indeed dominated by a few large companies. In the late 1970s, the Carter Administration rolled back regulations to allow people to <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/08/jimmy-carter-not-the-king-of-beers-updated/61599/">brew beer for their personal use</a> (though not for sale). As home brewing became more popular in the early 1980s, states such as California and Washington changed the rules to allow for brewpubs, which could brew and sell beer on the premises. This launched a new trend, leading more lawmakers to roll back regulations, with an ensuing explosion in the number of breweries. There were fewer than 100 American breweries in <a href="https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/number-of-breweries/">1984</a>, but just a decade later, there were more than 600. Today, according to the <a href="https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/number-of-breweries/">Brewers Association</a>, there are more than 5,300.</p> <p> This robust beer marketplace means Americans can now choose from a wide variety of styles that suit their preferences. There are heavier Belgian-style ales, hoppier IPAs, chocolate-y stouts, lighter pilsners, fruit infused brews, and everything in between. This isn&rsquo;t just good in the same way that having access to different kinds of bread is better than being limited to white and wheat. The craft brewery phenomenon has created its own culture and connoisseurs, creating more pleasure than merely that which comes from consumption.</p> <p> When my husband and I last visited his parents in Arkansas, we discovered local favorites&mdash;Lost Forty and Stone&rsquo;s Throw&mdash;available at many of the area restaurants and bars, along with many other nationally-distributed labels. Family there shared their favorites and the history of the breweries. It seems that, just as professional sports teams give men an always available, safe topic of discussion, trading notes about the best local craft brews is another easy topic, particularly for guys who sometimes struggle to start a conversation.</p> <p> From what I&rsquo;ve seen, men who wouldn&rsquo;t dare share photos on Facebook are increasingly employing apps like Untappd, which allows them to post what beer they&rsquo;re sampling, along with a review. There are now some five million Untappd users&mdash;I couldn&rsquo;t find a demographic breakdown, but I&rsquo;ll bet it skews heavily male&mdash;who are toasting each other&rsquo;s drink selections and discovering beers they should try next.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s an obvious economic benefit to the craft beer boom as well: The industry sustains about 424,000 jobs and adds an estimated $55 billion to the U.S. economy. While perhaps less visible, the cultural benefits are also no small thing. Europeans can no longer look down their noses at American beers. In fact, Europeans are now taking cues from America on craft brewing. Even Germany&mdash;which clung to its prized beer &ldquo;purity&rdquo; law for centuries&mdash;now hosts vibrant craft beer festivals, with &ldquo;American style&rdquo; IPAs featuring prominently. Berlin, where I lived, hosts an enormously popular Beer Week&mdash;a ten-day celebration of craft beer. Just about every brewer I spoke with mentioned America as the pioneer in the field.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no surprise, really, that America&mdash;once the butt of beer jokes&mdash;would become the world leader in brewing innovation and creativity once the government got out of the picture. That&rsquo;s what happens when a creative culture with strong property rights frees its markets. Passionate, ambitious people find ways to offer others quality products in nearly infinite varieties. I doubt the Carter Administration could have predicted that a little deregulation would help create today&rsquo;s vibrant craft beer world. But that&rsquo;s the point: Just like a large economy a small culture will thrive if it&rsquo;s allowed to.</p> <p> It makes me wonder: What other great cultural and economic developments are being suppressed by nonsensical government regulations? This Independence Day, maybe we should cut the red tape and find out.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804241/Carrie L. LukasTue, 4 Jul 2017 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Oregon Is Making Workplaces Less Flexible<p> Just about everyone supports the idea of &ldquo;workplace flexibility.&rdquo;&nbsp; Of course, we want businesses to have enough people on hand to meet the needs of their customers&mdash;you don&rsquo;t want a hospital to have such flexible schedules that there aren&rsquo;t enough medical professionals on hand when you rush to the emergency room&mdash;but we also like the idea of workers being able to arrange schedules that meet their needs and allow them to take care of their families and other outside-of-work life pursuits.</p> <p> Yet some lawmakers are pushing in the opposite direction to make our workplaces less flexible and make it harder for employers to accommodate the needs of employees.</p> <p> As Christina Britschgi writing in Reason explains, that&rsquo;s exactly what&rsquo;s happening in Oregon, where lawmakers are pushing legislation calling for a &ldquo;Fair Work Week,&rdquo; which would require businesses to pay workers extra anytime their work schedules are changed with less than one week&rsquo;s notice. &nbsp;</p> <p> Undoubtedly, lawmakers believe that restricting employers&rsquo; ability to change schedules will help workers:&nbsp; They don&rsquo;t like the idea of workers having to deal with shifting schedules, having to find child care at the last minute or, just as bad, having arranged for child care and then finding that their shift has been eliminated.</p> <p> Yet they are overlooking that flexible scheduling is often a two-way street, with employers making changes to schedules not just because of business demands, but also because of employee&rsquo; requests.&nbsp; Britschgi writes:</p> <p> Creating &rsquo;stability&rsquo; through regulation, however, comes at a cost. Employers&rsquo; workplace needs change suddenly, sometimes shift to shift, for all sorts of reasons. Denbrow would like to penalize them for responding to those changes.</p> <p> The penalty might be triggered by the request of an employee, according to a University of Washington (UW) study commissioned to measure the impact of Seattle&rsquo;s &ldquo;secure scheduling&rdquo; ordinance. The study found 80 percent of managers had within the previous two weeks of being surveyed changed schedules at the request of employees.</p> <p> The reasons were as simple as illness (28 percent), recreation time (18.6 percent), or caring for a sick child (18 percent).</p> <p> &ldquo;Flexibility is a benefit all our employees enjoy,&rdquo; one West Seattle manager told survey takers. &ldquo;Employees&rsquo; needs dictate our schedule.&rdquo; Penalties for changing schedules on short notice, the manager said, would &ldquo;take control of schedules away from the workers.&rdquo;</p> <p> Be sure to read this <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2017/06/28/oregon-wants-to-regulate-flexible-work-s">whole article here</a>.&nbsp; It also describes what&rsquo;s happened in San Francisco where a similar law is in effect, with businesses reducing flexibility, cutting back on hiring part-time workers and doing with fewer workers overall.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s an important warning for the rest of the country and for anyone who values workplace flexibility.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804219/Carrie L. LukasThu, 29 Jun 2017 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Today’s Kids Are Over-Celebrated<p> This year, I&rsquo;m as happy as my children are to have passed the last day of school and welcomed summer. I&rsquo;m not alone: Even though summer brings new challenges, like finding childcare and paying for camps and extracurricular activities, most parents I talk to are as relieved as I am to put the rigors of the school year behind them. It&rsquo;s not just a break from packing lunches, monitoring homework, and getting everyone out the door to the bus. Lately, the school-related end-of-year celebrations and parties are tough to keep up with.</p> <p> When I was a kid in the 1970s and 1980s, small things were done to mark the end of the year and send kids off with a smile. Sometimes we had a field day, which was the equivalent of an extra-long recess. A class mom may have brought in cupcakes one year, but it wouldn&rsquo;t have been much more elaborate than that. Similarly, while high school sports seasons concluded with a team dinner or other get-together, that didn&rsquo;t happen for younger teams. Most activities ended with a thank you, a handshake, and that was about it.</p> <p> Today, just about every activity kids are involved in memorializes the end of the year (or season) not only with obligatory certificates of participation, but also with parties that require long, online signup systems so parents can keep straight who is buying the juices and chips and who is baking the cookies and who is handling decorations. There is an upside to all of this&mdash;my youngest child&rsquo;s preschool graduation was adorable to watch, even if it was also a little ridiculous to watch five-year-olds in cap-and-gown lauded for completing their coloring work. But there are also big down sides.</p> <p> My oldest daughter just finished elementary school, which is certainly an event worth commemorating. Yet sixth grade graduation wasn&rsquo;t just a promotion ceremony, yearbook, and pizza party. There were days of celebrations: a reception after the commemoration ceremony; a larger, elaborately decorated party with a DJ, bouncy houses, and a photo booth; a separate swimming party; an all-class kickball game&hellip; and each of these events included rounds of refreshments.</p> <p> And then for all grades there were parties for the end of specific activities: a pizza party for the kids doing safety patrol for the school buses, cupcakes for the end of each sports team and dance program. It seemed to go on and on.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m a big believer in letting kids enjoy their desserts on special occasions. Yet I can see how this becomes a problem when nearly every day is treated as a special occasion and rounds of cupcakes just keep coming.</p> <p> Beyond the dietary implications, all these &ldquo;special&rdquo; occasions must change kids&rsquo; expectations. If sixth grade graduation is a week-long affair, what is supposed to happen for high school graduation? How are parents going to top that? If every week or so kids have a party with cupcakes and helium balloons, how are we supposed to make birthdays and holidays feel special?</p> <p> Of course, it makes sense for parents to acknowledge their kids&rsquo; good work in completing a school year and moving on to the next grade&mdash;particularly if the child has worked hard and done his or her best&mdash;but it seems over-the-top to give speeches heaping praise on eleven-year-olds just for progressing through the expected curriculum at the expected pace. It would be far better to save such accolades for when our kids really deserve it, so they actually feel the meaning of the praise, knowing that they really have accomplished something to be proud of, rather than hearing those words as the same old platitudes that are rolled out at the end of every school year or sports season.</p> <p> All this over-celebrating also creates an awful lot of work for parents. I want to be involved in my kids&rsquo; school lives and consider it a duty to sign up whenever a new sign up list is sent around. Yet keeping up with the scavenger hunt of tracking down whatever refreshments, decorations, or special art supplies I need to purchase and then dole out became practically a second job in recent months. Clearly something went wrong.</p> <p> Now that school is done, my kids have a lot of questions about how we are going to spend our summer. Most of those questions boil down to what special things are we going to do. Of course, I want us to have some special, memorable times together as a family this summer. Yet I also plan to make sure we have plenty of un-special days, so we can get back to remembering how to appreciate simple pleasures, as well as the rare occasions that really do warrant cupcakes and balloons.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804188/Carrie L. LukasTue, 27 Jun 2017 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum