Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS modern leave policy both employers, employees could love<p> Ivanka Trump is currently making the case for how tax reform can benefit families and women. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s an important point, and tax-reform certainly can help by letting people keep more of their hard-earned money and creating better job opportunities for all Americans. &nbsp;</p> <p> But policymakers should also consider other ways that they help families by modernizing our labor policies, such as by creating a system of Universal Leave Accounts (ULA). &nbsp;It&#39;s a simple idea: &nbsp;Just as people are encouraged to save for retirement and education expenses, they should be encouraged to save for time that they cannot work. &nbsp;Workers would put pre-tax earnings, up to a maximum, into their accounts, and then those funds could be used to &ldquo;pay&rdquo; for their leave time when it&#39;s needed.</p> <p> The government could match contributions to encourage participation and provide loans for those who require leave before they have accumulated sufficient funds on their own. &nbsp;Employers would likely contribute to these accounts just as they do with 401Ks. &nbsp;Charities could donate to workers&#39; ULAs, Employees could even charitably contribute to other workers accounts to help someone in dire need of paid of leave. Importantly, the ULA could allow &ldquo;gig&rdquo; employees to have paid leave time, even when they are not officially employees.</p> <p> This approach would avoid the biggest problem with traditional government mandates and benefit programs: their one-size-fits-all approach. For example, a typical government leave program will provide a specified number of weeks of paid leave at the time of a family medical emergency &mdash; take it or leave it.</p> <p> That approach may work for some. Others might want to work part time and spread the leave allowance over a year or more. Some may have the help of a parent when a baby is an infant, and need their paid leave when the child is 6 months or older. Or some work shifts, and be able to schedule work time for when their partner can be at home caring for the baby, but need a few hours of leave each day.</p> <p> Nobody &mdash; certainly no bureaucracy &mdash; can conjure up the infinite number of scenarios of how approximately 150 million working Americans might best use paid leave.</p> <p> With ULA, by contrast, the government would only specify under what conditions funds could be tapped. Employers along with their employees would confirm that a leave request complies with the law. &nbsp;The employer would be obligated to allow the leave. &nbsp;If there is fraud on either part, fines would be imposed.</p> <p> Universal Leave Accounts would also allow employees to use leave judiciously: &nbsp;Unlike many paid leave benefits that are &ldquo;use it or lose it&rdquo;, encouraging workers to needlessly take time off, the unused money in the accounts would be there for the future. &nbsp;If a worker retires with money remaining in his or her ULA, that could be used for retirement. &nbsp;This would encourage more workers to consider alternatives to taking time off. &nbsp;</p> <p> The point is that employees should be free to structure leave to suit themselves, while also considering the needs of their employers and coworkers. No government-run program could match the flexibility of a ULA. &nbsp;Our modern workforce needs modern laws and benefit systems that recognize that workers aren&rsquo;t drones, but unique individuals.</p> <p> <em>Frayda Levin is a former small business owner, Carrie Lukas is the president of </em><a href=""><em>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></a><em>, and Christina Sandefur is the executive vice president of the <a href="">Goldwater Institute</a>.</em></p> L. LukasMon, 16 Oct 2017 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill dispute with Senator Corker affect tax reform? • Coast To Coast L. LukasTue, 10 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWas Ivana Trump joking with "First Lady" comments? • Don Lemon Tonight L. LukasMon, 9 Oct 2017 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe double standard with Harvey Weinstein • Don Lemon Tonight L. LukasMon, 9 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservative women matter, too<p> The Women&rsquo;s March organizers are bringing their pink &ldquo;kitty&rdquo; hats <a href="">to Detroit</a> later this month to host a convention, the latest iteration of the popular marches <a href="">that took place </a>in Washington, D.C., and around the country in January.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s good news for Detroit, as women from all over will descend on the Motor City. About 2,400 have reportedly signed up so far, and the conference isn&rsquo;t cheap at nearly $300 a ticket.</p> <p> Seeing women come together and demonstrate their power is wonderful, but from the beginning the Women&rsquo;s March has been about one thing: Protesting President Donald Trump. And grief that Hillary Clinton didn&rsquo;t become the first woman in the Oval Office.</p> <p> Fine, except the group claims to be &ldquo;inclusive&rdquo; and for &ldquo;unity.&rdquo; When reading through the convention agenda and looking at confirmed speakers, however, it&rsquo;s clear organizers are shutting out a large swath of American women: conservatives.</p> <p> Ironically, it was women who helped push Trump into office. <a href="">Four in 10 </a>women voted for him, and <a href="">53 percent </a>of white women did.</p> <p> The convention is dubbed &ldquo;Reclaiming our time.&rdquo; Yet all this resistance comes at a time when women have a lot to celebrate.</p> <p> The list of women in power in and out of the Trump administration is impressive. Kellyanne Conway is counselor to the president; Betsy DeVos of Grand Rapids is Education Secretary; Hope Hicks is White House communications director; Sarah Huckabee Sanders is press secretary; Nikki Haley is ambassador to the United Nations; Ronna McDaniel, also from Michigan, is chairwoman of the Republican National Committee; and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen is on her way to sitting on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.</p> <p> But were any of these successful and influential women invited to speak in Detroit? No way. It&rsquo;s as if women on the left can&rsquo;t bring themselves to acknowledge their right-leaning counterparts. Black conservatives face similar shunning in their community.</p> <p> &ldquo;Liberals paint women into a corner as single issue voters and insist voting against the Democratic Party is going &lsquo;against their own voice,&rsquo; &rdquo; McDaniel said in a statement. &ldquo;The advancement of women is something I care passionately about. The sooner the liberal movement realizes that maybe they don&rsquo;t actually speak for all women and begin to listen to what the other side has to say, the sooner we can start working together to find real solutions that work for everyone.&rdquo;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, president of </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, which teaches women about personal liberty and free markets, isn&rsquo;t surprised to see the convention&rsquo;s agenda. She says many of the Women&rsquo;s March principles are less about promoting women and more about advancing a far-left agenda.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Conservative women or pro-life women are not welcome,&rdquo; Lukas says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> I asked Sumaiya Ahmed Sheikh, who is on the local host committee, whether any conservative or Republican women were invited to speak or be on a panel. She had to check and get back me.</p> <p> Her reply: &ldquo;We have speakers who align with the unity principles of the Women&rsquo;s March. Everyone is welcome.&rdquo;</p> <p> Those principles are: civil rights, reproductive justice, gender justice, anti-violence and immigrant rights.</p> <p> Christen Pollo, executive director of Students for Life of Michigan, was disappointed when it became clear how closed-minded the Women&rsquo;s March was to other views. Pro-life women were explicitly asked not to come to the D.C. march.</p> <p> &ldquo;We were really excited to be a part of it,&rdquo; says Pollo, who describes herself as a feminist. &ldquo;There are a lot of things we can unite on and have in common. But somehow we are less important than feminists who are pro-choice.&rdquo;</p> <p> And the convention is no different. Sponsors of the event include Planned Parenthood and Emily&rsquo;s List (a group that helps elect pro-choice Democratic women).</p> <p> Among the liberal celebrities and activists, the list of speakers highlights politicians U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters and Brenda Lawrence, state Rep. Stephanie Chang, Detroit councilwoman Raquel Casta&ntilde;eda Lopez, and former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib &mdash; all Democrats.</p> <p> &ldquo;This convention is welcome to anyone and everyone,&rdquo; says Ahmed Sheikh. &ldquo;We are engaging and empowering all women.&rdquo;</p> <p> Unless you&rsquo;re a conservative woman.</p> <p> Pollo says she&rsquo;s not planning to go to the convention, given the clear message that her views aren&rsquo;t accepted.</p> <p> &ldquo;They are alienating a lot of women,&rdquo; Pollo says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not too threatened, and it&rsquo;s only going to hurt them in the end.&rdquo;</p> L. LukasFri, 6 Oct 2017 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmerican women have minds of their own — and Michelle Obama isn't happy about it<p> Michelle Obama left the White House with a <a href="">favorability rating</a> of 68 percent, which was 10 points higher than her husband. &nbsp;Americans appreciated the first lady, who they saw as a good wife and mother, an advocate for worthy causes such as children&#39;s health and as a positive role model, particularly for girls and young women.</p> <p> Such a popular figure could do a tremendous amount of good today if she directed her attention to bringing people together by finding common ground and advancing important causes. &nbsp;That&#39;s why it&#39;s such a shame that she is instead pushing people farther apart and fomenting partisanship at its worst.</p> <p> In recent days, Obama <a href="">belittled</a> all women who failed to vote for <a href="">Hillary Clinton</a> during the last election, saying: &ldquo;Any woman who voted against <a href="">Hillary Clinton</a> voted against their own voice.&rdquo; She claimed that she wasn&#39;t concerned about how this affected Clinton, but what it meant for women themselves who &ldquo;like the thing (they&#39;re) told to like.&rdquo;</p> <p> What an amazingly paternalistic and insulting view of women. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Rather than recognizing that women, like men, consider a variety of factors when deciding whom to support for president &mdash; that some actually believe that government has grown so large as to make life harder for people to succeed and want policy reforms to limit government &mdash; Obama suggests that women who stray from the Democratic fold must be dupes. &nbsp;The implication is that the interests and solidarity of women as a sex should supersede all other considerations, allowing for no other diversity of thought.</p> <p> Obama doesn&#39;t seem to recognize that such a deterministic view of women is the antithesis of true respect for individuality and diversity. Accepting that men will choose candidates based on policy agendas, experience and character, while expecting women to vote simply for the candidate that shares their gender, is a rather sexist view of women. &nbsp;</p> <p> And American women know it. They recognize that the left&#39;s feminist movement isn&#39;t truly interested in hearing from them or listening to their concerns. Instead, they are in the business of advancing a specific political agenda, and don&#39;t want to acknowledge the existence of women who don&#39;t think like them. That&#39;s why the traditional feminist left has been struggling and is increasingly marginalized.</p> <p> Michelle Obama may dismiss women who failed to vote for Hillary as robots operating under the influence of men, but in fact the opposite is true. Overwhelming, women were told to like Hillary. The message from the media, from political leaders like President Obama, and dominate popular culture was that women had no choice but to vote for Hillary. Yet millions didn&#39;t. &nbsp;</p> <p> First, millions of women in the Democratic party rejected their feminist marching orders and calls for female solidarity to <a href="">support </a><a href="">Bernie Sanders</a> during the primary. And then <a href="">4-out-of-10 American women</a> choose to cast their vote for Trump, rather than Clinton, during the general election, in spite a hysterical media that insisted that he was entirely unacceptable.</p> <p> American voters, including women, rejected the group think that was forced upon them. In fact, distaste for the left&#39;s attempts to demonize those with alternative political preferences was a driver of support for Trump. Many Americans are simply tired of having liberal politicians, along with academia and the mainstream media, declare that their beliefs are out-of-bounds. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> They saw attempts to paint all conservative reforms as a &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; for what it was: politics at its worst. They recognize that it&#39;s an attempt to intimidate the other side to stop engaging in debate by threatening to publicly portray them as sexists or worst. President Trump won supporters simply by calling out this tactic, and refusing to be cowed.</p> <p> American women have no obligation to support female candidates or the Democratic Party. Their support has to be earned, just like candidates must earn the votes of men. Michelle Obama and her party allies would be wise to stop pigeonholing women and appreciate women&#39;s true diversity of thoughts and interests before the next election.</p> L. LukasThu, 5 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOur Colleges Have A Problem With Definitions For Rape, Sexual Assault<p> A recent report on crime at institutions of higher learning is leading to some controversy in the educational community. In accordance with <a href="">the Clery Act</a>, public colleges and universities must report all incidents of crime on campus, with a particular focus in this case on incidents of rape and sexual assault. Schools have turned in numbers which range from the expected rates for the general population to unbelievable extremes in both directions. (Some schools reports dozens of rapes in a single year, vastly above the national average by population size, while others report zero incidents of sexual assault of any sort. Both are equally difficult to believe.)</p> <p> <a href=";utm_campaign=0f4e28c8b1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_04&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-0f4e28c8b1-46167297">Rachel Frommer at the Free Beacon</a> examines some of the inconsistencies and finds that at least some schools have more of a &ldquo;definitional problem&rdquo; than a crime problem.</p> <p> A &ldquo;definitional problem&rdquo; in universities&rsquo; descriptions of sexual violence makes it difficult to know what can be learned from the newly released data on crime at institutions of higher learning, the president of a conservative women&rsquo;s organization told the Washington Free Beacon.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;When one person or school says &lsquo;rape&rsquo; or &lsquo;sexual assault,&rsquo; it may be referring to something different than when someone else says it, so we aren&rsquo;t comparing apples to apples,&rdquo; said Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, about the annual security reports universities release yearly on Oct. 1, as federally mandated under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Statistics Act.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The Clery Act, as the policy is known, was named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student at Lehigh University in 1986. It requires that colleges document crimes that occur on campus, outline the safety policies in place, and compile the information in annual reports containing three years&rsquo; worth of data.</p> <p> Along with the persistent problem of schools attempting to operate their own Kangaroo courts to handle sexual assault cases, misleading or confusing definitions of crimes are yet another area where we can muddy the waters, making it harder to deal with serious problems of actual crime. Breaking this down into two categories, most of the schools (though sadly not all) seem to have a fairly good handle on the definition of rape. As Frommer points out, the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics <a href="">definition</a> seems to be the standard.</p> <p> &ldquo;The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.&rdquo;</p> <p> Seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, it probably <em>would be</em> if they hadn&rsquo;t included the word &ldquo;consent.&rdquo; When placed in the hands of some of these school boards, consent can mean anything from the normal, sane definition of indicating willingness in a sufficiently sober state to a requirement for three copies of a form drawn up by the dating partners&rsquo; respective lawyers, reviewed by a state approved panel and signed by a Justice of the Peace in the blood of a goat before the first button on somebody&rsquo;s sweater is undone. Add to that the question of whether or not a young lady who has had a single, 8 ounce glass of beer can give consent more legitimately than someone who is literally unconscious after imbibing half a bottle of tequila and some roofies and you&rsquo;ve got a recipe for confusion.</p> <p> Far more common than questions over the definition of rape seems to be the concept of sexual assault. One might imagine that anything involving the word &ldquo;assault&rdquo; would involve some form of physical contact, right? And specific &ldquo;sexual assault&rdquo; would imply something more intimate than a punch in the face. But not necessarily. These days we have &ldquo;woke&rdquo; social justice groups <a href="">claiming</a> that whistling at a woman as she walks down the street is sexual assault. Talk about muddying the waters of the legal system! That&rsquo;s boorish and rude behavior to be sure. Possibly even sexual harassment. But <em>assault</em>?</p> <p> And yet, left in the hands of unqualified college &ldquo;disciplinary panels&rdquo; that sort of behavior could result in an unofficial conviction on sexual assault charges which will follow the accused for the rest of his life. All of these factors represent one more reason why colleges and universities need to limit their &ldquo;law enforcement&rdquo; action in the case of all crimes to immediately notifying the police and fully cooperating with them in a proper investigation. As long as the standard is anything less than that, students will not be safe and equal protection under the law will not be achieved.</p> L. LukasWed, 4 Oct 2017 10:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUniversities Have ‘Definitional Problem’ When It Comes to Sexual Violence<p> A &quot;definitional problem&quot; in universities&#39; descriptions of sexual violence makes it difficult to know what can be learned from the newly released data on crime at institutions of higher learning, the president of a conservative women&#39;s organization told the <em>Washington Free Beacon</em>.</p> <p> &quot;When one person or school says &lsquo;rape&#39; or &lsquo;sexual assault,&#39; it may be referring to something different than when someone else says it, so we aren&#39;t comparing apples to apples,&quot; said Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, about the annual security reports universities release yearly on Oct. 1, as federally mandated under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Statistics Act.</p> <p> The Clery Act, as the policy is known, was named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student at Lehigh University in 1986. It requires that colleges document crimes that occur on campus, outline the safety policies in place, and compile the information in annual reports containing three years&#39; worth of data.</p> <p> Most university reports reviewed by the <em>Free Beacon</em> adhere to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics&#39; <a href="">definition</a> of rape, or &quot;the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.&quot; However, there are instances of administrations making revisions.</p> <p> According to Lukas, these divergences and the subjectivity of the term &quot;consent&quot; can be misleading to the public.</p> <p> &quot;For example, to some people consent is impossible when intoxicated, but not everyone,&quot; said Lukas. &quot;This graying of definitions drives the numbers, and that&#39;s how we get statistics like &lsquo;one in five.&#39;&quot;</p> <p> Lukas was referring to the widely disputed claim that one in five women will be sexually assaulted on a U.S. college campus. She noted that when she and others question that assertion, they are often <a href="">accused of not taking sexual violence against women seriously</a>.</p> <p> &quot;The opposite is true,&quot; said Lukas. &quot;We are demanding that a serious problem be treated seriously, and that starts with defining the problem correctly.&quot;</p> <p> A review of the security reports of 30 universities revealed a spread of zero to well over two dozen incidences of rape on a given campus in 2016. A snapshot of the country&#39;s top schools show Princeton University reporting 13 rapes, Harvard 27, and Yale 24. Colleges also accounted for incidents that were classified as &quot;unfounded&quot; following investigation, meaning accusations deemed baseless or false.</p> <p> Lukas said that just as extremely high frequencies of rape should give the public pause, schools claiming to have zero offenses are &quot;likely under-reporting,&quot; possibly because students are uncomfortable coming forward.</p> <p> This year, 10 universities have been <a href="">fined for violations</a> of the Clery Act, including for under-reporting.</p> <p> To Lukas, the statistics are interesting, but more important is meaningful action.</p> <p> &quot;We have to prioritize what is preventable and punishable. That means having an actual justice system responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases, and teaching young men and women to take more responsibility and take action that helps avoid bad outcomes,&quot; she explained.</p> <p> Lukas added that sexual violence reform advocates who call preventative education &quot;victim shaming&quot; or &quot;victim blaming&quot; aren&#39;t &quot;doing our young women any favors.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;We teach our kids to take precautions in all of their other activities. If you&#39;re walking in a neighborhood with a high crime rate, you are told to be alert and vigilant. Why on this issue aren&#39;t we allowed to discuss those measures?&quot; said Lukas.</p> <p> With Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rolling out <a href="">reforms of the Title IX policies</a> that guide the approach of administrations to campus sexual violence, Lukas said the country may be poised to excise the ambiguities from an issue that demands rigor and focus.</p> L. LukasWed, 4 Oct 2017 06:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Real Message Behind the Statue of a Naked Woman on the National Mall<p> Washington D.C., a city that welcomes close to <a href="">twenty million tourists</a> each year, may get a new one: A forty-five-foot statue of a naked woman may be coming from San Francisco to spend several months on the National Mall.</p> <p> The artist, Marco Cochrane, described <a href="">his intentions</a> in creating this work as follows: &ldquo;These sculptures are about expressing what it would be like if women were safe&hellip; To me this sculpture answers that question&hellip; She&rsquo;s absolutely fearless and accepting and being able to do that is a really powerful thing.&rdquo;</p> <p> Pictures suggest that he succeeded in presenting a powerful and beautiful image of the female form. Although the statue is super-sized, the nude has no hint of sexualization that would make its placement seem inappropriate in public. And Washington D.C. would hardly be the first major city to prominently feature naked statues, consider <a href="">Oslo, Norway&rsquo;s Vigeland Sculpture Park</a>, Brussels&rsquo; <a href="">Manneken Pis</a>, and just about everywhere in <a href="">Italy</a>.</p> <p> Yet there&rsquo;s still little reason to get excited about this art exhibit making its way to Washington. As with just about everything in America today, there appears to be a less-than-subtle political message that will roll into town along with the statue, which will sit near the Washington Monument and directly face the White House: That this woman is staring down an enemy in President Trump and that his Administration stands opposed to women&rsquo;s progress. In fact, those supporting bringing the statue to the nation&rsquo;s capital note that, during the statue&rsquo;s proposed time on the National Mall, there will be celebrations of the first anniversary of the so-called &ldquo;Women&rsquo;s March&rdquo; and events raising awareness of the unpassed Equal Rights Amendment.</p> <p> Rather than bringing Americans together to celebrate women&rsquo;s progress and to call for unity around the idea of women as full and equal partners in society, the statue will be another vehicle for dividing Americans with the suggestion that supporting Donald Trump&mdash;or, more accurately, failing to condemn Trump and any politician who doesn&rsquo;t follow the Democratic party line&mdash;is incompatible with supporting women as equal citizens.</p> <p> This mentality is more than just a missed opportunity; it undermines real progress for women. The feminist movement increasingly is more than political; it&rsquo;s explicitly partisan. Rather than representing clear principles, it uses a sliding scale for judging members of one party and another for its own. That&rsquo;s how they end up with a march and movement that claims to represent all women, but that <a href="">prevented any pro-life group</a> from participating while allowing a woman who <a href="">explicitly defends</a> sharia law&mdash;a system that truly treats women as second-class citizens and denies them basic rights&mdash;to serve as one of the event&rsquo;s spokeswomen. Trump&rsquo;s inappropriate comments about women are consistently treated as evidence of evil intent to roll back progress for women, but liberals are given a pass to <a href="">demean women</a> <a href="">with impunity</a>.</p> <p> This partisanship weakens what ought to be a powerful movement that could make a difference in advancing women&rsquo;s interests worldwide. Good people can disagree about how extensive the government&rsquo;s role ought to be in the economy and in providing a safety net. That&rsquo;s something that feminists on the right and left should vigorously debate. But we ought to be able to speak with one voice on the idea that women everywhere deserve basic human rights, including the right to vote, work, own property, drive, and decide whether or whom to marry. In too many places, women are still truly not equal and lack these most basic protections. They need our support.</p> <p> Thankfully, America isn&rsquo;t one of those places. Of course, we ought to strive to continue to make our country a more equal society in which all people are treated with respect. Sexism and violence against women will always need to be fought here at home. Yet the feminist movement and too much of the dominant popular culture seem to want to position American conservatism&mdash;and particularly President Trump&mdash;as women&rsquo;s greatest enemy and obstacle. That&rsquo;s disrespectful not just to the millions of women and men who support this political philosophy based on the conviction that a less intrusive government is the best way to improve people&rsquo;s lives, but also to women internationally who are truly oppressed.</p> <p> Unfortunately, it&rsquo;s not women&rsquo;s empowerment, but this hypocrisy&mdash;this misuse of the women&rsquo;s cause as a partisan tool meant to advance the left&rsquo;s political agenda&mdash;that the giant, forty-five-foot statue will bring to mind when it takes its place on the National Mall.</p> L. LukasTue, 3 Oct 2017 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Government Shouldn’t Collect Private Financial Information from America’s Poor<p> One area of agreement, in principle at least, between the Left and the Right is that it&rsquo;s a problem when the government collects too much data from citizens and invades Americans&rsquo; privacy.&nbsp;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why new rules that mean that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will begin collecting huge volumes of personal financial information should concern everyone.&nbsp;</p> <p> The CFPB, which was created under Dodd-Frank supposedly to protect consumers and prevent the next big financial crisis, is now being used to try to discourage payday lending, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.&nbsp; The rule will require customers applying for a small-dollar loan &ndash; the average of which is $350 &mdash; to submit extensive personal financial information in support of their applications. In addition to determining a customer&rsquo;s ability to repay the loan, the lenders will be required to share this information with each credit reporting agency (CRA) registered with the Bureau.</p> <p> This a big barrier for borrowers who&nbsp;depend on these loans as a lifeline.&nbsp; And, yes, these loans have high interest rates so come at a big cost to borrowers, but they are also often the best option for&nbsp;people facing a financial crisis.&nbsp; Effectively eliminating these borrowing options won&rsquo;t mean that people in need won&rsquo;t take out loans, but they will find other worse ways to fill their needs. &nbsp;.&nbsp; . . or fall further into debt and crisis.</p> <p> And just as importantly, this new requirement will mean the government has a huge database of financial information on this class of borrowers &ndash; who are disproportionately minority and lower-income.&nbsp; With this data all in one place, it will be vulnerable to a potential hack.</p> <p> And hacks happen.&nbsp; In July, Equifax, a leading credit-reporting agency that collects personal financial information on most Americans, admitted it was hacked, meaning that the sensitive personal data, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers, of more than 140 million people was put at risk.&nbsp; And just this week the SEC reported a hack.&nbsp; Now government will have a new pool of data for hackers to try to infiltrate.</p> <p> The Competitive Enterprise Institute just today released a paper outlining many reasons why the CFPB needs fundamental reform.&nbsp; Congress should take this seriously, and not allow this deeply flawed entity to increase its power and collect even more private data from vulnerable communities of Americans.</p> L. LukasThu, 21 Sep 2017 06:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFacebook's top woman says men ruining the world<p> <strong>Comments from a female executive at Facebook did not go over well with a conservative women&#39;s group.</strong></p> <p> Speaking this week at the University of the Pacific, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg called for better public and private policies to benefit working moms and dads.</p> <p> &quot;The truth is,&quot; she said at one point, &quot;men still run the world and I&#39;m not sure it&#39;s going that well.&quot;</p> <p> Sandberg is the author of &quot;Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.&quot;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, president of the </span></span><a href=""><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;">, says she appreciates that Sandberg is taking about ways to support working parents.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;But it bothers me,&quot; says Lukas, &quot;that she seems to be continually trying to pit men and women against each other and kind of blame men for the world&#39;s ills.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">One issue raised by Sandberg is equal pay.&nbsp;Sandberg says women earn about 79 cents to every dollar their male counterparts make.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;It bothers me that she&#39;s parroting statistics that she has to know are misleading,&quot; responds Lukas. &quot;Women aren&#39;t making 80 cents on the dollar for doing the same work.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">According to Lukas, that statistic doesn&#39;t take into account the different occupations that men and women choose and the number of hours they put in.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">If women want to get ahead and want to earn more, telling them they are earning 80 cents on the dollar for the same work is misleading and not empowering or encouraging.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;That&#39;s what I find frustrating,&quot; she says.&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></p> L. LukasMon, 18 Sep 2017 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGovernment rules can make workplaces less accommodating to women<p> The Sept. 10 editorial &ldquo;<a href="">Casting light on the &lsquo;wage gap&rsquo;</a>&thinsp;&rdquo; explained that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reviewing an Obama-era rule to require companies with more than 100 employees to provide the government with additional data related to employees&rsquo; earnings, sex, race and other factors. The editorial described the need to balance added costs for businesses against the benefits of additional transparency, which would discourage discrimination and help close the gap between women&rsquo;s and men&rsquo;s earnings.</p> <p> The editorial overlooked that additional reporting requirements can discourage companies from offering women (and men) nontraditional work opportunities and providing flexibility for employees.</p> <p> Research <a href="">shows</a> that female workers value flexible work arrangements and are sometimes willing to trade some income for other accommodations. Under the new rule, a company would be less likely to consider the request of an employee who wanted to leave the office every day at 4 p.m. in exchange for a reduction in pay. Businesses would be concerned about how such decisions would show up in the statistics as government officials searched for evidence of discrimination.</p> <p> Government forms cannot capture the many factors that employers and employees consider when making decisions about work and compensation. Even well-intentioned regulations can backfire in making workplaces less flexible and less accommodating to women.</p> <p> <strong>Carrie Lukas, Great Falls</strong></p> <p> The writer is president</p> <p> of Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</p> L. LukasFri, 15 Sep 2017 06:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow a new Washington, D.C. regulation is pushing women to lean out<p> It&#39;s back to school time &mdash; and not just for kids. Thanks to a new regulation from Washington D.C.&#39;s government requiring that, by 2020, all childcare workers must have at least an associate&#39;s degree and center directors must have bachelor&#39;s degrees,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">about half</a>&nbsp;of the city&#39;s childcare workers must soon head back to school or lose their jobs.</p> <p> Getting these credentials won&#39;t be easy for these workers. Two years of tuition to obtain an associate&#39;s degree at a public schools costs about $<a href="" target="_blank">7,000</a>; a four-year bachelor&#39;s degree,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">$40,000</a>. City officials are promising to help workers shoulder these costs, but undoubtedly this will still be a big barrier to entering a profession that promises modest pay at best. The&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>&nbsp;estimates that childcare workers in Washington earn an average of about $26,900 per year. That will make it difficult to shoulder any tuition costs, let alone also pay for the supplies and transportation, and find the time to attend classes and complete school work.</p> <p> Note that childcare workers are overwhelmingly female (women account for&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">96 percent</a>of childcare workers nationwide), and disproportionately Hispanic (20 percent) and African American (14 percent). These are populations that policymakers are supposed to support and help facilitate work; not make it harder for them to get and keep jobs.</p> <p> Presumably, the regulations&#39; advocates hope that the childcare workers will be able to demand higher wages once they have better credentials, but Washington already has some of the nation&#39;s highest childcare costs: In 2015, full-time care for an infant at a daycare center exceeded&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">$22,000</a>&nbsp;a year. If it were a state, Washington would be one of the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">33 states</a>&nbsp;where average childcare costs are more than in-state college tuition. How much more can working parents afford to pay before working outside the home no longer makes sense?</p> <p> The average Washington household earns more than&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">$84,000</a>&nbsp;&mdash; that&#39;s the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. But a $20,000 childcare bill still eats up more than a quarter of wages, before paying taxes. Many two-earner couples face a situation in which the majority of the secondary earners&#39; income pays for childcare, encouraging more parents, particularly more women, to cut back or stay home. Single parents face a similar, only more difficult, dilemma.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Scholars</a>&nbsp;have found that a 1 percent increase in the price of childcare leads to a drop in single mothers&#39; employment of between 0.3 and 1.1 percent. Discouraging these women from working, and presumably relying instead on public assistance, has a lasting impact on their families&#39; prospects.</p> <p> Of course, there are many very worthy reasons why a parent might opt out of the workforce to care for children. But needlessly exorbitant childcare costs shouldn&#39;t be what drives that decision. Public officials shouldn&#39;t be promulgating regulations that effectively encourage women to lean out.</p> <p> Even more depressingly, Washington&#39;s new regulation is even unlikely to result in higher quality care for children. Parents know that having a college education isn&#39;t what&#39;s most important in a caregiver. They want their children cared for by people who are patient, kind, and engaging. Studies such as this&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Mercatus Center paper</a>&nbsp;found that regulations intended to enhance daycare quality tend to fail, as they encourage daycare centers to focus on the wrong criteria and only succeed in driving up the price.</p> <p> As Preston Cooper, education analyst for the American Enterprise Institute,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">put it</a>, the only winners from this regulation are the &quot;thousands of colleges that get to charge childcare workers thousands of dollars to churn out those credentials.&quot; The biggest losers are daycare workers, working parents, and children.</p> <p> This is public policy at its worst. City officials would do far better to help families by joining the movement to roll back counterproductive rules that do far more harm than good.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas (<a href="" target="_blank">@carrielukas</a>) is president of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> L. LukasFri, 8 Sep 2017 15:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew York Times Opinion Writer Slams Ivanka for Supporting the Rollback of a Useless EEOC Rule<p> In this New York Times screed against Ivanka Trump, Lindy West blames her for not stopping everything the President has done that West opposes&mdash;which, of course, is just about everything.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet a big part of her fury focuses on Ivanka&rsquo;s support of a move from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to rescind a pending regulation that would have required larger companies to report additional data related to their compensation practices.&nbsp; The Obama Administration had claimed these new reporting requirements would discourage discriminatory practices and reduce the wage gap.&nbsp;</p> <p> Ms. Trump explained in a statement why she supported the Administration&rsquo;s decision:&nbsp; &ldquo;Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results.&rdquo;&nbsp; West isn&rsquo;t buying it and questions Ivanka&rsquo;s commitment to helping women, in a most demeaning manner, writing:&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ivanka Trump&hellip; is more a logo than a person, a scarecrow stuffed with branding, an heiress-turned-model-turned-multimillionaire&rsquo;s-wife playacting as an authority on the challenges facing working women so that she can sell more pastel sheath dresses.&nbsp;</p> <p> West not only seems inappropriately vicious toward the first daughter, but she doesn&rsquo;t bother to address the entirely legitimate reasons for why the EEOC rule was pulled.&nbsp; These onerous new paperwork requirements would not only have been costly to businesses, but they could actually backfire on women and result in less workplace flexibility.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s how the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum explained our concerns with the proposed rule in a letter to the EEOC:&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;the EEO-1 report overlooks that general job flexibility (e.g., telework, predictable scheduling) is something highly valued by women. Many women, particularly those with children, are often willing to trade additional salary for a more customized work environment that suits their individual and family needs&hellip;. Employers will be less likely to accommodate requests for flexible or alternative work schedules or positions if they are concerned that government officials will be examining these data points and statistics without this important context, and passing judgment on their compensation practices.</p> <p> West makes fun of Ivanka for being out of touch, but it&rsquo;s West and too many other cheerleaders for regulations who seem unfamiliar with how managers and human resources departments actually operate, and how these requirements will work in practice.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasFri, 8 Sep 2017 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Signs Coalition Letter on Reciprocal Switching<div> <p> WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Independent Women&#39;s Forum today joined the Competitive Enterprise Institute and 24 other policy leaders and advocacy groups from across the country in sending a letter to&nbsp;Chairman Thune, Chairman Fischer, Ranking Member Nelson, and Ranking Member Booker, urging the Committee and Subcommittee to put the re-regulation on freight railroads to bed by empowering two new board STB board members.&nbsp;</p> <p> Additional groups that signed the coalition letter include American Commitment, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Small Business &amp; Entrepreneurship Council.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><a href="">VIEW PDF OF LETTER</a></strong></span></p> <p> ****<br /> <br /> Dear Chairman Thune, Chair Fischer, and Ranking Members Nelson and Booker:</p> <p> As you return to work following the August recess, we write today on the forthcoming process to appoint and confirm two new members of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Most notably, we believe that you should vet nominees to ensure they have a sound understanding of the economic principles surrounding the freight railroad sector and who will reject misguided efforts to re-regulate our nation&rsquo;s freight rail industry.</p> <p> As evidenced by the signers of this letter, the issue is not ideological&mdash;it is just common sense. But given the importance of the railroad industry to the national economy, it is nonetheless imperative to install Board members who will carry out their congressional charter, not embark on wholesale policy changes supported only by those seeking backdoor price controls&mdash;the same sort of over-regulation and government meddling that nearly drove the industry to ruin four decades ago.</p> <p> As you know, partial freight rail economic deregulation, which culminated in the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, represents one of the most significant economic policy successes in the history of the United States. These reforms for pricing and routing independence must be preserved, not reversed.</p> <p> Since 1980, the industry has invested more than half a trillion dollars of its own funds into its networks, with annual investment averaging more than $26 billion over the last few years. According to Towson University&rsquo;s Regional Economic Studies Institute, major U.S. railroads in 2014 alone supported approximately 1.5 million jobs, $274 billion in annual economic activity, nearly $90 billion in wages, and $33 billion in tax revenues. Moreover, average inflation-adjusted freight rates are down more than 40 percent since 1980.</p> <p> Unfortunately, some powerful industrial shipping interests have succeeded in opening a proceeding before the STB framed in the language of promoting &ldquo;competition.&rdquo; The proposed rule regarding revised reciprocal switching rules that was opened by the STB would reverse three decades of precedent. The STB shockingly argues that its inability&mdash;and the inability of the Interstate Commerce Commission before it&mdash;to uncover any evidence of anticompetitive conduct on the part of the railroad industry justifies its call for eliminating the post-deregulation requirement that anticompetitive conduct be found before mandatory reciprocal switching could be imposed. The STB is in essence proposing to convict freight railroads for crimes the STB itself concedes they did not commit.</p> <p> Many industry observers have expressed concern that imposing forced reciprocal switching and reducing rate flexibility will come at the expense of network investment. This unprecedented action threatens railroads, shippers, and consumers with degraded service quality and higher prices on goods, which would naturally follow the resulting reduction in operational efficiencies and private railroad investment.</p> <p> Over the last 20 years, Congress has repeatedly rejected railroad re-regulation, regardless of political control. On numerous occasions, it has explicitly rejected attempts to eliminate the anticompetitive conduct requirement, recognizing that reducing private railroad investment is not in the public interest. We strongly urge the Committee and Subcommittee to put the re-regulation of freight railroads to bed for the foreseeable future by empowering new Board members who understand this basic economic reality.</p> <p> Sincerely,</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div> <p> Marc Scribner, Senior Fellow<br /> Competitive Enterprise Institute</p> <p> James L. Martin, Founder &amp; Chairman<br /> 60 Plus Association</p> <p> Phil Kerpen, President<br /> American Commitment</p> <p> Steve Pociask, President<br /> American Consumer Institute</p> <p> Lisa B. Nelson, CEO<br /> American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)</p> <p> Ashley N. Varner, Executive Director<br /> ALEC Action</p> <p> Steve Forbes<br /> Americans for Hope, Growth &amp; Opportunity</p> <p> Norman Singleton, President<br /> Campaign for Liberty</p> <p> Andrew F. Quinlan, President<br /> Center for Freedom and Prosperity</p> <p> Timothy Lee, Senior Vice President for Legal &amp; Public Affairs<br /> Center for Individual Freedom</p> <p> Tom Schatz, President<br /> Citizens Against Government Waste</p> <p> Matthew Kandrach, President<br /> Consumer Action for a Strong Economy</p> <p> Hycall Brooks, President<br /> FaithWorks</p> <p> Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs<br /> Freedomworks</p> <p> Carrie L. Lukas, President Independent Women&#39;s Forum</p> <p> Heather R. Higgins, President &amp; CEO<br /> Independent Women&#39;s Voice</p> <p> Andrew Langer, President<br /> Institute for Liberty</p> <p> Seton Motley, President<br /> Less Government</p> <p> Harry C. Alford, President/CEO<br /> National Black Chamber of Commerce</p> <p> Pete Sepp, President<br /> National Taxpayers Union</p> <p> Brady J. Buckner, Director Partnership for Innovation &amp; Empowerment</p> <p> Ian Adams, Associate Vice President of State Affairs<br /> R Street Institute</p> <p> Karen Kerrigan, President &amp; CEO<br /> Small Business &amp; Entrepreneurship Council</p> <p> David Williams, President<br /> Taxpayers Protection Alliance</p> <p> Judson Phillips, Founder<br /> Tea Party Nation</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasThu, 7 Sep 2017 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum