Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS CEO: Gov is now biggest customer • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 27 Jun 2015 11:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOPM director grilled on data breach • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 27 Jun 2015 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTerror in Tunisia, Kuwait, and France • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 27 Jun 2015 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould gender be sole reason women are put on currency? • Stossel SchaefferThu, 25 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum2 trends driving today’s women’s movement: Men and money<p> It&rsquo;s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the women&rsquo;s movement started to come out of its recent doldrums. For some time spanning a decade or so, roughly from the late 1990s to the late 2010s, a good number of women&rsquo;s groups seemed fragmented and strapped for new ideas, funds and supporters. At the same time, rather than pick up the torch, young women walked away from the word &ldquo;feminist&rdquo; in droves.</p> <p> &ldquo;The movement became weighty and obsolete,&rdquo; a Washington activist and executive who asked not to be named told me recently. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, a fierce advocate, shared a similar concern, saying, &ldquo;I am worried and depressed that the women&rsquo;s movement is dead. I think those of us who are in the trenches recognize we&rsquo;re in a tough place.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p> But now, emerging from that tough place, leading organizations, mentors and advisors are shaking off &ldquo;old&rdquo; thinking and seeking pragmatic ways to re-energize the movement. No doubt Sheryl Sandberg&rsquo;s controversial 2013 book <em>Lean In</em>, urging women to step up to fight for their career goals and challenging men to contribute to a more equitable society, was a jolt to the system. Sandberg, who at 45 is the billionaire chief operating officer at Facebook, went on tour and leveraged her book&rsquo;s success into a nonprofit movement to empower women and break down gender stereotypes.</p> <p> In recent conversations with leading activists, it&rsquo;s clear that Sandberg, whose husband, Dave Goldberg, <a href="">died unexpectedly last month</a>, fueled two trends now driving the movement: the need for men to advance women in the workplace and share the burden of domestic responsibilities like childcare, and the importance of economic factors in women&rsquo;s progress.</p> <p> Alyse Nelson, the president and CEO of the Washington-based Vital Voices Global Partnership, told me, &ldquo;Most people have woken up to the fact that real progress isn&rsquo;t lopsided &mdash; men and women have to be equal parts of the equation.&rdquo;</p> <p> That may seem to contradict the posture of independence taken by the embattled women of the mid-to-late 20th century. But the message has evolved with the generations. Maz Kessler, founder of the New York-based Catapult, a crowd-funding company for U.S. and global women&rsquo;s projects, says this is a new phase. &ldquo;The gender justice movement,&rdquo; as she calls it, &ldquo;cannot survive without men participating.&rdquo;</p> <p> When Deborah Gillis, a 50-year-old Canadian, became president and chief executive of New York-based Catalyst last year she worried that, despite successes, her research company was not breaking down enough barriers for women. Like many others, she figured that men, who held all the cards, were needed inside the movement, not on the sidelines.</p> <p> &ldquo;We had to find a &lsquo;backdoor strategy&rsquo; to get them engaged,&rdquo; she told me in an interview at a Chelsea restaurant.</p> <p> With that in mind, Catalyst launched a men-only training program last summer, aimed at managers and executives in corporations like Dell and Walmart. So far, at least 120 supervisors have gone through the six-month training. More groups have enrolled for fall and spring 2016 sessions, paying fees Catalyst declines to reveal. Called Men Advocating Real Change, the program resembles sensitivity programs, challenging men to acknowledge sexist and racist biases and behavior and helping them to understand female dynamics in the workplace. Presumably this intensive re-education will enlighten male managers who will, in turn, promote and support women. And, the economic logic goes, the talent, diligence and insights those women bring to the table will make those companies more profitable.</p> <p> &ldquo;We are making a shift from raising questions to making change, from problems to solutions,&rsquo;&rsquo; Gillis said. &ldquo;When men see other men championing women, other men are encouraged. There&rsquo;s a ripple effect.&rdquo;</p> <p> Economic equality goes hand in hand with all that, though in the past it often took a back seat to more emotional and personal issues like abortion. But on the heels of the recession and inaction in Congress, pocketbook issues including equal pay and paid leave are now being pushed to the forefront in political conversations. Hillary Clinton is making paid leave a centerpiece of her presidential campaign and Senator Gillibrand has introduced a bill that includes paid leave and universal childcare, measures that she says would especially benefit working women and single mothers.</p> <p> &ldquo;Women&rsquo;s issues are finally being understood as economic issues &mdash; which is long overdue,&rsquo;&rsquo; says Jess McIntosh, vice president of communications at Emily&rsquo;s List, the country&rsquo;s top fundraiser for Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights.</p> <p> &ldquo;Gender discrimination in pay, the ability to care for a sick kid without losing your job &mdash; these are critical issues for women, but also critical issues for the economy as a whole,&rsquo;&rsquo; McIntosh says. While abortion rights remain a litmus test for Emily&rsquo;s List, the bread-and-butter issues are getting top billing these days.</p> <p> Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily&rsquo;s List, has made it clear that Emily&rsquo;s List wants what female voters want &mdash; equal pay, paid sick leave, minimum-wage increase.</p> <p> A 41-year-old former Montana political operative, Schriock ushered Emily&rsquo;s List into the 21st century when she succeeded Ellen Malcolm, founder of the 30-year-old organization, in 2010. During her five-year tenure, Emily&rsquo;s List has reached three million members and raised more than $60 million in donations in 2014, up from 500,000 members and $38 million.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">On the other side of the political spectrum, Sabrina Schaeffer, the executive director of the conservative Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, a Washington-based research group with an economic focus, applauds the women&rsquo;s movement&rsquo;s emphasis on economic issues. She says the move is smart and timely and that she fears it will catch conservatives &ldquo;flat-footed.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Conservatives are stuck on wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage, she told me. &ldquo;Those issues are outdated. We should be ready to talk about paid leave, those issues that affect women, especially single women. Republicans need to be able to offer alternative ideas. They need to understand the issues. They need to engage.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> On a world scale, the universal watchdog U.N. Women is also turning up the volume on economic issues. &ldquo;Create more and better jobs for women&rdquo; is the number one mandate on the Top 10 List of the new U.N. Women Progress Report of the World&rsquo;s Women.</p> <p> Taking into account major achievements in the 20 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 &mdash; like better education for women and girl &mdash; the new report concludes that those changes, though important, have not yet brought about sufficient forward economic movement for women.</p> <p> &ldquo;We have the focus on economic problems,&rdquo; Shahra Razavi, chief of research and data at U.N. Women, said in an interview at headquarters in New York. Besides creating jobs, goals include closing gender pay gaps and strengthening income security. Razavi made clear that economic and social problems are linked&nbsp;and listed the main obstacles women face: low-level occupations, low status and low wages. This consigns millions of women in developing countries to poverty and powerlessness, but there are also millions of American women relegated to low-level, low-paying jobs.</p> <p> Global and national organizations are looking at innovative and bold strategies. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeing differences in how people and organizations approach women&rsquo;s advancement,&rdquo; Nelson of Vital Voices said last week by email. &ldquo;Some think human rights will follow from economic freedom, some think it&rsquo;s the other way around. What we&rsquo;ve learned in nearly 20 years of working on these issues is that women leaders know their communities better than anyone and they&rsquo;re putting sustainable solutions in place every day.&rdquo;</p> <p> Vital Voices is now taking a targeted approach. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve realized that we can have the most impact by making long-term, tailored investments in individual women leaders. We search the world for women leaders who have a daring vision &hellip; Then we partner with them to make their vision a reality. I think this approach is what&rsquo;s missing most today; we need to focus on what&rsquo;s working, we need to invest in women leaders who are moving their societies forward.&rdquo;</p> <p> Maz Kessler at Catapult, which funnels targeted donations to some 150 projects from Texas to the Philippines, sees signs that the women&rsquo;s movement is coming back. &ldquo;The movement has been very weak, fragmented, but it is gathering strength again,&rdquo; she said.</p> SchaefferThu, 25 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWH may hire czar for Iran nuke deal • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 20 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow to make DC a champion for taxpayers • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 20 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservatives frustrated by GOP’s drop in working women’s votes<p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The trend that worries conservative thinker Sabrina Schaeffer is this: Three elections ago, nearly half of all working mothers chose George W. Bush. In 2008, the share dropped to 40 percent for Sen. John McCain. By 2012, only about a third backed Mitt Romney.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But even more alarming to Schaeffer is that few, if any, of the current presidential candidates have made the needs of female breadwinners a centerpiece of their campaigns.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;For years now, Democrats have been saying: We are focused on women in the workplace,&rdquo; said Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, a nonprofit organization that promotes conservative policies. &ldquo;For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It&rsquo;s the absolute worst thing they can do. They need to understand, engage and offer better solutions. They can&rsquo;t be afraid.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Schaeffer is among a chorus of conservatives who have grown frustrated &mdash; and increasingly vocal &mdash; about the lack of proposals from GOP candidates that could help reverse this exodus of swing voters from the party.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> These conservatives say Republicans have an opportunity to exploit new proposals in Washington that have been embraced by influential right-wing policymakers and economists.</p> <p> But some Republican strategists say that many of the candidates are planning to wait until after the primary to take up such ideas, so as to not prematurely alienate social conservatives who think families are better off when one parent stays home. That has dismayed some in the party who view the matter as urgent, especially with Hillary Rodham Clinton looming as the likely Democratic nominee.</p> <p> &ldquo;Every parent who works has been through the day-care nightmare,&rdquo; said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was the senior economic policy adviser to McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 election. &ldquo;This has been underappreciated by Republican candidates in part and conservatives in general. They think this stuff is automatic.&rdquo;</p> <p> Although several of the Republican candidates have long supported expanding the child tax credit, some conservative women leaders say that idea may not be enough to compete with Democrats.</p> <p> Right-leaning policymakers have been floating other proposals. An economist at the American Enterprise Institute has recommended allowing pregnant workers to claim part of their tax refund early to fund their maternity leave. A Heritage Foundation economist has proposed loosening labor regulations so parents can easily swap overtime pay for compensation days. Others are <a href="">advocating for over-the-counter birth control</a>.</p> <p> Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) wants to reward companies with a 25-cent tax credit for every dollar spent on its employees&rsquo; family or medical leave.</p> <p> &ldquo;The public is watching,&rdquo; Fischer told a gathering of conservative economists, pundits and strategists earlier this month. &ldquo;If we leave this narrative to our friends on the left, we don&rsquo;t stand a chance.&rdquo;</p> <p> Such ideas are emerging as the economic challenges facing working women and mothers are mounting.</p> <p> Women <a href="">financially support</a> 40 percent of all households in the United States, the Pew Research Center recently found, compared with 11 percent in 1960. Out-of-pocket spending on child care has nearly doubled over the last 30 years, according to the Census Bureau. <a href="">The average cost of infant care now exceeds the price of public college tuition in?31 states.</a></p> <p> In Virginia, for example, a critical swing state, the average cost of full-time day care runs about $10,000 per year. The price swells in cities: Parents should expect to pay $22,000 annually in the District, according for the Institute for Women&rsquo;s Policy Research.</p> <p> Only 13 percent of American workers, meanwhile, have access to paid family leave or time away from work to recover from a pregnancy and bond with a newborn, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.</p> <p> &ldquo;As a general matter, women are really busy,&rdquo; said Kate O&rsquo;Beirne, policy adviser to the Conservative Reform Network and former president of the National Review Institute. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re always juggling and prioritizing. You&rsquo;ve got to get their attention by talking about concrete ways to help.&rdquo;</p> <p> So far, no Republican candidate seems to have done so, said Ainsley Stapleton, a 38-year-old accountant in Arlington, Va., who describes herself as a fiscal conservative. A mother of three young children, Stapleton said she spends about $2,000 each month on day care, a cost that nearly matches her mortgage payment.</p> <p> &ldquo;Republicans, on a federal level, don&rsquo;t look too much at working women, period,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;If someone like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio came up with a feasible plan to make child care cheaper, they&rsquo;d win my vote.&rdquo;</p> <p> Working mothers were 12 percent of the 2012 electorate, according to a national exit poll by Edison Media Research. That share, which has remained steady since 2004, will likely grow, based on historic voting patterns &mdash; women typically outnumber men at the polls &mdash; and the changing work climate, analysts say.</p> <p> Clinton is already <a href="">cranking up the pressure</a> on this front on the campaign trail, condemning the country&rsquo;s lack of paid maternity leave, maternal wage gap and dearth of affordable day-care options. Strategists on both sides of the political spectrum soon expect her to unveil a policy agenda appealing to working mothers.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not that Republicans don&rsquo;t want to help women. They would rather help women the conservative way, some GOP strategists said.</p> <p> Politicians should not focus on one group, the strategists argued, but the country as a whole. After all, if the economy flourishes, everyone prospers. Other Republicans say considerations for working women should be balanced against the needs of small businesses, as well as other economic concerns.</p> <p> Conservative economists tend to fear the unintended consequences of &ldquo;one-size-fits-all&rdquo; policies, said Katie Packer Gage, who co-founded Burning Glass, a political consulting firm that aims to help politicians connect with female voters.</p> <p> &ldquo;The more Republican position is: There is only so much employers can bear before they stop hiring people and before the economy starts to suffer,&rdquo; said Gage, a former Romney strategist. &ldquo;Democrats are always going to hand out more tax dollars. But what is the breaking point?&rdquo;</p> <p> Only a few Republican presidential candidates so far have rallied for workplace policy changes. Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, announced last week an agenda that includes reducing government regulations on small business to aid female entrepreneurs as well as over-the-counter birth control to quash, she said, &ldquo;out-of-wedlock&rdquo; births.</p> <p> &ldquo;For too long, the left has controlled this conversation,&rdquo; she said on a press call. &ldquo;I think we need to have a conversation that&rsquo;s both honest about how women are treated today and offers policy prescriptions to lift both women and men up.&rdquo;</p> <p> In March, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio proposed with fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) a $2,500-per-child tax credit, which would come in addition to existing tax breaks for families. A parent whose payroll tax burden is less than the value of the credit, however, would not qualify for the full amount.</p> <p> Other candidates say that it will only be a matter of time before they deliver speeches on the concerns of women.</p> <p> Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who earlier this month announced his second presidential bid, will soon present a policy agenda to lift the American worker, both men and women, said policy adviser Abby McCloskey, declining to elaborate.</p> <p> McCloskey, a former director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, said she supports reforming child and dependent tax credits to help low-</p> <p> income mothers stay in the workforce.</p> <p> &ldquo;It needs to be part of the conversation when we talk about opportunity for all and economic mobility,&rdquo; said McCloskey, who works from her home in Dallas and is eight months pregnant. But, she added, these are &ldquo;not solely women&rsquo;s issues.&rdquo;</p> <p> Meanwhile, conservative researchers have been peddling plans to Republican campaigns.</p> <p> The American Enterprise Institute has been promoting a proposal from one of its economists, Aparna Mathur, who had the idea to fund maternity leave through existing tax credits. Under that plan, a pregnant worker could claim part of her tax refund in the days before taking an unpaid leave; her employer would have to agree to shoulder administrative costs of the request.</p> <p> &ldquo;We need sensible reforms like this that would appeal to both sides,&rdquo; Mathur said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not about identity politics or gender politics. This is about real issues we are all facing.&rdquo;</p> <p> Political consultant Mindy Finn, a former Romney campaign strategist, recently launched Empowered Women, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help a &ldquo;new generation&rdquo; of women succeed in America.</p> <p> Working mothers, she said, crave policies that promote choice and flexibility. For Finn, the mission is personal.</p> <p> Three years ago, during her first maternity leave, the former Twitter executive itched to work remotely at home &mdash; &ldquo;we have the technology,&rdquo; she said &mdash; but labor laws made it tricky. &ldquo;It didn&rsquo;t make sense for me,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;and it doesn&rsquo;t make sense for so many mothers who&rsquo;d rather decide what&rsquo;s best for them.&rdquo;</p> <p> Meanwhile, Jennifer Higgins, a founder of RightNOW Women Pac, is also working on a leave agenda &mdash; &ldquo;not paid leave,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;because that&rsquo;s a non-starter&rdquo; &mdash; to support more working mothers without increasing federal regulation.</p> <p> &ldquo;There is a real opportunity,&rdquo; Higgins said. &ldquo;I can tell from dialogue over the last six months with Republicans on the Hill. They want to tackle these issues in a thoughtful way and also reach that demographic.&rdquo;</p> <p> So far, Republican candidates might be staying silent on work-life balance partly because &ldquo;anything we offer, the Democrats will offer 10 times that,&rdquo; said Holtz-Eakin, the McCain adviser who is now the president of the American Action Forum policy institute.</p> <p> But Republicans should speak up on the issue soon, he said, given the results of the last two elections. Asked how McCain reached female earners, Holtz-Eakin replied with a bitter laugh: &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t! We lost!&rdquo;</p> SchaefferSat, 20 Jun 2015 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservatives: Lack of Focus on Working Women Hurts GOP's WH Chances<p> A growing group of conservatives is concerned that many Republican presidential candidates may be ignoring female breadwinners in their campaigns, and that the results will show when the 2016 election rolls around.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;For years now, Democrats have been saying: We are focused on women in the workplace,&quot; Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, which promotes conservative policies, told </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Washington Post</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It&rsquo;s the absolute worst thing they can do. They need to understand, engage and offer better solutions. They can&rsquo;t be afraid.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The results of disregarding working mothers&#39; needs has been showing in the past three presidential elections, reports The Post.</p> <p> Nearly half of all working mothers voted to elect George W. Bush as president. However, by 2008, that share dropped to 40 percent for Arizona Sen. John McCain and in 2012, only about one-third voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both of whom lost their bids.</p> <p> There are many new proposals that are being embraced by the party&#39;s policymakers and economists, but Republican strategists are concerned that many of the large crop of candidates are waiting until after the primaries to adopt the ideas in hopes of not alienating a segment of the party who believes at least one of a family&#39;s parents should stay home with their children.</p> <p> Some conservative policymakers and groups have made proposals that could attract the female breadwinner vote, including a plan from an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, who has suggested allowing pregnant workers to claim part of their tax refunds early so they can have a paid maternity leave.</p> <p> Meanwhile, a Heritage Foundation economist has called for changes to labor regulations so overtime pay can be traded for compensation days, and still other advocates are pushing for regulations to allow over-the-counter birth control.</p> <p> Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer, meanwhile, wants to give companies a 25-cent tax credit for each dollar spent on employees&#39; medical or family leave time.</p> <p> &quot;The public is watching,&quot; Fischer told conservative strategists earlier this month. &quot;If we leave this narrative to our friends on the left, we don&rsquo;t stand a chance.&quot;</p> <p> Working mothers and women are also assuming a growing role and power in the United States&#39; economy. According to the <a href=""><strong>Pew Research Center</strong></a>, 40 percent of all American households are now supported by women, compared to 11 percent in 1960.</p> <p> But even so, child care costs have nearly doubled in the past 50 years, reports the Census Bureau, reflecting another concern for working mothers. According to the Institute for Women&#39;s Policy Research, daycare costs about $22,000 a year annually in Washington D.C., and in the swing state of Virginia, it can run about $10,000 a year.</p> <p> Democratic front-runner <a href=""><strong>Hillary Clinton </strong></a>is already making women&#39;s issues a priority on the campaign trail, complaining about the lack of paid maternity leave in the United States, as well as the wage gap and lack of affordable daycare options, and strategists expect her to announce a policy agenda that will appeal to working mothers.</p> <p> But only a few GOP candidates, like Carly Fiorina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have called for policy changes. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer, has announced an agenda that would reduce regulations on small business, which would help female entrepreneurs, and to allow over-the-counter birth control.</p> <p> &quot;For too long, the left has controlled this conversation,&quot; Fiorina said. &quot;I think we need to have a conversation that&rsquo;s both honest about how women are treated today and offers policy prescriptions to lift both women and men up.&quot;</p> <p> Rubio and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee have proposed a tax credit of $2,500 per child, to be awarded in addition to existing tax breaks, to help families.</p> <p> Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was McCain&#39;s senior economic policy adviser during the 2008 election, told the Post that Republicans might be staying silent so they don&#39;t tip off the Democrats, as &quot;anything we offer, the Democrats will offer 10 times that.&quot;</p> <p> But when the Post asked Holtz-&shy;Eakin, who is now the president of the American Action Forum policy institute, how McCain reached female breadwinners, he laughed and pointed out, &quot;we didn&#39;t! We lost!&quot;</p> SchaefferSat, 20 Jun 2015 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWar on Women? Why These Two Women Leaders Think That’s ‘Absurd’<p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and<span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum executive director&nbsp;Sabrina Schaeffer share their thoughts on the &ldquo;war on women,&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span> why they believe conservatives often have a tougher time engaging female voters and how they can go about changing that.</p> SchaefferFri, 19 Jun 2015 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBill banning internet access tax • Forbes on Fox SchaefferMon, 15 Jun 2015 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFree trade bad deal for Baltimore? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBill Clinton on criticism: "We're used to it" • CNN Newsroom w/Carol Costello SchaefferFri, 12 Jun 2015 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEmployee Compensation Remains in a Holding Pattern<p> A new compensation report released Wednesday suggests workers&#39; wages and benefits barely budged through the first quarter of 2015.</p> <p> Private sector employers spent an average of $31.65 per hour on wages and benefits for each of their workers in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the <a href="">Labor Department</a>. That&#39;s up only 1 percent from December&#39;s $31.32 hourly compensation, though it&#39;s still 5.5 percent higher than last March&#39;s $29.99.</p> <p> The Wednesday report is the latest chapter in a saga of sluggish wage and compensation gains for America&#39;s workforce.&nbsp;A report from the&nbsp;<a href="">Bureau of Economic Analysis</a> showed disposable personal income in April ticked up only 0.4 percent month over month after increasing less than 0.1 percent in March.</p> <p> And a separate report released by the <a href="">Labor Department</a> Friday showed American workers&#39; average hourly earnings in May have increased less than 1 percent since March and were up a meager&nbsp;<a href="">2.3 percent</a> year over year.</p> <p> &quot;Everybody&#39;s waiting for the other shoe to drop on wages,&quot; says Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at employment site Glassdoor. &quot;We know wages will eventually start picking up.&quot;</p> <p> Tightness in the labor market may help drive that increase sooner rather than later. A separate <a href="">Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary</a> released by the Labor Department on Tuesday showed a <a href="">record number of job openings</a> at the end of April, but the number of new hires that month dropped 81,000 from March. The number of&nbsp;workers who chose to quite their jobs voluntarily in April, which is generally considered to be a sign of labor market confidence among employees, also fell nearly 200,000 month over month.</p> <p> The Tuesday report suggests plenty of employers are looking to attract talent, but they aren&#39;t having much luck reeling in precisely what they&#39;re looking for. Plenty of factors could be contributing to this trend, ranging from a skilled labor shortage, a less-than-confident consumer or unreasonable employer expectations.</p> <p> The bottom line is increasing compensation is one of the most fundamental ways an employer can attract new talent. And raising wages is far from an&nbsp;employers&#39; only option.</p> <p> &quot;People take their compensation in a bunch of ways &ndash; wages plus benefits &ndash; and that employer cost [report]&nbsp;captures a lot of those other [benefits],&quot; Chamberlain says.</p> <p> That Wednesday report showed wages and salaries in March accounted for only 68.3 percent of all employee compensation costs to employers. The rest of the costs were paid out in the form of benefits.</p> <p> Health insurance benefits made up 7.7 percent of workers&#39; total compensation in March, while 4.1 percent of employers&#39; costs went into employee retirement and savings plans like 401(k)s.</p> <p> Paid leave made up 6.9 percent of workers&#39; compensation in March, down slightly from March 2014&#39;s 7 percent. Paid leave has become a particularly contentious issue among workers and employers, especially as it relates to maternity and paternity leave.</p> <p> A reported 58 percent of U.S. employers offered &quot;some replacement pay beyond any paid sick, vacation, or personal days&quot; for new mothers last year, according to a 2014 study released by the <a href="">Families and Work Institute</a> nonprofit. Only 14 percent of employers offered some form of paternity leave.</p> <p> Federal law requires employers with at least 50 employees within 75-miles of their worksites to offer at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave for &quot;childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, a serious personal medical condition or care of a child or spouse with a serious medical condition,&quot; assuming the employee worked at least 1,250 hours the year before, according to the report.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">And while Democrats in particular have recently pushed for more paid leave reforms, a report issued Monday by the </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> indicates such reforms may not be the best option for workers or their employers.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;When we have these policy discussions about pay equity or paid leave, we&#39;re often working under the assumption that women&#39;s preferences in the workplace are all the same,&quot; Sabrina Schaeffer, the forum&#39;s executive director, said in a statement Monday. &quot;One-size-fits-all workplace solutions that Democrats continuously propose won&#39;t benefit women or the economy.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The study surveyed a sample of 1,000 women to get a feel for their ideal work compensation, benefits and flexibility. It found that women were 17 percentage points more likely to choose a job that offered 15 paid vacation and sick days than one without any form of paid leave.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Offering paid days off has a big impact, even compared with salary increases,&quot; according to the report. &quot;But the impact of paid days off levels around the 15-day mark, and there is little or no benefit to offering employees more paid days off beyond that point.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But employers looking to attract new talent while cutting corners on costs could potentially offer more job flexibility in place of raises or paid leave, according to the report.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Offering a combination of flexible schedules, telecommuting, and reduced hours is about equivalent to offering 10 paid vacation and sick days or between $5,000 to $10,000 in extra salary,&quot; according to the report. &quot;Salary has a huge impact on job choice, but other forms of compensation matter as well.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> SchaefferWed, 10 Jun 2015 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhere Are All the Conservative Women? Meet Them Here<p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum hosted the first Women LEAD Summit in Washington last week.</p> <p> More than 150 women representing a variety of policy, activist and student groups, diverse in age, color and background, came together because they shared a common cause: to reach more women with the message that conservative policy ideas will make their lives better.</p> <p> Watch our video to meet a number of the conservative women and organizations doing battle in the policy and political trenches.</p> SchaefferMon, 8 Jun 2015 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum