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 Off Than Four Years Ago? Reagan’s Question in 2016<p> President Reagan famously asked Americans, &ldquo;Are you better off than you were four years ago?&rdquo; when seeking their vote for his reelection in 1984. That slogan has been repeated by many candidates since, typically as a way to encourage audiences to focus on the economy: Are you earning more, do you have a better job, and are you better able to afford everyday necessities than before?</p> <p> Yet, today, finances don&rsquo;t seem to drive the answer to that question.</p> <p> Certainly, today&rsquo;s economy provides plenty of frustrations. Official unemployment is down, but too many people are underemployed in jobs that don&rsquo;t use their skills or education and aren&rsquo;t putting them on their desired career path. Wages are stagnating, and while the Obama Administration insists inflation remains low, groceries seem more expensive than ever and the exploding costs of college, health care, and housing in many parts of the country make people feel like they are treading water, at best.</p> <p> Yet these financial doldrums don&rsquo;t explain the nagging pessimism that seems to have settled on America. Gallup just <a href="">reported</a> that only 28 percent of Americans say they are &ldquo;satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.&rdquo; One might assume that this is just a reaction to the ugly political fight that&rsquo;s dominated the news during recent months, but this response rate has been pretty consistent throughout the Obama presidency, and started at the end of the last Bush term. As Gallup put it, &ldquo;Satisfaction remains significantly below the historical average of 37% since Gallup began measuring it in 1979.&rdquo;</p> <p> The economy has had some relative ups and downs during those years, but the overall perception of the direction of the country has remained bleak. Part of the problem is likely the sense that our country is fragmenting. For all of the talk of &ldquo;hope&rdquo; and &ldquo;change&rdquo; when President Obama took office, today our country is more divided than ever. According to a Rasmussen Poll, 60 percent of Americans believe race relations are worse today than they were eight years ago. Just 9 percent think they are better.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not just police shootings and race riots that suggest racial tensions are getting worse, but college campuses seem increasingly paralyzed by how to navigate racial issues and other social considerations. The college experience is supposed to be one that encourages students to learn how to grapple with sensitive subjects and explore different perspectives. Yet colleges no longer seem capable of facilitating thoughtful discourse and instead seem to be feeding anxieties about gender, sexuality and racial issues, leaving students fearful of being offended or giving offense and crippling the healthy give-and-take of freewheeling academic debate.</p> <p> Parents and students already frustrated with exploding college costs are understandably even more frustrated when so little of what goes on on college campus seems to be about actual knowledge acquisition or skill attainment. Gallup found that while half of college graduates strongly agreed that their education was worth the costs, just 37 percent of those who graduated between 2006 and 2015 expressed the same satisfaction. That&rsquo;s a pretty sad situation: Most of these recent graduates are still paying down their considerable college loans, which means that they will be paying for their education&mdash;one that most don&rsquo;t even think was worth the money&mdash;for years to come.</p> <p> Americans are known for their optimism, but today most aren&rsquo;t confident that there&rsquo;s a bright future ahead for the next generation. A CNN/Money <a href="">survey</a> found that 56 percent of Americans believe that the next generation will be worse off than them financially. Yet most parents aren&rsquo;t just anxious about their kids&rsquo; ability to make a living, but about what kind of community they will be living in and what kind of relationships they will have. One report found that six out of ten parents believe their teenagers are addicted to technology (half of the teens agreed) and one-third of parents and teens argue daily about their technology use. And that technology use is pretty overwhelming. Eight out of ten teens check their mobile devices hourly, and seven out of ten of the parents admitted to being just as hooked. With technology crowding out human interaction, it&rsquo;s little wonder that three-quarters of Americans who took part in a recent Associated Press <a href="">survey</a> believed that, overall, manners and behavior were on the decline.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s a pretty bleak picture, and one that won&rsquo;t change even if economic growth were to tick up an extra percentage point or two. Certainly a growing economy and a healthier job market would restore some feeling of optimism&mdash;the central American belief that working hard and getting ahead is still a real possibility in America today. But rebuilding a more positive culture&mdash;no easy feat&mdash;is the real key to getting America back on the right track. Whatever the outcome of this election, it&rsquo;s clear that many Americans have already answered in the negative Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s question: Are you better off than you were four years ago?</p> L. LukasMon, 17 Oct 2016 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Ivanka Trump’s Comments on Motherhood are Driving the Left Crazy<p> Acknowledging the important work done by moms sounds like about as uncontroversial a move as a politician could make. Yet when the pro-mom statement is uttered by the daughter of the Republican candidate for President, it can set off internet fireworks.</p> <p> In a recent thirty-second campaign ad, Ivanka Trump introduces herself as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, and outlines her father&rsquo;s agenda, which she describes as helping families and working moms. It&rsquo;s not those policy suggestions that are now creating headlines and controversy. Rather it&rsquo;s her simple opening statement: &ldquo;The most important job any woman can have is being a mother.&rdquo;</p> <p> In New York magazine, writer Laura June <a href="">explains</a> the sinister implication of those words:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>What that sentence really means is that Ivanka&mdash;and by extension, her father, whose platform the video was created to advertise&mdash;thinks that&nbsp;all&nbsp;women should have children, because it&rsquo;s &ldquo;the most important job for them&rdquo; . . . . Saying that women&rsquo;s most important job in life is motherhood suggests that women without children are lacking not just children, but a true calling in life.</em></p> <p> Slate&rsquo;s Christina Cauterucci is similarly <a href="">appalled</a>:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>This is a surprisingly dismissive opening line for a video meant to capture the support of working mothers, who presumably invest a great deal of time and energy in their paying, non-maternal jobs. It seems she&rsquo;s already given up on working women without children, whose lives are bereft of the meaning and importance their reproductive capacities were meant to provide. One wonders, in Trump&rsquo;s estimation, what a man&rsquo;s &ldquo;most important job&rdquo; might be.</em></p> <p> It&rsquo;s a stretch to read anything more into this simple statement other than that Ivanka Trump wanted mothers to know that she values the work they do as caretakers. After all, the left often laments that women take on a greater share of the parenting and housework, both of which are unpaid jobs, which means that it&rsquo;s especially important that we find other ways to acknowledge and appreciate the value that these women provide for society by taking on these roles. Outside of the political lens, such kind words of acknowledgment are a commonsense courtesy. Calling mothering &ldquo;the most important job&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t take away from the critical importance of other jobs women do. It&rsquo;s simply shorthand for saying that, even though mothering doesn&rsquo;t come with promotions and pay raises, it&rsquo;s important work too.</p> <p> If all political communications mentioning mothers were scrutinized like Ivanka&rsquo;s, then plenty of others are also guilty of belittling one group over another. Hillary Clinton, for example, recently wrote &ldquo;An Open Letter to Working Mothers&rdquo; that praises their importance to society and offers her own slate of policy ideas that she claims will ease their burdens:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>Working moms have had their fill of insults and condescension. You&rsquo;re out there making sacrifices for your families every day . . . Working moms are our doctors, our teachers, and the drivers who keep us safe on long road trips through warm Summer nights. And while you&rsquo;re working hard to fulfill your dreams&mdash;and to help your kids achieve theirs&mdash;I&rsquo;ll never stop fighting for you.</em></p> <p> If the writers at Slate and New York magazine were as hungry to find offense in Hillary&rsquo;s words, they&rsquo;d have plenty to work with here. After all, fathers aren&rsquo;t included in the address. Does this mean Mrs. Clinton doesn&rsquo;t think dads should also be involved in raising kids? And what about women without children? Doesn&rsquo;t she appreciate that many of them are also acting as caretakers and making sacrifices for their families? Stay-at-home moms can find their own insults: Does Clinton think they aren&rsquo;t also working hard and trying to fulfill their own dreams? Isn&rsquo;t Clinton going to fight for them too?</p> <p> A double standard in how conservatives and liberals are assessed, especially as they relate to women, is nothing new. And it seems that Ivanka Trump provokes particular ire, perhaps because she doesn&rsquo;t fall into liberal&rsquo;s cartoonish vision of conservative women. She&rsquo;s a (perhaps annoyingly beautiful) working mother of three, who is proactively talking about issues like childcare and family leave, subjects that heretofore have been exclusively the terrain of the left. That, not her praise for the value of mothering, is likely what is really bothering the left.</p> L. LukasThu, 6 Oct 2016 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum'Equal Pay': Another Area for Government Meddling<p> As the presidential campaign has dragged on, it&rsquo;s become more clear that Hillary Clinton is simply offering to extend the utter failure of Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration. Whether coincidental or not, days after Hillary opened her debate with Donald Trump by pledging to &ldquo;guarantee, finally, equal pay for women&rsquo;s work,&rdquo; the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) <a href="">announced</a> it would begin collecting data from businesses on that very subject in March 2018. Never mind the <a href="">facts about the supposed pay gap</a> when there&rsquo;s regulation to be had.</p> <p> In its announcement, the EEOC fired a warning shot across the bow of those businesses required to file, noting, &ldquo;The new data will improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps.&rdquo; EEOC Chair Jenny Yang echoed this, adding, &ldquo;Collecting pay data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices.&rdquo; This new policy will affect the thousands of businesses that have 100 or more employees as well as federal contractors and subcontractors that employ 50 or more.</p> <p> These regulations are the offspring of a perennially failed congressional bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act, and as onetime Department of Labor chief economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth <a href="">argued</a>, they would put &ldquo;an enormous compliance burden on businesses,&rdquo; forcing them to categorize and report on 14 different gender, race and ethnicity groups in 12 pay bands and 10 occupational categories. &ldquo;When the Obama administration decides to collect countless thousands of new data points, it has a purpose in mind,&rdquo; adds Furchtgott-Roth. &ldquo;Not much imagination is required to see that the plan here is to give Washington new powers to police the workforce.&rdquo; Substitute &ldquo;Clinton&rdquo; for &ldquo;Obama&rdquo; and the result would be the same: Beltway bureaucrats browbeating business once again.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Moreover, these broad wage reporting categories could take a lot of arrangements that are convenient to working mothers off the table, </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">contends</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. She points out that working moms &ldquo;sometimes intentionally negotiate a lower salary with the understanding that they would have the ability to work from home, won&rsquo;t have to travel, or could adjust work schedules to match their children&rsquo;s school calendar.&rdquo; But with this negotiated and agreed-to lower salary simply seen as an entry on a government form, the EEOC could justify the case to swoop in after a &ldquo;random&rdquo; check and force the company to conform to its demands.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> According to one source, however, &ldquo;There are a lot of reasons for the gap, including the types of work women and men typically do. Women dominate fields like teaching and clerical work, which tend to pay less than male-dominated fields. Women are also the majority of low-wage and minimum-wage workers.&rdquo; Oddly enough, that nugget is from <a href="">Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s website</a>. But that obvious truth has been buried for political gain, resulting in the phony &ldquo;women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes&rdquo; <a href="">narrative</a>.</p> <p> Meanwhile, the prospect of even more red tape and the implied threat of Uncle Sam&rsquo;s heavy hand of compliance weighing down the bottom line comes at a time when the overall economy is practically <a href="">stuck in neutral</a>, with annual growth so far this year hovering around a measly 1%. And the Congressional Budget Office cautions that <a href="">slow economic growth &mdash; just 2% annually &mdash; will be the norm</a> <em>for the next decade</em>, blaming the anemic increase in the labor force and its productivity. But the CBO also gives the game away: &ldquo;In addition to demographic factors, that [labor force] projection reflects CBO&rsquo;s judgment that some people will decide to work somewhat less because of federal tax and spending policies that are set in current law.&rdquo; And that doesn&rsquo;t count the new regulations the Left continues to dream up. In the case of the &ldquo;wage gap&rdquo; regulations, for example, companies may think long and hard about hiring that 100th person or taking that federal contract if they are in the 50-to-99 category.</p> <p> It used to be that a small business was free to grow and prosper indefinitely, but now these startups have to worry about compliance with burdensome measures like ObamaCare and the Family and Medical Leave Act once they reach the plateau of just 50 employees. This could prevent a marketable business from being more than a local retailer, hold back a factory from adding another shift to increase production, or discourage an energy company from investing in equipment for exploration as they&rsquo;re unable to justify the overhead on the needed labor. America needs production from entrepreneurs to add the economic value that will truly boost our GDP and growth, but the only growth industry these days seems to be Big Government. The lesson: when business is good for government, it&rsquo;s pretty bad for the rest of us.</p> L. LukasFri, 30 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumInstead of Wallowing in Regret, Unhappy Moms Should Reshape Their Roles<p> Marie Claire&rsquo;s article, &ldquo;<a href="">Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They&rsquo;d Never Had Kids</a>,&rdquo; is going viral on social media. That&rsquo;s no surprise: People tend to have fierce opinions when it comes to motherhood, and many people are all too happy to tell others how selfish they are and what lousy mothers they must be. The regretful mothers have their cheerleaders too, people who see them as brave victims of a society that still dumps all the parenting on women&rsquo;s shoulders.</p> <p> Yet, for all the hype and controversy, it doesn&rsquo;t seem all that shocking that some mothers say that, if they could do it over again, they wouldn&rsquo;t have children. The article highlights a flurry of books and social media groups catering to regretful moms, but acknowledges it&rsquo;s still a small market: The one poll cited found that 8 percent of those surveyed regretted becoming parents.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a shame to think of anyone regretting having children, but given all of the difficulties associated with parenting, it&rsquo;s inevitable that some will feel remorse. Parenting not only entails significant sacrifices of time, money, and emotional energy, but there&rsquo;s also no guarantee how it will all turn out. Parents of a surly, disobedient teen may feel unappreciated, like their investment of time and resources has been for naught; parents of a young adult who is estranged, or involved in crime or substance abuse, may feel regret. And, yes, overwhelmed parents of troublesome toddlers&mdash;with their endless demands&mdash;may also wish they could go back in time.</p> <p> We can hope that these regrets will be temporary and that life circumstances and relationships will evolve so that people ultimately feel their investment in parenting was worth it. After all, the flipside of that 8 percent statistic is that nine out of ten don&rsquo;t regret becoming parents, a pretty strong showing. However, just as there is a &ldquo;natural unemployment rate&rdquo; with a certain share of people always switching jobs or out of work, even in the best of circumstances, there will always be some regretful parents.</p> <p> Marie Claire plays up how these women are bravely thwarting social norms by expressing their dissatisfaction, while acknowledging that this may be as much a tribute to the internet age, when everything imaginable has a Facebook group one can join and taboos are routinely broken. Yet in an era when being a victim is often a badge of honor, there doesn&rsquo;t seem much particularly brave about these women giving voice to their complaints. In fact, a lack of bravery appeared to be a root problem for many of these regretful moms.</p> <p> According to the article, society&rsquo;s impossible expectations weigh on these moms:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>Women are now expected to lean in both at work and at home, never missing a board meeting or ballet recital. A 2015 study found that&nbsp;American mothers&nbsp;now spend 13.7 hours a week with their children, compared to 10.5 hours in 1965&ndash;even though a significantly larger percentage of mothers also now work outside of the home. The combination, for many, is exhausting.</em></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s mom is a domestic throwback to the &rsquo;50s, combined with the &rsquo;80s-era working mom,&rdquo; says Avital Norman Nathman, editor of&nbsp;The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality. At every stage, she says, there are expectations for the right way to mother.</em></p> <p> One survey cited in the article found that twice as many moms as dads report feeling <a href="">judged</a> as parents by strangers.</p> <p> Certainly, it seems unfair that women feel such pressure to live up to an idealized version of motherhood, but ultimately it&rsquo;s up to women how much power we give these outsiders and their expectations. One mom featured by Marie Claire lamented the drudgery of life as a stay-at-home mom, pining for her career girl days. But isn&rsquo;t the solution to her problem obvious? Look for a job and find a caretaker for her child. That&rsquo;s not always possible, of course, and single moms inevitably juggle the most, but there is no reason why these women should miserably succumb to the peer pressure of trying to meet others&rsquo; mothering standards. They need to make sure that their children are well cared for&mdash;loved, kept safe and encouraged&mdash;but otherwise should figure out their own role in this process. Plenty of women have broken the mold as moms, choosing to outsource aspects of parentings that they can&rsquo;t or don&rsquo;t want to do, and raised healthy children. Considering such alternatives would be far more positive and empowering than commiserating on regretful mom chat groups.</p> <p> Life is about making choices. Inevitably, people end up wondering where&nbsp;alternative paths might have been. And, as the grass-is-always-greener clich&eacute; goes, those frustrated with the daily grind of parenting may romanticize carefree childlessness now, but if they didn&rsquo;t have kids, they might be equal dissatisfied and fantasizing about the fulfillment of parenthood.</p> <p> In other words, as <a href="">IWF&rsquo;s Sabrina Schaeffer</a> put it, these women may very well have been unhappy regardless of their choice about having children. They blame their dissatisfaction with their life circumstances on their kids, but plenty of people, parents and nonparents, especially as they age, lament missed opportunities and wish we&rsquo;d spent our time and talents differently.</p> <p> Having children isn&rsquo;t the right choice for everyone&mdash;and some women will always regret having kids just as others <a href=";pg=PT120&amp;lpg=PT120&amp;dq=carrie+lukas+childlessness+regret&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=XAUsJuz6NP&amp;sig=na79eBPKi1y33xMEyPOkSe_h-HY&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjojKjanrXPAhULiRoKHUzlDzYQ6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&amp;q=carrie%20lukas%20childlessness%20regret&amp;f=false">regret not having</a> them&mdash;but learning to make the most with the choices we&rsquo;ve made is the best we all can do.</p> L. LukasFri, 30 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMore Government Data Collection Is Another Knock on Workplace Flexibility<p> The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just announced that, as of March 2018, some employers will be required to provide additional data on compensation, in an effort to help them identify pay discrimination and close the wage gap.&nbsp;</p> <p> It sounds harmless enough &ndash; just another few lines in already laborious reporting requirements for companies.&nbsp; Yet this is more than just a little extra red tape (and it&rsquo;s actually quite a bit of extra red tape, as IWF&rsquo;s Charlotte Hays explains).</p> <p> The EEOC may sincerely hope that employers will react to this new requirement by ending discriminatory pay practices, but most employers already aren&rsquo;t discriminating against their employees based on sex or race, and the pay differentials that exist do so for a business reason. &nbsp;The threat of additional EEOC scrutiny, however, means they will have a new incentive to standardize their compensation practice to stamp out these legitimate differences in pay between employees.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not just that employers may stop rewarding employees for greater productivity, longer work hours, additional duties, or years of experience. &nbsp;They also may also stop offering some workplace flexibility.&nbsp; Women&ndash;particularly working mothers who tend to place a high value on flexibility and are often willing to trade higher pay for a flexible schedule&mdash;sometimes intentionally negotiate&nbsp;a lower salary with the understanding that they would have the ability to work from home, won&rsquo;t have to travel, or could adjust work schedules to match their children&rsquo;s school calendar.&nbsp; They may know that their compensation package is a win-win for employer and worker, but the human resource manager and legal team will now have to worry about whether the EEOC will also be able to see that from the bare numbers on a form. The natural decision for businesses that want to avoid legal hassles will be to ax nontraditional work arrangements in favor of a one-size-fits-all policy.&nbsp;</p> <p> The best protection for workers isn&rsquo;t more bureaucratic oversight, but a growing economy.&nbsp; This move by the EEOC is bad for the economy, and ultimately bad for women.</p> L. LukasThu, 29 Sep 2016 11:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama Administration Announces Paid Sick Leave For Government Contractors — And A New Policy To Address Pay Disparities<p> The Obama administration announced Thursday two new rules it says will boost working families. Starting next year, federal government contractors must provide paid sick leave to workers, and large companies must report to the government how they pay employees by race and gender.</p> <p> The updates reflect the needs of the modern workforce, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said, and are designed to lift the country&rsquo;s struggling breadwinners.&nbsp;Opponents of both measures say they overburden businesses&nbsp;and could threaten jobs.</p> <p> &ldquo;To build a 21st-century workplace that is globally competitive,&rdquo; Jarrett&nbsp;said, &ldquo;employers must adopt 21st-century workplace policies.&rdquo;</p> <p> The paid sick leave mandate, which will affect only government-solicited contracts, will reach about 1.1 million workers, allowing them to accrue up to seven days of compensated time off each year, according to the Labor Department. Eligible employees would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 they work.</p> <p> Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said families that lose a day or two of wages risk slipping into poverty. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the difference between food on the table,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and gas in the tank.&rdquo;</p> <p> The measure comes a year after President Obama first signed an executive order compelling federal contractors to provide paid sick leave and seven months after the Labor Department released a draft of the directive. Perez said the White House will&nbsp;keep pushing to open the benefit to all workers.</p> <p> &ldquo;Paid sick leave is not simply a family imperative,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an economic imperative and a public health imperative.&rdquo;</p> <p> The Labor Department estimates supplying the leave will annually cost, on average, $349.5 million</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, a right-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., said workers will ultimately absorb the bill. &quot;We recognize that all Americans - men and women - need to take time off from work to address personal matters,&rdquo; she said in a statement Thursday, &ldquo;But there are tradeoffs between more benefits and take-home pay. Some workers may prefer having more money in their paychecks rather than guaranteed paid time off.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Paid leave advocates view the program as an investment, one that will keep workers productive and healthy.</p> <p> During the 2008 H1NI outbreak, for example, approximately 7 million people caught the bug and 1,500 died because contagious employees didn&rsquo;t stay home, according to the American Public Health Association.&nbsp;An August study from the Swiss Economic Institute&rsquo;s Stefan Pichler and Cornell University&rsquo;s Nicolas Ziebarth, found that U.S. cities that adopted paid sick leave over the last decade &mdash; including San Francisco and Washington, D.C. &mdash; saw flu rates drop an average of 5 percent.</p> <p> The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, meanwhile, will begin collecting summary pay data from employers with more than 100 workers, requesting information about employee compensation by sex, race, ethnicity and job category.&nbsp;The requirement,<a href=""> first proposed in January</a>, adds a task to paperwork such companies annually file to the government, EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said.</p> <p> &quot;Pay discrimination often goes undetected because of a lack of information about how people are paid,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t let equality be left to chance.&rdquo;</p> <p> The EEOC will publicly release the aggregated data in a yearly&nbsp;report, showing the average pay for workers across sectors, industries and regions. The numbers are meant to help managers assess how they set pay and inform employees during the negotiation process. The reporting deadline for 2017 will be March 31, 2018.</p> <p> Although Obama promoted equal pay for equal work early in his administration, the average wages between men and women haven&#39;t much changed. In 2008, female workers took home 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. That ratio today stands at 79 cents for every dollar, dropping to 64 cents for black women and 56 cents for Hispanic women.</p> <p> A January study from Cornell economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn found that industry and occupation choices account for nearly half of the country&rsquo;s gender wage gap. Thirty-eight percent of the chasm, however, remains &ldquo;unexplained,&rdquo; they wrote, suggesting that discrimination could drive disparities.</p> <p> Some members of the business community disagreed with how the government plans to tackle this issue, arguing pay data&nbsp;would be difficult to gather and could be easily misread.&nbsp;After the&nbsp;EEOC rule was unveiled, Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that, though the organization supports equal pay for equal work, the measure &quot;would place unnecessary and onerous burdens on employers while providing no meaningful insight.&quot;</p> L. LukasThu, 29 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThese 17 Policy Reforms For Millennial Women Are Flame<p> Regardless of which political party they identify with or which presidential candidate they support, poll after poll has found what millennials really want: affordable education and more job opportunities.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Two conservative women&rsquo;s organizations &mdash; the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) and the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) &mdash; have recently released a set of 17 policy reforms aimed at improving the circumstances of young Americans, without suggesting the government give anything away for &ldquo;free.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The goal behind&nbsp;</span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Working for Young Women</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;is to highlight to millennials how there are better policies that will provide them with more and better opportunities,&rdquo; said IWF managing director Carrie Lukas. &ldquo;Instead of creating top-down reforms or expanding government programs, policymakers need better policies that create the conditions for a growing economy that offers a variety of jobs, make life more affordable, and help young people get on sound financial footing so they can plan for the future.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Among the 17 suggested policy reforms included in the report, there are several proposals that address college affordability and student loan debt.</p> <p> The report combats plans to make college tuition-free, which&nbsp;would shift costs to taxpayers, and would&nbsp;not necessarily&nbsp;improve graduation rates.</p> <p> &ldquo;While proposals to make college tuition-free may be well-intended, the reality is that these plans would destroy the important incentives that help students make responsible decisions and hold colleges accountable to their customers,&rdquo; the report says.</p> <p> Instead, the report proposes policies that would hold colleges accountable for their spending habits and for the students who default on their loans; drive competition through affordable online learning options; and create &ldquo;Education Savings Accounts&rdquo; that could be used for K-12 education, college, and beyond. The report also suggests allowing private lenders to set a market-based pricing system for interest rates on student loans, and amending the tax code to allow employers to offer a tax-free educational debt-repayment benefit.</p> <p> The report is an expanded version of IWF&rsquo;s <a href="">Working for Women</a> report <a href="">released earlier this year</a>. It&nbsp;also includes proposals to reform the&nbsp;health care system, and ensure equal pay and affordable child care. Some of the recommendations include:</p> <p> &ndash; Create &ldquo;Personal Care Accounts&rdquo; to encourage employees to save&nbsp;for leave time</p> <p> &ndash; Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act</p> <p> &ndash; Unlink health insurance from employment</p> <p> &ndash; Eliminate regulations that make day care expensive</p> <p> &ndash; Strengthen equal pay protections</p> <p> Read more <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p> &ldquo;This report offers students a different approach than what they normally hear on campus on everything from higher education to the economy,&rdquo; said NeW Founder Karin Agness. &ldquo;These policies are about returning power to individuals and creating a more flexible, dynamic society.&rdquo;</p> L. LukasWed, 28 Sep 2016 11:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTime For Conservatives To Make Their Case To College Women<p> Candidates all want to gain the support of young voters, which is no easy task. &nbsp;Savvy and a little cynical, Millennials don&rsquo;t just want to hear campaign platitudes; they want to be inspired and to hear a positive vision of where our country is headed. &nbsp;</p> <p> Progressives have largely dominated the conversation about politics and public policies with young people, particularly with young women. &nbsp;But it doesn&rsquo;t have to be that way: &nbsp;Conservative policy reforms would be a boon to young people, including young women. &nbsp;Not only would reducing government red tape and unleashing the market lead to greater prosperity, but it would also lead to a more dynamic, flexible and more just society. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s time conservatives aggressively make that case.</p> <p> Consider the challenges that young people are facing today. &nbsp;Yes, the unemployment rate has gone down, but that&rsquo;s in part because workers &ndash; including young workers &ndash; have been giving up on finding employment and <a href="">dropping out of the workforce</a>. &nbsp;And even those fortunate enough to have jobs are often in positions that fail to put them on the career path that they want. &nbsp;In fact, in 2014, more than four in ten recent college graduates worked in jobs that didn&rsquo;t require a college degree. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s up from the historical norm of one in three.</p> <p> T his is particularly bad news for those who have taken out massive student loans to finance their education. &nbsp;Today, seven out of every ten students graduates with a loan, and the average amount owed accedes $30,000. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s a lot of money, especially when most young workers are barely scraping by. &nbsp;Unsurprisingly, only about 37 percent of borrowers are actively paying down their student loans. &nbsp;This debt burden holds many young people back; they are less likely to be able to live on their own, buy a car or house, or start a family. &nbsp;And their diminished opportunities ripple through the economy, depriving businesses of what would otherwise be important potential consumers.</p> <p> Progressive express concern about young people&rsquo;s challenges, but ignore how their policies drive these problems. &nbsp;Policymakers may have hoped that subsidizing colleges through direct aid, special loan programs, or scholarships would bring down costs for students and families. &nbsp;Yet we now know from decades of experience that school administrators see these subsidies as an opportunity to increase prices, which is why the cost of attending colleges has more than doubled after adjusting for inflation over the last thirty years. &nbsp;</p> <p> Conservatives have sound ideas for how to address this problem. &nbsp;For example, requiring public (taxpayer-funded) colleges and universities to make educational materials available online and to allow students to take tests and receive credit for attaining skills, for example, would give dedicated students the ability to get an education without paying for luxury of on-campus living. This would give students more affordable learning options and encourage colleges to focus more on their core educational mission. &nbsp;</p> <p> Conservatives also need to explain how many of the Left&rsquo;s attempts to create jobs backfire and corrupt our economic system. &nbsp;Green energy initiatives and other government spending is advanced in the name of creating jobs and saving the world, but these programs are often crony capitalism at its worst. &nbsp;Money flows to politically-connected businesses, which waste taxpayer resources and fail to create sustainable jobs. &nbsp;The red tape created by Washington ironically benefits big corporations that can afford lawyers to navigate those rules, while crushing smaller establishments. Conservatives know that the best, fairest way to create jobs is to cut unnecessary regulations and get government out of the business of picking winners and losers.</p> <p> Millennials place a high value on flexibility. &nbsp;In fact, a 2015 study of Millennials found that they are more willing than other generations to pass up a promotion, change jobs, take a pay cut, or even change careers in order to gain greater flexibility in their jobs. &nbsp;Conservatives should point out how mandated employment regulations are the enemy of true flexibility. &nbsp;In a vacuum, requiring businesses to pay workers more, provide paid leave benefits and health insurance may sound like a boon to workers. &nbsp;Yet these mandates destroy jobs and encourage business to adopt Washington&rsquo;s one-size-fits-all employment rules, discouraging companies from offering less traditional work arrangements, such as working from home or using flexible schedules. &nbsp;</p> <p> Conservatives want workers to have real freedom and flexibility to find employment situations that work for them. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s why they support commonsense ideas like reforming the Fair Labor Standards Act. This Depression Era law imposes onerous rules about how employers must track hours worked and antiquated job classifications that hardly make sense in the modern world.</p> <p> Conservatives don&rsquo;t just need slick ads or social media campaigns &ndash; when reaching out to the young Americans, they can lead with their policy vision which would create a fairer, more dynamic society with greater opportunity and more freedom for people like them.</p> <p> <em>Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, which just released <a href="">Working for YOUNG Women: &nbsp;A Modern Agenda for Improving Millennial Women&rsquo;s Lives.</a></em></p> L. LukasTue, 27 Sep 2016 13:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumReport: Working For Young Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Millennial Women's Lives<p> <strong>We all want young people to succeed</strong> in living out their dreams &ndash; whether those dreams are to go to college, start a small business, become a company CEO, buy a house, get married or start a family.<br /> <br /> Progressives have largely dominated the conversation about politics and public policies with young people, particularly with young women. But it doesn&rsquo;t have to be that way: <strong>Conservative policy reforms would be a boon to young people, including young women. </strong><br /> <br /> <strong>The Independent Women&#39;s Forum and The Network of enlightened Women offers this Working for <em>Young</em> Women Agenda</strong> to help young Americans achieve their dreams by creating the conditions that promote a fairer, more dynamic society with greater opportunity and more freedom for people like them.</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="385" scrolling="no" seamless="seamless" src="//;bgcolor=EEEEEE&amp;t=1474914551" width="640"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><a href=""><strong>DOWNLOAD THE REPORT &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong></a></span></p> L. LukasMon, 26 Sep 2016 13:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew Study: Paid Leave Policy Can Be A Winning Issue for Conservatives<p> Americans are concerned when they hear that some workers don&rsquo;t have paid leave benefits where they work. After all, we all need time away from work, when you get sick, need to care for a family member, or have a new baby. In most other countries, such benefits are guaranteed, so many people ask: Why not here?</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no wonder that liberal politicians confidently promote their proposals that they claim will solve this problem for all American workers. Hillary Clinton proposes requiring that all businesses must provide twelve weeks of paid leave, while other leading Democrats support the government taking over the provision of paid leave entirely, by creating a new entitlement program that would pay workers when they have to take time off from work. Conservatives often assume that this issue is a political minefield for them: Pointing out the enormous costs and economic downsides of the progressive approach will only make them seem indifferent to the hardship people&mdash;particularly women with lower income&mdash;face.</p> <p> Yet new research shows that, with messaging done right, this issue could be a winner for conservatives. The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and Evolving Strategies recently undertook a research project to explore people&rsquo;s understanding of the paid leave issue and tradeoffs of a variety of government proposals. This research reveals that most Americans understand that government proposals come with tradeoffs and are open to the message that too-good-to-be-true promises tend to be just that. And in fact, a conservative, market-based approach to the paid leave issues actually had greater support than the traditional liberal approach.</p> <p> When people were asked without any additional information about the impact of these policy ideas, overwhelming majorities supported both the market-based approach of using Personal Care Accounts (PCAs) to allow workers to save tax-free for time off from work (84%) and the popular liberal approach of using a universal paid leave mandate to require all employers to provide paid leave (76%). When asked which policy they preferred of the two, 49% already preferred PCAs over the employer benefit mandate. And when people heard the conservative arguments against the employer mandate, support for the progressive approach dropped considerably.</p> <p> One group of those surveyed heard a message that highlighted how proponents of an employment mandate ignore the real costs that their proposal would create. The implications for business were explained: These mandates create new costs for employers, which would mean they would have to reduce pay, cut jobs and hours, or could go out of business, all of which is bad news for workers. Under a new mandate, people could expect lower take-home pay, and fewer job options. After learning about the downsides tradeoffs of the employer mandate, support for the mandate fell by nearly 20 percentage points and the percentage of people preferring PCAs over the mandate rose by 9 percentage points. The impact of this message was greatest among women, with the share of women preferring PCAs rising by 11 points.</p> <p> Another group heard a different message on the risks associated with the new mandate, in particular the risk that this mandate could backfire on that that we all most want to help, by reducing the number of jobs and take-home pay, particularly for women and those with lower income. This led to a 15 percentage point drop in support for the mandate and a 9 percentage point increase in support for conservative PCA proposal over the liberal approach.</p> <p> This should encourage conservatives not to shy away from discussing this important policy issue.&nbsp;The public wants politicians to be honest about the downsides, as well as the upsides, to government actions. Conservatives can emphasize that they aren&rsquo;t merely the party of &ldquo;no&rdquo; and don&rsquo;t oppose progressive solutions because they are indifferent to people&rsquo;s challenges. Rather they are concerned that these proposals will make matters worse, rather than better, for those who are already struggling.&nbsp; Conservatives&rsquo; market-based alternative policy solutions have a natural appeal to Americans, once they hear that these ideas even exist.</p> <p> This research project focused exclusively on the paid leave issue, but the findings have implications for other areas as well.&nbsp; Conservatives have a positive case to make when it comes to other employment mandates and welfare policy. It makes sense to people when they hear that new benefits come with costs, and are willing to reconsider their positions based on this new information. Conservatives just have to jump into to these issues with smart, considered fact-bases messages and a positive alternative vision&mdash;and start changing minds.</p> L. LukasFri, 23 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStraight Talk About Paid Leave + Pinksourcing • Garrison L. LukasThu, 22 Sep 2016 15:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolicy Focus: Overtime Regulations<p> <a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 550px; height: 205px;" /></a><br /> The Department of Labor recently issued new rules governing how employers must compensate employees for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. The new rules dramatically increase the number of workers who must qualify for overtime, and therefore must have their hours tracked. Supporters of the new rule claim that it will be a boon to workers, putting more money in their pockets. However, many workers will be worse off under the new overtime rules, which will discourage flexible work arrangements, create costly administrative requirements for businesses, and constrict opportunities for many workers. Workers currently guaranteed a set salary regardless of the number of hours worked will now face the prospect of lower pay if they are unable to work enough hours.</p> <p> There are better ways to help ensure that workers are fairly compensated. Policymakers can help workers by cutting back on red tape so more employers will create jobs, giving people a better chance to find the arrangements they prefer, whether that&rsquo;s working in an hourly job with overtime potential or a salaried position. Policymakers should also take a fresh look at the outdated, Depressionera Fair Labor and Standards Act, which is the foundation of these overtime regulations, and reform the law to give employers and workers greater flexibility to design mutually beneficial work arrangements.&nbsp;</p> <p> <a href=""><strong>Click here to continue reading the 6-page policy focus &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong></a></p> L. LukasWed, 21 Sep 2016 10:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumReturn to Sender: Dishonest, Political Open Letters<p> Gone are the days when political campaigns were fought with competing commercials and political rallies. With the Internet, Americans don&rsquo;t have to suffer through political ads to get their must-see TV, so politicians fight to reach people just about everywhere else. And truly savvy politicians know reaching passive viewers isn&rsquo;t enough: People want to feel a connection with their future leaders. Political pros concluded that voters didn&rsquo;t believe, for example, that Mitt Romney cared about people like them, which sealed his fate at the polls.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a cautionary tale candidates are taking to heart&mdash;particularly candidates such as Hillary Clinton, whose strong suit has never been exuding empathy or a warm personality. Clinton struggled to appear like someone to whom the average person could relate when she was First Lady; she has an even bigger challenge now that her family has amassed gobs of money and created a gigantic family foundation that has her hobnobbing with elites&mdash;not to mention corrupt princes, foreign dictators, and shady money men.</p> <p> No wonder Clinton is struggling to portray herself as a normal, everyday working mom (and grandmother!) just like you and me. In a recent &ldquo;<a href="">Open Letter to Working Mothers</a>,&rdquo; Clinton tells the story of her campaign bus driver, Liz, who makes ends meet driving shifts on a chartered bus, sacrificing time with her family for nights away from home to earn extra hours. Hillary wants readers to see she&rsquo;s buddies with women like Liz, and that&rsquo;s why she wants to be President: to help Liz and those like her. As Clinton writes:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Liz is my reason. So is every other woman who&rsquo;s pulling together kids at home, working multiple jobs, getting paid wages that are far too low, and trying to afford skyrocketing child care costs, tuition fees, health care, and so much more.</p> <p> Sounds nice, right? Clinton cares about the working stiff! But how does she plan to help Liz, exactly? What would she do differently than President Obama, who also had promised to help women like Liz during his campaigns, but somehow left them all still treading water?</p> <p> Such specifics aren&rsquo;t addressed in the letter. And from the politician&rsquo;s point-of-view, that&rsquo;s the big advantage of the &ldquo;open letter&rdquo; format. Unlikely pesky press conferences (which Hillary <a href="">actively avoids holding</a>) or media appearances with journalists&mdash;or even letters written to actual individual people&mdash;the real-life &ldquo;working women&rdquo; don&rsquo;t get to pose follow-up questions after receiving this letter supposedly from the candidate.</p> <p> In her letter, Hillary jokes she&rsquo;s &ldquo;had a bit of a reputation for being a policy wonk.&rdquo; She modestly continues: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s true! I sweat the small stuff.&rdquo; This is a not-so-artful attempt to distract readers from the dearth of details about the policy plans in her missive to women&mdash;or on her campaign website, for that matter.</p> <p> Just as it would be unbecoming to question whether a letter writer was being truthful about her own reputation, the format encourages readers to forgive Clinton for taking jabs at her opponent. She&rsquo;s such a nice, normal woman&mdash;writing to us in such a personal way!&mdash;it&rsquo;s expected we girls would dish a little gossip on the side.</p> <p> Mrs. Clinton isn&rsquo;t the first politician to use this format as a ruse, and she almost certainly won&rsquo;t be the last. In fact, just this summer President Obama has written two open letters, one released just this weekend in honor of Labor Day to &ldquo;<a href="">America&rsquo;s Hardworking Men and Women</a><strong>,&rdquo; </strong>and then one in July to America&rsquo;s <a href="">Law Enforcement Community</a>, in which the President insists to policemen, &ldquo;We have your backs.&rdquo; (I&rsquo;m sure they felt reassured.) Like Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s, President Obama&rsquo;s letters are short on details and heavy on posturing.</p> <p> Of course, it isn&rsquo;t just politicians who have seized on the open letter device for image crafting. Charlotte Alter, writing for <a href="">TIME</a>, brilliantly riffed on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg&rsquo;s &ldquo;letter to our daughter,&rdquo; born just days before, describing the letter as &ldquo;a press release cloaked in a baby announcement.&rdquo;</p> <p> There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with this type of marketing, but readers should see such &ldquo;open letters&rdquo; for what they are: A less-than-subtle attempt to manipulate perceptions by the letter&rsquo;s author. It poses as honest communication to share information, but really offers nothing deeper than the average slick political advertisement.</p> L. LukasWed, 7 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum"Equal Pay" Is Not So Equal<p> The latest US Department of Labor data show that women working full-time make 81 percent of full-time men&#39;s wages. But this figure is both inaccurate and misleading. This statistic looks only at raw averages and does not take into account factors such as education, skills, and hours worked. After controlling for other factors, the gender pay gap practically disappears. Legislation to close the gender &quot;wage gap&quot; is misguided: in reality, there is no gap to close. -- Diana Furchgott-Roth, &quot;Sorry, Elizabeth Warren, Women Already Have Equal Pay,&quot; Economics21, The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, July 27, 2016</p> <p> &quot;We believe in equal pay for equal work.&quot; That was all Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said about the gender pay gap during her keynote address to July&#39;s Democratic National Convention. But it was enough to provoke a response from economist Diana Furchgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the free-market Manhattan Institute.</p> <p> That&#39;s hardly surprising. Furchgott-Roth has spent two decades issuing one version or another of one basic claim: &quot;there is no gap to close between men&#39;s and women&#39;s wages.&quot;</p> <p> Publishing article after article claiming that there is no gender pay gap, however, doesn&#39;t make it so. Here&#39;s why.</p> <p> <strong>No Statistical Artifact</strong></p> <p> To begin with, the gender pay gap is no statistical artifact. The most common measure of the gender pay gap compares the median earnings (wages and salaries) of full-time working women over the year to the median earnings for men. That ratio does not compare the earnings of men and women doing the same job, but rather the earnings of all men and women who work full time.</p> <p> In 2014, the latest year for which data are available, men&#39;s median earnings for the year were $50,383, while women&#39;s median earnings were $39,621, or 78.6% of men&#39;s. That&#39;s where the figure that women earn 79 cents for each dollar a man earns comes from. The National Committee on Pay Equity inaugurated the tradition of using this ratio to determine the date on which &quot;Equal Pay Day&quot; falls each year. This year, it fell on April 12, 2016, the date by which women would have earned enough to make up the $10,762 gap between their pay and men&#39;s in 2015. (Furchgott-Roth&#39;s figure for the gender pay gap, 81% in 2015, is calculated in the same way but compares the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers.)</p> <p> Whether women earn 79 cents or 81 cents for every dollar a man earns, the gender pay gap is long standing. In 1963, the year the Equal Pay Act became law, a full-time working woman (earning the median pay for women) got 59 cents for each dollar a full-time working man received (at the median pay for men). By the first Equal Pay Day in 1996, women earned 74 cents for a dollar of men&#39;s earnings; now the figure is up to 79 cents. The gender pay gap, however, is no longer narrowing as fast it did earlier. During the 1980s, the gap declined by more than one-quarter (28.7%), as women&#39;s earnings improved from 60 cents for every dollar a man earned to 72 cents; during the 1990s, by just 6%, as women&#39;s earnings increase from 72 cents to 73 cents for every dollar of men&#39;s earnings; in the last ten years (2004&ndash;2014), by 7.4%, as women&#39;s earnings increased from 77 cents to 79 cents for every dollar of men&#39;s earnings.</p> <p> The gender pay gap is also pervasive. Regardless of her education, her occupation, her race, or her age, a full-time working woman (getting the median wage for women of that group) is paid less than a full-time working man (getting the median wage for men of that group).</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Women earn less than men at every educational level. In 2015, the median weekly earnings of women without a high school diploma were 80% of their male counterparts&#39; earnings, 77% for women with (only) a high school diploma, 75% for women with some college, 75% for women who were college graduates, and 74% for women with an advanced degree.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Women earn less than men in all but five of the 800 detailed occupations tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (for which there is comparable data). Women in female-dominated occupations -- from maids to secretaries to registered nurses -- earn less than men do in those same jobs, as do women in male-dominated jobs -- from truck drivers to retail supervisors to janitors. The same is true for women in elite jobs such as physicians, surgeons, and financial managers.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Women of all racial/ethnic groups are paid less than white men and less than men of the same race/ethnicity. In 2015, the median weekly earnings of white women working full time were 80.8% of those for white men. The weekly earnings of black women were 89% of the earnings of black men; the earnings of Hispanic women, 90% of the earnings of Hispanic men. Meanwhile, the weekly earnings of black and Hispanic women were just 62% and 67%, respectively, of the weekly earnings of white men.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp; Women workers of all ages are paid less than their male counterparts. Older women, however, face the largest pay gap as they are penalized for leaving the workforce more often than men for childbirth, childcare, and eldercare. In 2014, the annual median wage of women ages 18-24 who worked full time was 88% of the median wage of full-time male workers of the same age group, but 81% for women ages 35-44, and just 68% for women over 55.</p> <p> <strong>Making the Unequal Look Equal</strong></p> <p> But those differences, no matter how widespread or long lasting, don&#39;t impress economist Furchgott-Roth. In her version of reality, those differences disappear once the pay gap is adjusted for gender differences in hours worked, education, experience, and choice of industry and occupation. But each of these adjustments is problematic or makes less of a difference than Furchgott-Roth and other pay gap deniers suggest.</p> <p> The deniers complain that earnings differentials calculated for full-time workers, including anyone who works 35 or more hours a week, mask the fact that men work more hours (in the money economy) than women. In fact, men are almost twice as likely as women work more than 40 hours a week. But that problem can be corrected by using hourly earnings to measure the gender pay gap. In 2014, hourly earnings of full- and part-time women wage-and-salary workers were 84.6% of men&#39;s. While smaller, that gap is still quite substantial and persists at all levels of education and for all racial/ethnic groups.</p> <p> Nor will making adjustments for gender differences in education and experience, two traditional measures of labor-market skills, make the gender pay gap disappear. Adjustments for education explain much less of today&#39;s gender pay gap than they did in the early 1980s. Since then, more women have graduated from college than men, and by 1999 the average full-time working woman had more years of education than her male counterpart. Gender differences in years of experience are also far smaller than they were in the past. In 1981, men had, on average, 6.8 more years of full-time labor market experience than women, but the experience gap was just 1.4 years in 2011. In their detailed study of the sources of the gender pay gap, economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn estimate that, taken together, differences in education (which favor women) and differences in experience (which favor men) explained 8.2% of the gender pay gap in 2011, or just 2 cents of the 23 cent gap.</p> <p> There is little disagreement that differences between women and men in terms of the industries they work in and the jobs they hold have a profound effect on the gender pay gap. Blau and Kahn, for instance, estimate that industry and occupation accounted for fully one-half (49.5%) of the gender pay gap in 2010.</p> <p> But just how women ended up in particular industries and occupations and not in others is a matter of sharp debate. For gender pay gap skeptics, this is a matter of individual choice. <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment, and greater flexibility,&quot; argues Carrie Lukas, executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum. Women, she concludes, are &quot;willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.&quot; But the story Lukas tells is not the empirical reality faced by most women. To begin with, women&#39;s jobs do not possess the other desirable characteristics she says compensate women for accepting lower pay. </span></strong></span></span>In their study of the characteristics of men&#39;s and women&#39;s jobs in 27 countries including the United States, sociologists Haya Stier and Meir Yaish found that on average the jobs held by women offered less autonomy or time flexibility and that their working conditions were more stressful and exhausting than those of men, a condition that was surely exacerbated by women bearing an inordinate share of domestic labor. (Women&#39;s jobs did require less physical labor than men&#39;s jobs.)</p> <p> If individual choices of women don&#39;t explain what crowds many women into lower paying jobs, then what is responsible for gender segregation by occupation and industry? Gender discrimination that disadvantages women in the labor market and devalues their work is the more plausible answer. If you doubt that women&#39;s work is undervalued, political scientist Ellen Frankel Paul would ask you to consider this example: zookeepers -- a traditionally male job -- earn more than workers caring for children -- a traditionally female job. The evidence that the sorting of genders into industries and occupations is shaped &quot;by discrimination, societal norms and other forces beyond women&#39;s control,&quot; as economists Jessica Schieder and Elisa Gould argue, is compelling. For instance, it is well documented that women in better-paying male-dominated jobs have faced hostile work environments. A 2008 study found that &quot;52% of highly qualified females working for SET (science, technology, and engineering) companies quit their jobs, driven out by hostile work environments and extreme job pressures.&quot; And gender discrimination plays a role in who gets hired in the first place. In two studies, when participants reviewed resumes that were identical except for the names, the ones with male names were more likely to be offered a job. According to another study, after five top US symphony orchestras switched to blind auditions, women were 50% more likely to get past the first round. But gender norms already direct women and men toward different jobs long before they enter in the labor market. For instance, Schieder and Gould report that women arrive at college far less likely to major in engineering, computer sciences, or physics than men, even though those fields promise lucrative job opportunities.</p> <p> Most low-paying jobs, on the other hand, are female-dominated. In their 2009 study, sociologists Asaf Levanon, Paula England, and Paul Allison reported that occupations with a higher percentage of women workers generally paid less than those with a lower percentage of women, even when correcting for education and skill demands. On top of that, they found evidence that when more women enter a job category, employers start paying less. For example, as jobs in parks and camps went from being male-dominated to female-dominated, between 1950 and 2000, the median hourly wages (corrected for inflation) fell by more than half.</p> <p> Finally, the adjustments favored by Furchgott-Roth and other gender-gap skeptics are not enough to statistically eliminate the gender pay gap. For instance, one research study, commissioned by the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration, estimated a wage gap between 4.8 and 7.1 percentage points after making adjustments for other gender differences. In the Blau and Kahn study the remaining gender gap in 2010 was 8.4 percentage points when fully adjusting for differences in education, experience, region, race, unionization, industry and occupation. Those gender pay gaps, which assume that differences in occupation and industry are not evidence of ongoing gender discrimination, are much smaller than the unadjusted gap, but still substantial. For Blau and Kahn, the unexplained portion of the gender pay gap, &quot;suggests, though it does not prove, that labor market discrimination continues to contribute to the gender wage gap.&quot; The unexplained gender pay gap (the portion still left over after statistically adjusting for occupation, industry, or worker qualifications) has actually worsened since the late 1980s (from 7.6 cents for each dollar a man made in 1989 to 8.4 cents in 2010). In 2010, over one-third (38%) of the gender pay gap remained unexplained. If we include the portion of the gap due to gender differences in occupation and industry, a whopping 87.5%, or 18 cents of the 21 cents of the unadjusted gender gap in their study, can be interpreted as a product of continued discrimination.</p> <p> <strong>Truly Equal Pay</strong></p> <p> One important step to reduce continued labor market gender discrimination would be to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The law would require employers to show that wage differentials are based on factors other than gender, and would strike a blow against pay secrecy by banning retaliation against employees who reveal their own wages to other employees.</p> <p> But much more needs to be done to combat workplace gender discrimination. More family-friendly policies are needed. The United States is the only advanced country that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Comparable-worth policies are needed to promote pay equity. Those policies would ensure that jobs having the same value to employers would be paid the same whether performed by women or men. Also, in order to short-circuit historical gender pay discrimination, newly passed comparable-worth legislation in Massachusetts bars employers from asking job applicants how much they earned in previous jobs. In addition, raising the minimum wage would boost the earnings of workers in low-income jobs, the vast majority of which are female-dominated. Unionization in female-dominated occupations would also reduce the gender pay gap, as it has done among public employees.</p> <p> For Furchgott-Roth and the gender-pay-gap skeptics the pay gap disappears by statistical manipulation. These policies, on the other hand, are ways to make it go away for real.</p> L. LukasMon, 5 Sep 2016 13:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow Colleges Prepare Students for the Real World of Nonsensical Rules<p> When people lament the sorry state of America&rsquo;s college campuses&mdash;the politically correct culture that&rsquo;s run amok; the exorbitant tuition and other fees that lead to no measurable actual learning; the utter wastefulness of campus administrators&mdash;they often site how these educational institutions fail to prepare the next generation for the &ldquo;real world.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yet when perusing the new season of stupidity emanating from our so-called institutions of higher learning, a disturbing thought dawned on me: Colleges&rsquo; bizarre maze of useless rules and requirements may be pretty good preparation for our increasingly bureaucratic economy and civil society.</p> <p> My alma mater, Princeton, earned headlines recently for a memo issued by the Human Resource department. Over the course of four pages, HR earnestly instructed faculty about how to avoid using the term &ldquo;man&rdquo; in favor of more gender-inclusive language. As <a href="">The College Fix</a> reported, Princeton highlighted how to use &ldquo;person&rdquo; or &ldquo;humans&rdquo; to replace &ldquo;man,&rdquo; and how to avoid trickier, subtler, allegedly male terms: &ldquo;Artificial, handmade, manufactured, synthetic&rdquo; are all preferred to the insidious &ldquo;man made.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s tempting to scoff at such soft-headed political correctness as a silly and wasteful use of resources. Anyone who is truly offended by the use of the word &ldquo;man&rdquo; as a generic for &ldquo;person&rdquo; is certainly in for a rough ride in our increasingly coarse culture. It&rsquo;s become standard to say that in the &ldquo;real world,&rdquo; there are no such things as safe spaces, and people need to be prepared to have their sensibilities offended.</p> <p> Yet in the professional world, at least, there are plenty of equally contrived efforts to guide speech and control behavior to avoid creating controversy and giving offense. When these students enter their first white collar jobs, they&rsquo;ll undoubtedly be instructed about what&rsquo;s acceptable and, more importantly, what&rsquo;s off-limits and could be grounds for a lawsuit and termination. Schools may be doing these students a service in preparing them to walk on eggshells to ensure that, in the future, they don&rsquo;t offend coworkers, bosses, or potential clients in our highly charged, litigious world.</p> <p> Stanford University&mdash;still reeling from the horrific, high-profile sexual assault that dominated the news last spring&mdash;began the school year by announcing a new policy limiting the availability of alcohol at parties. Hard liquor is banned entirely from undergraduate parties; graduate students can still have mixed drinks, but shots are a no-no for everyone; there&rsquo;s a volume limit for any hard alcohol containers students have in their dorms, and there are even rules relating to the proof of various drinks.</p> <p> Cynics note that this policy will be worse than useless in preventing student alcohol abuse. <a href="">The San Jose Mercury News</a> summed it up: &ldquo;The new rules quickly came under fire Tuesday from critics who say they will simply force binge drinkers behind closed doors and send the wrong message about alcohol being an excuse for campus rape.&rdquo; The criticisms are glaringly obvious: Singling out one form of alcohol sends a mixed message (is guzzling wine and beer somehow better than sipping a scotch?) and could ironically encourage students to binge drink before they even leave their dorms and head off to the party, and discourages students from seeking help when it&rsquo;s needed.</p> <p> Yet one gets the sense that the actual impact of the new proposal is probably beside the point. This is a P.R. stunt that is meant to send a message to the public and to concerned parents that the school cares&mdash;really, really cares&mdash;about student safety. That&rsquo;s the key goal; given the attention the announcement generated, it succeeded in that at least.</p> <p> Students will benefit from becoming familiar with such feel-good efforts to &ldquo;address&rdquo; a problem, especially when the powers-that-be are really trying to solve a perception problem, rather than the actual, on-the-ground root issue. After all, so much of what passes for policy or ideas on the Left is really just &ldquo;virtual signaling&rdquo; intended to convey one&rsquo;s moral superiority to their peer group, rather than make a positive difference in the world. In fact, this is necessary preparation for a career in Washington, when the ability to come up with an appealing name or acronym (It&rsquo;s the <a href="">FAMILY Act</a>! It&rsquo;s good for families, get it? Or it&rsquo;s the <a href="">Paycheck Fairness Act</a>, so it must really help women earn more!) is just as important as what the legislation&rsquo;s actual impact would be. It&rsquo;s also good training if you want to join a company that&rsquo;s trying to please radical environmentalists and other <a href="">consumer groups</a>, while still running a business and producing usable products.</p> <p> In a better world, we&rsquo;d have a college system that was dedicated to helping students acquire truly useful skills. Yet, sadly, the bizarre politically-correct dance that students learn on campus may actually be as important as any class in getting them ready for our lawyer-dominated, virtue-signaling &ldquo;real world.&rdquo;</p> L. LukasWed, 31 Aug 2016 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum