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 Face Uphill Battle Achieving Equal Pay<p> Democrats have catapulted equal pay close to the top of their election-year agenda, but efforts to address the gender wage gap face an uphill battle at both&nbsp;the state and federal levels.</p> <p> On the campaign trail, <a href="">Hillary Clinton has made the issue a major selling point of her economic vision</a>, vowing to close the wage gap by fighting for pay transparency and calling on Congress to pass key legislation she&nbsp;first introduced when she served in the Senate.</p> <p> &ldquo;Guaranteeing equal pay won&rsquo;t just increase paychecks for women &ndash; it will boost family budgets and get incomes rising across the board. I don&rsquo;t understand why Trump&rsquo;s against that,&rdquo; the Democratic presidential nominee said in a speech on the economy in Michigan earlier this month.</p> <p> Donald Trump, on the other hand, <a href="">has not been consistent on the issue</a>. Last August, he told MSNBC that men and women deserve the same pay if they&rsquo;re doing the same job: &ldquo;If they do the same job, they should get the same pay.&rdquo;</p> <p> A few months later, at an event hosted by No Labels in New Hampshire, Trump appeared to shift on the issue. A voter asked him if a woman would make the same salary as a man if he&rsquo;s elected president.</p> <p> &ldquo;You make the same if you do as good a job,&rdquo; Trump replied.</p> <p> Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, men and women in the same workplace are supposed to receive equal pay for equal work,&nbsp;<a href="">a wage disparity still exists</a>, several studies show. The Labor Department estimates that a woman working a full-time job, year-round in 2014 made only 79 cents for every dollar that a man earned working the same amount of time, according to&nbsp;data compiled by the Census Bureau,</p> <p> For the last decade, Democrats on Capitol Hill have pushed for a legislative fix to close that gap, but they&rsquo;ve been largely unsuccessful. Since Clinton first introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate in the mid-2000s, they&rsquo;ve lobbied for consideration of the bill, which would update the 1963 law. It would require employers to show that wage differentials are not based on gender, it would prohibit employers from punishing employees who ask about wage practices or those who make their salaries public and it would require that wage comparisons be made across geographical areas to determine what would be fair pay, among other things.</p> <p> Senate Republicans <a href="">blocked the measure in 2012</a> and twice in 2014 and there hasn&rsquo;t been a major vote on it since. Before one of the votes two years ago, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, argued that it would &ldquo;double-down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers.&rdquo;</p> <p> With little movement on equal pay in Congress, states are tackling the issue themselves.</p> <p> In 2016, 25 states considered equal-pay related measures and only four of them enacted measures into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seventeen of the 25 states rejected the proposed measures while others sat in legislative limbo. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an equal pay law in May that would have prohibited an employer from paying one sex less than the other for &ldquo;substantially similar&rdquo; work. According to, Christie said the bill oversimplified wage comparisons because it didn&rsquo;t take differences in employees&rsquo; work and conditions into account.</p> <p> Experts who track the gender wage gap say there are many different factors that contribute to the gender wage gap and it isn&rsquo;t so simple.</p> <p> &ldquo;There are a hundred different things that we can claim are the cause of women&rsquo;s lower average earnings, relative to men, of equal, observable ability, education, skill,&rdquo; said Claudia Goldin, an economics professor at Harvard University. &ldquo;For each one of these, we play the game of whack-a-mole and say, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to fix this one and fix this one,&rsquo; where the problem is something completely different.&rdquo;</p> <p> Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president for Workplace Justice, told CBS News that women being paid less than men is one piece of the puzzle, but then there&rsquo;s also the fact that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in higher-wage jobs. She said there are also women who face unfair financial situations later on in life because their care-giving obligations like caring for children might force them to leave the workforce for an extended period.</p> <p> Despite the lack of progress to solve the issue at the state and federal levels, Martin said having even a few states pass equal pay laws is &ldquo;pretty substantial.&rdquo;</p> <p> Maryland&rsquo;s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed a sweeping equal pay law in May that aims to strengthen protections against discrimination in the workplace, prohibits employers from restricting employment opportunities based on gender identity or sex and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who publicly discuss their salaries.</p> <p> Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker also signed a major equal pay law in early August and one of its components is the first of its kind in the country: the new law will prohibit employers from requesting the salary history of a prospective employee during a job interview. The passage of the law came after a two-year lobbying campaign by a coalition of groups, which even included the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.</p> <p> Terry O&rsquo;Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, explained that banning employers from demanding salary history is a big deal because women can receive an unfair offer for a new job as a result of&nbsp;a&nbsp;lower&nbsp;salary history, perpetuating the gender pay gap.</p> <p> &ldquo;It makes her first experience with being underpaid get kind of baked into the cake of her entire career,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Neill told CBS.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, managing director of the conservative Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, however, said she&rsquo;s concerned that an outright prohibition could wind up hurting prospective employees.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m concerned about it,&rdquo; she told CBS. &ldquo;I think telling employers they can&rsquo;t ask that question, it&rsquo;ll put some people at a disadvantage. Being willing to work for less is a selling point for some candidates and instead of having that option and [allowing an employee to say], &lsquo;Let me get my foot in the door and get started at less than the other guy,&rsquo; [the employer is] going to say, &lsquo;Okay, I&rsquo;m going to take the guy with the most years of experience.&rsquo;&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">She added, &ldquo;Creating all of these regulations and preventing people from seeking information isn&rsquo;t going to stop bad behavior necessarily.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> California, which <a href="">enacted a major equal pay law</a> last year, is considering a bill now that would make employers meet a fairly high bar if they need to ask for salary history information. It says that an employee&rsquo;s &ldquo;prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation&rdquo; unless there&rsquo;s a bona fide factor and it would make it easier for employees to sue if they find out employers only used salary history if a pay differential existed with a male co-worker working the same job.</p> <p> According to the American Association of University Women, 48 states and Washington D.C. have an equal pay law or an employment discrimination law in place -- though their protections vary greatly. Alabama and Mississippi, meanwhile, have neither type of law on their books.</p> <p> If change on equal pay continues at the same pace, the Institute for Women&rsquo;s Policy Research predicts it could take more than four decades -- until 2059 -- before women and men are paid equally.</p> <p> Martin says that although no one can &ldquo;wave a magic wand&rdquo; with equal pay, she&rsquo;s hopeful that the latest bit of momentum could speed up that outcome.</p> <p> &ldquo;While I don&rsquo;t think we will get to eliminating the pay gap next year, I think it&rsquo;s a multi-year process,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s increased political will to shorten that timeline by a lot.&rdquo;</p> L. LukasMon, 29 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAffordable day care gaining bipartisan traction despite ‘terrible’ effect on children<p> The notion that the government should make day care more affordable has gained bipartisan traction in this election cycle, but studies suggest that extensive use of commercial day care facilities &mdash; especially for children younger than 3 &mdash; can do more harm than good in the long term.</p> <p> What&rsquo;s more, surveys indicate that most Americans are skeptical about outsourcing care for their children.</p> <p> &ldquo;Parents kind of instinctively know that especially little kids need time and attention,&rdquo; said former domestic policy analyst <a href="">Carrie Lukas</a>, managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</p> <p> With both of the major parties&rsquo; presidential nominees promising to help working families, affordable commercial child care has become an issue to attract voters.</p> <p> Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has said she would cap day care expenses at 10 percent of a family&rsquo;s income and increase wages for industry workers to prevent high turnover rates. Republican nominee Donald Trump has introduced a plan to make child care expenses tax-deductible, and his aides have expressed interest in extending tax benefits to stay-at-home parents.</p> <p> But researchers in child development and public policy question the wisdom of making commercial day care more affordable.</p> <p> &ldquo;I think it would be terrible for our kids,&rdquo; said <a href="">Steven Rhoads</a>, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. &ldquo;Studies indicate that there are real risk factors &mdash; anxiety, aggression, even when they get older, criminal behavior. It&rsquo;s not a close call in most of these studies.&rdquo;</p> <p> <a href="">Mr. Rhoads</a> is the author of &ldquo;Taking Sex Differences Seriously,&rdquo; which examines the policy implications of biological differences between the sexes.</p> <p> He recommends policies that allow families with children to keep more of what they earn. &ldquo;It would be better to find ways to support families with young children more generally,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> <a href="">Ms. Lukas</a> said any child care plan should allow parents to make whatever decision is right for them.</p> <p> &ldquo;We all want to make life easier on working parents, but I worry when you start just subsidizing child care,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not really fair to families that are making different choices when it comes to child care, whether that&rsquo;s working parents who try to work different hours so they can be home with kids or who make a real financial sacrifice so that they can keep a parent at home.&rdquo;</p> <p> Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research studied the effects of an affordable child care initiative in Quebec. By the year 2000, a $5-per-day day care policy had been implemented for all children younger than 5. The study, published in 2005, found that commercial day care was associated with health and behavioral problems in children.</p> <p> The health problems were neither surprising nor new. Infants frequently put their hands into their mouths and share toys, and day care centers have long been associated with higher rates of infection. However, the study found that children in day care also exhibited higher rates of physical aggression and emotional anxiety.</p> <p> A follow-up study last year found that the behavioral effects persisted into adolescence. Teens exposed to the Quebec day care program exhibited more emotional and behavioral problems, including anxiety, aggression and hyperactivity.</p> <p> In addition, adolescent Quebecois had higher rates of crime compared with the general teenage population in Canada, and those exposed to day care programs had higher crime rates on average at every age than their peers.</p> <p> One explanation for the findings is that children in day care produce elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to higher rates of fear and anxiety.</p> <p> A 2006 meta-analysis in Early Childhood Research Quarterly found that &ldquo;the effect of day care attendance on cortisol excretion was especially noticeable in children younger than 36 months.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;We speculate that children in center day care show elevated cortisol levels because of their stressful interactions in a group setting,&rdquo; the study said.</p> <p> A 2010 study conducted by University of Minnesota researchers noted that, during stages of rapid brain development in infancy, &ldquo;contact with parents prevents elevations in cortisol, and this has been interpreted as nature&rsquo;s way of protecting this developing brain from the potentially deleterious effects of this steroid.&rdquo;</p> <p> Adults with children in day care exhibited &ldquo;more hostile, less consistent parenting&rdquo; and &ldquo;worse adult mental health and relationship satisfaction,&rdquo; the 2005 Quebec study found.</p> <p> Parental guilt and stress associated with day care, especially among mothers, are not simply a social stigma but rather an evolutionarily hard-wired response, <a href="">Mr. Rhoads</a> said.</p> <p> &ldquo;Mothers aren&rsquo;t designed to be comfortable,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just social construction for the guilt, because mothers who worried or were anxious when their kid wasn&rsquo;t in sight were more likely to have kids who thrived and made it through to the next generation.&rdquo;</p> <p> Other research paints a more complicated picture. In the United States, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development followed 1,364 children from birth beginning in 1991. It found that children who spent more than 30 hours per week in day care were nine times more likely to exhibit behavioral problems by age 4 than their peers who spent less than 10 hours per week in child care.</p> <p> The study also found that children who attended smaller day care centers with lower child-to-adult ratios and better-trained staff achieved some cognitive gains that lasted into adolescence &mdash; although behavioral problems persist regardless of day care quality.</p> <p> A 2014 follow-up to the Quebec study by the Canadian Labor Market and Skills Researcher Network found that the age at which children enter day care was an important variable in determining the effect: The earlier children were exposed to day care, the worse they fared.</p> <p> &ldquo;The estimates indicate that, on average, children who gain access to subsidized child care at earlier ages experience significantly larger negative impacts on motor-social developmental scores, self-reported health status and behavioral outcomes including physical aggression and emotional anxiety,&rdquo; the researchers said.</p> <p> However, children 3 and older from disadvantaged backgrounds showed some behavioral benefits from attending day care.</p> <p> <a href="">Mr. Rhoads</a> said there may be room for targeted day care assistance, although Republicans often express worry about giving incentives for negative behaviors.</p> <p> &ldquo;My argument would be maybe it&rsquo;s different for single parents, but that&rsquo;s very complicated,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Ages would also be very important. There&rsquo;s no benefit before 3, and there are costs. So I would say there shouldn&rsquo;t be subsidies for day care before the age of 3.&rdquo;</p> <p> A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 60 percent of Americans believe children fare better when one parent stays home. Only 16 percent of Americans in a 2013 Pew survey said it is best for children to have a mother who works outside the home full time.</p> <p> &ldquo;We should be thinking of ways to make child care more affordable for parents who need to use it, but the goal shouldn&rsquo;t be to push more parents to make that choice,&rdquo; <a href="">Ms. Lukas</a> said.</p> L. LukasSun, 28 Aug 2016 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCriticizing Hillary’s Age And Pantsuits Doesn’t Make Me Sexist<p> You&rsquo;ve been warned, Hillary haters. We&rsquo;re all misogynists now.</p> <p> I went to bed thinking I was a true feminist, one who believes in equal pay for equal work for guys and gals, no whining no special treatment (which has pretty much been achieved &mdash; up yours, National Organization for Women!) Then I awoke to learn that, deep down, I&rsquo;m a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing one-woman frat party.</p> <p> Or maybe I&rsquo;ve <a href="">just made the deeply sexist observation</a> that Hillary Clinton wears pantsuits.</p> <p> The mainstream media are mainlining dwindling estrogen in an all-out effort to transform Clinton from a corrupt, former secretary of state into the corrupt first woman president of the United States. A major strike in the effort to shut down naysayers came in the Aug. 17 issue of The Atlantic <a href="">in a piece entitled &ldquo;The Era of &lsquo;The Bitch&rsquo; is Coming.&rsquo;&rsquo;</a> Seriously.</p> <p> &ldquo;You know it&rsquo;s coming,&rsquo;&rsquo; journalist Michelle Cottle wrote.</p> <p> &ldquo;As hyperpartisanship, grievance politics, and garden-variety rage shift from America&rsquo;s first black commander-in-chief onto its first female one, so, too, will the focus of political bigotry.</p> <p> &ldquo;Some of it will be driven by genuine gender grievance or discomfort among some at being led by a woman. But in plenty of other cases, slamming Hillary as a bitch, a c&ndash;t (Thanks, Scott Baio!), or a menopausal nut-job (an enduringly popular theme on Twitter) will simply be an easy-peasy shortcut for dismissing her and delegitimizing her presidency.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p> The breathtaking assertions left my poor little head in a tizzy.</p> <p> Critics of President Obama&rsquo;s many leadership failures were dismissed as bigots, while Clinton&rsquo;s detractors, even the non-obscenity-spewing variety, were branded as uncomfortable with women in leadership roles, or as garden-variety sexists.</p> <p> On Planet Democrat, questioning authority is no longer a citizen&rsquo;s right. It&rsquo;s an abominable breach of morality and human decency.</p> <p> Other outlets infantilized the candidate even further. Quartz struck one for the warped sisterhood, putting out a piece this month arguing that even discussing the things Clinton &mdash; a self-proclaimed &ldquo;pantsuit aficionado&rsquo;&rsquo; &mdash; wears on her rump amounts to sexual bias.</p> <p> &ldquo;To many, the distinction between a suit and pantsuit smacks of sexism,&rsquo;&rsquo; <a href="">the Web site&rsquo;s Marc Bain wrote.</a> &ldquo;It arguably turns women into the other, the non-standard case. While a &lsquo;suit&rsquo; connotes power and authority, a &lsquo;pantsuit&rsquo; suggests a lesser form that pretends to being a suit, leading to an understandable dislike.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, has a problem with calling all things Clinton off-limits. &ldquo;The mainstream media and left is pushing the idea that all criticism of Hillary Clinton boils down to sexism,&rsquo;&rsquo; she wrote me in an e-mail. &ldquo;Voters &mdash; but particularly women voters &mdash; aren&rsquo;t supposed to linger on issues of ethics or policy agenda, but just to accept that it&rsquo;s time for a woman and, therefore, all good people will vote for Mrs. Clinton.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Frankly, it&rsquo;s rather sexist. &lsquo;&rsquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> It gets worse.</p> <p> &ldquo;Yes, it&rsquo;s Sexist to Speculate About Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s Health,&rsquo;&rsquo; <a href="">Glamour magazine declared on Aug. 17.</a></p> <p> &ldquo;Doesn&rsquo;t she look tired?&rdquo; has always been code for &lsquo;this woman is weak,&rsquo; and now Trump supporters are using it to attack Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s health,&rsquo;&rsquo; Cady Drell wrote in the publication aimed at women.</p> <p> Still, concerns about Clinton&rsquo;s physical soundness have abounded, even among people who oppose her Republican rival. In December 2012, while serving as secretary of state, she fainted &mdash; State Department officials blamed dehydration from fighting a stomach virus for her collapse. <a href="">She hit her head and suffered a concussion</a>, pushing back for more than a month her testifying before Congress about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.</p> <p> As a result of the fall, she was hospitalized in January 2013 for a blood clot located in a vein behind her right ear, which her personal doctor maintains was successfully dissolved with blood thinners. Her doc says she&rsquo;s physically fit to be prez. As far as her cheerleaders are concerned, it&rsquo;s case closed.</p> <p> Clinton turns 69 in October. If elected, she&rsquo;d be the second-oldest first-term president in history, after Ronald Reagan. Trump, who turned 70 in June, would be the oldest. I hardly think questions about either candidate&rsquo;s health should be off the table.</p> <p> Nor have I heard The Donald complain that all the ragging he endures over his crazy corn-colored hairdo amounts to reverse sexism.</p> <p> If this country is to elect a Madam President, it&rsquo;s time every one of us grew a pair.</p> <p> <strong>Homeless remedy is inn-sane</strong></p> <p> A posh New York City hotel whose rooms typically rent for $200 to $300 a night is being used to house at least 40 homeless people</p> <p> Down-on-their-luck women and children are being watched by a security guard posted on a floor on <a href="">which they live in The Excelsior hotel</a> on Manhattan&rsquo;s Upper West Side, paying customers complained on Yelp and Trip Advisor.</p> <p> A mom and her two daughters were <a href="">stabbed to death at a Staten Island hotel</a> used as a temporary shelter in February, allegedly by the woman&rsquo;s boyfriend. The good news is that homeless folks at The Excelsior have some protection from those with ill intent.</p> <p> The bad news is that area residents and visitors are upset that the nabe has been made more vulnerable to violence.</p> <p> Suitable, well-guarded housing, not luxury digs, is the answer to homelessness.</p> <p> <strong>A King and his &lsquo;staying&rsquo; queen</strong></p> <p> Maybe 40 isn&rsquo;t the new 20 after all. How about 56?</p> <p> Veteran broadcaster Larry King&rsquo;s wife, Shawn King, 56, <a href="">allegedly has been carrying on a yearlong affair</a> with Richard Greene, a public-speaking guru whose Web site boasts that his clients have included Princess Diana, Naomi Campbell and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others, <a href="">a source close to the Kings told Page Six&rsquo;s Oli Coleman</a>.</p> <p> Larry King, 82, is said to be &ldquo;heartbroken,&rsquo;&rsquo; &ldquo;embarrassed and furious&rsquo;&rsquo; over the revelations of alleged faithlessness by his wife of 19 years.</p> <p> Lawyers representing Shawn and Larry, as well as a rep for Greene, called the story of an affair &ldquo;inaccurate.&rsquo;&rsquo; Maybe the couple will give their August-December union another whirl?</p> <p> I wish I believed in love that much.</p> <p> <strong>Going to the dogs</strong></p> <p> This should give two-legged politicians pause. Or paws.</p> <p> Duke, a dog, was re-elected mayor of the village of Cormorant, Minn., this past weekend for his third consecutive one-year term. The 9-year-old great Pyrenees is among animals elected mayors of municipalities around the United States, including two other dogs, a cat and a beer-drinking goat named Clay Henry III. This nation&rsquo;s voters should consider electing a two-toed sloth as president in 2016.</p> L. LukasThu, 25 Aug 2016 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum2016 – Never a Better Time to Be a Working Woman<p> A recent article by former White House official Avra Siegel in Fortune was titled &ldquo;The Brutal Truth About Being a Pregnant Worker in 2016:&nbsp; It&rsquo;s Pretty Awful.&rdquo;&nbsp; At Acculturated, I explained how Siegel, while heavy on the self-pity (in spite of having unlimited paid sick leave and even an on-sight office nap room), overlooks the costs and other drawbacks of her proposals and fails to consider the perspective of childless workers.</p> <p> Siegel&rsquo;s overwrought headline aside, it&rsquo;s worth noting that while, of course, pregnancy comes with challenges&mdash;and those who haven&rsquo;t gone through the experience may not fully appreciate these&mdash;there&rsquo;s actually never been a better time to be a pregnant working woman than 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p> Off the top of my head:&nbsp; There is far more public discussion and awareness of the challenges of pregnancy; Women are increasingly in leadership positions in companies and organizations, which should make the topic and considerations for pregnancy less taboo; and technology has created a multitude of work options (telecommuting, working from home, etc.) that help workers who aren&rsquo;t at 100 percent, whether because they&rsquo;re pregnant, undergoing chemotherapy, or have some other health condition.&nbsp;</p> <p> Life will always present challenges&mdash;and not just for pregnant women.&nbsp; People get sick, depressed, and face every conceivable difficultly.&nbsp; Those who work in service-oriented jobs have less flexibility than those whose tasks revolve around a computer.&nbsp; Sometimes not showing up is just not an option. &nbsp;This has always been true and&mdash;while technology will continue to bring more flexibility&mdash;it will always be the case in many jobs.&nbsp; Yet women today have it far better than even our mother&rsquo;s generation did, nap rooms or no, and that is progress worth celebrating.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasWed, 24 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPregnancy Can Be Hard—and Other Shocking Life Lessons<p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Avra Siegel, formerly Deputy Director of the White House&rsquo;s Office of Women and Girls, has a scoop that&rsquo;s garnered a lot of social media attention: Pregnancy entails unpleasant physical side effects that can make working hard. Really, she wants you to know, there&rsquo;s this horrible thing called &ldquo;morning sickness&rdquo; but in fact it can make women feel nauseous all day! Another shocker from her&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255);"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">recent article</a></span>&nbsp;entitled &ldquo;The Brutal Truth About Being a Pregnant Worker in 2016: It&rsquo;s Pretty Awful&rdquo;? Sometimes pregnant ladies get tired. And not just a little tired, but really, really tired!</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Part of the hubris of youth is believing you&rsquo;re inventing the world anew. Having dismissed the experiences of everyone who went before them, the young tend to believe they are making novel discoveries as they enter each new stage of life.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Yet it&rsquo;s not exactly news that pregnancy can be physically grueling and make working tough. And the solutions that Siegel offers&mdash;especially paid leave&mdash;have been long debated. Public policymakers have been arguing about the costs and benefits of mandating that all employers must provide workers with paid sick leave for decades. And while Siegel instinctively sees the mandate&rsquo;s upsides, empathizing with lower-income pregnant women who can&rsquo;t afford to take a sick day, for example, she appears not to have considered the substantial downsides of how a mandate might impact those women&rsquo;s job prospects and take-home pay. As we&rsquo;ve seen with&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255);"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">the minimum wage</a></span>, such government interventions help some workers, but others end up losing their jobs entirely when businesses cannot afford higher employment costs.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Siegel also insists that businesses should be more sensitive to the needs of pregnant employees. Most employers already recognize this and are trying to offer the very flexibility that Siegel recommends. In fact, Siegel&rsquo;s numbers paint a skewed picture of the availability of paid leave in America today: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255);"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">80 percent of full-time civilian workers</a></span>&nbsp;have paid sick leave. Most employers already know it&rsquo;s in their interests to treat employees fairly, whether they are suffering with morning sickness or cancer. Replacing someone who quits requires a costly search for candidates, interviews, and a training period. Basic decency as well as this business reality&mdash;not any legal requirement&mdash;are why most employers try to work with their employees when they have an illness or a new baby.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Yet businesses have other considerations too, which include keeping the business afloat and being fair to other employees. Siegel details her personal health problems during pregnancy, concluding, &ldquo;That&rsquo;s been my life for 9 months&mdash;and it doesn&rsquo;t leave a lot of room for being productive at work.&rdquo; Is she suggesting that it would really be fair, then, to other employees for her to be paid in full for those nine months even though she wasn&rsquo;t up to doing her job?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Siegel may be newly attuned to the struggles of pregnant workers, but she should also try to put herself in the shoes of those who are&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255);"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">childless</a></span>, especially women who aren&rsquo;t childless by choice. They&rsquo;d point out that society does plenty of celebrating of new parents, showering them with attention and admiration, and those parents get a baby to love and be loved by as well. In the meantime, people without kids are expected to uncomplainingly pick up the slack at work and not receive any extra credit compared to those taking months-long leave from work. That doesn&rsquo;t exactly feel fair to them either.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> In a few months, Siegel will likely find herself inspired to pen another article about her surprising discovery that new moms often feel conflicted about the prospect of returning to work. Women are loathe to give up their hard-earned positions but also mourn the potential lost time with a baby who grows and changes so quickly. She&rsquo;ll be in good company. Most working moms wish that we had two lives, so we could both focus fully on racing up the career ladder and yet not miss any of our kids&rsquo; milestones or scraped knees. Siegel may be full of recommendations for how to solve this conundrum, but in reality, no set of public policies is going to eradicate the fundamental challenge of the human condition: Time is finite, which means that we all have to do our best to set priorities and find whatever balance makes the most sense for us as individuals.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 13.5px;"> Workers and employers need true flexibility so they can find work situations that work for them. People&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255);"><a href=";sa=U&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiTpbSa59LOAhUO8mMKHTdOBigQFggFMAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNFb3e_pMy2QjQf_7x6-RfWKQHB8Jg" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 204, 255); text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">value different aspects</a>&nbsp;</span>of compensation, and those preferences tend to change over time. In fact, Siegel may find that her priorities change a lot with the new baby. These are tricky issues that all of us working moms have been grappling with for some time. Welcome to motherhood&mdash;and the great work-family balance debate&mdash;Avra.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasMon, 22 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTitle IX Helps Girls, But Leaves Boys Behind, Women's Advocate Contends<p> An official for a national women&rsquo;s advocacy group claims that Title IX is used &ldquo;almost exclusively as a tool for advancing women&rsquo;s interests,&rdquo; rather than for promoting true gender equality.</p> <p> Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) Managing Director Carrie Lukas argues in a recent&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>op-ed for&nbsp;<em>Acculturated</em></strong></a>&nbsp;that an excessive focus on the areas in which males outperform females has led society to overlook the many areas in which the opposite imbalance holds sway.</p> <p> Citing a study&nbsp;featured in&nbsp;<em>Education Week </em>asserting that struggles with calculus cause women to drop out of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields at higher rates than their male peers, Lukas said she finds &ldquo;frustrating&rdquo; the study&rsquo;s implication that &ldquo;systematic sexism&rdquo; is to blame whenever women lag behind men.</p> <p> &ldquo;Yes, there are areas of study in which men outperform women&mdash;and this could partially be a result of a failure of educators to optimally engage women&mdash;but there are also plenty of disciplines that women dominate and it&rsquo;s men who are being given the short-shift in terms of educational opportunities and attention,&rdquo; she points out.</p> <p> Lukas criticizes Title IX&rsquo;s &ldquo;fixation&rdquo; on sports as one of the few extracurricular activities where male students are more likely to participate than females. In contrast, she notes, female students are much more likely to participate in government, newspapers, theater, and music programs than males, yet &ldquo;no one contemplates yanking funding from a school that fails to cast as many men as women in their school play or that fails a &lsquo;proportionality test&rsquo; in student government or on the campus newspaper masthead.&rdquo;</p> <p> Lukas points to a report from the&nbsp;<a href=""><strong>Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)</strong></a>&nbsp;that sought to explain why 15-year-old girls are more likely than boys to achieve proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science, even though high-performing girls still &ldquo;underachieve&rdquo; in those disciplines compared to high-performing boys.</p> <p> She states that there has been a &ldquo;herculean effort&rdquo; aimed at addressing an engagement deficit with females when it comes to STEM, but claims there has been &ldquo;far less consideration&rdquo; about how to help young males succeed in school.</p> <p> The deficit is especially notable &ldquo;since a failure to obtain functional literacy and other basic skills is a far graver problem for those young men than it is for high-achieving women.&rdquo;</p> <p> Lukas asserts that if the sexes were reversed in this scenario, sexism would be considered responsible. She also questions how much attention and concern would be present if roles were reversed and men represented 60 percent of all undergraduates instead of women.</p> <p> &ldquo;Our goal should really be to help all students&mdash;regardless of gender&mdash;fulfill their potential,&rdquo; she concludes. &ldquo;And that means we need to spare a little concern for boys and young men too.&rdquo;</p> L. LukasTue, 16 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBill Clinton, Our Potential First First Gentleman<p> It was never going to be easy for the husband of the first woman president to take on the role of &ldquo;First Gentleman&rdquo; &mdash; or whatever becomes the moniker for the male version of First Lady. &nbsp;</p> <p> Yet the idea of Bill Clinton, a former U.S. president, assuming this secondary role makes the task even more complicated.&nbsp; Mr. Clinton has never easily faded into the background, and, it&rsquo;s difficult to imagine him just embracing a feel-good cause such as nutrition or literacy (the focuses for Michelle Obama and Laura Bush) and watching his wife adoringly from the sidelines.</p> <p> Yet if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November, then Mr. Clinton should do his best to embrace the role of First Gentleman in the model of the traditional First Lady.</p> <p> There can be no sense that America is getting two presidents, rather than one.&nbsp; The first female president can&rsquo;t be seen as relying in a special way on the expertise of her husband; she needs to be seen clearly as standing on her own two feet and to be indisputably the leader of the Free World.</p> <p> This surely won&rsquo;t come naturally to Bill Clinton, who thrives on the spotlight and must hunger to regain the attention that came with the presidency.&nbsp; But in a way, having the first First Gentleman be a former president could help in creating a role model for future men whose wives serve as president.</p> <p> If there is a lingering awkwardness about any husband whose wife is more successful professionally than he is, then this could have been an issue for the first First Gentleman. His manliness might have seemed threatened, and he might have seemed diminished in what has traditionally been a ceremonial, even decorative, position.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p> This won&rsquo;t be an issue for Bill.&nbsp; He&rsquo;s had his turn in the Oval Office.&nbsp; No one can question his own achievements. And, in fact, his wife&rsquo;s potential success will add to his legacy: Bill Clinton may also go down in history for having played an integral role in encouraging Hillary&rsquo;s success and helping bring about the historic moment of finally electing a woman into the presidency, a culmination of a century-long quest for women&rsquo;s equality. &nbsp;</p> <p> Given these stakes, it will also be especially important for Mr. Clinton, who is notorious for betraying his wife, most infamously with a White House intern while he was president, to appear publicly as entirely supportive of his wife. The last thing a President Hillary Clinton will need when she is grappling with our faltering economy, skyrocketing Obamacare health insurance costs, and international threats from ISIS to Iran, is to be rocked by another personal scandal from her philandering husband. &nbsp;</p> <p> Bill Clinton owes it to his wife to do everything possible not to distract from or diminish her authority; that means affairs must be an absolute no-no for as long as she is president.</p> <p> Bill Clinton should be thinking carefully about a cause he can embrace if his wife becomes president. It should be something that follows the model of other First Spouses &mdash; something fairly apolitical, but that speaks to an important societal need and that is largely embraced by both the Left and the Right.</p> <p> While Mrs. Obama has received blowback from what many see as advancing an overbearing federal push to dictate what kids eat for lunch, her cause &mdash; children&rsquo;s nutrition &mdash; was a good example of the type of cause a First Spouse should embrace.</p> <p> Discouraging drug use, helping children learn to read, improving treatment for mental illness &mdash; these are worthy causes that most people can agree are a good use of the First Spouse&rsquo;s time, without stirring up political controversy.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s notable that Hillary Clinton is probably not the model that her husband ought to follow, if he wants to serve her interests, since she mishandled her cause of health care reform and created numerous political headaches, contributing to her husband&rsquo;s rocky first term.</p> <p> If Bill Clinton becomes the first First Gentleman, he should take his job seriously.&nbsp; His actions will create an important precedent for future First Gentlemen who are sure to come after him.&nbsp; And that starts with recognizing that his most important job is to support his wife, and not upstage her. &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. She wrote this for</em></p> L. LukasFri, 12 Aug 2016 11:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump Engages On The Childcare Issue<p> Donald Trump deserves credit for taking on the issue of childcare, rather than ceding the topic to the Left.</p> <p> In his economic speech this week, he called for making childcare expenses tax deductible.&nbsp;This would help more families make ends meet and make work more economically beneficial&mdash;particularly for many married women.&nbsp;Right now the costs of childcare can be so high that some married women with children find that, after paying taxes and for childcare, they take home very little additional income for their labors.&nbsp;Making childcare costs tax deductible would help make work pay for more secondary earners.</p> <p> One downside to this approach is that making childcare expenses tax deductible effectively disadvantages stay-at-home parents and those who rely on family members for childcare.&nbsp;All parents deserve some financial relief and there are plenty of families&mdash;including many with modest incomes&mdash;that make big sacrifices to have a family member look after their young children, because they think (for good reason) family care is best.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s unfair to provide financial relief only to those families that choose to pay someone outside the family for childcare.</p> <p> The Trump campaign has indicated that he is interested in providing similar tax relief for stay-at-home parents and is also considering making the deduction apply against payroll taxes, which would help families with lower incomes who don&rsquo;t have an income-tax liability. These would be additional positive steps in helping expand tax relief to all parents.</p> <p> Some analysts are criticizing Trump for failing to provide more specifics on how the tax deduction would work and how much it would cost in terms of lost revenue.&nbsp; They conveniently overlook that Hillary Clinton has provided an even more vague description of how her childcare proposals would work in practice.&nbsp;Journalists likely are accustomed to the idea that the Left has well-thought-out plans in this issue area, even if the facts (and Hillary&rsquo;s campaign website) prove otherwise.&nbsp;</p> <p> Voters, however, will welcome hearing an alternative vision for how to approach the childcare issue.&nbsp;In contrast to the Left&rsquo;s typical mix of government mandates (such as Hillary&rsquo;s typical top-down government-focused proposals to dictate how much childcare workers should earn and the maximum any family should pay for childcare), conservatives can offer help to all parents simply by letting them keep more of their own money. &nbsp;</p> <p> This should be an appealing message for voters.&nbsp;Let&rsquo;s hope more Republicans start helping make that case.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasWed, 10 Aug 2016 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDon't Assume All Women Will Cast A Knee-Jerk Vote For Hillary Clinton<p> If you&#39;re going to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, don&#39;t do it because she&#39;s a woman. In fact, ask yourself: If a man had the same policy platform, track record and resume as Clinton, would you vote for him?</p> <p> There. I said it.</p> <p> Cue the onslaught of outrage from actress Lena Dunham, homemaking guru Martha Stewart and the rest of Clinton&#39;s plank of prominent campaign surrogates urging women everywhere to rally behind the first female presidential nominee.</p> <p> But hear me out: I&#39;m a woman, a wife and a mom. And I&#39;m not excited about Clinton&#39;s candidacy.</p> <p> Clinton isn&#39;t a political outsider, breaking through some thick swamp of corrupt men to stand up for women like me. I don&#39;t think she represents the issues women care about, and I won&#39;t be voting for her.</p> <p> Yet women like me are being told what a historic moment this is. That Clinton is about to break the proverbial glass ceiling, and we can help her do it by casting a vote this November. Some are even trying to make us feel guilty for not joining the #imwithher fad.</p> <p> At a speech in Brooklyn, N.Y., this summer, Clinton said: &quot;This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us, and this is our moment to come together.&quot;</p> <p> Martha Stewart said in The Wall Street Journal: &quot;We as women should be so proud that there is a strong and viable candidate, yet there are women who are not even thinking about her as a woman. They are just listening to criticisms of her that she is a liar.&quot;</p> <p> Sorry. I guess I&#39;m not feeling the sisterhood.</p> <p> Choosing a presidential candidate based on his or her gender is like voting for someone because you like the candidate&#39;s hair color. It has nothing to do with a person&#39;s leadership abilities.</p> <p> In fact, voting for Hillary solely or in large part because she&#39;s a woman isn&#39;t an exercise in open-mindedness at all. It&#39;s sexist, and it&#39;s divisive. Worse, it ignores the progress women have made over the past few decades.</p> <p> Today, women graduate college at a higher rate than men. There are more female managers today than at any point in history. And with the rise of telecommuting and virtual offices, it&#39;s becoming increasingly easier for many women to balance careers and motherhood.</p> <p> The Pew Research Center recently studied Americans&#39; attitudes toward the sexes in political and business leadership positions. Only 9 percent of Americans think men are better at forging compromise in a business or political leadership role, while most Americans thought women and men had equal ability when it comes to this skill set.</p> <p> On many fronts, Americans think women have an edge over men. For example, Pew found that female leaders are perceived as more honest and ethical. (Fortunately for Clinton, the poll did not ask specifically about her.)</p> <p> So it&#39;s perplexing why Clinton has made her gender a centerpiece of her campaign this time around.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Obviously there was discrimination against women once upon a time, but the feminist movement has kind of clung to that,&quot; said Carrie Lukas, managing director at the conservative Independent Women&#39;s Forum. &quot;They&#39;ve been allowed to get away with this idea that the sexes are interchangeable, but at the same time claim it&#39;s a legitimate idea that we need a woman to change things.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The Clinton campaign seems to want things both ways. Either women should be treated the same, and we are just as good &mdash; if not, better &mdash; than men, or we are we inferior and in need of special consideration to reach the same milestones as our male counterparts. But we can&#39;t be both.</p> <p> I&#39;d argue there&#39;s also a moral hazard in Clinton pushing her gender so aggressively. This extreme focus on her gender sends the message that as women, we cannot succeed on the merit of our ideas alone.</p> <p> Other Clinton supporters, such as historian Nancy L. Cohen, have said women shouldn&#39;t vote for Clinton because of her gender &mdash; but because she best represents the interests of her gender.</p> <p> But even that argument is narrow-minded because it assumes women are monolithic and all have the same needs, interests and political positions. News flash: Not every woman wants the government to be more hands-on in their health care, child care or employee-employer relationship.</p> <p> What it comes down to is this: Those who still see a glass ceiling today always will because that&#39;s how they view the world: black versus white, women versus men. Unfortunately, these people will never see &mdash; or enjoy &mdash; all the progress that&#39;s been made and how diverse and intelligent women really are.</p> <p> <em>Diana Sroka Rickert is a writer with the Illinois Policy Institute. The opinions in this essay are her own.</em></p> L. LukasMon, 8 Aug 2016 15:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen, Calculus, and the Gender Discrimination Claims that Don’t Add Up<p> A recent study may provide insight into why college women are more likely than men to leave science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) majors, and what could be done to solve this problem.</p> <p> Researchers discovered that first-year calculus class leads many students&mdash;but particularly women&mdash;to drop out of STEM. Why are women more likely to make an exit? As <a href=";">Education Week</a> reports, women on average start and end their first college calculus course with less confidence in their math skills compared to similarly-skilled male peers. The study suggests that boosting women&rsquo;s confidence and encouraging them to stick with STEM in spite of Calculus 1 could dramatically increase the number of female STEM majors and women in these lucrative fields.</p> <p> This is worthy research with important, actionable implications.</p> <p> Yet there&rsquo;s always something frustrating about reporting on this topic, which invariably implies that women&rsquo;s comparative lack of engagement in STEM is society&rsquo;s failure and an outgrowth of a systematic sexism that undervalues women&rsquo;s education and abilities.</p> <p> The actual facts about America&rsquo;s educational system tell a very different story. Yes, there are areas of study in which men outperform women&mdash;and this could partially be a result of a failure of educators to optimally engage women&mdash;but there are also plenty of disciplines that women dominate and it&rsquo;s men who are being given the short-shift in terms of educational opportunities and attention.</p> <p> For example, the OECD&rsquo;s report, <a href="">&ldquo;Gender Equality in Education,&rdquo;</a> studied differences in aptitude, behavior and confidence among boys and girls throughout the developed world and identified areas in which both sexes need more support:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> [This report] tries to determine why 15-year-old boys are more likely than girls, on average, to fail to attain a baseline level of proficiency in reading, mathematics and science, and why high-performing 15-year-old girls still underachieve in areas such as mathematics, science and problem solving when compared to high performing boys.</p> <p> Both are worthy questions and something our policymakers and education leaders should consider. Unfortunately, in the United States, at least, it seems there has been herculean effort aimed at addressing women&rsquo;s STEM engagement deficit, but far less consideration about how to help more boys and young men succeed in school.</p> <p> What might be called the education establishment&rsquo;s enthusiasm deficit in favor of girls is especially notable since a failure to obtain functional literacy and other basic skills is a far graver problem for those young men than it is for high-achieving women. Surely if the sexes were reversed in this scenario, people would be asking why high-achieving men&rsquo;s needs were being prioritized above women struggling to make it at all&mdash;and we&rsquo;d likely be hearing that sexism was the cause.</p> <p> In fact, today <a href="'s-Mid-Life-Crisis">Title IX</a>, the federal law that was supposed to ensure equal educational opportunity for both sexes, is known almost exclusively as a tool for advancing women&rsquo;s interests. Title IX has primarily been applied to college athletics. And, of course, it was important to ensure that women had the opportunity to compete in sports at the collegiate level, just like men. But enforcement policies turned the law into a de facto quota system, requiring that the portion of female athletes mirror their share of the student population. Schools have resorted to eliminating male sports teams to try to make the numbers work.</p> <p> Title IX&rsquo;s fixation on sports is notable since that&rsquo;s one of the very few extracurricular activities where male students are more likely to participate than females. Student government, newspapers, academic clubs, theater, and music programs: in all of these endeavors, women tend to participate at higher rates than men. Yet no one contemplates yanking funding from a school that fails to cast as many men as women in their school play or that fails a &ldquo;proportionality test&rdquo; in student government or on the campus newspaper masthead.</p> <p> Unsurprisingly, conservations about expanding Title IX&rsquo;s reach into <a href="">academic disciplines</a> revolve solely around cajoling more women into math and science courses.&nbsp; No one&rsquo;s talking about how to bring more &ldquo;balance&rdquo; to all the humanities programs that are dominated by women, or to the student population more generally.&nbsp; One would imagine that if men accounted for 60 percent of all undergraduates&mdash;as women do today&mdash;there would be plenty of media attention and concern about the relative decline of women, and consideration for how to get more women in school.</p> <p> So by all means, let&rsquo;s consider how to help more women thrive in calculus and STEM majors. But our goal should really be to help all students&mdash;regardless of gender&mdash;fulfill their potential. And that means we need to spare a little concern for boys and young men too.</p> L. LukasMon, 8 Aug 2016 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCokie Roberts Tries to Play the Sexism Card for Hillary<p> This weekend, Cokie Roberts claimed that Donald Trump&rsquo;s characterization of Hillary Clinton as &ldquo;unhinged&rdquo; is &ldquo;totally code for we shouldn&rsquo;t elect a woman.&rdquo;</p> <p> This is a big stretch.&nbsp; Plenty of people have called Donald Trump unhinged, including Joe Scarborough, the conservative website RedState, a writer for the DailyKos..and that&rsquo;s just in the last two weeks.&nbsp;</p> <p> There is nothing sexist about the term, or questioning whether a candidate has the mental capacity and relationship with reality to make a good president. &nbsp;People feel free to question if Trump has the judgment and capacity to serve as commander in chief &ndash; Hillary Clinton has called him &ldquo;unmoored&rdquo; and President Obama called him &ldquo;unfit.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p> <p> Mrs. Clinton can clearly give as good as she gets in trading insults, and there is no reason to try to claim that any attack on her is sexist just because she&rsquo;s a woman.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasMon, 8 Aug 2016 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Ups And Downs Of Sexism<p> Marissa Mayer &ndash; the CEO of Yahoo, which was just bought for $4.8 billion by Verizon &ndash; recently expressed her <a href=";">frustration</a> with how the media consistently covers her as a woman CEO, rather than just a CEO of a major tech company. During her 4-year tenure at the helm of Yahoo, she became known for her short maternity leaves and office nursery as much as for any actual business decisions she made for Yahoo.</p> <p> Mayer certainly has a point &ndash; the press does treat women in leadership positions differently than men. Yet the sexist treatment is a double-edge sword: Yes, the media paid particular attention to her appearance, personal life, pregnancies and parenting decisions, but they also paid much more attention to her overall than they would have if she had been a man.</p> <p> After all, Marissa Mayer is pretty much a household name. How many other CEOs of Fortune 500 companies can people name? The answer for most of us is very few. And with Yahoo clocking in at 513 on <a href="">Fortune&rsquo;s latest list</a>, that means there are many CEOs, including hundreds at much larger companies, who aren&rsquo;t being covered much at all. Perhaps Mayer would have welcomed a little more anonymity, but fame has its upsides. Mayer apparently will receive a rather generous severance package of $57 million if Verizon decides to let her go. But if she feels like this isn&rsquo;t enough, her fame means that she will have other ample money-making opportunities as a speaker and in other public roles capitalizing on her name, as well as any future job as a leading tech professional.</p> <p> This is a point to keep in mind as we watch coverage of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s nomination and run for the White House. There is always a lot of handwringing about how the press treats female candidates differently than men, not only in focusing on looks and family but in describing their behaviors and manners. Women&rsquo;s voices may be interpreted as shrill or ditzy, and their behavior as either too emotional or too icy. And sometimes treatment is truly unfair and reeks of <a href="">sexism</a>.</p> <p> Yet women like Hillary Clinton also get big benefits from their gender too. In fact, one of the main reasons Democrats wanted Hillary Clinton as their candidate is because of the belief that it&rsquo;s important and appealing to put the first woman in the White House. Her primary campaign had a notoriously hard time generating much enthusiasm, but to the extent that she did have fervent backers, they were overwhelmingly from the Left&rsquo;s feminist movement and from organizations specifically focused on electing women. If Clinton was simply a former Senator and Secretary of State&ndash;with a lackluster record of achievement, scandal-plagued past, and poor campaigning skills&mdash;and not also the first woman running for the presidency, she would at a minimum have had a lot more competitors for her party&rsquo;s nomination, and likely would have been an early also-ran.</p> <p> It may not be fair that women enjoy these benefits and have to pay the costs associated with their sex when they enter the public eye, but it&rsquo;s also not simply a sexist plot.&nbsp; The fact that there are few women CEOs and fewer women running for high office means that the ones who are doing these things are more interesting and newsworthy to the public. Mayer was frustrated with the attention given to her pregnancies, but let&rsquo;s face it: having a new baby when you are a woman is different than when you are a man (to state the obvious). No one is terribly interested about how much leave a male CEO took after his wife gave birth, but Mayer&rsquo;s situation was fascinating for all of us women who have been through our own birthing experiences or who imagine heading down that path one day. She only took two weeks off? Wow. Women were endlessly interested in debating if this was a show of women&rsquo;s strength and dedication, or a terrible precedent in creating expectations for bouncing back after a birth.</p> <p> One <a href=";">Huffington Post</a> story on Mayer cited as evidence of sexist coverage a debate about whether Mayer&rsquo;s pregnancy discouraged her company from firing her. Yet as anyone in management knows, this is a <a href="">legitimate issue</a>. Some companies treat pregnant women badly, which is why there are laws on the books to protect them from discrimination. But those same laws mean that when a woman is pregnant, her supervisors are aware that there is a heightened potential for litigation and charges of discrimination, so of course this can play a role in decisions about termination.</p> <p> Recognizing that someone&rsquo;s sex brings both benefits and drawbacks isn&rsquo;t sexist, and it doesn&rsquo;t excuse treatment that is out of bounds. But it&rsquo;s important to recognize that the world is more complicated than the simple charge of &ldquo;sexism&rdquo; implies.</p> L. LukasThu, 28 Jul 2016 12:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIvanka on Women and Workplace Issues<p> In <a href="">introducing her father</a> on the final evening of the RNC Convention, Ivanka Trump spoke directly to demographics that her father needs to win over: millennials and women. In particularly, she spoke compellingly about her father&rsquo;s commitment to equal pay as a business leader and his history of employing women in leadership positions, as well as his desire, if elected president, to help working women&mdash;particularly working mothers&mdash;with challenges like paying for child care.</p> <p> Part of me wishes that Ivanka had been clearer in talking about the <a href="'s-Time-For-Straight-Talk-About-the-Wage-Gap">wage gap</a>.&nbsp; She correctly pointed out that its different factors, like motherhood, not gender alone, that are associated with lower pay for women.&nbsp; It would have been helpful if she had explained that mothers&rsquo; lower pay isn&rsquo;t just an outcome of discrimination, but rather the result of the different choices that women with children tend to make about work, by logging fewer hours on the job, commuting less, and seeking out positions with more stable schedules.&nbsp; Of course, some working moms may feel they have no choice but to make those decisions and end up with lower pay, but others want jobs that provide such a work-family balance and willingly sacrifice higher pay for these other attractive job attributes.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet most importantly Ivanka succeeded in showing the audience that Republicans care about these issues, rather than just allowing the Left and Hillary Clinton to dominate discussions about women in the workplace.&nbsp; And in fact, as the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum detailed in this <a href="">Working for Women report</a>, Republicans have a very positive vision to offer women:&nbsp; There are dozens of conservative policy reforms that can help women, including providing more protection for equal pay, without encouraging frivolous litigation or needlessly growing government.</p> <p> Similarly on childcare, Ivanka correctly noted that childcare expenses are a major burden for too many working women and more needs to be done to help parents, particularly those with lower incomes, for whom childcare expenses can eat up the bulk of after-tax earnings.&nbsp;</p> <p> As the Trump campaign moves to offer more specifics, however, they need to distinguish themselves from Hillary Clinton who seeks to solve this problem by pouring federal subsidies into daycare centers.&nbsp; A far better approach would be to focus on helping working parents themselves, such as by expanding the child tax credit, so they can afford whatever childcare option they choose, including keeping a parent at home or relying on another family member, such as a grandparent, to help out during working hours.&nbsp; After all, many families, including those with modest incomes, sacrifice to keep one parent at home when children are young because they think that family care is best &ndash; and they deserve more support too.</p> <p> Trump should also read this <a href="">Mercatus Center report</a> that shows how regulations on daycare centers increase costs for families without improving the quality of care.&nbsp; Rolling back such counterproductive regulations can make daycare more affordable, while increasing the number of daycare providers, so that parents have more affordable and better options. &nbsp;This is a message that Republicans should champion.</p> <p> Republicans need to engage in these issues, demonstrate to women that they understand their concerns and have a plan to help.&nbsp; Ivanka&rsquo;s speech was a good start, and creates an opportunity for Republicans to go the next step by laying out a positive, conservative policy agenda for improving women&rsquo;s lives. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasFri, 22 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA “Good Start”: Ivanka’s Speech Advances GOP’s Discussion Of Women’s Issues<p> Ivanka Trump used her speech on Thursday night to appeal to a group of voters her father hasn&rsquo;t done a very good job reaching out to &ndash; young women.</p> <p> Before Donald Trump took the stage to officially accept the Republican nomination for president, his daughter vouched for his commitment to gender equality, equal pay for equal work, and access to quality, affordable child care.</p> <p> Ivanka said her father is &ldquo;color blind and gender-neutral&rdquo; when making hires to the family company. &ldquo;He hires the best person for the job, period.&rdquo;</p> <p> She said there are more female than male executives working for the Trump Organization, women are paid equally for the work that they do, and the company supports its female employees who choose to become mothers.</p> <p> She brought up the so-called &ldquo;gender wage gap,&rdquo; but pointed out that there are other factors, outside of just gender, that influence women&rsquo;s wages.</p> <p> In her speech, Ivanka said while single women without children earn almost exactly as much as men do, married mothers earn, on average, just 77 cents on the dollar.</p> <p> &ldquo;Gender is no longer the factor creating the greatest wage discrepancy in this country, motherhood is,&rdquo; she concluded.</p> <p> This is a fact that is not often cited by equal pay advocates, who tend to look at the average wages of men and women without considering the different choices each person makes&nbsp;in their career.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum called Ivanka&rsquo;s speech a &ldquo;good start&rdquo; for Republicans reaching out to women on these issues, but explained that &ldquo;a mother&rsquo;s lower pay isn&rsquo;t just an outcome of discrimination, but rather a result of the different choices that women with children tend to make about work, by working fewer hours, commuting less, and with more stable schedules.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasFri, 22 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Trump And The GOP Can Win Over Women<p> Republicans are trying to put their best foot forward with women at the convention&mdash;and, unsurprisingly, the opening days have featured numerous women speakers on center stage.</p> <p> Yet more important than such optics is the policy agenda that conservatives can offer women. Republicans &ndash; including Donald Trump &ndash; should speak to women directly about how conservative policy reforms can truly help them by creating more economic opportunity, a more flexible working world, and greater financial security.</p> <p> The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum&rsquo;s recently released &ldquo;<a href="">Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&rsquo;s Lives</a>,&rdquo; featuring more than twenty policy reforms that conservatives can advance all of which will help women without growing government.</p> <p> Republicans should start by stressing the importance of breaking down barriers to job creation and making it easier for people to start businesses and enter new professions. Costly government policies &mdash; from unnecessary state licensing regimes to expensive Obamacare mandates to our complicated tax code &mdash; are making it harder for businesses to offer jobs and for people to seek employment. Trump and conservative policymakers should convey plans to remove these impediments to employment, by eliminating licensing regimes that aren&rsquo;t necessary for public safety, simplifying the tax code, and rolling back employment regulations that make hiring needlessly expensive.</p> <p> The Obama Administration has been moving in the other direction, which is one reason why our labor force participation rate has fallen to historic lows. This new red tape threatens to strangle sectors of the economy that have been the most innovative, including those that have created important new opportunities for women. And this is a trend Hillary Clinton would certainly continue.</p> <p> For example, the Department of Labor recently moved to expand overtime pay requirements, which would force more workers to punch a clock, rather than receiving a guaranteed salary and the potential for more flexibility. The DOL also sought to limit independent contracting, which are the flexible work arrangements that allow women and men to work when, where, and how they want, which can particularly people seeking to balance work and family life, allowing them to earn money and retain vital skills, even when taking time away from full-time jobs.</p> <p> Conservatives should pledge to reject such government meddling which is designed to force workers into 9-to-5 schedules and instead allow workers and businesses to utilize new work paradigms. Republicans should promise to go a step further and modernize laws like the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act to give workers more flexibility, including the freedom to choose more time off, rather than overtime pay, and the flexibility to consider scheduling alternatives to the 40-hour work week.</p> <p> Next week at the Democrat convention, Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly offer women a flurry of new government subsidies and spending programs. Already Clinton has promised to boost federal spending on child care and to move to ensure that all workers have paid leave benefits. Conservatives typically shy away from discussing these issues: Democrats are in the position of playing Santa Clause, offering people gifts while ignoring the costs they create, which include not just taxpayer dollars, but also &ndash; when it comes to employer mandates like a paid leave benefit &ndash; reduced economic opportunities for women.</p> <p> Trump and conservatives need to take these issues head on, and explain that they also want to help parents, including those struggling to pay for childcare and who need better benefits, but want to find ways to help that don&rsquo;t backfire on people or create unsustainable new government entitlement programs. Tax relief for parents, particularly those with the lower incomes and the youngest children, would help families pay for childcare, but would also allow more parents who want to stay home with their children be able to afford to do so. And just as the public is encouraged to save for college expenses and retirement, conservatives can champion Personal Care Accounts, where people can save pre-tax dollars that can be used to replace income during time off eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Businesses should also be encouraged, through tax benefits, to contribute to these accounts and to offer other paid-leave benefits.</p> <p> Of course, the best way to ensure that workers are well-compensated and have the benefits they want and need is a growing economy that offers plentiful job opportunities. Conservatives are dedicated to realizing this vision by reducing barriers to job creation, removing complicated rules that prevent innovative, encouraging flexible work arrangements, and returning resources and control to individuals.</p> <p> This is a message that Donald Trump should articulate that can appeal to women, who recognize that the economic policies of the last eight years, which would continue under Hillary Clinton &ndash; with the surge in government spending and debt, the growth of government regulation of the economy &ndash; have drained our country of opportunity and innovation, and making everyday life unaffordable for too many. Conservatives can do better, and women are waiting to hear their alternative, positive agenda for moving forward. Let&rsquo;s start making that case.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> L. LukasWed, 20 Jul 2016 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum