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.org33968Podcast #30 • Immigration & Its Impact On Women's Safety<p> IWF&#39;s managing director Carrie Lukas sits down with IWF&#39;s Charlotte Hays to discuss the refugee crisis. The two discuss the consequences of the uptick in immigration, specifically the safety hazards toward women.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799256/Carrie L. LukasWed, 3 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDemocrats’ Latest Wage-Gap Fix Won’t Work Either<p> Democrats bank on women voters falling in line behind them because of the GOP&rsquo;s supposed &ldquo;War on Women.&rdquo; And they routinely trot out their favorite statistic on the wage gap, which they claim shows there&rsquo;s rampant discrimination against women in the workplace. Yet after seven years of Obama, women ought to ask: Why has nothing changed?</p> <p> The administration wants people to believe that it&rsquo;s just that their work is unfinished: They need more laws and greater government redistribution to turn around the economy and root out discrimination. Using this argument, they proposed another new regulation last week that would require businesses with 100 or more employees to provide additional information to the federal government about their employees&rsquo; demographics and pay. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairwoman Jenny Yang put it in her discussion of the proposed regulation: &ldquo;Too often, pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;We will be using the information that we&rsquo;re collecting as one piece of information that can inform our investigations.&rdquo;</p> <p> Women have heard this before. The administration had claimed that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first legislation this president signed into law, would crack down on discrimination and help eliminate the wage gap. The president signed two executive orders in 2014 that were also meant to narrow the wage gap by, as the Washington Post explained, &ldquo;forcing federal contractors to let their workers discuss their earnings with one another and to disclose more information about what their employees earn.&rdquo; And yet here we are, with the pay gap essentially unchanged and another proposed government solution.</p> <p> This latest regulatory effort could be worse than just ineffective. The administration argues that it will encourage companies to police their own employment practices and eliminate sexist pay differentials. But it will also &ldquo;encourage&rdquo; companies to work to eliminate any differences in pay, even if they exist for legitimate reasons.</p> <p> For example, Evolving Strategies conducted a study on behalf of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum to see how women value different job attributes. They found that a combination of flexible schedules, telecommuting, and reduced hours was as valuable to women as an extra salary of $5,000 to $10,000. That means that women might intentionally negotiate lower pay in exchange for such flexibility. These women feel this tradeoff is a win for them &mdash; but to the EEOC bureaucrat examining the company&rsquo;s data sheet, it could look an awful lot like discrimination.</p> <p> Prudent employers will respond accordingly &mdash; and undoubtedly with the guidance of a cadre of well-paid lawyers, the group that always benefits from such new regulations. Businesses will move toward a more rigid, one-size-fits-all compensation system. Instead of being able to negotiate a reduced work schedule or more flexibility in exchange for lower pay, women can expect more take-it-or-leave-it, full-time options. That will make it harder for working moms who want to balance their work and family life, and it will make it easier for employers to avoid an EEOC investigation.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s the real reason this new regulation won&rsquo;t shrink the wage gap, and why all the other policy fixes advanced were also doomed to failure: Discrimination isn&rsquo;t the main reason that men and women have different earnings. The wage gap exists because people make different choices when it comes to work life. Simply comparing the earnings of the average female worker with those of the average male worker &mdash; which is how the Bureau of Labor Statistics generates this infamous wage-gap stat &mdash; overlooks the many factors we know affect earnings, from the number of hours worked each week, to years of experience, to chosen industry and specialty. Controlling for those factors eradicates most of the wage gap, leaving just a few percentage points separating men and women&rsquo;s earnings.</p> <p> If the real goal is for women to earn more, then more regulations or a stricter legal code aren&rsquo;t what&rsquo;s needed. We can&rsquo;t blame sexist workplaces for women&rsquo;s ongoing financial struggles. The real culprit is our floundering economy. Take-home pay has barely budged in seven years, in part because employers have to spend more complying with government dictates and meeting requirements for expanded employee benefits. Less costly government red tape and a growing economy will lead to more job creation and more competition among employers for valuable workers, helping everyone earn more.</p> <p> Of course, such a rising tide would benefit both women and men, so it wouldn&rsquo;t eliminate the wage gap, either. But it would rekindle the American Dream and make it easier for families to make ends meet. Surely voters care more about this than changing a bogus labor statistic.</p> <p> <em>&mdash; Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and vice president for policy of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2799238/Carrie L. LukasMon, 1 Feb 2016 13:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGambling, ‘Equal Pay,’ Minimum Wage Hike Top Alabama Democrats’ Legislative Agenda<p> MONTGOMERY, Ala. &mdash; Alabama House Democrats on Monday released their 2016 legislative agenda, and it echoes many of the priorities of the national Democratic Party, including raising the minimum wage and mandating so called &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; for women.</p> <p> &ldquo;Our focus is going to be on education, the economy and elections-the three E&rsquo;s,&rdquo; said House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden). &ldquo;We&rsquo;re offering a lot of new things this year, as well as continuing to push for some of our long-time priorities, like the lottery.&rdquo;</p> <p> With regard to education, both Democrats and Republicans have included a teacher pay raise in their legislative agendas, making it almost certain that educators will get a bump this year, although how significant remains to be seen.</p> <p> Additionally, Democrats are proposing taxpayer-funded pre-k for all of Alabama&rsquo;s four-year-olds at a cost of $144 million annually. Pre-k has been a priority of Governor Robert Bentley&rsquo;s, but the current program &mdash; which has been called the nation&rsquo;s best &mdash; has also come under fire from some conservatives who view it as &ldquo;taxpayer-funded daycare&rdquo; and question whether it influences longterm education outcomes.</p> <p> In order to fund the pre-k expansion, Democrats propose repealing the Rolling Reserve Act, which caps the growth of the state&rsquo;s Education Budget and sends surplus money into a reserve account to be used in lean years when tax revenue is down. The Rolling Reserve saved the state $140 million in 2015, almost exactly the amount Democrats say should be spent annually on expanding pre-k.</p> <p> Democrats also plan to roll out legislation to address the supposed gender pay gap.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s amazing that gender pay equality isn&rsquo;t already the law,&rdquo; said Rep. Adline Clarke (D-Mobile), the sponsor of the pay equality bill. &ldquo;This bill, like so many others in our legislative agenda, addresses a need that is long overdue. The path to a stronger economy begins with paying women fairly for the work they do.&rdquo;</p> <p> President Obama and other Democrats at the national level have frequently pledged to address the pay gap, but many economists question whether it actually exists in the form the feminist movement say it does.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/04/16/its-time-that-we-end-the-equal-pay-myth/#500e51174c52"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">According to Forbes</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> contributor and Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum managing director Carrie Lukas, &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; advocates &ldquo;presume the difference between men and women&rsquo;s average earnings stems from discrimination&hellip; The wage gap statistic, however, doesn&rsquo;t compare two similarly situated co-workers of different sexes, working in the same industry, performing the same work, for the same number of hours a day. It merely reflects the median earnings of all men and women classified as full-time workers.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Lukas goes on to say she believes the wage gap is the result of men and women simply making different career choices at different stages of life, particularly when it comes to having children.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Feminists may protest, but American women aren&rsquo;t the victims of a sexist economy,&rdquo; she concluded. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s time to declare an end to the Equal Pay myth.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Alabama Democrats are also pushing to install a statewide minimum wage.</p> <p> &ldquo;Alabama does not have a state minimum wage, and the federal minimum wage is not a living wage,&rdquo; they wrote in a release. &ldquo;House Democrats will introduce legislation to establish a state minimum wage and to gradually set that wage at $10.10 an hour with an automatic cost-of-living increase that would be increase when federal social security benefits increase.&rdquo;</p> <p> Troy University economist Dr. Daniel J. Smith believes such a minimum wage increase would actually hurt individuals on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.</p> <p> &ldquo;The reality is, the least-skilled Alabamians &mdash; primarily young, part-time workers &mdash; will face unemployment as mandated wage rates exceed their skill and experience levels,&rdquo; he <a href="http://yellowhammernews.com/business-2/birminghams-minimum-wage-hike-is-off-target-and-will-harm-those-it-seeks-to-help-opinion/">said</a>. &ldquo;Sadly, their best option for gaining the skill and experience necessary to earn a higher wage through on-the-job experience is taken away. To truly help these workers, policy makers should focus on helping this group boost their skills through educational reform and by expanding economic opportunity, not by increasing the costs of employing them.&rdquo;</p> <p> To see the Alabama Democrats&rsquo; full 2016 legislative agenda, <a href="http://alhousedems.com/2016/02/alabama-house-democratic-caucus-announces-essential-elements-legislative-agenda-for-the-2016-legislative-session/">click here</a>.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799246/Carrie L. LukasMon, 1 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama's Plan To Close The Wage Gap Will Backfire<p> The Obama Administration is foisting a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-plan-would-force-pay-disclosures-by-gender-1454043661?mod=e2tw">new reporting requirement on businesses</a>, supposedly in an effort to close the wage gap between men and women. Large employers will now be required to disclose how much they pay individual employees and identify their sex, data which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will then use to identify employers that may be guilty of discrimination.</p> <p> Unfortunately, this new data collection is unlikely to tell us much about the role discrimination plays in our workplace, but it could profoundly impact employees&rsquo; work <a href="http://www.forbes.com/options/">options</a>, and sadly for women, that could be for the worse.</p> <p> The Administration and advocates of greater government involvement in business compensation practices point to the stubborn &ldquo;wage gap&rdquo; statistic, which shows that full-time working women earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by a full-time working man. Yet in citing this statistic, they overlook its limitations: The Department of Labor wage gap stat doesn&rsquo;t compare two coworkers, one male and one female, doing the same job. Rather they tally up all working women and all working men. Major factors that impact how much someone earns&mdash;from their chosen industry, years of experience, and even the number of hours spent working each day&mdash;are left out. <a href="http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba766">Studies</a> show that when such factors are controlled for, most of the wage gap disappears.</p> <p> Presumably, the Administration thinks that this additional data will help solve this problem, since they will be able to consider individual industries and employers, and compare workers with similar job titles. Yet this still misses a great deal of nuance and ignores how individuals weigh different tradeoffs when choosing their jobs. For example, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Why-Men-Earn-More-Startling/dp/0814472109/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1454060234&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=Why+Men+Earn+More">research</a> has shown that within professions like the medical field, female doctors tend to gravitate to specialties that have lower pay, but have other attributes they value, such as more regular hours. A study conducted by <a href="http://www.iwf.org/media/2797374/RELEASE:-WHAT-DO-WOMEN-REALLY-WANT-IN-THE-WORKPLACE-#sthash.L9AU0mt1.dpuf">Evolving Strategies for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a> explored how women value different job attributes, and found that offering a combination of flexible schedules, telecommuting, and reduced hours is about equivalent of offering between $5,000 to $10,000 in extra salary.</p> <p> This means that many women would give up as much as $10,000 in pay for more flexibility. Yet the ability to negotiate such tradeoffs is likely to be the biggest casualty of Obama&rsquo;s new work pay reporting regime. Employers will now take a harder look at their current payroll. Perhaps some who have been systematically underpaying women employees will be motivated to give them a boost so they make as much as their male peers. Far more often, however, any pay differences that exist between male and female coworkers are for legitimate reasons and are not the result of sexism.</p> <p> Keep in mind that most human resource managers are women, so current compensation systems have not been designed by a so-called &ldquo;Mad-Men era,&rdquo; stogy-wielding bosses. These human resource managers&mdash;undoubtedly in concert with company lawyers&mdash;will consider how their numbers will appear to the EEOC bureaucrats who presumably will be anxious to uncover any evidence of sexism and make an example of those companies and their leadership. The employers and their lawyers will try to figure out how to make the numbers look better, even if this results in less fair outcomes and even if it takes away valued options for workers, especially working moms.</p> <p> For example, in the small organization I help run, we have two employees (both of whom happen to be women) who have similar titles and, on paper, similar responsibilities and backgrounds. However, one makes significantly more than the other. Why? The one with lower pay had a baby last year, and asked for a reduction in hours and responsibilities, and a limit on how much she would have to travel, in exchange for lower pay. This seemed like a win-win for the organization and for our valued team member. We retained an experienced, productive employee; she now has the work-life balance she wanted. Yet if her counterpart were male, and our organization had to explain the earning differential to a bureaucrat and face the specter of a government sanction, we would have approached this situation very differently. We might have had to tell our employee that we couldn&rsquo;t offer the reduced employment option for fear it would appear as discrimination. She would either have to continue her job with her full responsibilities or quit. Both the organization and our working mom would have been worse off as a result.</p> <p> This example is just one of millions. Everywhere, human resource managers and business leaders will start considering not just if employment decisions make sense for the business and for its employees, but how it will look to a government regulator with the power to punish the company. This will encourage a far less flexible work environment and lead to a more one-size-fits-all pay system. Perhaps a few sexist employers truly will be rooted out as a result, but many more businesses&mdash;and millions of employees&mdash;will pay a high price in terms of lost flexibility and freedom.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and the vice president for policy of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2799215/Carrie L. LukasFri, 29 Jan 2016 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUnite, Sisters, And Demand Equal Allowance!<p> An author and Facebook executive continues to make headlines for claiming there is a &quot;toddler wage gap,&quot; but one mother and commentator calls that ridiculous.&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;We&#39;ve really reached a new low when we&#39;re just trying to find a grievance at every turn,&quot; responds Carrie Lukas, managing director of the </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Lukas was responding to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operations officer for Facebook, who complained about wage disparity when she spoke at the recent World Economic Forum in Switzerland.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> To make her point, Sandberg compared boys who take out the trash to their sisters who wash dishes.</p> <p> Taking out the trash &quot;takes less time than cleaning the dishes,&quot; the Facebook executive observed, &quot;and they&#39;re getting higher allowances.&quot;</p> <p> Sandberg&#39;s net worth is reportedly more than $1 billion.&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;I think parents out there are treating their kids as fairly as they can,&quot; Lukas tells OneNewsNow. &quot;And we should really stop trying with this endless bean counting and trying to find sexism at every turn.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">American parents today are encouraging their daughters to succeed, she adds, and they&#39;re investing in their education.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The complaint about wages is a shame, says Lukas, because Sandberg penned the book &quot;Lean in&quot; that has a positive message to girls and women. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The author and Facebook executive has moved from a message of empowerment, Lukas says, to somebody who &quot;wants to find sexism at every turn.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2799211/Carrie L. LukasThu, 28 Jan 2016 15:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSheryl Sandberg: Wage Gap Starts With Toddlers & Chores • American Family Radiohttp://iwf.org/media/2799210/Carrie L. LukasWed, 27 Jan 2016 15:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA New Feminist 'Critique'<p> The report warns, &ldquo;news coverage of reproductive issues remains uneven in American media, with the people whose bodies do the reproducing (or not) often left out of the discussion.&rdquo;</p> <p> Why are women being pushed off the abortion topic? They aren&rsquo;t, really.</p> <p> The gap exists because there are more male reporters. In fact, an earlier Women&rsquo;s Media Center report found that women wrote 37 percent of all print news articles, while men wrote 52 percent.</p> <p> So the gender-breakdown for reproductive coverage precisely mirrors the breakdown for the rest of news stories, which is hardly evidence of a sexist or conservative conspiracy to skew discussions related to abortion.</p> <p> Certainly, newsrooms should consider pipeline issues and ways to get more female reporters on their pages. But given the existing pool of journalists, it makes sense that abortion-related issues would be handled like any other issue.</p> <p> In fact, one could easily imagine feminists protesting if the results were otherwise: If their research showed that female reporters were being disproportionately assigned to covering matters related to reproduction &mdash; or childcare, education or anything else that could be classified as a &ldquo;women&rsquo;s issue&rdquo; &mdash; we&rsquo;d be hearing complaints that hardheaded female reporters are being pigeonholed, perhaps even discriminated against, by pushed into stereotypically female beats.</p> <p> The WMC complains that allowing men to &ldquo;frame&rdquo; these discussions of abortion-related issues perpetuates &ldquo;the politicization of abortion rights and contraception .&thinsp;.&thinsp;. perpetuating a cycle of conflict and controversy that eclipses the complex realities facing women and men when it comes to reproductive health.&rdquo;</p> <p> That sounds an awful lot like the group&rsquo;s leaders think female reporters would focus on touchy-feely personal stories rather than hard policy debates, a presumption stemming from some rather old-school stereotypes about women. Who here, exactly, are supposed to be the sexists?</p> <p> After all, the ladies staffing the Women&rsquo;s Media Center would surely object to anyone suggesting that differences between men and women might impact how suited they are for other lines of work, such as the military or law enforcement.</p> <p> Of course, the group is right that who writes news stories matters: Reporters steer public attention and selectively highlight aspects of issues that meet their ideologies and personal preferences. Yet unless you believe that gender trumps all &mdash; that women really are from Venus and men are from Mars &mdash; then the sex of the reporter is a relatively minor factor to consider.</p> <p> Far more central to giving the public a balanced picture on policy and political debates &mdash; including the abortion issue &mdash; are the journalists&rsquo; partisan allegiances.</p> <p> Journalists identifying as Democrats outnumbered Republicans 4-to-1 in a recent study by the school of journalism at Indiana University. Pew Research found a similar breakdown in 2008: More than half of journalists claimed to be moderate, but nearly one third (32 percent) labeled themselves liberal compared to just 8 percent who identified as conservative.</p> <p> If anything, these stats probably understate the true extent of the liberal skew: A study from 1996 &mdash; which may be before journalists were savvy enough to conceal their ideological biases &mdash; found that 89 percent of Washington-based journalists voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, compared to just 7 percent who&rsquo;d voted for George H.W. Bush.</p> <p> Surely we&rsquo;ve come far enough in terms of true equality to recognize that this ideological lens has a greater impact on news coverage than whether the reporter has an extra X or a Y chromosome? Maybe the rest of the public has, but count on modern feminists to cling to stereotypes about the importance of sex differences for as long as it suits them.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and vice president for policy of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2799189/Carrie L. LukasWed, 27 Jan 2016 07:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSheryl Sandberg Decries Latest Sexist Menace: The “Toddler Wage Gap”<p> Workplace discrimination begins far before anyone enters the sexist corporate world, apparently. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of <em>Lean In</em>, made headlines at the <a href="http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/we-have-a-toddler-gender-gap-says-sheryl-sandberg?utm_content=buffer19aee&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer">World Economic Forum</a> recently by claiming there is a &ldquo;toddler wage gap&rdquo; and that parents start short-changing their daughters before they are even old enough to count. As Sanders put it, &ldquo;We assign our chores to our children in the United States, and it can be worse in other parts of the world. . . . The boys are taking out the trash, it takes less time than cleaning the dishes and they get bigger allowances.&rdquo; Sandberg&rsquo;s charge is backed up by <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/23/3430025/gender-gap-allowance/">studies</a> that suggest boys receive higher allowances even when doing fewer chores.</p> <p> But is this really evidence that parents are unconsciously biased against our daughters?</p> <p> Not necessarily. Parents may be responding to natural differences in what motivates girls and boys, and children may also have different recollections that skew such studies&rsquo; findings. In my house, my daughter truly enjoys helping with food preparation and even setting the table and cleaning up. She doesn&rsquo;t need me to dangle cash to make her want to help with these chores; moreover, if asked in a survey, she may not even understand that these activities are chores related to an allowance or payment, since the money wasn&rsquo;t what motivated her. My son&mdash;who dreads anything resembling picking up&mdash;would be far more likely to remember receiving a dollar for any chore, because that&rsquo;s what got him through the otherwise unbearably boring task.</p> <p> Children&rsquo;s faulty memories aside, parents may offer boys more monetary compensation to make up for differences in motivation and preferences. Is this really evidence of sexism and the beginnings of a life-long wage gap? That seems a stretch: Allowances are pretty minor in terms of the economic support we give our children, and the feedback children receive in the form of positive affirmations seem as likely to help encourage positive attitudes and expectations as the receipt of hard dollars. Moreover, <a href="http://www.medicaldaily.com/sibling-rivalry-parents-spend-more-money-daughters-sons-when-expecting-economic-340610">some studies</a> suggest that, especially when money is tight, parents spend more on daughters. Isn&rsquo;t this total investment at least as important as the small matter or how much they receive in allowance?</p> <p> Sandberg mistakenly focuses only on the ways that society favors boys over girls. There are other measures on which girls receive better treatment and boys suffer from a form of discrimination. For example, this <a href="http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/why-girls-do-better-in-school-010212/">University of Georgia study</a> found that teachers tend to give girls better grades than boys even when they receive the same test scores. They report, &ldquo;gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls. In every subject area, boys are represented in grade distributions below where their test scores would predict.&rdquo;</p> <p> This doesn&rsquo;t mean teachers are purposely punishing boys: Rather, teachers understandably favor students who show what the researchers characterize as positive engagement in the classroom, which is more prevalent in little girls. This helps explain why girls overall are outperforming boys in terms of academic achievement.</p> <p> Sandberg cites the fact that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11063631">mothers tend</a> to &ldquo;systematically overestimate their sons&rsquo; crawling, and underestimate their daughters&rsquo;,&rdquo; implying that low expectations for girls&rsquo; earliest form of mobility will somehow plague their lifelong chances of upward mobility. Yet this could be seen through a different lens: Parents are aware that society places more value on boys&rsquo; athletic prowess so search for signs of our sons&rsquo; physical success. Rather than being unfair to girls, this extra pressure on boys could be seen as placing them at a disadvantage and contribute to why boys are far more likely to <a href="http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/4/2/94.full">get injured</a> or suffer an accidental death than girls are.</p> <p> Differences in how boys and girls behave and how parents treat their sons and daughters is interesting and informative. Parents and teachers ought to be aware of how our expectations may impact how we treat a child, and how natural sex differences may influence children&rsquo;s behavior. This knowledge can help us better encourage both our sons and daughters to make the most of their strengths and overcome their weakness.</p> <p> But Sandberg gets it wrong when implying that these differences are an outgrowth of misogyny or sexism against girls, or that they all point in one direction and that boys are always advantaged. In reality, the picture is much more mixed. We should strive to treat our children as individuals rather than as members of a sex, but as we work toward this goal we should recognize that it isn&rsquo;t just girls who have stereotypes to overcome.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2799168/Carrie L. LukasMon, 25 Jan 2016 15:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSorry, Hillary: Women Care More About Their President Than His (Or Her) Agenda.<p> Hillary Clinton was counting on voters &mdash; particularly American women &mdash; to salivate at the prospect of shattering the highest glass ceiling by electing a woman president. She&rsquo;ll need a backup plan. It turns out women aren&rsquo;t nearly as gender-obsessed as Hillary thinks they are, or wants them to be.</p> <p> Clinton&rsquo;s strategy does make some sense. After all, President Obama was buoyed by the widespread sense that his election wasn&rsquo;t just his personal triumph, but all of ours, in burying the vestiges of America&rsquo;s racist past. Given that women were also once treated as second-class citizens, why shouldn&rsquo;t Hillary expect a similar wave of excitement and sense of history?</p> <p> Perhaps the string of female secretaries of state and Supreme Court justices, as well as presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina and Clinton herself, has made the idea of a female president seem less than revolutionary. The feminist movement &mdash; which appears unwilling to acknowledge women&rsquo;s gains &mdash; may also have overplayed its victim status. Young men with few job prospects and a lifetime of being bested by female schoolmates may not be overjoyed to applaud yet another sign of women&rsquo;s ascendance.</p> <p> The person of Hillary Clinton herself undoubtedly helps dampen enthusiasm about the prospect of a female president, and not just among Republicans who disagree with her political philosophy. The media is currently pondering how the re-emergence of her husband&rsquo;s brutal treatment of ex-lovers impacts voters&rsquo; opinion of Hillary.</p> <p> But Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s role as the long-suffering first lady to a roguish leading man is just one of her problems; her reputation as a scandal-drenched, corporate-backed and largely failed public servant has always made her an awkward feminist heroine.</p> <p> Regardless of the explanation, the simple fact is most voters aren&rsquo;t particularly anxious to see a woman &mdash; let alone Hillary Clinton &mdash; in the Oval Office.</p> <p> Pew Research Center&rsquo;s new report explored attitudes about women in leadership, and found that most Americans see women as just as capable political leaders as men. Women scored about equally on some key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, and received higher marks on attributes such as honesty, ability to compromise, compassion and organization.</p> <p> Pew found big differences between how Democrats and Republicans viewed the sexes as potential political leaders. But before liberals start lamenting sexist conservatives&rsquo; &ldquo;war on women,&rdquo; Republicans didn&rsquo;t see women as less capable, rather Republicans &ldquo;are more inclined to say there isn&rsquo;t any difference between men and women,&rdquo; while &ldquo;Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to say that women do a better job than men.&rdquo; In other words, Republicans were more likely to truly see women and men as equals, while Democrats see one sex &mdash; men &mdash; as inferior.</p> <p> But just because Americans see women as just as qualified and capable political leaders doesn&rsquo;t mean they&rsquo;re eagerly awaiting a female president. Just four in 10 (38 percent) of all adults &ldquo;say they hope the US will elect a female president in their lifetime,&rdquo; while a majority (57 percent) &ldquo;say it doesn&rsquo;t matter to them.&rdquo;</p> <p> Women are more likely to want to see a female president, but even that doesn&rsquo;t translate into big support for Hillary. Take New Hampshire, where the latest poll shows just 38 percent of Democratic women voters plan to vote for Hillary compared to 52 who favor Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton is losing women&rsquo;s support not just in Iowa and New Hampshire: A nationwide poll just released by Monmouth University found that Clinton&rsquo;s edge among women has fallen from plus-45 percentage points in December to just 19 now.</p> <p> Feminists may take the lack of excitement as more evidence that the deck is stacked against women. But this phenomenon can also be seen as progress: Women have come so far that it&rsquo;s no longer big news for women to advance to a higher level of power. People really are judging others based on the content of their character and the skills they bring to the position rather than as a representative of any particular demographic group.</p> <p> This makes it more likely that when we get a woman president (and three out of four surveyed by Pew expect to see it during their lifetime) she&rsquo;ll have reached that position based on her qualifications, not out of a sense of obligation among voters. Now that&rsquo;s something to be excited about.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and vice president for policy of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2799146/Carrie L. LukasFri, 22 Jan 2016 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhen The Rewards Of Motherhood Mean Cash Payments<p> Discussions over a universal basic income have led to a difference of opinion among women.</p> <p> A universal basic income (UBI) is a government-distributed income granted to all on an individual basis.</p> <p> The idea is not new, as <em>The New York Times</em> and other publications point out the Finnish government has proposed paying every adult the equivalent of around $870 a month. Meanwhile, the Swiss will vote on a referendum for a basic income this year, and Canada&#39;s Liberal Party has adopted a resolution calling for a similar experiment.</p> <p> In an op-ed titled <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/opinion/sunday/payback-time-for-women.html?_r=0">&ldquo;It&#39;s Payback Time For Women</a>,&rdquo; Judith Schulevitz, contributing opinion writer for <em>The New York Times</em>, says the feminist argument for a UBI in the United States is that it&#39;s a way to reimburse mothers and other caregivers for the &quot;heaving lifting&quot; they now do free of charge while being viewed by some people as not really working.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, managing director of the </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, tells OneNewsNow that this is an ongoing argument from feminists and liberals who want to raise taxes and grow government.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Some fairly conservative and libertarian economists have argued that this would be one way to entirely replace our current welfare, social safety-net system,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;That&#39;s kind of an interesting conversation.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;The problem is that in the process of doing this or talking about this idea, the feminist writer Schulevitz made it into this idea that &#39;the reason to do this is because women are unpaid and it&#39;s payback time for women.&#39;&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Lukas says that&#39;s a silly distraction that focuses on a non-issue.&nbsp;&quot;It overlooks how families are set up and how stay-at-home moms are compensated and do have access to money,&rdquo; she says, adding: &ldquo;Stay-at-home moms are </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2799094/Stay-At-Home-Mom's-Aren't-Unjustly-%22Unpaid%22-Laborers"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">not being mistreated</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> by our society.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2799121/Carrie L. LukasWed, 20 Jan 2016 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDefining Sexism Down<p> 2015 could be remembered as the year campus political-correctness jumped the shark. Perhaps, really, it had jumped the shark long ago, but the widely publicized protests at the University of Missouri, which lead to the resignation of the university president, and reports of trigger warnings warning students of such dangers as classic novels and Halloween costumes, woke the public up to just how ridiculous campus life had become.</p> <p> Yet campuses aren&rsquo;t the only place where oppression and grievance are being defined down, often to the point of ridiculousness. Today, feminists gloss over and even <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/07/feminists-blame-german-born-men-for-mass-sex-attacks-apease-migrants/">explain away actual violence</a> against women (so long as that violence is committed by men from groups that qualify as oppressed), but they stand ready to point out acts of sexism so subtle that they would otherwise be undetectable.</p> <p> Take <a href="http://qz.com/569025/the-subtle-sexism-of-hoodies-women-in-silicon-valley-have-no-idea-what-to-wear-to-work/">this recent article</a> entitled the &ldquo;subtle sexism of hoodies.&rdquo; Author Aimee Groth explains that men working in the technology field have taken their cues from icons such as Mark Zuckerberg in defining what&rsquo;s acceptable work-wear (such as jeans and hoodies) while women lack similar role models. As a result, women must decide on their own how casual is too casual and other vexing wardrobe considerations.</p> <p> Women in the male-heavy tech industry undoubtedly do face some real challenges, though this seems unlikely to top anyone&rsquo;s list. And certainly there are far more gradations between sweat-suits and black-tie in women&rsquo;s wear, leaving women with more clothing options to consider.</p> <p> But does the hoodie phenomenon really deserve the title of sexism? Most of the women interviewed for Groth&rsquo;s article didn&rsquo;t seem to think so; Groth struggles admirably to piece together an interesting article about the unequal tech-industry casual-wear trends, but even she seems to recognize it&rsquo;s a stretch to make a molehill out of this tiny lump of nothing.</p> <p> Another item on the modern feminist agenda, apparently, is fighting &ldquo;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/the-tampon-tax-explained/?tid=sm_tw">the tampon tax</a>,&rdquo; or the fact that feminine hygiene products are not currently exempt from many state sales taxes. California assembly woman Cristina Garcia explained that she started her campaign to make these products exempt after hearing from her constituents about their struggles to make ends meet. Ms. Garcia has a point: Californians are overtaxed and these taxes hurt those with low-incomes most. But surely the solution to their tax and budget problems isn&rsquo;t just to knock a few cents off of a monthly CVS charge. Rather she should consider bigger policy changes that would really reduce prices and encourage job creation.</p> <p> One suspects that tax reduction isn&rsquo;t Ms. Garcia&rsquo;s biggest priority. More likely, she is struggling to find a hook to show she&rsquo;s fighting &ldquo;gender injustice,&rdquo; and today in California that means pretending that a sales tax on tampons is oppression.</p> <p> As standards for what is sexist fall, we also define down what constitutes an act of courage. My favorite: As <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2016/01/the_10_step_korean_skin_care_routine_is_a_radical_act_of_feminist_self_care.html">this <em>Slate</em> article</a> describes, some feminist professors and scholars have taken to describing the use of an elaborate, multi-stepped, Korean beauty-care regime, a &ldquo;radical act of feminist self-care.&rdquo;</p> <p> Those who came of age with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Beauty-Myth-Images-Against/dp/0060512180"><em>The Beauty Myth</em></a> might be confused: We recall a generation of feminist arguing that women&rsquo;s fixation on their physical appearance is a hellish outgrowth of the patriarchy. But never mind that. Today, women&rsquo;s willingness to dedicate hours of their time to wrinkle prevention is an act of empowerment. Women&mdash;for once, we are supposed to assume&mdash;are putting caring for themselves, rather than those annoying kids, elders, or (heaven-forbid) husbands, first. Spending hours on your beauty regime is now a good thing . . . except if it&rsquo;s because you don&rsquo;t feel like you can just toss on a hoodie and have to decide what to wear to the office, then it&rsquo;s oppression again.</p> <p> These contortions to conjure up evidence of sexism and the triumph over it is testament to the tremendous progress American women have made. Of course, our world remains imperfect. Just as theft and murder will remain fixtures for as long as mankind endures, there will always be violence against women and sexism as long as humans populate the Earth. But American society is reaching a point where equality of opportunity, and the expectation of fair treatment of women, is so complete that we can now linger on how nuances in our fashions and customs can be seen as either evidence of progress or lingering handicaps, or even both.</p> <p> Certainly, we&rsquo;ve come a long way, baby. Or is that phrase demeaning to women? Standby as women studies professors delve into that very pressing question.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2799101/Carrie L. LukasFri, 15 Jan 2016 12:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStay At Home Mom's Aren't Unjustly "Unpaid" Laborers<p> A thoughtful discussion of overhauling the welfare state would be a welcome break from the horse-race politics which inevitably dominates the news. After months of hearing pundits score the latest exchange of insults and ruminate on how current events might affect mercurial voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, it would be nice to dig down into the weeds of a meaningful economic-policy argument.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Judith Shulevitz almost offered such a respite in the&nbsp;New York Times on Sunday. The second half of her article does a reasonable job reviewing the merits of a &ldquo;universal basic income,&rdquo; which would have the government provide all citizens with a payment to cover basic living expenses. Such a sweeping universal entitlement program initially sounds like something only a true leftist could love, but versions of the concept have been advanced by notable conservatives and libertarians. Charles Murray and Milton Friedman, among others, have argued that a straightforward, guaranteed minimum income could replace the complicated, intrusive welfare state and distort economic incentives less.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s an interesting topic. Too bad Shulevitz wastes so much of the article, entitled &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Payback Time for Women,&rdquo; rehashing the tired, feminist trope that it&rsquo;s a capitalist conspiracy that women don&rsquo;t receive a paid wage for caring for their own families. She writes:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The feminist argument for a U.B.I. is that it&rsquo;s a way to reimburse mothers and other caregivers for the heavy lifting they now do free of charge. . . . Society [is] getting a free ride on women&rsquo;s unrewarded contributions to the perpetuation of the human race. As Marx might have said had he deemed women&rsquo;s work worth including in his labor theory of value (he didn&rsquo;t), &ldquo;reproductive labor&rdquo; (as feminists call the creation and upkeep of families and homes) is the basis of the accumulation of human capital. I say it&rsquo;s time for something like reparations.</p> <p> Certainly society often fails to fully appreciate the value of work performed by women who dedicate themselves to caring for children and the elderly, and to building up our neighborhoods and civil society. Ironically, feminists are often among the biggest offenders in belittling women outside of the workforce, and insist that success is measured only in how much money and power one obtains.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet Shulevitz&rsquo;s claim that women therefore need &ldquo;reparations&rdquo; for unpaid work overlooks how families are structured to compensate caregivers &mdash; and not just with intangible rewards of respect and love, which apparently don&rsquo;t count for much. Families exist so that resources can be pooled and shared. Caregivers may not be earning a paycheck, but they should have equal access to the money and resources brought home by others in the family, who in turn benefit from the caregivers&rsquo; work at home. Feminists presume this is a raw deal for women, and that the stay-at-home parent is doing the less glamorous and less personally fulfilling job. But that isn&rsquo;t always the case. Men aren&rsquo;t all sitting in board rooms smoking cigars and being showered with fat paychecks; rather, men often work in unpleasant work conditions &mdash; on fishing boats, in mines, in prisons, on hot construction sites, or through the night driving trucks &mdash; in order to earn more money. Many do so, and then share their incomes with their wives who stay home with their children.&nbsp;</p> <p> Shulevitz at least recognizes that stay-at-home moms aren&rsquo;t the only ones doing unpaid work. She argues that a universal basic income &mdash; which by definition is available to everyone &mdash; is &ldquo;a necessary condition for a just society,&rdquo; because we all contribute to the social infrastructure in ways we aren&rsquo;t necessarily compensated for. That may sound nice, but it whitewashes profound differences between levels of engagement and contributions to the greater good, as well as the rather significant detail of how this payment will materialize. Eventually, she mentions the costs of a universal basic income, explaining that it could be funded by new taxes and by savings gained from replacing other social programs; she admits that it amounts to massive income redistribution. Yet by focusing on the claim that this redistribution would be more just, she ignores that such a regime may very well exact more taxes from people who do plenty of unpaid work and give it to others who do far less.</p> <p> In other words, if the goal is to create a system that compensates caregivers and those who contribute to our social infrastructure without payment, than this system may not improve on the status quo.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p> The idea of a universal basic income may be superior to a social safety net: It would allow us to replace overlapping social programs (such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, welfare, Medicaid, even Social Security and Medicare) which often lead to waste and fraud and create great economic distortion. It&rsquo;s an interesting theory, and I&rsquo;d really like to read more. But Shulevitz should abandon the argument that a universal basic income is necessary to pay stay-at-home moms and others contributing without pay to our families and neighborhoods &mdash; it simply doesn&rsquo;t make much sense.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2799094/Carrie L. LukasFri, 15 Jan 2016 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFeminist Activists Encourage Women To Trade Sexual Favors For Votes<p> Campaign consultants and those working to advance their political beliefs and policy ideas struggle to get the public&rsquo;s attention. That&rsquo;s why we endure flashing negative ads, hokey emails with misleading subject lines, and cheesy pictures of smiling politicians with their families. Political marketers have to compete with the rest of the media and cut through the clutter to reach people who aren&rsquo;t already interested in their issues.</p> <p> Yet there should be limits to what political marketers are willing to do to get our attention. For example, one shouldn&rsquo;t have to consider if a policy-oriented video will be too risqu&eacute; to watch around children. <a href="http://www.americanwomen.org/paid-leave">This new video</a> from American Women (an affiliate of Emily&rsquo;s List, the liberal group dedicated to electing pro-choice politicians) sadly doesn&rsquo;t meet even that incredibly low standard.</p> <p> The video&rsquo;s purpose is to promote a government-provided or mandated paid family-leave benefit. Personally, I disagree with the policy idea, which would backfire on many women, making it hard for them to find jobs, and disrupt all existing compensation packages. The video ignores the fact that, in spite of the lack of a government mandate or program, most full-time workers already do have access to paid leave. Rather than upending the entire compensation system, policymakers could focus on providing targeted financial aid to those with low-incomes who lack benefits, without making them less-attractive potential hires for employers.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s a policy debate worth having. I understand and respect the position of those who approach the issue differently and believe the benefits of a mandate outweighed the costs. Yet such arguments are an afterthought in this video, which instead showcases embarrassingly juvenile sexual humor meant to shock viewers into sharing it with their friends.</p> <p> The video starts with individual images of women and men, each complaining that America lacks government-required, paid parental leave. Then each person starts asking the question, &ldquo;Who do I have to blow to get paid leave?&rdquo; They then start naming individual prominent Republican male politicians, promising that they will do it if they have to. They&rsquo;re laughing, making cracks about how long it would take, before returning to make a more standard appeal that viewers take up their cause, so they don&rsquo;t have to go that route.</p> <p> The video&rsquo;s creators must think that the dirty language and sex talk will connect with a younger crowd that&rsquo;s not interested in tedious policy debates. Yet presumably these good feminist activists would also have considered what kind of message they are sending by talking so casually about the trading of sexual favors for political reward. Do they really think young women should be considering how to use oral sex to advance their interests? Would they think it&rsquo;s funny if men started making such jokes about how women can get what they want in politics or the work place by serving men along the way?</p> <p> In fact, one could easily imagine that if a young man accidently watched this video in his office during his lunch hour and a female colleague walked in, he&rsquo;d be vulnerable to a sexual harassment charge. Undoubtedly, the leaders at Emily&rsquo;s List would rush to her side and agree that he was creating a hostile work environment by watching such filth that demeaned women as sexual objects.</p> <p> A thoughtful women&rsquo;s studies seminar might consider how such a video further ingrains the idea that all powerful politicians are men, overlooking Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, and Lisa Murkowski, and House Leaders such as Rep. Marsha Blackburn. The feminist professor would have to start with a trigger warning, of course, cautioning that the video might stir up feelings of oppression and inadequacy with its implication that American women can hope for nothing more than to be sexual servants for men in power.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m sure the reps for American Women will object to this criticism, saying we should lighten up, that the oral sex line was just a joke. Yet their hypocrisy and expectation of enjoying a double standard is no laughing matter. Trying to get people&rsquo;s attention is understandable, but sinking to such depths is not. Let&rsquo;s hope this video represents rock bottom for political marketing, and its creators eventually emerge from this election season wondering why they sunk so low.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2799041/Carrie L. LukasMon, 11 Jan 2016 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDoes Immigration Without Assimilation Put Women’s Equality — And Safety — At Risk?<p> Men, on average, are significantly physically stronger than women. Western pop culture&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;replete with images of 100-pound girls knocking out muscular men twice their size with an artful kick &mdash; disguises this biological reality. Indeed, I&rsquo;ve seen athletic young female college students shocked when an average-sized guy beats them in one second flat in a friendly arm wrestling competition &ndash; probably their first direct exposure to the reality of the gender-strength differential. Acknowledging this out loud may get you kicked out of the gender studies departments of Harvard and Boston College, but that doesn&rsquo;t make it any less true.</p> <p> Western women often have the luxury of ignoring this biology because of the triumph of classical liberalism, with the supremacy of the rule of law and elevation of reason, decorum, and nonviolence. Of course, violence against women still occurs far too often, including in the developed world. Yet, at least in Western societies, it is understood and accepted that men aren&rsquo;t supposed to use physical strength to dominate women. If they do, they will be punished &ndash; not only with the force of law, but also with public shame.</p> <p> It wasn&rsquo;t always this way. It&rsquo;s taken hundreds, even thousands, of years for our customs and laws to embrace a concept of human rights that holds that the strong should not take advantage of the weak, and that all human beings have dignity and warrant respect.</p> <p> Not all societies have evolved to this point. Women remain second-class citizens in much of the world, and they are denied basic rights including freedom of movement and the freedom to decide when and whom to marry. Many are all too aware of their physical vulnerabilities and how men can make use of their superior strength. Not only do some societies lack laws against the abuse of women, even where such laws exist, the culture hasn&rsquo;t accepted the idea that violence against women is out of bounds.</p> <p> Western women ought to keep this in mind during the ongoing discussion of immigration policy. Many people are uncomfortable discussing the ways in which integrating immigrants from different cultures might impact Western society, and suggest that anyone who dares to raise the question is bigoted against those of different races or religions.</p> <p> Yet far more is at stake than superficial identity politics.</p> <p> In fact, most Westerners very much want to welcome those with different backgrounds and encourage a give-and-take between cultures that enriches both newcomers and natives alike. But we must also recognize that not all customs add value to ours. In fact, some represent an incredible, dangerous step backward.</p> <p> Currently, Germans are struggling with this very notion. On New Year&rsquo;s Eve, scores of women were attacked near the historic center of Cologne by groups of men they described as of Arab and North African descent. There were more than 90 complaints of robbery and sexual assault, and two rapes. These events took place against the backdrop of Germany&rsquo;s national discussion about immigration policy, having welcomed more than one million refugees in 2015 into its population of 80&nbsp;million. German political leaders and the</p> <p> German press seem reluctant to acknowledge this recent outbreak of violence, and other violent incidences that can be tied to the influx of refugees, which occurred not just in Cologne but in several others cities as well. Yet Germans ought to reject such stonewalling and the completely inadequate response of those like Cologne&rsquo;s mayor, Henriette Reker, who lectured women to &ldquo;keep a certain distance that is longer than an arm&rsquo;s length,&rdquo; that the city authorities would provide guidelines for young women who find themselves surrounded by aggressive men trying to grope them.</p> <p> Other authorities have told German women and girls that they need to dress more modestly to discourage incidents. But is the West really ready to return to the notion that a woman should expect to be sexually assaulted unless she fully covers her legs?</p> <p> Acknowledging cultural difference &mdash; and, more frankly, the pernicious, backwards attitudes towards women that exist in much of the world and could soon be imported into the West &mdash; needs to be a part of the conversation. One can still support the idea of welcoming refugees, while considering how to balance this aspiration with the need to preserve such core values as women&rsquo;s equality.</p> <p> Clearly, scope is a part of the issue. Allowing millions of refugees from one country and culture creates a greater risk that, rather than integration and the adoption of local norms, the newcomers will carry on their traditions, and, in the case of retaining a lack of respect for women, create real harm.</p> <p> This is an uncomfortable conversation to have. Yet we cannot allow a whitewashed view of multiculturalism to obscure the extent of important cultural differences and the real damage to women&rsquo;s progress that could result by importing misogynistic attitudes and allowing them to take us backward.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2799038/Carrie L. LukasMon, 11 Jan 2016 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Bill Clinton Effect: Behind The Left’s Sex-Harassment Problem<p> News of rampant sexual harassment at a leading progressive public relations firm seems to have surprised some on the Left: How can enlightened liberals, so staunchly committed to women&rsquo;s equality and progress, allow old-school sexism and abuse of power to persist?</p> <p> How could FitzGibbon Media, which represented MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the AFL-CIO, have a CEO sending text messages asking for dirty pictures from female underlings?</p> <p> Conservatives shouldn&rsquo;t start throwing stones: There are plenty of cads in every political party. Yet progressives really shouldn&rsquo;t be surprised that such behavior exists in liberal enclaves; in fact, there&rsquo;s reason to suspect there may be more mistreatment of women by the Left than the Right.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a phenomenon I call &ldquo;the Bill Clinton effect.&rdquo; President Clinton wasn&rsquo;t just another example of a prominent pol who habitually cheated on his wife with many women, including those on his staff. Clinton showcased how those who normally police behavior and work to penalize men for mistreating women will excuse men aligned with them politically.</p> <p> In other words, Clinton revealed that liberals can expect to get away with a lot more in terms of abusing women than conservatives.</p> <p> Young progressives may only know a whitewashed version of the Clinton scandals, in which rabid conservatives tried to make a mountain out of a consensual-affair molehill. Yet the undisputed facts of the Lewinsky affair reveal a clear and classic example of a powerful man abusing women under his power and creating a hostile work environment: Clinton was a powerful executive having sexual relations with a 22-year-old intern working in his office, whom he rewarded with a taxpayer-financed job and other special treatment.</p> <p> None of the interns working alongside Monica got cushy job offers post-internship. That alone is supposed to be a giant red flag for those concerned about equal treatment and a harassment-free workplace.</p> <p> But, of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg; Clinton was having his affair with Monica in the midst of an ongoing investigation into his alleged sexual harassment of a state employee (Paula Jones) during his time as Governor of Arkansas. Other women also came forward with allegations of harassment and even assault.</p> <p> Clinton lied about his affair with Lewinsky, at first suggesting she was delusional, both to the public and then when testifying under oath as a part of that sexual-harassment suit.</p> <p> Liberal women&rsquo;s groups are supposed to take accusations of sexual assault seriously &mdash; and to frown on men who smear women and undermine the legal process of harassment suits. Yet they largely gave President Clinton &mdash; a good Democrat who supported abortion rights and other feminist sacraments &mdash; a pass.</p> <p> Sure, some feminists murmured their disappointment with Clinton&rsquo;s behavior and mouthed platitudes about Paula Jones deserving her day in court. But their criticisms were perfunctory at best. Mostly, they stood by Clinton&rsquo;s side, defending him and remaining silent as he lied and slandered the women who accused him.</p> <p> Compare this to the treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas. Even if one assumes that every accusation made by Anita Hill is true, Thomas would at most be crass and a little boorish, but very minor-league in terms of sexual harassment compared to Clinton. Yet women&rsquo;s groups and the liberal media pounded Thomas, almost derailing his Supreme Court nomination, and to this day ensure that his name is synonymous with sexual harassment.</p> <p> Given these examples, it would make sense that liberals would feel freer to abuse women than their conservative counterparts. Conservatives have to assume that the press and the establishment women&rsquo;s movement will exact as mighty a punishment as possible for any misdeed, while liberals can expect far less blowback.</p> <p> Moreover, conservatives, who are consistently bashed as part of a &ldquo;war on women,&rdquo; are terrified of anything that might legitimize that charge. Thus they are motivated to deal harshly with fellow conservatives who threaten to further entrench that reputation with the public.</p> <p> In contrast, liberals enjoy a comfortable advantage with women and reputation for caring about women&rsquo;s issues, so are likely to be less vigilant about policing their own ranks.</p> <p> Given this history, it&rsquo;s no big surprise that, as the liberal site Vox.com put it, progressive have a sexual-harassment problem.</p> <p> This expos&eacute;, however, may hark the beginning of a turning point. After all, while it took a semen-stained dress for Monica to be believed by the liberal press, in today&rsquo;s age of omnipotent technology, women have a lot more hard evidence to use against men who harass them.</p> <p> They don&rsquo;t need to convince Newsweek to run a story, they can take their evidence to the public on their own. Men everywhere &mdash; even liberals &mdash; may find that the potential fallout isn&rsquo;t worth it, and behavior, finally, might really change.</p> <p> <em>From acculturated.com</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2798980/Carrie L. LukasMon, 4 Jan 2016 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum