Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS 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 ForumGov't Largesse: Taxpayers paying some federal workers to "do nothing" • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 9 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre women breaking for Dems & big govt because that's the only msg they hear? • The BlazeTV Real News SchaefferFri, 8 Aug 2014 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPresident Obama Uses Back Door To Force Equal Pay<p> This president will hold on to the &ldquo;women as victim&rdquo; mantra until the day he leaves office.</p> <p> This week the Obama Administration took a major step toward mandating &ldquo;comparable worth,&rdquo; or &ldquo;pay equity,&rdquo; by instructing the Department of Labor to draft regulations, which would require federal contractors to reveal pay data based on gender, race, and other demographics in an effort to close the so-called wage gap.</p> <p> On the face of it, data collection sounds relatively harmless &ndash; what&rsquo;s a little more red tape for businesses already used to endless regulations? But one doesn&rsquo;t have to take a far leap to see how such data collection will quickly morph into new workplace regulations and government standardization of pay.</p> <p> Not surprisingly, employers will be encouraged to see their compensation decisions through the eyes of a government bureaucrat who won&rsquo;t understand the many variables businesses consider when making compensation decisions. Employers will have an incentive to move toward one-size-fits-all compensation packages and consolidating their workforce to minimize the costs and headaches associated with hiring women and minorities. And ultimately this move by the White House will strip an employer of their most basic rights of controlling their hiring decisions.</p> <p> This is just the most recent &ndash; but very concerning &ndash; move by the president, who continues to tout the pay gap &ndash; that women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns &ndash; as a serious threat to women&rsquo;s progress.</p> <p> Of course the <a href=",-77-Cent-Talking-Point-Inaccurate">White House itself has acknowledged</a> that this statistic &ndash; which is a comparison of averages of full-time working men to full-time working women &ndash; is grossly misleading. In fact on Equal Pay Day this year, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council for Economic Advisors, conceded that the wage gap was overstated: &ldquo;If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke&hellip;.I certainly wouldn&rsquo;t have meant to say that.&rdquo; And it&rsquo;s <a href=";sa=U&amp;ei=W5zjU8DELKK5igKy34DADA&amp;ved=0CAYQFjAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNHXz-qbvABBxrdFOvhpFGMv30N4qw">liberal feminist supporters</a> have also (quietly) acknowledged that the wage gap is, in fact, far smaller &ndash; somewhere between 4 and 6 cents. All of which begs the question: <em>Do we really need Washington to mandate &ldquo;equal pay?&rdquo;</em></p> <p> The answer is undoubtedly no. The fact is the wage gap is not the terrifying threat feminist outlets, progressive activists, and Democratic lawmakers make it out to be. And what&rsquo;s more, portraying the workplace and society as hostile to women doesn&rsquo;t actually help women earn more. The real reason for wage differences is because of different choices men and women make, from choosing their college major, to job preferences, to time spent out of the workforce.&nbsp;</p> <p> Americans see this, and they understand that more government meddling in the labor market would result in serious unintended consequences. That&rsquo;s why in <a href="file://localhost/Users/sabrina/Desktop/FILES%20TO%20TRANSFER%20TO%20MAC/SABRINA'S%20DOCUMENTS/SABRINA/IWF/PFA%20MESSAGE%20EXPERIMENT/IWF-2PgSummary2014_PFA.pdf">experimental research</a> IW conducted, when respondents learn about the economic impact of trying to mandate wages through laws like the Paycheck Fairness Act, support for the law drops overwhelmingly. What&rsquo;s more, while women&rsquo;s groups on the left might see this issue as a political homerun for Democrats, that&rsquo;s not in fact the case. The debate over this issue actually <em>diminished</em> support in our research for the president among weak Democratic and Independent women by 13-points, perhaps because it reinforces the notion that Democrats see women at best through a lens of victimhood and at worst as political pawns.</p> <p> When taken together, it becomes clear why Democrats have failed to pass the &ldquo;Paycheck Fairness Act,&rdquo; which stalled in the Senate for the third straight time 53-44.&nbsp; But unable to move equal pay legislation through proper legislative channels, the president is now taking this back door approach through an executive order to establish official wage standards.</p> <p> Perhaps it&rsquo;s time for the president to stop trying to legislate perfection. Women and girls in America today have more freedom and choices than ever before, and that&rsquo;s something to celebrate. Rather than talking about women as if they are perpetually mistreated &ndash; and pushing policies to address problems that are minor at best &ndash; the White House should focus on economic growth so that men and women will have greater opportunity to find the job that really is the best fit.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferFri, 8 Aug 2014 06:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP Puts Forth a New Women's Package<p> Last week Republican lawmakers put forward a package of bills focused on improving the economic standing of women and their families.</p> <p> &nbsp;Part of this effort was an attempt to find some common ground on the issue of pay equity.&nbsp;&nbsp;And Rep. McMorris Rodgers included a bill that prevents the retaliation against employees who might inquire about equal pay.</p> <p> &nbsp;For the GOP, this seemed like low-hanging fruit because the fact is retaliation is already against the law. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states, &ldquo;all of the laws we enforce make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise &lsquo;retaliate&rsquo; against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer or other covered entity about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;Now I admit it&rsquo;s much harder to be a lawmaker and have to appeal to different constituencies than in my position, where I can criticize freely; but the GOP is making a mistake. As I warned to many in private, if Republicans try to meet Democrats half-way on the issue of the so-called pay-gap, it simply says the right has&nbsp;<em>conceded</em>&nbsp;the point on the wage gap, which&nbsp;<em>everyone&nbsp;</em>knows is grossly overstated.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;In an&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">article in Salon</a>&nbsp;over the weekend, Allegra Kirkland says just that: &ldquo;Yet now, it seems, they are changing their tune and adopting a cornerstone of the Democratic economic agenda as their own.&rdquo; (Charlotte <a href="">addressed</a> a different aspect of the Kirkland article here.)&nbsp;</p> <p> The Right has a serious problem connecting with women &ndash; and they need to do a far better job explaining how limited government policies in health care, education, the workplace and elsewhere will improve the lives of women and their families. But trying to go half-way on issues like equal pay are doomed to fail. In fact, it doesn&rsquo;t put out the fire for more government in the name of protecting women, it fuels it.</p> <p> Even if Republicans lie down and pass a full-fledged, unadulterated Paycheck Fairness Act like Democrats would like, does anyone think for a second the Left will lay off on the &ldquo;War on Women&rdquo; attacks? Heck no: They&rsquo;ll double-down.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferMon, 4 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumVA Fix: Is it designed to help unions more than veterans? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 2 Aug 2014 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum