Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Requires More Than A Fresh Coat Of Paint: Why The New Hillary Is Just More Of The Same<p> Throughout the campaign, Hillary Clinton has been struggling to shake her reputation as a dishonest, Washington insider, who can&rsquo;t connect personally or politically with the average American voter. Yesterday, however, Clinton came out swinging&ndash; with the attitude that she is ready to win this election &ndash; and, much to my chagrin, she scored some points.</p> <p> Perhaps it was the result of just having met a new grandson, but Tuesday&rsquo;s Clinton seemed excited to be on stage. Unlike her typical affectless speeches, she was all smiles and laughs. In a roughly 45 minute speech she eviscerated Donald Trump, but with a smile. This week voters met the &ldquo;new and improved&rdquo; Clinton.</p> <p> The problem is that while Clinton may have undergone an outward rebranding, what&rsquo;s inside remains the same. And despite her tone of optimism &ndash; &ldquo;Building the Growth and Fairness Economy&rdquo; &ndash; her economic policies would continue to concentrate power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats while undermining economic growth for Americans.</p> <p> In particular Clinton focused her attention on that ever-important Democratic voting bloc: women. Immediately she noted that the United States can&rsquo;t keep up with our foreign competition because we don&rsquo;t have &ldquo;family-friendly policies like paid leave.&rdquo; She added that, &ldquo;Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, childcare are essential to our competitiveness and our growth. And we can do this in a way that doesn&rsquo;t impose unfair burdens on businesses, especially small businesses. As president, I&rsquo;ll fight to put families first, just like I have my entire career.&rdquo;</p> <p> As a working mom, with an aging father, and the head of a women&rsquo;s organization, these issues resonate with me &ndash; and I&rsquo;m sure with many other women. It&rsquo;s true we can and need to do more to make work pay for women and their families and ensure that more workers have the flexibility they need to balance work and life responsibilities, while not hindering their economic opportunity. IWF writes about all of these issues in our recent report <a href="">Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Women.</a></p> <p> But Clinton&rsquo;s policies would do just the opposite. This wasn&rsquo;t the first time we&rsquo;ve heard Clinton or other progressives talk about Europe&rsquo;s enviable benefit packages. It&rsquo;s true, in countries like Germany, women receive pretty cushy maternity and paid leave packages; but these generous leave packages come with serious unintended consequences. As my colleague <a href="'s-No-Magic-Bullet.">Carrie Lukas has written</a>, in contrast to the United States, European women are far more likely to work part-time and in less well-remunerated jobs. They&rsquo;re less likely to hold leadership positions. And not surprisingly, all these expensive benefits make women more expensive to employ, something employers balance out through lower wages and salaries.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why a truly fresh idea would be to introduce a combination of Personal Care Accounts and small business tax credits, as IWF recommends, so that we can encourage both individual savings as well as help businesses afford to offer paid time off.</p> <p> Similarly Clinton once again made a push for universal childcare. But instead of putting Washington in the driver&rsquo;s seat, a truly modern idea would be to consolidate and reform existing tax credits for children, providing much-needed tax relief for parents. This would allow families to make decisions about the best kind of childcare arrangements, eliminate the bias against stay-at-home parents, and simplify the tax code. What&rsquo;s more we ought to eliminate needless regulations on day care centers. Everyone wants children to be in a safe and caring environment, but excessive staffing regulations simply results in the misallocation of funds without improving quality.</p> <p> And while Clinton may be trying to put on a fresh, positive face, she continues to rely on the pessimistic and outdated narrative that women are grossly underpaid in the workplace. We can strengthen the Equal Pay Act to protect workers and build a better understanding among businesses of their requirements under the law; but we ought to also recognize that the best way to help women earn more is to encourage them to consider their choices and the tradeoffs all of us have to make in our educational, professional, and personal lives.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s easy to think that changing the packaging is enough to help you boost your sales. But if you&rsquo;re still selling the same old, stale bag of goods, it&rsquo;s not going to be enough to win more market share. A genuine brand overhaul requires changing the substance of your product. And if Clinton really wants to rebrand herself as the fresh mind for women she&rsquo;s going to need to seriously rethink her policies, not just her style.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> SchaefferThu, 23 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumClinton Hits Trump On Economic Plan & Business Record • Coast To Coast SchaefferTue, 21 Jun 2016 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDisney's Gator Problem + Should Facebook Regulate Violent Posts? • Risk & Reward SchaefferMon, 20 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSenate Pushes Gun Control, But We're Not Enforcing Laws On The Books • Risk & Reward SchaefferMon, 20 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Do Background Checks Mean If FBI Doesn't Follow-Up? • MSNBC Live SchaefferSun, 19 Jun 2016 11:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamacare Premiums Expected To Rise Again Next Year • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 18 Jun 2016 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGAO Report: 99% Of Federal Workers "Fully Successful" Or Better • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 18 Jun 2016 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould We Clamp Down On Social Media To Stop Terrorism? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 18 Jun 2016 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIndependent Women’s Forum: How Can We Improve Character in Public Life?<p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Sabrina Schaeffer,&nbsp;executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, opened up the 2016 election panel by saying it&rsquo;s been an interesting election season.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> James Rosebush, a former&nbsp;Reagan White House official, sparked the idea for the panel with a conversation Schaeffer and he had about nine months ago. He wrote a book called <em>True Reagan</em> that talked about the issue of character and true virtue of our leaders. She thought that IWF should do a panel on this, and the idea grew from there.</p> <p> &ldquo;The Character of Our Political Leadership: Political Civility, Discourse, and the Impact on Women Voters in the 2016 Election&rdquo; was just one of the panels at the IWF annual&nbsp;Women Lead Summit that focuses on economic policy issues that affect women in the workplace. The panel also included a former President George W. Bush speechwriter.</p> <p> Take a look at the <a href="">full panel</a> to see what conclusions the panelists came to.</p> SchaefferTue, 14 Jun 2016 11:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe "God Gap": How Can Trump Win Over Evangelicals? • Happening Now SchaefferSat, 11 Jun 2016 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Food Police Won't Prevent Obesity • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 11 Jun 2016 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCould The Syrian Refugee Program Lead To Increased Terrorism? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 11 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Women Aren't With Hillary<p> For the first time in American history, the people have the chance to elect a female president with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presumptive nominee, but many women with varying political ideologies simply don&rsquo;t like her.</p> <p> The women who particularly&nbsp;don&rsquo;t like Clinton? Millennial females. In fact, a USA Today/Rock the Vote survey showed that a shocking 61 percent of young women preferred Sanders over Clinton&rsquo;s abysmal 30 percent.</p> <p> In 2012, women made up 53 percent of the vote &mdash; a majority of the electorate &mdash; but will they turn out in the same way in 2016, despite a lack of interest? An April Gallup survey has found that just 30 percent of Democratic women are paying attention to the presidential race, a shocking statistic. Women are supposed to be the core base of Clinton&rsquo;s supporters, but she just hasn&rsquo;t been able to cultivate enthusiasm among them for her candidacy.</p> <p> Clinton&rsquo;s biggest issue is the way in which she tries to attract female voters &mdash; pandering. Women don&rsquo;t like being pandered to and used as a political prop. Her dishonesty and lack of&nbsp;authenticity continue to grow the more she appears on the campaign trail. With already tepid support among young liberal females due to her perceived lack of progressivism on the issues, she should reconsider her pandering tactics.</p> <p> She&rsquo;s even had progressive feminist groups such as Emily&rsquo;s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood publicly endorse her. The networks of those groups alone haven&rsquo;t been able to help generate interest in the race &mdash; a race they believe jeopardizes women&rsquo;s health and rights if Clinton doesn&rsquo;t assume the presidency.</p> <p> While 80 percent of Americans say the United States is ready to elect a female president, they don&rsquo;t feel the overwhelming urgency to have one. In the very first Democratic debate of the season, when asked why a political insider like herself should be elected, Clinton&nbsp;pivoted to the gender card. &ldquo;Well, I can&rsquo;t think of anything more outsider than electing the first woman president.&rdquo; This strategy has been widely criticized on&nbsp;both sides of the aisle.</p> <p> &ldquo;Rather than saying &lsquo;I&rsquo;m a woman,&rsquo; she needs to say why it matters and why it&rsquo;s transformative,&rdquo; said Nomiki Konst, a Democratic strategist. &ldquo;Which I agree with, but I question not about whether she&rsquo;s a woman but about her judgment &mdash; she needs to show proper judgment. Hillary has been living in a world that men have created and now she&rsquo;s talking about how she&rsquo;s a woman.&rdquo;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Other women noted the significance of the moment but highlighted that Clinton&rsquo;s gender alone would never be enough for women to elect her. &ldquo;While I applaud any woman who puts in the hard work to run for public office, ultimately policy substance needs to outweigh gender,&rdquo; said Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. &ldquo;In many ways, I don&rsquo;t know why we would be so excited for a woman who has such a shady history and whose favorables are really low right now, hard to be excited with any candidate who is representative of corruption and business as usual in Washington.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Some women fail to see how a Clinton presidency would do anything to advance the issues that women care about. &ldquo;Women, like all Americans, want a candidate who is going to offer policies that improve their lives,&rdquo; said Karin Agness, founder of the Network of Enlightened Women. &ldquo;Unfortunately, the policies Clinton is offering women right now will end up making it more difficult for women to get good health care, find fulfilling jobs, and start businesses.&rdquo;</p> <p> Some young female voters expressed their disappointment that Clinton was the first female to be nominated by a major party &mdash; wishing that it wasn&rsquo;t someone with such a scandal-plagued history, with ties to the government. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not with Hillary because she&rsquo;s corrupt, dishonest, and has dedicated her life to growing government,&rdquo; said Crystal Clanton, a young female voter. &ldquo;I believe in liberty and don&rsquo;t need government telling me how to live my life.&rdquo;</p> <p> If Clinton was banking on the gender card to get her elected, she needs to seriously rethink her strategy &mdash;&nbsp;or she won&rsquo;t have the chance to shatter the glass ceiling at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.</p> SchaefferFri, 10 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy The Collective "Yawn" Over Hillary Clinton?<p> Feminists have been lamenting the collective &ldquo;yawn&rdquo; that seems to have followed Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s effective clinching of the Democratic nomination this week. Right or wrong, in contrast to the tears and excitement over President Obama&rsquo;s nomination in 2008, it&rsquo;s true there is a different feeling in the air.</p> <p> Objectively it is a pretty big deal to see the first woman earn the nomination of a major political party, and take a big step toward becoming the first woman U.S. president. It&rsquo;s easy for a woman like myself &ndash; who has had the luxury to receive higher degrees, pursue a career path of my choosing, make financial plans, and participate in a mutually respectful marriage &ndash; to forget that American women did not always enjoy such freedoms (and certainly plenty of women around the globe still don&rsquo;t).</p> <p> So why <em>isn&rsquo;t</em> there more enthusiasm?</p> <p> It could be a function of the different histories of black Americans and women. While the quest for women&rsquo;s rights was a social movement that grew up alongside the abolitionist movement, most historians are hard-pressed to argue that their histories are really equivalents. While women faced tremendous challenges and it took bravery and dedication to win voting rights and later access to education and workplace opportunities, it doesn&rsquo;t compare to the sufferings of black Americans, who only experienced serious institutional changes following a vicious, bloody Civil War.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active end ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> But I&rsquo;m not sure that explains the half-hearted enthusiasm.</p> <p> Clinton&rsquo;s outdated message may be a root cause of this apathy. It&rsquo;s always a wonderful thing to have role models for women, but Clinton&rsquo;s &ldquo;Free to Be You and Me&rdquo; narrative feels a bit out of touch. Her now famous tweet &ndash; &ldquo;To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want &ndash; even president. Tonight is for you.&rdquo; &ndash; brings a smile to your face, but it&rsquo;s stuck in the 1970s. It seems detached from the fact that we&rsquo;re living at a time when most young women already think they can &ndash; and <em>are</em> &ndash; doing anything they want.</p> <p> Some will certainly argue that the lack of enthusiasm is an outcome of sexism &ndash; perhaps the country really isn&rsquo;t ready for a woman president, after all. &nbsp;This seems unlikely, however, considering that back in 2007 a strong majority of Americans (55 percent) already said they were ready for a female president. And <a href="">more recent research</a> offers an even more encouraging picture of the American public (and the media&rsquo;s) outlook of women serving in public office, in which we&rsquo;re increasingly judging candidates by their substance, not their gender.</p> <p> Personally, I&rsquo;d hope the ambivalence over Clinton is a result of her policy agenda. I certainly disagree vehemently with her legislative prescriptions for health care, paid leave, and energy for instance; but <a href="">the Pew Research Center</a> found 64 percent of Democrats (and leaners) think she&rsquo;d make a great president, which suggests that her policies must resonate with them.</p> <p> So the more I&rsquo;ve been thinking about it, the more it becomes clear that we can&rsquo;t separate out this historic moment from the candidate herself. The reason for the collective yawn is <em>Hillary Clinton</em>. The fact is, she&rsquo;s simply not President Obama &ndash; like him or not, Mr. Obama exuded a presence, a personality, and a charisma that resonated literally around the globe. He didn&rsquo;t have to talk about being a historic figure because it went without saying. And it&rsquo;s no surprise that he&rsquo;s now planning to return to the campaign trail &ndash; an unconventional role for a sitting president &ndash; to help campaign for Clinton. He stirs up excitement.</p> <p> Clinton lacks inspiration, but even more significant is the fact that 59 percent of voters according to Quinnipiac don&rsquo;t believe she&rsquo;s honest or trustworthy. Her entire public career is characterized by a series of ups and downs (<a href="">see this Pew Research Center chart for a visual</a>). She is the <em>definition</em> of a &ldquo;polarizing figure.&rdquo; And of course in recent years she has become synonymous with the corruption of Washington &ndash; most notably through the Benghazi tragedy, the Clinton Foundation activities, and email scandal that may have put our national security risk.</p> <p> I agree it&rsquo;s exciting to see women succeed, and I&rsquo;m thrilled my children live at a time when freedom and opportunity for women is no longer the exception to the rule. Thankfully my daughters and my son have lots of female role models to look up to, from family members to neighbors, friends, and teachers. They are surrounded by truly wonderful women who have carved out interesting careers and family arrangements, who regularly inspire and encourage them to succeed.</p> <p> ngIf: initialized &amp;&amp; active</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s hard to be enthusiastic about a candidate that is synonymous with corruption and business-as-usual in a town that desperately needs meaningful change. Hillary Clinton may shatter a glass ceiling if she enters the White House; but most Americans are looking for leaders &ndash; in our family, community, or in government &ndash; who will inspire us.</p> <p> Love her or hate her, that&rsquo;s the missing piece for Hillary Clinton.</p> SchaefferThu, 9 Jun 2016 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumClinton's Historic Victory? A Loss For Women, Millennials<p> After winning&nbsp;primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton has decisively locked up the Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman in history to secure the presidential nomination for a major political party.</p> <p> In her victory speech, Clinton celebrated the milestone and credited the &ldquo;generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.&rdquo;</p> <p> Despite the historic nature of Clinton&rsquo;s victory, there are conservative women&rsquo;s organizations, many young people, and even some progressive groups who see her big win&nbsp;as a loss for the issues they care about.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, a leading women&rsquo;s group on the right, believes Clinton&rsquo;s policies will ultimately backfire on women and families.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;While we applaud any woman who puts the hard work into running for public office, Americans ought to consider the real impact of a President Hillary Clinton,&rdquo; said a statement from the group released on Tuesday. &ldquo;While she has tried to present herself as a champion for women&rsquo;s rights, Mrs. Clinton &ndash; like so many other progressives in Washington &ndash; supports policies and legislation that will ultimately backfire on women and their families . Whether it&rsquo;s her support of government-run health care, higher taxes, more energy regulations, or the micromanaging of the labor force, Clinton&rsquo;s vision for America is one in which an even greater government would be at the center.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Young voters &mdash; many of whom support Senator Bernie Sanders&rsquo; more progressive&nbsp;platform to relieve student debt, subsidize college tuition, and raise the minimum wage &mdash; are reluctant to transfer their allegiance to Clinton. Some&nbsp;Sanders supporters still believe he&nbsp;has a shot if he is able to sway Clinton&rsquo;s superdelegates before the party&rsquo;s convention at the end of July.</p> <p> Moumita Ahmed, the 26-year-old founder of the group Millennials for Bernie, said she hopes Sanders stays in the race and continues to pressure Clinton on the issues.</p> <p> &ldquo;He needs to be there,&rdquo; she told the <a href=";pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;region=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;_r=1">New York Times</a>. &ldquo;He has to, because it&rsquo;s not about him. It&rsquo;s really about our issues. Unless he stays there, there&rsquo;s no way we can put free college into the platform committee.&rdquo;</p> <p> Despite lacking a clear path to the nomination, Sanders has vowed to continue his campaign&nbsp;through the final Democratic primary in Washington, D.C. next week, and possibly through the July convention.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferWed, 8 Jun 2016 14:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum