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 Self-Help Guru Tony Robbins Was Trying to Say<p> Tony Robbins must have known immediately that he&rsquo;d made a huge mistake in how he responded to a question about #MeToo.</p> <p> Last month, at one of Robbins&rsquo;s popular, sold-out seminars, audience member Nanine McCool told the self-help guru that she thought he misunderstood the #MeToo movement. You can see the entire interaction&nbsp;<a href=";t=47s">here</a>, but Robbins focused on the danger of people feeling like victims and seeking to accuse others of wrongdoing.</p> <p> Among the portions that have gotten him in the most trouble was this:</p> <blockquote> <p> If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven&rsquo;t grown an ounce. All you&rsquo;ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.</p> </blockquote> <p> Robbins attempted to put these comments in some context, going on to say, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not knocking the #MeToo movement; I&rsquo;m knocking victimhood.&rdquo; He even praised Ms. McCool, agreeing that, while she was using the movement productively, many aren&rsquo;t.</p> <p> Yet it&rsquo;s no surprise that Robbins has faced great criticism for this exchange. It was at best an inartful response &mdash; particularly for the 6&prime; 7 Robbins, who, while answering McCool, walked toward her and even pushed her backward (while encouraging her to push back). Not the best optics, particularly on the issue of sexual assault and given that McCool herself is an assault survivor.</p> <p> Robbins&rsquo;s central point, however, deserves more discussion. Presumably, Robbins&rsquo;s recognizes that it is affirming for people who have been wronged &mdash; and subject to the kind of assault and abuse that appears to have been standard protocol of men such as Harvey Weinstein &mdash; to speak publicly about their experience, expose those predators, and prevent them from continuing to victimize others. However, there is a balance between encouraging people to share their trauma and supporting them in that process, and encouraging everyone to see themselves as victims and to focus on perceived wrongs in a way that is counterproductive for them.</p> <aside> <div data-unruly-ad-type="horizontal" style="margin-left:auto;"> <div style="margin-left:auto;"> <img src="" style="vertical-align:baseline;border:0px !important;line-height:normal !important;height:20px !important;width:20px !important;min-height:initial !important;float:right !important;border-radius:50% !important;" /></div> </div> </aside> <p> <a href="">Many</a>&nbsp;have&nbsp;<a href="">written</a>&nbsp;about this&nbsp;<a href="">potential overreach</a>&nbsp;and the danger of #MeToo morphing from a positive force to stop harassment and truly bad behavior, to one that demonizes everyday interactions &mdash; from ill-conceived jokes to misunderstandings about romantic interests &mdash; that occur between flawed individuals.</p> <p> Given Robbins&rsquo;s long history of encouraging people to think positively and to overcome any obstacles, his comments could be understood in that context: Encouraging people not to dwell on the negative in their lives but to focus on making the most of the opportunities before them. It seems unnecessary &mdash; and to exemplify the negativity that he was warning against &mdash; to assume the worst about his intentions.</p> <p> Tony has since apologized, saying in part, &ldquo;I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement,&rdquo; adding, &ldquo;Let me clearly say, I agree with the goals of the #MeToo movement and its founding message of &lsquo;empowerment through empathy,&rsquo; which makes it a beautiful force for good.&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s undoubtedly needed clarification and wise public relations to admit that he failed to recognize all the good that the #MeToo movement has done. However, I hope he doesn&rsquo;t (and we all don&rsquo;t) shy away from the willingness to see and address the fact that there can be unforeseen consequences to movements such as this that can sometimes cause harm to the very people they are intended to help.</p> <p> Too often, Internet mobs aren&rsquo;t satisfied with someone admitting he or she said or did something wrong, learned from it, and sincerely apologize. They will only stop if the person&rsquo;s reputation is completely destroyed.</p> <p> In Robbins case certainly, that would be a mistake. Robbins is a force for good, encouraging people to see the best in each other and in themselves. That&rsquo;s a message we all need to hear.</p> L. LukasThu, 19 Apr 2018 07:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPresident Trump, voices from across political spectrum remember Barbara Bush<p> Former first lady Barbara Bush was remembered as a public servant, devoted wife and mother and a tireless advocate for children as reactions poured in to her passing on Tuesday night.</p> <p> Bush died at the age of 92, after reportedly being in failing health. Jim McGrath, a family spokesman, did not give a cause of death.</p> <p> &ldquo;As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American Family,&rdquo; President Donald Trump said in a statement, which was dated April 17, 2017. &ldquo;Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection. She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.&ldquo;</p> <p> Flags will be flown at half-staff until the day of internment across the U.S. and its territories, the White House announced Tuesday evening.</p> <p> The president said that Bush was a &ldquo;was an advocate of the American family&ldquo; and said his and First Lady Melania Trump&lsquo;s thoughts and prayers are with the Bush Family.</p> <p> Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama said in a joint statement that the former first lady and mother to President George W. Bush was a &quot;testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.&rdquo;</p> <aside> <article> <div> <footer> &nbsp;</footer> </div> </article> </aside> <p> &ldquo;She&rsquo;ll be remembered for passing those American values on to her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren &ndash; and to the countless citizens who she and George inspired to become &lsquo;points of light&rsquo; in service to others,&rdquo; the Obamas&lsquo; statement continued.</p> <p> Bush &ldquo;was a woman of unique strength and grace,&rdquo; Vice President Mike Pence and his Second Lady Karen Pence said in a joint statement.</p> <p> &ldquo;Barbara Bush was a woman of unique strength and grace whose devotion to her family was an inspiration to every American,&rdquo; the Pences&rsquo; statement said. &ldquo;Mrs. Bush&rsquo;s example in public life and her encouragement made a lasting impact on our family, as it did on the families of millions of Americans, and she will be missed.&ldquo;</p> <p> Former Vice President Joe Biden said Bush was &ldquo;the picture of resilience&ldquo; and that &ldquo;there was no one else quite like her.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Her tireless work as a champion for global literacy will be just one legacy she leaves behind,&rdquo; Biden said in the statement. &ldquo;The others will be her unshakeable faith, her devotion to service and her beloved family, in which she instilled that same great love of country and public service.&ldquo;</p> <p> Bush spent much of her adult life in Texas where her husband and former President George H.W. Bush began his political career. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott offered his condolences, saying that Barbara Bush&rsquo;s &ldquo;impact on Texas and our nation will forever be treasured&ldquo; and that her literacy program helped &ldquo;improve the lives of those less fortunate through education.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Barbara Bush dedicated her life to helping others. As only the second woman in history to be both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, Barbara had a unique and profound impact on our country,&rdquo; Abbott said in a statement.</p> <aside> <article> <div> <header> &nbsp;</header> </div> </article> </aside> <p> Texas Sen. John Cornyn also said in a statement that Bush&rsquo;s work &ldquo;promoting literacy will live on in the families she touched and young minds she helped cultivate.&ldquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Barbara has blessed this nation with her unwavering service, strong moral compass, and trademark sense of humor,&rdquo; the Senate majority whip said in a statement.</p> <p> Bush&lsquo;s public and private service were also commemorated by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Twitter.</p> <p> &ldquo;From China to Texas to DC, Barbara Bush worked on a beautiful floral needlepoint rug, stitching together changing times &amp; geography w constant love &amp; support for her family. Her masterpiece eventually graced the floors of the Executive Mansion, making the White House a true home,&rdquo; Cruz tweeted.</p> <p> During her time as Second Lady and the First Lady, Bush dedicated her life to child literacy and went on to create the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum, a conservative group, commented on her work on improving lives through her foundation.</span></strong></span></span></p> <div style="clear:left;"> <div> <div data-google-query-id="CMmEh7bAxNoCFYOVyAod8q4Peg" id="pol-vp-01"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_/6326/politico/politics_8__container__" style="margin-left: 40px;"> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Despite her aristocratic origins, Mrs. Bush was unpretentious, and her country loved her for her for it,&rdquo; the organization releasted in a statement. &ldquo;She made no pretenses about her trademark fake pearls and delighted in the &#39;America&#39;s grandmother&#39; image conferred by her mane of white hair.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy also honored Bush on Twitter.</p> <p> &ldquo;We mourn the passing of Barbara Bush, who believed that the world would be a better place if more people could read, write and comprehend,&rdquo; the organization wrote.</p> <p> Several lawmakers also offered their condolences to the Bush family, including Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders.</p> L. LukasWed, 18 Apr 2018 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUse Nafta to Ease Regulation<p> Congressional Republicans of late have become innovative about using procedural means to further their policies. Witness the latest idea from a trio of senators to transform the regulatory landscape.</p> <p> In a March 20 letter to President Trump, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado urged him to use the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement to reform domestic regulation and enhance U.S. competitiveness. Specifically, they suggested he include a &ldquo;competitiveness&rdquo; chapter in the new Nafta, streamlining permitting for projects, bolstering infrastructure and codifying key regulatory reforms. &ldquo;Rather than pursuing a defensive strategy that focuses solely on what other countries are doing to us, we need to develop a more comprehensive, offensive U.S. strategy to strengthen our economy from within,&rdquo; wrote the senators.</p> <div> <p> These ideas aren&rsquo;t new. Congressional Republicans have been pushing them for years, and Mr. Trump campaigned on them. The novelty is the legislative vehicle: Nafta. Any final trade agreement will be ratified under Trade Promotion Authority, which requires only 50 votes in the Senate, and therefore escapes a Democratic filibuster. A competitiveness chapter can be included as an annex that applies only to the U.S., so that neither Mexico nor Canada would need to agree.</p> <p> The Nafta vehicle would allow Republicans to multiply the Trump administration&rsquo;s deregulatory wins, further bolstering the economy. Take project permitting. Washington can take years to conduct environmental assessments, turning off investors and running up costs. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan already has a proposal to overhaul the decades-old system that is ready-made for a new Nafta competitiveness chapter.</p> <p> Equally important, such a chapter would allow Republicans to guard against regulatory incursions by future Democratic presidents. Mr. Trump has been aggressive in rolling back the Obama regulatory agenda, but a President Elizabeth Warren could pile the crushing rules back on. The Cruz-Daines-Gardner letter proposes including in any Nafta chapter the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or Reins Act, a proposal that would require congressional approval of any regulation costing $100 million or more. The House passed that bill a year ago, but Senate Democrats stymied it with the threat of a filibuster.</p> <p> Some conservatives feel uneasy about the idea of muddying up traditional trade talks. But it&rsquo;s hard to envision this roiling Nafta negotiations as it would impose no obligations on the other parties.</p> <p> Supporters argue that all trade discussions would benefit from an emphasis on structural issues that affect domestic competitiveness. Americans gripe about bad deals and unfair practices, while ignoring the barriers imposed by Washington. Instead of seeking to protect U.S. companies with tariffs or subsidies, why not put an emphasis on true competitive advantage? Such provisions might even make Nafta and other trade agreements more attractive to wavering Republicans&mdash;free-traders and protectionists alike.</p> <p> Then there&rsquo;s the worry that this would set a precedent, allowing that future President Warren to codify, say, union card check. But the better question is why she&rsquo;d need precedent as her excuse. The idea is already out there. Democrats have long used trade talks to try to force costly labor rules, and they&rsquo;ve never been deterred by Republican restraint before. President Obama (whose use of recess appointments the Supreme Court found unconstitutional) and Harry Reid (who killed the filibuster for nominations) proved the left isn&rsquo;t constrained by procedural norms that get in the way of its agenda.</p> <p> That realization has inspired Republicans to think more creatively about procedure&mdash;from bolder use of the Congressional Review Act, to the revival of congressional spending-rescission powers, to this Nafta plan. They recognize that they may have a brief window of power, a chance to do real good. They also see an icy Democratic resistance, which&mdash;also expecting the GOP&rsquo;s time in power to be short&mdash;steadfastly refuses to compromise. Thwarting that blockade, taking this opportunity, requires a fresh approach to how things have traditionally been done.</p> <div id="unruly"> <div style="clear:left;"> <div data-ad-options="{&quot;adId&quot;:&quot;AD_G&quot;,&quot;adUnitPath&quot;:&quot;/2/;,&quot;adSize&quot;:[[2,2]],&quot;adSizeMap&quot;:null,&quot;autoRefresh&quot;:false,&quot;adTargeting&quot;:{&quot;metazone&quot;:null,&quot;msrc&quot;:null,&quot;circ&quot;:&quot;subscriber&quot;,&quot;bkuuid&quot;:&quot;tl4f/evk99y/wl8s&quot;,&quot;p39&quot;:null},&quot;disableRefresh&quot;:false}" data-google-query-id="CO-EuoDht9oCFYqeyAodaP0A3g" data-is-logged-in="true" data-tracking="" id="wsj-body-AD_G3" style="clear:left;"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_/2/"> That&rsquo;s a growing consensus among conservatives, to judge by the many groups that are racing to support the Cruz-Daines-Gardner strategy&mdash;Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Club for Growth, the <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></strong></span></span>. In a recent letter to Mr. Trump, 30 such organizations endorsed the idea of a Nafta competitiveness chapter, arguing that it would &ldquo;strengthen the core objectives of the Nafta renegotiations&rdquo; by &ldquo;making it more attractive for companies to invest and create jobs in the United States,&rdquo; even as it made &ldquo;another Obama-like regulatory assault on the U.S. economy nearly impossible.&rdquo;</div> </div> </div> </div> <p> That would be another accomplishment Republicans could use to motivate their base in the midterms&mdash;and another Trump promise fulfilled.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasThu, 12 Apr 2018 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStatement: Speaker Ryan’s Leadership and Commitment to Better Government Will be Missed<p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> Immediate Release<br /> <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_807997288" style="border-bottom: 1px dashed rgb(204, 204, 204); position: relative; top: -2px; z-index: 0;" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ" style="position: relative; top: 2px; z-index: -1;">April 11, 2018</span></span></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size: 20px;"><strong>Statement: Speaker Ryan&rsquo;s Leadership and Commitment to Better Government&nbsp;Will be Missed</strong></span></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> Washington, DC &ndash;&nbsp;<strong>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum President Carrie Lukas</strong>&nbsp;issued the following statement on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan&rsquo;s announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2018:</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> &quot;Paul Ryan has been a consistent voice for a better government, which uses resources responsibly and focuses on providing economic opportunity for all. &nbsp;His leadership and commitment to reforming our entitlement systems to make them work better, and act as a true safety net while protecting taxpayers, will be missed. &nbsp;In a time of bitter partisanship and often bad behavior, Ryan has always been a gentleman in the best sense of the word.&quot;</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;"> ###</p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;"> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523551047037000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEjNf9Qd8BOxM_WeiwEUXFERdxRLw" href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></p> <p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;"> <em style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren&rsquo;t just well intended, but actually enhance people&rsquo;s freedom, choices, and opportunities.</em><span style="font-size: 12.8px;">--</span></p> <table style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="margin: 0px;"> <table dir="ltr"> <colgroup> <col /> <col /> </colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td style="margin: 0px;"> <p dir="ltr"> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523551047037000&amp;usg=AFQjCNG4VEg3xGncBJbLWrimUJVGGgwx7A" href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank"><img alt="IWF_Stacked.png" class="CToWUd" height="29" src="" width="92" /></a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> <td style="margin: 0px;"> <p> Caroline Phelps<br /> Senior Manager, Strategic Communications<br /> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523551047037000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGLYs6xXpb2fsNIZ03sJM9gxHSp-g" href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a><br /> <a href="tel:(703)%20851-7686" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">703-851-7686</a><br /> <a href="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank"></a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasWed, 11 Apr 2018 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMind Your Own Business: Women in Oklahoma face a 26 percent pay gap<p> Today is Equal Pay Day. Many female advocacy groups are calling for actions to close the national 20-cent pay gap between men and women; 26 cents in Oklahoma. The &ldquo;holiday&rdquo; was slated for April 10 to demonstrate that it takes women workers a little more than 15 months to meet what their male counterparts earn in a year.</p> <p> The gap in gender pay inequity has closed only by 7 cents in the past 20 years, according to analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">American Association of University Women</a>&nbsp;(AAUW). It exists in every state, ranging from 30 cents in Louisiana to 11 cents in New York, and is greatest among Latina and African American women, at 54 percent and 63 percent, respectively.</p> <p> The loss to women is roughly $500,000 over their lifetimes and up to $1 million for women of color, per the National Organization for Women.</p> <p> Meanwhile, some groups call today a &ldquo;misleading false holiday,&rdquo; arguing that the pay gap between the sexes is due to the choices women make about working.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, president of Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum in Washington, D.C., said, &ldquo;Often women seek job options that have more flexible hours, so they can be there to welcome their kids off the bus. Many women look for jobs that they find personally rewarding, even if that means accepting lower pay.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Some with a political agenda try to convince people&ndash;particularly women&ndash;that this statistic is evidence that America is fundamentally sexist and short-changing women,&rdquo; Lukas said. &ldquo;It&#39;s simply not true to suggest that these statistics are a proxy for gender discrimination. Moreover, it&#39;s unhelpful to American women,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;to encourage them to think that they are inevitably going to be wronged, rather than encouraging them to be aware of how the choices they make about what fields to enter, specialties to pursue, and time they dedicate to their professions will impact their earnings potential.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> A recent survey by Chcago-based&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">CareerBuilder</a>, of some 800 U.S. workers and roughly 800 hiring and H.R. managers, in part, supports Lukas&rsquo; statement. Though 32 percent of women, and 12 percent of men, don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;re making the same pay as their counterparts, the inequity may start with differences in expectations, analysts found.</p> <p> According to the survey, 29 percent of men think they will reach a director level or higher, compared with 22 percent of women, while 25 percent of women never expect to reach above an entry-level role, compared with 9 percent of men.</p> <p> Thirty-five percent of women don&rsquo;t expect to reach a salary over $50,000 during their career, compared with 17 percent of men, while 47 percent of men expect to reach a six-figure salary, compared with 22 percent of women.</p> <p> Notably, 42 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said proposed legislation that prohibits employers from asking job candidates for their salary history will help close the gender pay gap since salary histories cannot be discussed.</p> <p> Only four states currently have such legislation, according to the AAUW, which deems Oklahoma&rsquo;s equal pay laws moderate. In Oklahoma, as in 41 states, employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an individual for taking legal action to secure equal pay. But though a&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">bill is pending to allow free-for-all discussion of pay in the workplace,</a>&nbsp;Oklahoma has yet to pass legislation prohibiting employers from discriminating or retaliating against an individual for discussing or disclosing wages, as 19 states currently have. The bill is being backed by the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Oklahoma Women&#39;s Coalition</a>.</p> <p> With a goal of eliminating the gender pay gap by 2030, AAUW is pushing for reforms at the national level. With better workplace gender equity practices, $12 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025, according to recent analysis by Kinsey.</p> <p> The AAUW also announced a new commitment to train 10 million women through salary negotiations programs by 2022. The organization has launched an e-learning interactive experience to help women understand their market worth and give them the tools and confidence they need to negotiate for higher salaries.</p> <p> Mind Your Own Business @ work and @ home.</p> L. LukasTue, 10 Apr 2018 17:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual Pay Day's lies: Insulting logic, a misleading statistic<p> Today, American women are assuming leadership positions in their industries, starting businesses, working hard, and pursing their own visions of happiness. They are succeeding as never before.</p> <p> Yet women still, on average, earn less than men do. The creators of Equal Pay Day want to convince women that fact is evidence that, in America, the deck is still stacked against women, and the women and men who make employment decisions consistently short-change female workers out of old-fashioned bias. They&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">declare</a>&nbsp;today for Equal Pay Day, claiming that American women had to work until April 10th&nbsp;to make up for last year&#39;s wage gap.</p> <p> That&#39;s an insult to American employers and harmful to women everywhere who deserve to know the real reasons for differences in average earnings so that they can make informed choices about their work life.</p> <p> Equal Pay Day&#39;s false premise begins with a Department of Labor&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">statistic</a>&nbsp;that shows that, on average, women earn 82 percent of what men earn. But this statistic doesn&#39;t claim to compare two workers in the same job, with the same level of experience, working the same hours. It merely totals up the earnings of all full-time working women and all full-time working men and compares them.</p> <p> It isn&#39;t trying to speak to &ldquo;equal pay for equal work,&rdquo; but rather compares the earnings of a female librarian, working 36 hours a week, for example, to the earnings of the man working 50 hours a week and risking life-and-limb manning a fishing boat. It ignores that men and women still tend to&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">gravitate to different industries</a>, have different work histories, and&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">prioritize different job attributes</a>&nbsp;when making career decisions.</p> <p> For example, according to the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Bureau of Labor Statistics Time Use Survey</a>, full-time working men worked 8.4 hours on an average work day while full-time working women worked 7.8 hours. It is hardly surprising &mdash; or evidence of workplace discrimination &mdash; that someone who works an extra 3 hours a week earns more than someone who doesn&#39;t. In fact, that one factor alone explains about a third of the wage gap.</p> <p> Women also&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">choose jobs closer to home</a>&nbsp;and that entail less physical risks. Men suffer the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">overwhelming majority</a>&nbsp;of major physical injuries and casualties that occur on the job. It makes sense that those additional risks also garner additional rewards in the form of higher compensation.</p> <p> Clearly, differences in the amount of time the average woman or man spends taking care of children plays a driving role. Society can consider why&nbsp;women and men make these different choices, but people shouldn&#39;t be surprised that these different decisions result in different levels of take home pay. They also shouldn&#39;t conflate the consequences of these different decisions with workplace discrimination. &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href=";qid=1523279826&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=why+men+earn+more" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Studies</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">control</a>&nbsp;for factors like industries, hours work, and time taken out of the workforce show a much smaller gap between men and women&#39;s pay. This is important information for women to have: Women &mdash; like men &mdash; should be aware of how the choices they make about what to study in school, what jobs, industries and specialties to pursue, and how much time to dedicate to their careers will impact their long-term earnings.</p> <p> Yet earnings are just one attribute that people consider when evaluating potential jobs and careers. Increasingly, people also want jobs that are flexible, allow them to work from home or pursue other interests, and that they find personally rewarding. Women, on average, tend to have&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">different priorities</a>&nbsp;than men do. That&#39;s not a mistake or a problem that society has to solve.</p> <p> Equal Pay Day&#39;s false logic isn&#39;t just the misuse of a statistic that isn&#39;t meant to speak to workplace discrimination. It also implies that women are making a mistake when they prioritize job attributes and pursuits other than earning money, and that women will only be truly equal when they make decisions that mirror men&#39;s. That&#39;s not only wrong, but insulting. &nbsp;</p> <p> Women shouldn&#39;t worry about what the statistics say, but should make informed decisions about the trade-offs associated with work as they pursue their own versions of happiness.</p> L. LukasTue, 10 Apr 2018 07:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow to offer paid leave without imposing a new tax<div> <p> Paid leave has emerged into the policy spotlight for 2018, both in Congress and within the Trump administration. The question is how to provide such a benefit without burdening employers, raising taxes or creating a new entitlement.</p> </div> <div> Thus far, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are contemplating an innovative proposal to reform Social Security by allowing employees access to paid leave benefits after the birth or adoption of a new child, in exchange for a short delay in retirement benefits to compensate for this cost.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The words &quot;reform Social Security&quot; may set off alarm bells for some, and opponents of this proposal are sure to stoke fear among seniors by falsely suggesting this plan would cut their retirement benefits and put the entire Social Security system in jeopardy. Nothing could be further from the truth.</div> <div data-ad-text="show"> <div data-ad-id="ad_rect_atf_02" data-ad-position="tablet" data-ad-refresh="default"> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> The proposal is designed to preserve the Social Security Trust Fund and would have precisely zero impact on anyone who is retired or near retirement. The only people who would be affected would be those who elect to take parental leave in exchange for delaying their retirement benefits. Participation would be entirely voluntary.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The concept is simple: People working and paying into Social Security today would have the option of receiving a parental leave benefit -- much like a Social Security disability benefit -- after the birth or adoption of a child. Those who take leave benefits would then have to wait a few additional months to be eligible for Social Security to offset the cost.</div> <div> <div> <div style="clear:both;"> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> Actuaries are still evaluating exactly how long retirement benefits would have to be deferred, but it&#39;s likely to be about an equal trade. For one week of paid parental leave people would delay their Social Security benefits by one week. That means someone who takes 12 weeks of parental benefits in 2018 would have to wait until about three months after his or her 67th birthday to receive full Social Security benefits, rather than being eligible at age 67.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Many young people in today&#39;s workforce, who can expect to live well into their 80s and 90s, will welcome the option of working a few extra months in exchange for paid family leave. It is at this time in their lives when young families really need help during the joyful -- but also stressful and financially difficult -- time of welcoming a new child.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> But what does that mean for retirees and the Social Security program&#39;s overall health? The proposal would have no impact at all on current Social Security enrollees and could actually help in the long term. Currently,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">nearly half</a>&nbsp;of low-income women who lack access to paid family leave go on public assistance after having a baby, meaning they do not pay into Social Security. Allowing these women to tap into their Social Security at such a critical moment in their lives will result in less reliance on other social programs, saving taxpayers money. Others in the workforce who have paid leave benefits are also less likely to quit their jobs after having a baby, meaning they are more likely to return to work and resume paying into Social Security.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> At least four states have&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">paid leave programs</a>&nbsp;and many others are considering that option. Democrats and some conservative groups, like the American Enterprise Institute, are advancing proposals to create an entirely new entitlement program with a new payroll tax of its own. This is a wrongheaded approach.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Having a new tax on top of the payroll tax already levied to pay for Social Security and Medicare will lower people&#39;s take-home pay today and make it more difficult for taxpayers to shoulder these burdens in the future. It would be far wiser to more efficiently use the programs we already have in place, and focus on keeping them financially solvent, rather than creating another entitlement program competing for resources.</div> <div style="margin-left:auto;"> <div style="clear:both;"> <div> Follow CNN Opinion</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> <div> Seniors want what is best for future generations and should welcome modernizing the Social Security program to help their children and grandchildren. And by promoting continued participation in the workforce, it means Social Security&#39;s retirement program will remain protected.</div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasMon, 9 Apr 2018 17:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumViolence Against Women's Act is a true product of Washington's swamp<p> The&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281494000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHkhmIFTu0US1XDe3QvC6srus3GHQ" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">&quot;deep state&quot;</a>&nbsp;is commonly defined as &ldquo;a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.&rdquo;&nbsp;The grassroots is commonly defined as an organization in which ordinary people are the main body of membership. Throughout America, the deep state and the grassroots are in conflict. The current push to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) illustrates the standard deep state tactic of blocking grassroots voices from hearings and the other preliminaries that define law. The tactic also omits the grassroots concerns, such as due process for those accused of sexual violence.&nbsp;</p> <p> On March 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee held&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281494000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHDqQsVDq8Taguuf6o2dqEYAWC99w" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">a hearing</a>&nbsp;on reauthorizing VAWA, which expires in September; the act must be reauthorized every five years. Given the lovefest tone of the meeting, VAWA will be renewed. Another indication of renewal was the list of non-Congressional speakers invited to address the Committee. They included:&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281495000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEWTgmrE7NfczM40zcq2XtsbiXKOQ" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Amanda Nguyen</a>, the main force behind the 2016 Bill of Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault;&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281495000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEgTJEEgd7PB_pXAk852IOXw1EJKQ" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Tracy Prior</a>, chief of the Family Protection Division of the San Diego County, California and a prosecutor for 20 years; and, Katharine Sullivan, a principal deputy director for the Office on Violence Against Women of the Department of Justice. All strongly advocate VAWA. They are veterans at lobbying legislatures.</p> <p> Grassroots critics were absent. The Coalition to End Domestic Violence (CEDV) was excluded, for example, despite repeated attempts to contact committee members, including Chairman Sen.&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="188248" href="">Chuck Grassley</a></span>&nbsp;(R-Iowa). CEDV is a&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">network</a>&nbsp;of families and organizations working to reform VAWA so that &ldquo;the values of family preservation, limited government, and constitutional protections, will no longer be under assault.&rdquo; <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The conservative Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF)&nbsp;</span></span><a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281495000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFHXb6Mw5wz-ECVmLtqIg0K3FSvig" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">joined the call</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;for more diverse discussion and for &ldquo;common sense reform over ideology.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">What are some &ldquo;common sense&rdquo; reforms that are not being heard? IWF&rsquo;s&nbsp;</span></span><a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281495000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGqHlFeD7VsLFwbQDqcNwwC7qqFWw" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">policy statement</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;on the 2013 VAWA, which is the one being reauthorized, observed, &ldquo;Although there is little credible evidence that VAWA programs are reducing the effects and occurrence of domestic and sexual violence, there is evidence that several of the policies ... may actually be backfiring. Although approximately $25 million in VAWA funds go to support mandatory arrest policies, intimate partner homicides have substantially increased in states that have implemented such policies.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The policy analysis also alleged that VAWA had inadequate &ldquo;safeguards to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. Several VAWA grant programs, IWF claimed, duplicated each other or those in other agencies.&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Moreover, the &ldquo;Department of Justice Inspector General has also found that a significant amount of funds are not being spent on servicing victims. Nearly all of the grantees audited by the Inspector General between 1998 and 2010 had violated grant requirements. Last year, the Department of Justice also&nbsp;</span></span><a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522957281495000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGrmnl8MTF8uPhvgZabJoZn6Qny7A" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">uncovered several cases</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;of outright fraud and embezzlement.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Proof of VAWA&rsquo;s effectiveness and accounting for funds are reasonable requests that should not occasion controversy. They do. Objections and questions about the act are met with a backlash that demonizes the source as anti-victim or rape apologists. The accusations silence some critics and marginalize those who continue to speak out. They do not speak at official procedures, however.</p> <p> No wonder more substantial issues were not raised at the Senate hearing. A CEDV observer lamented, &quot;[T]here was no mention, even in passing, of the fundamental concepts of due process, constitutional protections, or the presumption of innocence, on campus or beyond.&quot; If misuse of funds cannot be raised, truly controversial issue, like due process for those accused, do not stand a chance.</p> <p> There is an irony. Even if VAWA is reauthorized, the act may never be effectively implemented. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="261287" href="">President Trump</a></span>&rsquo;s new budget fully funds VAWA, but the president notoriously shifts position. And funds within federal agencies can be easily directed away from VAWA by Trump, who has a poor history in dealing with violence against women as an issue. After a year as president, he still has not nominated a candidate as director of the Office on Violence Against Women.&nbsp;</p> <p> Trump may view VAWA as a Democrat, liberal cause. Passed under President Clinton, it was written by&nbsp;Sen.&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="188332" href="">Joe Biden</a></span>&nbsp;(D-Del.) and championed by&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="188224" href="">Hillary Clinton</a></span>. In 2013, Obama reauthorized it with a flourish. Perhaps Trump views VAWA as primarily an expression of the deep state, which he loathes.</p> <p> Whether Trump is an &ldquo;establishment elite&rdquo; or a grassroots president, he packages himself as a man of the people. Blunting VAWA might well be seen as a victory for the grassroots by his base. Certainly, the Democratic outrage will not bother him.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> L. LukasThu, 5 Apr 2018 13:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Didn't President Obama Close The Wage Gap?<p> Organizers of next week&#39;s &ldquo;Equal Pay Day&rdquo;&mdash;the day created to signify when women have finally earned enough to make up for last year&#39;s wage gap&mdash;want the public to believe that the gap between men and women&#39;s earnings would be erased if only we had political leaders fully committed to women&#39;s equality and the right laws and regulations on the books.</p> <p> But if that&#39;s true, then why didn&#39;t the wage gap disappear under President Obama?</p> <p> Undoubtedly, Equal Pay Day champions&mdash;and&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="">groups that creation petitions and send out memes under the title &ldquo;The Resistance&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;&mdash;are relieved to be able to use this occasion to bash their favorite nemesis, President Trump. But the public ought to wonder why the date of Equal Pay Day and the size of the wage gap didn&#39;t budge during President Obama&#39;s eight-year term, when he was supposedly a staunch advocate for women&#39;s equality and signing legislation that they all claimed would advance the cause of equal pay and reduce the wage gap.</p> <p> The truth is the causes of differences between men&#39;s and women&#39;s earnings are much more complicated than Equal Pay Day organizers would have people believe. The&nbsp;vast majority of this statistical difference isn&#39;t caused by discrimination, but rather is the result of the different choices that men and women make about work.</p> <p> Consider just this one factor: According to the&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="">Bureau of Labor Statistics Time Use Survey</a>, full-time working men worked 8.4 hours on an average work day while full-time working women worked 7.8 hours. It is hardly surprising that someone who works an extra 3 hours a week earns more than someone who doesn&#39;t. In fact, that one factor alone explains about a third of the wage gap.</p> <p> Women and men also differ in their choices of industry and specialty, on how much time to take away from the labor force, and on what kinds of hours and shifts to work. Clearly, differences in the amount of time the average man or woman spends taking care of children plays a driving role. Women often choose lower paying jobs that are closer to home and have better, more flexible hours, while men earn more by working night shifts and commuting farther. Society can consider why women and men make these different choices, but it is no surprise or evidence of workplace discrimination that these different choices impact workers&#39; paychecks and on aggregate statistics like the wage gap.</p> <p> The public perception that the wage gap is driven by discrimination isn&#39;t just wrong, it&#39;s also harmful. It discourages young women (and men) from considering how their decisions will impact their long-term earnings potential. And some of the policies pushed under the guise of closing the wage gap also have the potential to backfire.</p> <p> For example, the&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="">National Women&#39;s Law Center</a>&nbsp;is currently pushing for the resurrection of a rule that would have required companies to provide new data related to compensation, sex, race, and other demographic factors. Such efforts sound promising and are sold under the banner of transparency but miss how these forms and how businesses work in practice. As Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum explained our concerns with the proposed rule in&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="">a letter</a>&nbsp;to the EEOC:</p> <blockquote> <p> ...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> </blockquote> <p> Overwhelmingly, businesses make staffing decisions that they think are in the best interests of their company and bottom line. Increasingly, they are working to reward employees by increasing wages and benefits. Of course, there are some bad bosses, and we all want to make sure that workplaces are free of discrimination, and that people are treated fairly and rewarded for their work and job performance. That&#39;s why we have laws on the books outlawing discrimination and people can and do take their employers to court for wrong doing.</p> <p> Yet the public shouldn&#39;t be encouraged to assume that companies are routinely short-changing their female employees. Statistics like the wage gap have been misused for too long by those seeking to advance their own political agenda. Rather than taking the bait, people should consider their own experiences and how the people they know have approached matters of work and family life. They will likely see that maximizing earnings hasn&#39;t topped everyone&#39;s agenda, and that men and women sometimes have different priorities. And that&#39;s not something that Donald Trump&mdash;or Barrack Obama&mdash;can&nbsp;or should try to change.&nbsp;</p> L. LukasWed, 4 Apr 2018 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAgreement on a Better Culture for Kids?<p> As a mother of young kids, I&rsquo;m glad to see&nbsp;<a href="">Walmart take&nbsp;<em>Cosmopolitan</em></a>&nbsp;out of the checkout aisle. Cosmo long ago morphed from a women&rsquo;s lifestyle magazine to one with a niche as a sex how-to guide, which it declares in bold-faced headlines on its cover, encouraging awkward questions from young readers.</p> <p> Walmart credits the #MeToo movement for encouraging this change, as a part of a larger effort to de-sexualize our common culture. That&rsquo;s a great direction for this movement to focus. There are plenty of difficult gray areas that surround the issues of sexual harassment, including expectations for dating, sexual relationships, and particularly interactions that occur in a work environment. Yet this isn&rsquo;t one of those gray areas. It&rsquo;s common sense that the public should do what it can to prevent exposing young children to explicit materials. And the good news is that companies like Walmart are responding to the public demand for better policies.</p> <p> Of course, common sense still eludes some. A&nbsp;<a href="">Planned Parenthood branch</a>&nbsp;recently tweeted &mdash; and then retracted &mdash; a call for&nbsp;&ldquo;a Disney princess who&rsquo;s had an abortion. We need a Disney princess who&rsquo;s pro-choice. We need a Disney princess who&rsquo;s an undocumented immigrant. We need a Disney princess who&rsquo;s actually a union worker. We need a Disney princess who&rsquo;s trans.&rdquo;</p> <p> Anyone who thinks that delving into abortion politics is appropriate for a Disney princess movie is deeply out of touch with childhood culture and Disney&rsquo;s audience, and is likely disturbed. Disney princesses cater to girls age eight and under, who mercifully typically aren&rsquo;t yet familiar with the birds and the bees, much less abortions. Disney has made efforts over the years to diversify the princesses &mdash; not only in terms of race, but also so that not every story ends with marriage as the princess characters live happily ever after. For the most part at least, this has sent some positive messages about the different roles and versions of happiness that are available to everyone.</p> <p> Fortunately, it looks like even Planned Parenthood &mdash; in retracting their tweet &mdash; heard enough blow-back from the public that it came to recognize this call for a post-abortive Disney princesses was in poor taste. That&rsquo;s another hopeful sign &mdash; however small &mdash; that there is at least a little consensus out there about the culture we want surrounding our kids.</p> L. LukasWed, 28 Mar 2018 08:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPrioritize Reforming the EEOC<p> Senate Democrats made the strategic decision to abandon tradition and not allow the use of unanimous consent for most appointees from this president. This has left a&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">backlog of candidates</a>because the Senate must dedicate 30 hours of floor time before it can bring the nominees to a vote and confirmation with a simple majority.</p> <p> With about a 100 days left on the calendar before the next election, the Senate has to decide which nominees to prioritize and try to get through the arduous passage process.</p> <p> The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission deserves to be among the top of the list. As I wrote in the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em></a>&nbsp;last week, currently the EEOC, which is a bipartisan commission led by five presidentially appointed commissioners, has two vacant seats, giving Democrats a 2-1 majority. As a result, the EEOC is still continuing Obama-era policies and priorities, which has an impact on religious liberties and businesses&rsquo; hiring policies and paperwork burdens.</p> <p> Democrats are willing to pass the two stellar Republican nominees, if one of the current commissioners &mdash; Chai Feldblum, whose term otherwise expires in July &mdash; is also confirmed for another term. Many Senate Republicans are understandably unhappy at the prospect of reappointing the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">very progressive, activist Feldblum</a>.</p> <p> If Republicans aren&rsquo;t willing to take that deal, then they ought to push Senate leadership to allocate floor time for the EEOC nominees. The outcome shouldn&rsquo;t be that Feldblum, along with her other Democratic commissioner, continues effectively to be in charge. One way or another, the Senate needs to make sure we get a long-overdue change of leadership at the EEOC.</p> L. LukasMon, 26 Mar 2018 12:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMake a Deal on the EEOC<p> A federal court last month ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had violated federal law when it decreed that businesses couldn&rsquo;t take account of criminal history in hiring. Judge Sam Cummings found the agency had violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide the public with notice and the opportunity to comment on its decision. It also was a self-defeating policy, in terms of preventing discrimination. &ldquo;In the absence of better information,&rdquo; Civil Rights Commission member Peter Kirsanow noted, &ldquo;employers use race as a proxy for criminal history.&rdquo;</p> <div> <p> But why didn&rsquo;t the EEOC withdraw this misguided Obama-era rule on its own? Because Obama-era commissioners still run the show. The EEOC is a bipartisan commission led by five presidentially appointed members. Two seats are vacant, giving Democrats a 2-1 majority. President Trump has nominated two outstanding candidates to fill the vacancies and give the commission a 3-2 Republican majority.</p> <p> Chairman-designate Janet Dhillon is a lawyer and corporate executive&mdash;the sort of woman who would be celebrated as a feminist trailblazer if she were a progressive Democrat. In fact, she&rsquo;s a conservative stalwart. The other nominee, Daniel Gade, is a retired Army Ranger who lost his leg in combat in Iraq. He holds a doctorate in public policy and administration and has taught at West Point.</p> <p> These nominees should be shoo-ins. But as a condition for allowing their confirmation without lengthy debate, Democrats have insisted that Mr. Trump nominate Chai Feldblum for a third term, after her current term expires in July.</p> <div id="realtor"> Some Senate Republicans have understandably balked at confirming the very progressive Ms. Feldblum to another term. But this means that, rather than having a Republican majority on the EEOC commission, Ms. Feldblum and the other Democratic commissioner, Charlotte Burrows, are running the show. When Ms. Feldblum&rsquo;s term expires in July, she could continue to serve as a holdover for months, until a replacement is confirmed or the Senate adjourns.</div> <p> The Republicans who oppose making a deal are holding back what should be an era of aggressive reform at an important government agency. Employers large and small could be affected on matters ranging from religious liberty to data-collection requirements.</p> <p> With an uncertain majority after November, it&rsquo;s more important than ever that Senate Republicans appoint as many qualified conservative nominees as possible. The EEOC would be a good place to start.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> L. LukasWed, 21 Mar 2018 09:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPence praises Trump CIA pick<p> Vice President Pence on Tuesday praised Gina Haspel,&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="261287" href="">President Trump</a></span>&rsquo;s pick to be CIA director, calling her the right person to fill the &quot;vital role.&quot;</p> <p> &ldquo;I&#39;m very excited about it because I know Gina real well and I couldn&#39;t be more proud of her,&rdquo; Pence said in remarks at the <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Women&#39;s History Month Celebration hosted by the Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></strong></span></span>.</p> <p> &ldquo;Gina Haspel is stepping up to lead our nation in this vital role.&rdquo;</p> <p> Trump said Tuesday he intends to nominate Haspel to the top spot at the nation&#39;s spy agency after he ousted Secretary of State&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="344964" href="">Rex Tillerson</a></span>&nbsp;and tapped current CIA Director&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="188003" href="">Mike Pompeo</a></span>&nbsp;to take his post.</p> <p> If confirmed, Haspel will be the first woman to lead the CIA. But Haspel, who has been at the agency since 1985, is also facing scrutiny&nbsp;over her involvement in waterboarding and other torture techniques used on detainees at a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Independent Women&#39;s Forum, a conservative nonprofit group that focuses on women&#39;s economic issues, had awarded the vice president with the &ldquo;Working for Women&rdquo; award in 2017.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Pence cited women in leadership roles in the West Wing and throughout the administration. And he also commended women who are &ldquo;heroes each and every day&rdquo; in businesses and homes across the nation.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&#39;s the women of America who in every real sense throughout our history have lifted our communities, have lifted our families, have lifted our nation,&rdquo; Pence said.</p> <p> Pence also touted the GOP tax-reform bill and the 300,000 jobs created in February. He said the thriving economy would especially benefit women.</p> <p> &ldquo;Nearly 40 percent of entrepreneurs in America today are women,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And for them, and for all job creators, the actions that President Trump has been taking with strong partners in Congress are making growing a business easier than ever before.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;We&#39;re going to continue to work to expand opportunities for every American and for women across this country,&rdquo; Pence vowed.</p> <p> Also at the event was Sen.&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="347869" href="">Joni Ernst</a></span>&nbsp;(R-Iowa), who introduced Pence.</p> <p> She said the two had many similarities, citing their support for strong families and their Harley-Davidson motorcycles.</p> <p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m thinking if we get out of here on time and get the Secret Service out, we might actually grab a couple of those motorcycles and take them out for a spin,&rdquo; she joked.</p> L. LukasWed, 14 Mar 2018 15:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAt Women's History Month event, Mike Pence celebrates Gina Haspel's nomination<p> Vice President Mike Pence celebrated President Trump&#39;s pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency at Women&#39;s History Month event on Tuesday evening, hours after the commander in chief announced current CIA director Mike Pompeo was headed to the State Department.</p> <p> Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of<span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></strong></span></span> supporters gathered for the organization&#39;s lively Women&#39;s History Month reception in downtown Washington, Pence said, &quot;I hope you all noticed just this morning President Trump announced his plans to nominate the first woman to serve as ... director of the Central Intelligence Agency.&quot;</p> <p> The vice president offered a full-throated endorsement of the president&#39;s newly announced pick for the post, deputy CIA director Gina Haspel, seemingly going off script to note, &quot;I know Gina real well and I couldn&#39;t be more proud of her.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;I&#39;m real excited about it,&quot; Pence said. Haspel drew immediate opposition from Democrats on Tuesday for her implementation of the Bush-era enhanced interrogation technique program and alleged destruction of video footage relating to it.</p> <p> Throughout his remarks at the gathering of conservative faithfuls, Pence emphasized Trump&#39;s focus on women&#39;s causes, insisting attendees &quot;have a friend in the White House,&quot; and reaffirming the administration&#39;s belief that &quot;all issues are women&#39;s issues.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;Women in America are making history every single day,&quot; he insisted.</p> <p> Pence focused heavily on the economy&#39;s impact on women, noting that &quot;women are graduating from college and getting advanced degrees in record numbers,&quot; and arguing women are &quot;driving our economy through entrepreneurship and innovation as never before.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;The growing economy is great news for every American, but it&#39;s especially great news for women in the workforce in this country,&quot; he declared, adding that &quot;nearly 40 percent of entrepreneurs in America today are women.&quot;</p> <p> Throughout his remarks, the vice president listed off a number of Republican women serving in the administration and in Congress, from United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who introduced him at the event. Pence&#39;s mention of White House adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump drew especially loud applause from the crowd. He also made sure to laud historical figures including both Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony.</p> <p> On policy matters, Pence told the crowd the Trump administration is &quot;going to deliver paid family leave.&quot;</p> <p> Speaking as &quot;the proud dad of two extraordinarily strong and independent young women&quot; who were &quot;raised by a professional woman themselves,&quot; the vice president concluded on an optimistic note. &quot;I truly do believe that for all the contributions that America&#39;s women have made &mdash; a long and storied history in this country &mdash; the women of this country have only just begun,&quot; said Pence.</p> L. LukasWed, 14 Mar 2018 11:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWelcoming a Real Education Marketplace<p> Parents worrying about the costs of college are always looking for evidence that the&nbsp;<a href="">higher-education bubble</a>&nbsp;may finally burst. This&nbsp;<em><a href="">Wall Street Journal</a></em>&nbsp;article highlights trends that provide some hope toward that end. College tuition is still unlikely to drop meaningfully anytime soon, but it appears that the higher-education marketplace is becoming more competitive, and unproductive providers are beginning to suffer:</p> <blockquote> <p> According to an analysis of 20 years of freshman-enrollment data at 1,040 of the 1,052 schools listed in&nbsp;<a href=";ef_id=WRDX_AAAAHijrELx:20180220222010:s">The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking</a>, U.S. not-for-profit colleges and universities are segregating into winners and losers &mdash; with winners growing and expanding and losers seeing the first signs of a death spiral.</p> <p> The Journal ranking, which includes most major public and private colleges with more than 1,000 students, focused on how well a college prepares students for life after graduation. The analysis found that the closer to the bottom of the ranking a school was, the more likely its enrollment was shrinking.</p> </blockquote> <p> Undoubtedly, some members of Congress and other government officials at the federal and state level will be under pressure to intercede on behalf of colleges that are struggling financially. They should resist. In fact, policymakers and the public should welcome the decline and even elimination of higher-education institutions that aren&rsquo;t performing. Creative destruction is never pretty &mdash; it&rsquo;s sad to see any business have to scale back or shut its doors &mdash; but this is the best way for customers to see an improvement in value.</p> <aside> <div style="margin-left:auto;"> <p> The shake out in the traditional college and university sector will accelerate as new education paradigms continue to come online and meet the needs of students, at all ages, who are looking for an education that will make them more employable. That often doesn&rsquo;t requiring investing $100,000 in a traditional four-year degree.&nbsp;<a href="">Computer-code schools</a>&nbsp;and boot camps are working directly with employers to train people for jobs that are currently unfilled. Other for-profit higher-learning institutions offer similar skills-based training using a variety of instructional methods that better serve nontraditional students.</p> </div> </aside> <p> This is great news to parents and to anyone concerned about how the workforce will fare with our rapidly changing economy. The marketplace has the potential to address these needs &mdash; if we let it work.</p> L. LukasMon, 5 Mar 2018 09:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum