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 Trump Hurting GOP's Progress With Women Voters? • CNN Newsroom SchaefferThu, 26 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBandwagon Effect: Are Americans Boarding The Trump Train? • Coast To Coast SchaefferMon, 23 May 2016 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum‘Concrete Ceiling’: Breaking Through Barriers<p> Early on, Mecca Santana wanted to be a lawyer. She was told otherwise.</p> <p> &ldquo;My uncle said, &lsquo;You&rsquo;re not going to be a damn lawyer,&rsquo; &rdquo; said Santana, an African-American woman, to an audience of about 60 mostly women during the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce&rsquo;s Women&rsquo;s Leadership Alliance&rsquo;s recent Concrete Ceiling event in Poughkeepsie.</p> <p> Not only did Santana become an attorney, but she also worked alongside New York City&rsquo;s notable district attorney, Robert Morgenthau. Later, she held positions as senior assistant counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation, executive director of EEO and diversity management for the New York City Department of Education, and chief diversity officer for the state of New York.</p> <p> Now Santana is vice president of diversity and community relations for the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. Not that any of it came easily.</p> <p> &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t see women of color in these positions,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;When you think of leaders, very rarely is it a woman; even less, women of color.&rdquo;</p> <p> According to the American Association of University Women&rsquo;s March 2016 report, &ldquo;Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership,&rdquo; 63 percent of business executives are men compared to 24 percent being Caucasian women; 2 percent, African-American women; 1 percent, Hispanic women; and 1 percent, Asian-American women. In government, 1 in 5 members of the U.S. Congress is female and only six of the nation&rsquo;s states has a female governor, a mere two of which are of color.</p> <p> Kevin Miller, a senior researcher with the AAUW, including for the &ldquo;Barrier and Bias&rdquo; report, said high-level positions are better paid, have more influence on a company&rsquo;s direction and contribute more to a business&rsquo; accomplishments than lower-level jobs do.</p> <p> &ldquo;We know there are women in leadership and women of color in leadership, but not nearly as many, if things were equal and fair,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> Diversity in the workplace, said Miller, benefits individuals and gives companies the opportunity to seek input on their directions from a broader perspective, thereby avoiding missed prospects and potentially glaring omissions, while connecting more fully with the communities they serve.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><strong><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, which just released &ldquo;Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&rsquo;s Lives,&rdquo; said while 50 percent of the workforce is female, more can be done to eliminate barriers and more fully protect women, plus support lifestyle options.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><strong><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">&ldquo;Most women are not working because they find their jobs intellectually stimulating,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They have bills that have to be paid.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><strong><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">What&rsquo;s needed is for government, businesses and policy-makers to support women in the workforce, whether they&rsquo;re sole proprietors, executives, mid-level workers or in other positions.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><strong><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">&ldquo;We want to encourage being able to customize a workplace to fit a person&rsquo;s needs,&rdquo; Schaeffer said, including the availability of jobs at various levels, opportunities for increased pay and advancement, reasonable fees for business owners, paid time off and such.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Licensed psychologist and executive coach Lubna Somjee, of the Women&rsquo;s Leadership Alliance&rsquo;s Concrete Ceiling event, where a panel of five professional women of color spoke about their career experiences, said while the &ldquo;glass ceiling&rdquo; refers to an invisible barrier that prevents women from moving up through the professional hierarchy, the &ldquo;concrete ceiling&rdquo; signifies the more formidable barrier that women of color face.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an issue that&rsquo;s really persistent and pervasive but it&rsquo;s quiet,&rdquo; Somjee said.</p> <p> Part of the problem, she said, is the lack of suitable mentorships and opportunities at the top, along with micro-aggressions against women of color, such questions about their credentials or authority, exclusions from colleagues&rsquo; networks and racist comments directed at them.</p> <p> &ldquo;Sometimes you see a company with a lot of diversity in terms of race, but not represented in the higher tier or management,&rdquo; Somjee said.</p> <p> Santana, who was one of the event&rsquo;s panelists, said women are viewed differently than men are.</p> <p> &ldquo;With ambition, to anyone else, it becomes aggressive behavior, with passion to anyone else it becomes emotional,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;With race, it increases barriers.&rdquo;</p> <p> More than that, issues affecting women of different races vary by the individual, including their geographic location, education level, socio-economic status and such.</p> <p> &ldquo;These are very nuanced issues,&rdquo; Santana said. &ldquo;We have to address them and peel back the multiple layers of the onion.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;One of the first things we can do in the professional context is enroll male leaders into this fight,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;This is not about women to be fought by women to change &hellip; it required males to say, &lsquo;I recognize these women. More diversity will help us be better and stronger.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p> <p> Businesses need to adopt policies that value their people by tying diversity into their goals and overall culture.</p> <p> &ldquo;When we teach young women to be empowered early, they group up seeing leadership, not as an anomaly, but as an expectation,&rdquo; Santana said.</p> <p> DeForest Howland, with the business development office of Ralph V. Ellis Insurance in Poughkeepsie, a sponsor of the Concrete Ceiling event, said as a service-oriented industry, it&rsquo;s important for insurance agencies to connect with people of different backgrounds.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;The workplace should reflect the community it&rsquo;s serving,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> Karla Jerry, a commercial insurance broker and account manager with Ralph V. Ellis Insurance, and a Concrete Ceiling panelist, said women of color need to educate themselves, project self-confidence and find support from colleagues and leaders in their industry.</p> <p> Jerry, a U.S. immigrant who speaks with a Spanish accent and put herself through school, feels fully supported at her agency but sometimes has to contend with others&rsquo; biases.</p> <p> &ldquo;Some customers hear your accent and think you&rsquo;re not smart enough,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;That stereotyping is lasting. You have to prove yourself.&rdquo;</p> <p> Even so, her cultural background is a plus to many.</p> <p> &ldquo;I do have a lot of customers from Hispanic communities,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I have to speak with them, sometimes, in Spanish and that makes a difference.&rdquo;</p> SchaefferMon, 23 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs The Federal Reserve Creating More Industry Bubbles? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 21 May 2016 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Didn't The NYT Article On Trump & Women Stick? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 21 May 2016 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWith Donald Trump, Republican Women Face A Tough Choice<p> Think the gender gap was big in 2012? Just wait for 2016.</p> <p> Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy last year, he has <a href="">insulted the appearance</a> of former GOP rival Carly Fiorina; <a href="">made implicit references</a> to Megyn Kelly&#39;s menstrual cycle; <a href="">gone after</a> Ted Cruz&#39;s wife, Heidi; and <a href="">suggested</a> Hillary Clinton wouldn&#39;t get &quot;5 percent&quot; in the polls if she weren&#39;t a woman.</p> <p> Now that he&#39;s the presumptive GOP nominee, Republican women are faced with a difficult choice. Do they fall in line for Trump, despite their distaste for his rhetoric? Do they back Hillary Clinton, whose policies they disagree with (sometimes vehemently)? Or do they stay home and sit out the race entirely?</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;There&#39;s so many conservative women out there right now who I think are grappling with this issue,&quot; said Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of 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;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> With Election Day still six months away, operatives acknowledge that things aren&#39;t set in stone. But in interviews with half a dozen Republican female operatives, most expressed to <a href="">CBS</a> News their strong concern that Trump&#39;s rhetoric will cause a huge gender gap and sink the GOP among women voters, an integral demographic to winning the White House in November.</p> <p> The numbers are stark: back in March, 47 percent of Republican women primary voters said in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that they could not imagine themselves voting for Trump -- far higher than for any of the other GOP hopefuls. And according to the <a href="">last CBS News national GOP primary poll</a>, released in mid-April, just 44 percent of Republican women viewed Trump favorably. The numbers are even more abysmal among women overall.</p> <p> &quot;This is going to be a choice between kind of two poison pills: it&#39;ll either be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump,&quot; said Mindy Finn, a GOP strategist who leads the independent group <a href="">Empowered Women</a>.</p> <p> Trump&#39;s rhetoric on women has been a tool his detractors have worked to use against him in the primary, too. Back in March, the anti-Trump group Our Principles PAC ran what&#39;s perhaps <a href="">the most memorable anti-Trump ad of the cycle</a>, in which women read the candidate&#39;s actual past comments on women out loud.</p> <p> &quot;&#39;Bimbo ... Dog ... Fat pig&quot; the women read out in the ad. &quot;Real quotes from Donald Trump about women.&quot;</p> <p> GOP operatives acknowledge those words won&#39;t go away easily, and that Trump&#39;s rhetoric will play endlessly in Democratic campaign ads. Even if they agree with him on policy, they said, it&#39;s his personality and tone that makes him so unpalatable.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;It&#39;s harder for women than for men to get over that character piece,&quot; Schaeffer said. &quot;The brazenness with which Trump has often talked about women is perhaps a step too far.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">She added that Republican women&#39;s groups, including IWF, have worked hard in recent years to convince women voters that Republicans want to talk to them -- and worried that Trump would effectively undo all of those efforts.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Liz Mair, a GOP operative who&#39;s been a vocal part of the #NeverTrump movement, put it more bluntly: &quot;He acts like an overgrown frat boy.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;It&#39;s going to take a lot for Republican women to feel warm and fuzzy about Hillary Clinton. But Trump is somehow doing that,&quot; she said. &quot;The vast majority of women out there have had a Trump-like guy hit on them at some point, and most have said, &#39;No way am I dating that guy.&#39;&quot;</p> <p> The threat to Republicans was evident after the Northeastern primaries in late April, when Trump&#39;s team had been saying he would be more presidential -- but he still railed on Clinton&#39;s use of the &quot;woman card,&quot; telling supporters at an election night event that if Clinton &quot;were a man, I don&#39;t think she&#39;d get 5 percent of the vote.&quot;</p> <p> Clinton&#39;s campaign quickly seized on Trump&#39;s comments, sending out a fundraising plea to supporters and selling a &quot;woman card&quot; and other related merchandise in its online store. The move <a href="">brought in $2.4 million</a> from 118,000 donors in just three days, according to the Clinton campaign, 40 percent of whom were new donors.</p> <p> In other words, it could make 2012 -- in which Democrats trumpeted a GOP &quot;war on women&quot; to help sway swing-state suburban women away from Republican nominee Mitt Romney -- look tame by comparison. Finn said Clinton can and will make her pitch to more moderate Republican women in swing-state suburbs, and that unless Trump changes his tune she&#39;ll likely make gains among the demographic.</p> <p> What&#39;s still unclear at this point is whether any GOP women&#39;s groups will actively oppose Trump, or just sit the race out entirely. A spokeswoman for <a href="">Susan B. Anthony List</a>, the pro-life women&#39;s group that was highly critical of Trump during the primary process, told CBS News the group will continue going after Clinton in the general election but did not say whether the group will explicitly boost Trump.</p> <p> Back in January, SBA List put out a letter signed by top pro-life female activists saying Trump &quot;has impugned the dignity of women,&quot; naming Kelly and Fiorina specifically. &quot;As women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump&#39;s treatment of individuals, women, in particular,&quot; the letter said.</p> <p> &quot;From our perspective we&#39;re in a general election situation now,&quot; SBA List&#39;s Mallory Quigley said. &quot;Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee, he&#39;s made very specific pro-life commitments and if elected we&#39;re going to look for those fidelity to those commitments.&quot;</p> <p> Quigley added: &quot;We know exactly what Hillary Clinton will do, and we do not want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House for sure.&quot;</p> <p> <em>CBS News&#39; Will Rahn contributed to this story.</em></p> SchaefferFri, 6 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCan Trump Win Over The Unions? • Coast To Coast SchaefferThu, 5 May 2016 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill Trump Accept Outside Funding Going Forward? • After The Bell SchaefferWed, 4 May 2016 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHillary's "Woman Card"; Millennial Voters; #MoreThanMean • PBS To The Contrary SchaefferSat, 30 Apr 2016 14:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumApple Moving Money Overseas, Do We Need Tax Reform? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 30 Apr 2016 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWould A Trump Or Clinton WH Shrink Government More? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 30 Apr 2016 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCriminal Justice Reform: Federal or State Issue? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 30 Apr 2016 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould There Be A Political Honor Code For How To Act At Rallys? • Your World SchaefferFri, 29 Apr 2016 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre The Stars Finally Aligning For Trump? • Risk & Reward SchaefferThu, 28 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHillary's Gender Rhetoric Will Get Women Nowhere • CNN Newsroom SchaefferWed, 27 Apr 2016 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum