Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Target missing the mark with gender sign changes<p> As summer draws to a close, moms are making back-to-school lists for new clothes and school supplies. But when they get to the store, they may find that things are organized a little differently than in years past. This month, Target (every mom&rsquo;s favorite everything-under-one-roof retailer) has announced it will end &ldquo;gender-based signage.&rdquo;</p> <p> In other words, the store will no longer have signs such as &ldquo;girls clothing&rdquo; or &ldquo;boys bedding,&rdquo; in what they say is an effort to <a href="https://corporate.target.com/article/2015/08/gender-based-signs-corporate">&ldquo;strike a better balance&rdquo; for their customers</a>.</p> <p> The pressure to eliminate gender distinctions in retail has been building for several years. In 2012, the radical feminist group Spark launched a campaign to eliminate the pink and purple &ldquo;Friends&rdquo; Legos, which were offered to appeal to girls. Around the same time, Change.org ran a video appeal to put a boy on the box of Hasbro&rsquo;s Easy Bake Oven. In the UK, the activist group Let Toys Be Toys won a sizable victory when UK chain Debenhams announced it would remove all gender signage from its stores. And, recently, Toys R US has made a commitment to ensure that the way it markets toys is &ldquo;gender-inclusive.&rdquo;</p> <p> The assumption behind each of these efforts is that gender norms are inherently oppressive &mdash; that they discriminatorily limit children&rsquo;s potential.</p> <p> Of course, gender signage doesn&rsquo;t preclude girls from buying remote-controlled cars or boys from playing in the kitchen aisle. It just recognizes that boys and girls are, in fact, intrinsically different and tend to have distinct interests, preferences, and aptitudes.</p> <p> And as Target acknowledges, they have long relied on signs simply &ldquo;to help guests navigate&rdquo; their stores &mdash; to help them easily find the products for which they are looking. And most shoppers find this guidance useful.</p> <p> Still, feminists and gender activists continue to insist that equality means ignoring differences between the sexes. In the eyes of the activists, girls won&rsquo;t really be &ldquo;equal&rdquo; to boys until we keep girls from acting like girls.</p> <p> Still, feminists and gender activists continue to insist that equality means ignoring differences between the sexes. In the eyes of the activists, girls won&rsquo;t really be &ldquo;equal&rdquo; to boys until we keep girls from acting like girls.</p> <p> As the mother of two daughters and a son, I want a healthy balance for all my children. I want my girls to recognize that they can pursue anything &mdash;&nbsp;from sports to science &mdash;&nbsp;that my son can. I love watching them play fairy dress-up as much as I love watching them aggressively play defense on the lacrosse field. And I try to make sure that it&rsquo;s their preferences, not preconceived notions about gender, that guide how they spend their time.</p> <p> But, for many traditional feminists, this balance is no longer sufficient. A hysteria has erupted over any kind of gender identification, and a pernicious belief that true equality requires stripping labels from clothing and toys has taken hold.</p> <p> Of course, one can&rsquo;t help but wonder if feminists aren&rsquo;t increasingly trying to find a solution to a problem that is rapidly fading away. At a time when women don&rsquo;t think twice about putting off marriage and children in favor of their education and careers; at a time when women are outpacing men educationally, professionally, and even financially at different points in their lives, it seems hard to claim that the gender-based toys are impinging on female success.</p> <p> Conflating equality with uniformity won&rsquo;t help young people navigate complicated gender issues. And changing a few signs won&rsquo;t stop parents from finding the clothing or school supplies their kids actually want. It&rsquo;s a shame that we can&rsquo;t just let girls and boys be themselves without fear of their differences.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is Executive Director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2797963/Sabrina SchaefferThu, 20 Aug 2015 11:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEPA sends toxic sludge into CO Animas River • Forbes on Fox http://iwf.org/media/2797919/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 15 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump: Cut taxes, simplify tax code • Forbes on Foxhttp://iwf.org/media/2797916/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 15 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhite House meme fail • Mornings with Maria http://iwf.org/media/2797903/Sabrina SchaefferFri, 14 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHillary losing steam heading into 2016 • After the Bell http://iwf.org/media/2797920/Sabrina SchaefferFri, 14 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSocial Security turns 80 • After the Bellhttp://iwf.org/media/2797917/Sabrina SchaefferFri, 14 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP shouldn't shy away from addressing women in the workplace • Bill Cunningham pt 2http://iwf.org/media/2797887/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 12 Aug 2015 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP shouldn't shy away from addressing women in the workplace • Bill Cunningham pt 1http://iwf.org/media/2797886/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 12 Aug 2015 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDemocrats demand debates • Cavuto Coast To Coast http://iwf.org/media/2797875/Sabrina SchaefferTue, 11 Aug 2015 16:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump Speaks for All the GOP Candidates on Women<p> By Dick Polman</p> <p> Newsworks.org</p> <p> This weekend, we heard the most priceless clarification ever issued by a presidential candidate.&nbsp;<em>Ever.</em>&nbsp;The Republican front-runner, seeking to quell Bloodgate, insisted that he was referring only to the female questioner&rsquo;s nose, not to her vagina.</p> <p> As freak shows go, this one is historic. Sometimes you just want to laugh until the blood runs out of wherever.</p> <p> But you&rsquo;d be wrong to think that the GOP&rsquo;s women woes begin and end with Donald Trump. His misogynistic rants about Megyn Kelly have garnered the headlines, but his &lsquo;tude is merely the most cartoonish manifestation of the party&rsquo;s longstanding tin-eared ineptitude. Republicans have lost the majority of women voters in the last six presidential elections, dating back to 1992; they&rsquo;re teed up to make it seven straight in 2016. And if you want to know why, look no further than what the men said on stage Thursday night in the first prime-time debate.</p> <p> <strong>What never came up</strong> Actually, let&rsquo;s begin what they&nbsp;<em>didn&rsquo;t</em>&nbsp;say. Working women still earn far less than men, but the candidates said nothing about pay equity. They said nothing about family leave or flexible working arrangements.<span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> Even a conservative research group, the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, noticed the paucity of dialogue about women&rsquo;s everyday lives; as director Sabrina Schaeffer&nbsp;</span></span><a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/08/09/amid-trump-flap-gop-candidates-make-appeal-to-women/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">told</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;</span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Wall Street Journal</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, &ldquo;The reality is, I don&rsquo;t think many conservatives are paying attention to how much Democrats recognize the importance of women voters (who) have really shifted their focus to workplace issues.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> The 10 Republican men had virtually nothing to say about those basic economic concerns. Here&rsquo;s the gist of what they&nbsp;<em>did</em>&nbsp;say: (1) Planned Parenthood, which annually services the health needs of three million women, should lose its federal money, (2) Big government should step in and force impregnated rape and incest victims to give birth, and (3) Big government should step in and let a high-risk woman die rather than permit her to have an abortion.</p> <p> Without Trump on stage, they still would&rsquo;ve said those things. No wonder Republicans lose the female vote election after election. In 2012, they lost women by 11 percentage points (a typically fatal blow, by the way, because in presidential years women typically comprise 53 percent of the voting electorate).</p> <p> <strong>Death to Mother</strong>s Take Marco Rubio, for instance. Supposedly he&rsquo;s &ldquo;the future&rdquo; (or so he claims). But he made it clear during the debate that he wants a blanket national ban on abortion, with&nbsp;<em>no exceptions</em>&nbsp;- not for rape or incest, not even when the woman&rsquo;s life is endangered. This is an extremist stance. According to Gallup, 83 percent of Americans say that abortions should be legal if the woman&rsquo;s life is endangered, and 75 percent say abortions should be legal in cases of rape or incest.</p> <p> Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee said that even though&nbsp;<em>Roe v. Wade</em>&nbsp;has been the law of the land for the last 42 years, he refuses to recognize the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the Constitution. Referring to&nbsp;<em>Roe</em>&nbsp;yesterday on ABC News, he said flatly, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s legal.&rdquo; He prefers to dictate moral policy to all women, guided by his special intimacy with God; as he declared during the debate, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s time we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being.&rdquo;</p> <p> Then we have Scott Walker, another member of the extremist no-exceptions caucus. Megyn Kelly asked him, &ldquo;Would you really let a woman die rather than have an abortion,&rdquo; and he basically answered yes: &ldquo;I believe that that is an unborn child that&rsquo;s in need of protection out there.&rdquo; He vaguely referred to &ldquo;many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother,&rdquo; without specifying anything, much less addressing what should happen if an emergency abortion was the only way to save the woman&rsquo;s life.</p> <p> <strong>Let&rsquo;s Defund Women&rsquo;s Health</strong> He then changed the subject to Planned Parenthood and bragged about defunding it in Wisconsin (in a new national poll, Planned Parenthood is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/how-public-views-planned-parenthood-nra-n403451">far more popular&nbsp;</a>than either the Republican party or Walker himself). All told, he insisted that on the abortion issue, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got a position that&rsquo;s in line with everyday America,&rdquo; a statement that&rsquo;s delusionally counter-factual. According to a Gallup poll in May, only 19 percent of Americans want abortion to be illegal under all circumstances.</p> <p> So, as evidenced by what we heard Thursday night, the boffo message to women is basically this: Big government should intrude in their personal lives. In other words, the odds that most women in &rsquo;16 will tilt to the GOP are approximately zero. (And according to Gallup, 54 percent of women now describe themselves as &ldquo;pro-choice,&rdquo; the highest share&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx">this century</a>.)</p> <p> In fact, the Republican candidates are not only deaf to most women&rsquo;s everyday concerns, they&rsquo;re deaf to the advice of their own strategists.</p> <p> One year ago &ndash; and hardly anyone else has written about this &ndash; Karl Rove&rsquo;s Crossroads GPS group partnered with the conservative American Action Network, to study women voters. They did eight focus groups and a national poll. Their conclusion: Republicans &ldquo;fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live.&rdquo; For instance, women care deeply about pay equity, and &ldquo;Republicans who openly deny the legitimacy of the issue will be seen as out of touch with women&rsquo;s life experiences.&rdquo; All told, &ldquo;conservative have more work to do with women.&rdquo;</p> <p> Gee, ya think? The truth is, Donald Trump is just the glossy cherry atop the party&rsquo;s sexist sundae.</p> <p> <em>Dick Polman, former political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogs at<a href="http://www.newsworks.org/">&nbsp;&nbsp;www.newsworks.org</a>, where this column originally appeared.</em></p> http://iwf.org/media/2797882/Sabrina SchaefferTue, 11 Aug 2015 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP has a real opportunity to positively address women voters • CNN Newsroomhttp://iwf.org/media/2797869/Sabrina SchaefferTue, 11 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe GOP's women woes go far beyond Trump's blood feud<p> This weekend, we heard the most priceless clarification ever issued by a presidential candidate. <em>Ever.</em> The Republican front-runner, seeking to quell Bloodgate, insisted that he was referring only to the female questioner&#39;s nose, not to her vagina.</p> <p> As freak shows go, this one is historic. Sometimes you just want to laugh until the blood runs out of wherever.</p> <p> But you&#39;d be wrong to think that the GOP&#39;s women woes begin and end with Donald Trump. His misogynistic rants about Megyn Kelly have garnered the headlines, but his &#39;tude is merely the most cartoonish manifestation of the party&#39;s longstanding tin-eared ineptitude. Republicans have lost the majority of women voters in the last six presidential elections, dating back to 1992; they&#39;re teed up to make it seven straight in 2016. And if you want to know why, look no further than what the men said on stage Thursday night in the first prime-time debate.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Actually, let&#39;s begin what they </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">didn&#39;t</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> say. Working women still earn far less than men, but the candidates said nothing about pay equity. They said nothing about family leave or flexible working arrangements. Even a conservative research group, the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, noticed the paucity of dialogue about women&#39;s everyday lives; as director Sabrina Schaeffer </span></span><a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/08/09/amid-trump-flap-gop-candidates-make-appeal-to-women/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">told</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Wall Street Journal</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, &quot;The reality is, I don&#39;t think many conservatives are paying attention to how much Democrats recognize the importance of women voters (who) have really shifted their focus to workplace issues.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> The 10 Republican men had virtually nothing to say about those basic economic concerns. Here&#39;s the gist of what they <em>did</em> say: (1) Planned Parenthood, which annually services the health needs of three million women, should lose its federal money, (2) Big government should step in and force impregnated rape and incest victims to give birth, and (3) Big government should step in and let a high-risk woman die rather than permit her to have an abortion.</p> <p> Without Trump on stage, they still would&#39;ve said those things. No wonder Republicans lose the female vote election after election. In 2012, they lost women by 11 percentage points (a typically fatal blow, by the way, because in presidential years women typically comprise 53 percent of the voting electorate).</p> <p> Take Marco Rubio, for instance. Supposedly he&#39;s &quot;the future&quot; (or so he claims). But he made it clear during the debate that he wants a blanket national ban on abortion, with&nbsp;<em>no exceptions</em> - not for rape or incest, not even when the woman&#39;s life is endangered. This is an extremist stance. According to Gallup, 83 percent of Americans say that abortions should be legal if the woman&#39;s life is endangered, and 75 percent say abortions should be legal in cases of rape or incest.</p> <p> Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee said that even though <em>Roe v. Wade</em> has been the law of the land for the last 42 years, he refuses to recognize the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the Constitution. Referring to <em>Roe</em> yesterday on ABC News, he said flatly, &quot;I don&#39;t think it&#39;s legal.&quot; He prefers to dictate moral policy to all women, guided by his special intimacy with God; as he declared during the debate, &quot;It&#39;s time we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being.&quot;</p> <p> Then we have Scott Walker, another member of the extremist no-exceptions caucus. Megyn Kelly asked him, &quot;Would you really let a woman die rather than have an abortion,&quot; and he basically answered yes: &quot;I believe that that is an unborn child that&#39;s in need of protection out there.&quot; He vaguely referred to &quot;many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother,&quot; without specifying anything, much less addressing what should happen if an emergency abortion was the only way to save the woman&#39;s life.</p> <p> He then changed the subject to Planned Parenthood and bragged about defunding it in Wisconsin (in a new national poll, Planned Parenthood is <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/how-public-views-planned-parenthood-nra-n403451">far more popular </a>than either the Republican party or Walker himself). All told, he insisted that on the abortion issue, &quot;I&#39;ve got a position that&#39;s in line with everyday America,&quot; a statement that&#39;s delusionally counter-factual. According to a Gallup poll in May, only 19 percent of Americans want abortion to be illegal under all circumstances.</p> <p> So, as evidenced by what we heard Thursday night, the boffo message to women is basically this: Big government should intrude in their personal lives. In other words, the odds that most women in &#39;16 will tilt to the GOP are approximately zero. (And according to Gallup, 54 percent of women now describe themselves as &quot;pro-choice,&quot; the highest share <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx">this century</a>.)</p> <p> In fact, the Republican candidates are not only deaf to most women&#39;s everyday concerns, they&#39;re deaf to the advice of their own strategists.</p> <p> One year ago - and hardly anyone else has written about this - Karl Rove&#39;s Crossroads GPS group partnered with the conservative American Action Network, to study women voters. They did eight focus groups and a national poll. Their conclusion: Republicans &quot;fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live.&quot; For instance, women care deeply about pay equity, and &quot;Republicans who openly deny the legitimacy of the issue will be seen as out of touch with women&#39;s life experiences.&quot; All told, &quot;conservative have more work to do with women.&quot;</p> <p> Gee, ya think? The truth is, Donald Trump is just the glossy cherry atop the party&#39;s sexist sundae.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2797864/Sabrina SchaefferMon, 10 Aug 2015 07:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmid Trump Flap, GOP Candidates Make Appeal to Women<p> Republican presidential candidates on Sunday sought to play up their appeal to women voters, in an effort to counter concern that recent comments from GOP front-runner&nbsp;<strong>Donald Trump</strong> would hinder the eventual party nominee&rsquo;s ability to win over women in the general election.</p> <p> The candidates spoke as Mr. Trump, a real-estate magnate denied his remarks about Fox News host Megyn Kelly were a reference to her menstrual cycle.</p> <p> Mr. Trump on Friday lashed out at Ms. Kelly, who had asked him in Thursday&rsquo;s debate about his history of making incendiary remarks about women. He told CNN, &ldquo;You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.&rdquo; Mr. Trump says he was employing a metaphor about her speaking in anger with blood coming from her nose.</p> <p> On Sunday, former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive officer <strong>Carly Fiorina</strong>, the only woman in the Republican field, said she had been subject to similar hormonally themed attacks throughout her career.</p> <p> &ldquo;As I made my way up in the business world, a male-dominated business world, I&rsquo;ve had lots of men imply that I was unfit for decision-making because maybe I was having my period,&rdquo; she said on CNN&rsquo;s &ldquo;State of the Union.&rdquo;</p> <p> Mrs. Fiorina praised private sector companies such as <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-offers-new-parents-one-year-of-paid-leave-1438735806"><strong>Netflix Inc. that have offered workers paid maternity leave</strong></a>, though she reiterated her opposition to &ldquo;the federal government mandating paid maternity leave to every company out there.&rdquo;</p> <p> She said <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/quotes/main.html?type=djn&amp;symbol=NFLX"><strong>Netflix</strong></a> <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/public/quotes/main.html?type=djn&amp;symbol=NFLX?mod=inlineTicker"><strong>NFLX&nbsp;-2.37%</strong></a> was &ldquo;doing the right thing because they know it helps them attract the right talent.&rdquo;</p> <p> Ohio Gov. <strong>John Kasich</strong> said Sunday that he went out of his way to recruit women to his campaign and administration because, in his experience, &ldquo;whenever women touch anything, they clearly make it better than we do, as guys.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;I have got strong women in my family. I have got strong women in my administration. And I have strong women in my campaign. In fact, my campaign manager is a woman,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> Mr. Trump, a real estate magnate, also sought to position himself as a champion for women in the workplace, even as he refused to apologize for attacking the appearance of women who had criticized him.</p> <p> He praised his female employees as &ldquo;amazing executives,&rdquo; &ldquo;phenomenal,&rdquo; and &ldquo;killers.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve always had a great relationship to the women,&rdquo; he said on ABC&rsquo;s &ldquo;This Week.&rdquo; &nbsp;&ldquo;I was one of the first people in the construction industry to put women in charge of major construction projects.&rdquo;</p> <p> Meanwhile, GOP presidential contenders former Arkansas Gov. &nbsp;<strong>Michael Huckabee</strong> and Florida Sen. <a href="http://topics.wsj.com/person/R/marco,-rubio/6882"><strong>Marco Rubio</strong></a> both affirmed their strict anti-abortion positions.</p> <p> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s legal,&rdquo; Mr. Huckabee said of abortion on ABC&rsquo;s show. &ldquo;I think it violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of an unborn person.&rdquo;</p> <p> Mr. Rubio said there was &ldquo;no doubt that a woman has a right to her own body,&rdquo; but that right needed to be balanced with &ldquo;the right of a human being to live.&rdquo; He illustrated what he called a &ldquo;difficult question&rdquo; with a hypothetical scared 15-year-old girl who needed an abortion, concluding that he would &ldquo;err on the side of life,&rdquo; suggesting he would have the girl carry the pregnancy to term.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the conservative research group Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, said she hoped Sunday&rsquo;s discussion of women in the workplace heralded the beginning of a broader conversation among conservatives on how to reach women voters on economic issues such as pay equity and flexible working arrangements.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The reality is, I don&rsquo;t think that many conservatives are paying attention to how much Democrats recognize the importance of women voters [who] have really shifted their focus to workplace issues,&rdquo; she said in an interview. &ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s a real opportunity for Republicans not to shy away from talking about those issues but to take them head on.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman dismissed the Republican candidates&rsquo; remarks.</p> <p> &ldquo;Rubio tripled down on his anti-choice policies &ndash; without exceptions. Kasich listed the binders of women he knows, but&nbsp;his policies have shut down women&rsquo;s health clinics,&rdquo; she said in a statement. &nbsp;&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just Republican rhetoric that is offensive to women, it&rsquo;s their policies as well. And today&rsquo;s Sunday show appearances only made things worse.&rdquo;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2797845/Sabrina SchaefferSun, 9 Aug 2015 07:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEPA critics say new "clean power" plan will spike energy bills • Forbes on Foxhttp://iwf.org/media/2797853/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 8 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum60% say kids will be worse off financially than their parents • Forbes on Fox http://iwf.org/media/2797851/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 8 Aug 2015 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum