Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS tees off on the EPA over newly proposed "green" regulation • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Sep 2014 12:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPump more U.S. oil export it hit ISIS and Putin's oil money • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Sep 2014 12:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLean Together: An Agenda for Smarter Government, Stronger Communities, And More Opportunity for Women • Sirius | XM Satellite Radio The Wilkow Majority SchaefferThu, 11 Sep 2014 06:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDemocrats' big government solutions don't provide answer to women's problems<p> In politics, the more things change the more they stay the same. And with the&nbsp;<a href="">midterm political season</a>&nbsp;in full swing, Democrats are once again turning to the old &ldquo;<a href="">war on women</a>&rdquo; trope.</p> <p> In an effort to shore up their female base, Senate Democrats are planning on a few symbolic votes, including an &ldquo;equal pay measure&rdquo; to try to mandate &ldquo;fair&rdquo; wages. The problem is not just that a Republican-dominated House means the effort is doomed from the start. Nor that Americans increasingly recognize that the stale&nbsp;<a href="">77-cent</a>&nbsp;&ldquo;wage gap&rdquo; statistic liberal feminists and Democrats cite as evidence of widespread workplace discrimination is grossly misleading. The biggest problem with Democrats&rsquo; plan isn&rsquo;t even that the Paycheck Fairness Act was voted down in the Senate as recently as April, by a vote of 53-44.</p> <p> The real reason why the Paycheck Fairness Act will fail both in&nbsp;<a href="">Congress</a>&nbsp;and as a political ploy is that Americans want smarter and more creative approaches to overcoming societal challenges.</p> <p> A new book released this month by the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum,&nbsp;<em>Lean Together,</em>&nbsp;shows in 12 chapters all written by women, that truly helping women and their families starts with refashioning the role of government and our communities.</p> <p> For too long progressives have put forth a vision of America in which Washington is the solution to all of society&rsquo;s ills &ndash; big and small &ndash; with little consideration to how their intervention might have negative impacts. While women and girls have tremendous opportunities to succeed in America today, challenges remain that disproportionately affect women, especially less educated, unmarried mothers.</p> <p> But the hardships that many women face can&rsquo;t be solved through more workplace legislation the way so many liberal feminists and their Democratic champions in Congress suggest. In fact, most proposals offered by the Left &ndash; from raising the&nbsp;<a href="">minimum wage</a>&nbsp;to mandating &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; &ndash; would be counterproductive, making women more expensive to employ and giving all workers less choice and flexibility in the workplace.</p> <p> What&rsquo;s more, over the past six years Americans have become reacquainted with the broken promises of big government, from the failed stimulus, to wasteful &ldquo;green energy&rdquo; loans, to&nbsp;<a href="">Obamacare</a>&rsquo;s most notorious &ldquo;if you like you plan you can keep it&rdquo; whopper. The country has great reason to be skeptical when Democrats suggest that Washington yet again knows best when it comes to women&rsquo;s problems.</p> <p> Most Americans now intuitively understand that the small gap that exists in men and women&rsquo;s wages is not a result of broad-based gender bias; rather it&rsquo;s a function of different choices men and women make, and primarily women&rsquo;s choices to take time out of the workplace to raise children. And Americans know that proposed &ldquo;fixes&rdquo; to this problem are doomed to fail, and can cause great economic harm in the process.</p> <p> Democrats are right to&nbsp;<a href="">take gender seriously</a>&nbsp;&ndash; something Republicans still fail to do &ndash; but they&rsquo;re taking the wrong tact to solving these problems. Better to understand that the workplace is changing &ndash; quickly and for the better. Providing sensible leave policies, as well as more generous benefits like&nbsp;<a href="">tuition aid</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">day care</a>&nbsp;backups are increasing as businesses seek out smart ways to attract and retain valuable female workers. And where the private sector may still lag behind, there is a robust industry devoted to helping women achieves higher pay. Let&rsquo;s remember that&nbsp;<a href="">Sheryl Sandberg</a>&nbsp;was not the first woman to write the &ldquo;rules for success.&rdquo;</p> <p> Washington lawmakers should always remember the admonition &ldquo;first do no harm.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s why their priority should not be pandering to women with &ldquo;equal pay&rdquo; legislation that is destined, thankfully, to go nowhere. Instead government can make it easier for women &ndash; and men &ndash; by encouraging job creation and reducing the burdens they place on parents. Implementing more mandates and costly government regulations simply rewards one set of choices (such as working full-time) over another. Instead, policymakers ought to seek out ways to allow more working families to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. We ought to consolidate programs geared to helping parents and return resources to families in the form of lower tax payments across the board.</p> <p> Ensuring that there is a robust&nbsp;<a href="">job market</a>&nbsp;and increasing families&rsquo; take-home pay can give more women and men the ability to make the individual choices about how best to balance their career, family, and other life goals.</p> <p> Like other parts of society, the workplace isn&rsquo;t perfect, and there is still more we can do to make life easier for working mothers. Still, women today have an unprecedented opportunity to succeed in their careers and to design a lifestyle that suits their needs and wants, and those of their families &ndash; and that&rsquo;s something to be recognized, protected, and celebrated. This progress, however, can easily be overturned by an overly ambitious state that seeks to try to legislate &ldquo;perfection.&rdquo;</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum and a contributor to the book&nbsp;<a href="">Lean Together: An Agenda for Smarter Government, Stronger Communities, and More Opportunity for Women</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> SchaefferTue, 9 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy government isn't the only, or the best answer to society's ills• OAN Rick Amato SchaefferTue, 9 Sep 2014 07:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOn Anniversary of 19th Amendment White House Message to Women is Still one of Victimhood<p> Last April on the faux-holiday Equal Pay Day, created by liberal feminists to mark the extra three and a half months a woman supposedly needs to work to earn the same as her male counterparts, the White House ran into a little trouble.</p> <p> It turns out that that 77-cent wage gap statistic women&rsquo;s groups and Democrats have been repeating <em>ad nauseum </em>for years, isn&rsquo;t <em>quite</em> accurate. Well, yes, we all already <em>know this </em>&ndash; in fact, IWF has been leading the charge to push back on this faulty statistic and myth that sexism runs rampant in the workplace for a long time. But it was rather satisfying to hear <a href="">Betsey Stevenson</a>, a member of the esteemed White House Council of Economic Advisers acknowledge during a press conference that,&nbsp; &ldquo;If I said 77-cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke.&rdquo;</p> <p> Stevenson was indirectly referencing the fact that the 77-cent statistic is a comparison of averages taken from the Department of Labor that compares full time working-men to full time working-women. Not only is this number out-dated &ndash;if you compare averages today women make about 82 cents for every dollar a man makes &ndash; but more importantly it doesn&rsquo;t control for any number of important factors that go into salary determinations: college major, time spent out of the workplace, time spent in the office each day, etc. And Betsey Stevenson and the White House knows this and knows that when you compare for such factors the so-called wage gap largely disappears. (<a href="">See more here for a better understanding of the issue</a>.)</p> <p> Still that didn&rsquo;t stop Stevenson and the White House who sent out an email this morning in honor of the 94<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the 19<sup>th</sup> Amendment. (<a href="'s-Equality-Day">See what Hadley already wrote about the anniversary here</a>.)Yet instead of a message of enthusiasm and excitement for women&rsquo;s achievements in the nearly 100 years since they received the vote, the message from Washington continues to be one of negativity and disappointment: That women and girls still lag behind men, that the workplace and society still don&rsquo;t provide equal opportunities to women, and that life in America is still underwhelming:</p> <blockquote> <p> In 2014, inequality and discrimination live on. Women, on average, continue to earn less than their male counterparts (and that&#39;s 51 years after the Equal Pay Act passed), and the gap is even greater for women of color. Our workplace policies, on the whole, force many working parents to choose between their job and their family -- and that&#39;s wrong.</p> <p> This Administration has a <a href=""><strong>long history of shattering our remaining glass ceilings and upholding the rights of women</strong></a> -- but real gender equality is going to take more than the President acting alone.</p> </blockquote> <p> The bottom line is the White House is grasping for straws. Challenges will always persist and we will continue to work as a society to improve the lives of all Americans, including women. But women and girls today have more freedom and opportunity than ever before, and that&rsquo;s something to be celebrated &ndash; not politicized. Wouldn&rsquo;t it be nice if we could stop and enjoy the progress women have made rather than using women as pawns for political gain?</p> SchaefferWed, 27 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMoney well spent? DOJ taxpayer-funded "protest marshals" • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 23 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew signs show ObamaCare is holding back - not increasing - job creation • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 23 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaternity Leave Not a Silver Bullet For Fathers<p> A recent <a href="">NPR segment</a> on the growing number of men taking paternity leave piqued my interest.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s nice to know that more men feel excited about their roles as fathers and that they want to participate as best they can in the early weeks of their child&rsquo;s life. And if private businesses see this as a benefit employees want, that&rsquo;s a fine thing.</p> <p> Certainly as the mother of three children, I can say that it is wonderful to have the father around in those early weeks with a newborn &ndash; at the very least to help care for the older children.</p> <p> Still part of the report frustrated me.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> Scott Coltrane, interim president of the University of Oregon, who researches fathers and families, says &hellip;&quot;Fathers who take leave end up doing more of the routine work later,&quot; Coltrane says. &quot;They do more of the transportation, more of the cooking, more of the child care, more of the doing homework with the kids. It&#39;s just kind of an early buy-in that helps men stay involved later.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p> This is a perfect example of the confusion over <em>correlation vs. causation</em>. Perhaps Coltrane has run a longitudinal, randomized controlled study that followed fathers over the course of several decades, but I have my doubts. It&rsquo;s more likely this conclusion was drawn from a combination of survey research and observation.</p> <p> The implication of his statement is that the option of having paternity leave <em>causes</em> more men to be more involved with their children and family over a longer period of time. Certainly it&rsquo;s <em>possible</em>, although I imagine the impact is pretty small. (Frankly, everyone&rsquo;s so sleep-deprived that years later most men probably don&rsquo;t even remember if they had paternity leave!) What is more likely happening is that we&rsquo;re looking at a <em>self-selected </em>group. Men who choose to use paternity leave are already likely preparing to be engaged fathers and see themselves as a critical part of their children&rsquo;s life. So we have a <em>correlation</em> between men who take paternity leave and men who become involved fathers down the road.</p> <p> This is not to downplay the importance of having fathers around &ndash; I&rsquo;m a big proponent of marriage and having a father in the home (see <a href=",-Obama-Will-Double-Down-On-Government-Knows-Best">here</a> and <a href="!">here</a>) &ndash; but too often this kind of statement is used to encourage the growth of government policies and mandates. As the segment noted:</p> <blockquote> <p> Some states are acting on their own, mandating paid family leave for most workers. In California, the number of men taking it has doubled in a decade. Coltrane says that&#39;s good for men, kids and women.</p> </blockquote> <p> At the time of our first child&rsquo;s arrival, my husband had a fellowship that didn&rsquo;t allow him any official leave time, but he figured out a way to stay at home for a week. We certainly appreciated the week of paternity leave his next employer provided at the time of our second child. But by the time our third child arrived, he had become his own employer, and thus his own &ldquo;provider&rdquo; of paternity leave. We patched something together each time; but the challenges of raising a family don&rsquo;t end after 2 weeks and the need for fathers to be around doesn&rsquo;t end there either.&nbsp; And that&rsquo;s not something government can &ldquo;fix&rdquo; with a new program<strong>.</strong></p> <p> Paternity leave comes with a cost. A cost to the employee in the form of less take-home pay, to the employer who loses a worker for a period of time, and to other employees who might have to pick up the extra work. That&rsquo;s not to say that it&rsquo;s not a wonderful thing if you can make it work. But we should be careful not to inflate the benefits as a way of justifying more government intervention into the workplace and our lives.</p> SchaefferWed, 20 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumReal consequences to government workplace mandates & Lean Together book: • 1310 KFKA AM Colorado SchaefferMon, 18 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMother of the Gender Gap Dotty Lynch Passes Away<p> At the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum there&rsquo;s a number we are very familiar with: 11. That was the gender gap in the 2012 presidential election. President Obama &ndash; and his big-government policies &ndash; maintained a double-digit lead over Gov. Romney. And when you looked closer the number is even bigger. Unmarried women, for instance, supported the president by 36 points in 2012.</p> <p> This is what we refer to as the gender gap. The growing gap between men and women and their support for Republicans and Democrats, respectively. Democratic pollster Dotty Lynch, who <a href="">passed away last week</a> at the age of 69, is often associated with identifying and exploring the idea of the gender gap in the early 1980s.</p> <p> As the <em>New York Times </em>noted:</p> <blockquote> <p> She based the approach on what was then a newly minted concept in political circles: the existence of a gender gap in voting patterns. Ms. Lynch and others, analyzing exit polls from the 1980 and 1982 national elections, had discerned a wide disparity between male and female voters on fundamental issues like war and peace, help for the needy and economic growth: Women, who tended to be more peaceable, more amenable to government help for the needy, and more likely to favor bottom-up rather than top-down strategies for economic growth, were more likely to vote Democratic and could not necessarily be expected to vote the way their husbands did, as old-school political operatives had always thought.</p> </blockquote> <p> Lynch&rsquo;s work on the gender gap not only fueled debate among pollsters and political operatives (it&rsquo;s widely know that Democratic pollster Pat Caddell fired Lynch who he thought was making more out of the gender gap), but her work ultimately laid the foundation for campaigns like the War on Women 30 years later. Today recognizing, understanding, and seizing on gender differences is a mainstay of Democratic politics. And it&#39;s something that the Right still has a long way to begin to understand. Men and women are different and that&#39;s something Dotty Lynch understood deeply.</p> <p> Anyone interested in women and politics ought to take a minute to read about Lynch&rsquo;s extensive career in the world of public opinion.</p> SchaefferMon, 18 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould Iraqi’s get a stake in their nation’s oil reserves • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 16 Aug 2014 16:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould companies mandate that employees take paid vacation time? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 16 Aug 2014 16:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRepublicans focus on improving economic standing of women • NewsmaxTV Mid Point SchaefferTue, 12 Aug 2014 21:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRule by Pen: WH looking to block overseas tax flight by U.S. companies • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 9 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum