Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS puts blame on American people for improper tax credit payments • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs it time we stop shelling out foreign aid to corrupt countries? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGov't using tax dollars to try and regulate Americans buying behavior • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 13 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRedefining insider trading / Hollywood portraying CIA accurately? • After The Bell SchaefferThu, 11 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow will markets react if the gov't shuts down? Retail bump believer? • After The Bell SchaefferThu, 11 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill boardroom quotas help women in the workplace? • CNN SchaefferThu, 11 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Being FLOTUS Isn't So Bad<p> It couldn&rsquo;t have been more perfectly planned if they tried.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m referring to 3<sup>rd</sup> grade student Alajah&rsquo;s introduction of President Obama at an early education summit yesterday. As part of her brief remarks, she shared some of her experiences as a student who benefited from early childhood education; but the big surprise came when Alajah revealed that when she grows up she wants &ldquo;to be the First Lady&rdquo; &ndash; a remark that sparked a flurry of tweets like &ldquo;Girl, you could be president!&rdquo; within seconds of the comment.</p> <p> Before we get to the hysteria over an 8-year old suggesting she might want to be someone&rsquo;s wife one day, let me suggest that &ndash; despite my at times deep dislike for both Michelle Obama&rsquo;s projects and her rhetoric &ndash; Alajah has, in fact, set her sights pretty high.&nbsp; After all, the First Lady is pretty accomplished: a lawyer, a writer, a mother, and a devoted wife isn&rsquo;t exactly a role model we should reject.</p> <p> The bigger issue, however, is why are we so alarmed if a little girl <em>doesn&rsquo;t</em> want to take center stage? Shouldn&#39;t we cheer her interest in marriage and a stable family unit rather than jeer at it?</p> <p> As a working woman myself &ndash; and as the mother of two intelligent little girls &ndash; I get it. We want our girls to believe deeply that they can do anything their male peers can do. We want them to be excited about history and science and reading, and we want them to try contact sports like lacrosse and not be shy to learn how to code.</p> <p> And they are. Girls and women are doing all of these things. In fact, women are increasingly outpacing men educationally, professionally, even financially. This includes areas not typically dominated by women &ndash; like computer programming &ndash; where there&rsquo;s a <a href="mailto:">growing female contingency</a> that&rsquo;s not always in the Silicon Valley spotlight, but is having an impact in cities like Washington, DC nonetheless.</p> <p> What the alarmism around Alajah&rsquo;s remarks misses is that an educated woman today has more choices and opportunities than ever before. And while many women are taking the A-Train to the C-Suite, others are not. In fact, most women still don&rsquo;t want the kind of lifestyle that comes with being someone like Sheryl Sandberg, let alone the president. <a href="mailto:">A Pew Research study</a> last year found that only 23% of working mothers would <em>choose </em>to work full-time if they had the option.</p> <p> This isn&rsquo;t because women are less ambitious or less capable than men &ndash; or because we haven&rsquo;t invested enough resources in women. It&rsquo;s because men and women still generally have different preferences for how to spend their time, and as a result more women still would like to take time out of the workplace to raise families. We ought to be careful not to impose what we <em>think</em> women should be doing and ignore what they actually <em>want</em> to do.</p> <p> Women have all the opportunities that men have today, and we want our daughters to feel like they can be independent and free to make the choices that suit their interests. But achieving those goals is often easier if you have a partner in life who supports them too.</p> <p> To quote <a href="">progressive feminist Mika Brezinski</a> &ndash; co-host of MSNBC&rsquo;s Morning Joe &ndash; &ldquo;there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with putting both family and work at the top of your list of priorities, giving each equal value and care, right from the start.&rdquo; And she&rsquo;s right. We&rsquo;ve become so preoccupied with women achieving professional success, that we&rsquo;ve forgotten the important role marriage can and ought to play in her life.</p> <p> And how quickly we overlook such an important institution, for both individuals and society, and especially for at-risk communities, where a stable family unit has far more lasting impact than the billions of dollars poured into Head Start.</p> <p> Alajah is a little girl with a lot of promise. Let&rsquo;s not let our expectations for her keep her from doing the things she really wants to do.</p> SchaefferThu, 11 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLearning How to Work is Hard To Do<p> I was recently invited to give a presentation on what it takes to become an &ldquo;executive director.&rdquo; I was flattered at the invitation, but a little unsure of what I&rsquo;d say, as I sort of landed in this position unexpectedly.</p> <p> After noodling it over, I realized I had one important piece of advice: learn <em>how </em>to work.</p> <p> Most of us realize after a number of years in the workforce, that there isn&rsquo;t one &ldquo;right&rdquo; path to the top. Sure there are certain steps you have to take if you want to become a lawyer or a professor or a doctor; but even then it&rsquo;s not a straight arrow to the corner office.</p> <p> Part of what makes success difficult at times is that it can be challengin to figure out what you need to do. My advice for those just entering the workforce is to figure out not <em>what</em> to work on, but <em>how</em> to work.</p> <p> This might seem strange to many young people who likely assume there are clear tasks to be completed the way they are in school: finish the math assignment, write the history paper, do the book review.</p> <p> And sometimes there are. But often in the workplace that&rsquo;s not the case. Even in the most organized jobs there&rsquo;s not always a &ldquo;checklist&rdquo; for you to make sure you complete. It becomes incumbent upon the employee to figure out their job responsibilities, design their role in the office, and make the most of their position.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why a <a href="">new campaign</a> by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) caught my eye.&nbsp; According to the NRA women especially benefit tremendously from the restaurant industry, which among other things provides good entry-level jobs, opportunity, and flexibility. In a statement they put out this week they point out:</p> <blockquote> <p> Like no other sector, restaurant jobs provide opportunities for women of all backgrounds and experience levels by helping them gain the experience they need to jumpstart careers or the ability to advance toward management or executive positions more quickly than most other industries.</p> </blockquote> <p> I couldn&rsquo;t agree more.</p> <p> My first &ldquo;real&rdquo; job &ndash; outside of babysitting and teaching piano lessons &ndash; was at the Fresh Pasta Shoppe, a small pizza and pasta restaurant in New England. While the shop wasn&rsquo;t much bigger than my car, there was plenty of work to do. I had a few &ldquo;official&rdquo; responsibilities &ndash; make the cheese bread each morning (yes, I gained a good 10 lbs that summer), make the bread salad, prep the pesto &ndash; but the real work was in figuring out what to do when those jobs were done.</p> <p> It took me a few weeks to realize that there was <em>always</em> something that needed to be done in a restaurant. We received deliveries daily that needed to be put away, the trash was always overflowing and needed to be taken out, the sink filled with dishes in minutes and needed to be washed (in <em>hot</em> water, despite the 500 degree oven steps away!).</p> <p> I felt unprepared and uncertain in the beginning about my role there. I was waiting for instructions. And sometimes found myself idling around. But in time I learned <em>how</em> to work. I learned that making the restaurant run required all hands on deck all day long. It meant always making yourself available. And it meant saying to yourself, <em>look around and find something that needs to be done</em>.</p> <p> The National Restaurant Association reports: &ldquo;Ninety-two percent of women who have worked in a restaurant say the restaurant industry is a good place to get a first job and learn valuable skills.&rdquo; They&#39;re absolutely right.</p> <p> Today my line of work has changed &ndash; although I still really enjoy the kitchen! &ndash; but what I took away from that first restaurant job is an understanding that my job is never done. I always have another donor to follow up with, another article to write, another staff member to talk to, another project to explore.</p> <p> What is very clear is that working in a restaurant is a great first step to becoming an executive director.&nbsp;</p> SchaefferWed, 10 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHypocrisy: Left-wing convicted terrorist cleared to teach at US college • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 6 Dec 2014 11:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSebelius bashes Americans' financial literacy. Isn't Gov't the problem? • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 6 Dec 2014 11:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConsumer Spending: Are basic family costs keeping the economy down? • After The Bell (12.02.14) SchaefferTue, 2 Dec 2014 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOil Price War: Will U.S. energy producers outlast OPEC? • After The Bell SchaefferTue, 2 Dec 2014 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMy Family's Health Plan Was Cancelled And ObamaCare's One-Size-Fits-All Doesn't Fit Us<p> It finally arrived &ndash; the letter from my health insurance company announcing that my family will be moved to a new plan beginning January 1<sup>st</sup>, that <em>&ldquo;meets all of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act&rdquo; </em>. . . for a mere $500 more a month.</p> <p> I knew this was coming. Golden Rule has been sending me &ldquo;warning&rdquo; letters for months now. But really I&rsquo;ve known this was coming for much longer &ndash; ever since Congress created the government-run, one-size-fits-all system known as ObamaCare. And I&rsquo;ve watched as millions of others &ndash; like those on <a href=""></a> &ndash; have gone through the same ordeal of losing plans they liked and could afford.</p> <p> Unfortunately a lot of the blame goes to my fellow women&rsquo;s groups &ndash; not the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, of course &ndash; but progressive outlets like UltraViolet, NOW, Feminist Majority, and Emily&rsquo;s List, which campaigned for expanding specific &ldquo;rights&rdquo; for women&rsquo;s health care with no consideration for how these &ldquo;benefits&rdquo; would impact individual bank accounts, the economy, and our freedom.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s well-noted that women have unique healthcare needs. Not only do we require maternity care, but also we make the majority of decisions related to our family&rsquo;s health care, take the majority of prescription drugs, and spend about two-thirds of the healthcare dollars. All of this is true for me personally.</p> <p> But I&rsquo;d argue that <em>everyone</em> has unique healthcare needs. In fact, no two people are exactly the same. I know this from experience. One might assume that my situation is typical of other women, but then I look at the women on my staff and see just how varied we are:&nbsp; One newly married without children, others just beginning families, still others whose family and situation might <em>appear</em> very similar to mine on the surface, but really have healthcare needs significantly different from mine.</p> <p> This diversity is why we need a health care system that features flexibility and choice &ndash; rather than more top-down government control &ndash; so that we can each find plans and coverage that fit our specific needs as well as our budgets.</p> <p> I have a family of five, and our current health insurance is a high-deductible plan. Like most things in life, it isn&rsquo;t perfect. The monthly premium is affordable, but without $10 co-pays I think carefully about how often to visit my children&rsquo;s pediatrician. I paid out of pocket for annual exams at my obstetrician, but the plan provided the protection we needed when my husband had to have an emergency appendectomy.</p> <p> Bottom line: it suited our healthcare and financial needs.&nbsp; It offered a level of risk my family was comfortable with and tradeoffs that made sense for us.&nbsp;&nbsp; But our plan and preferences are no longer legal because of ObamaCare.</p> <p> America&#39;s health care system was imperfect before Congress passed ObamaCare. Namely high prices, a lack of transparency, and limited consumer control &ndash; most of which was a result of decades of government intervention into the health care industry &ndash; cursed the system. Today, as government has taken on an even bigger role in micromanaging the health care system through ObamaCare, the problems are worsening, stripping away even more individualization and leaving consumers with fewer choices, higher prices, and declining care.</p> <p> It doesn&rsquo;t have to be this way. A fellow <em>Forbes</em> contributor asked me recently on Fox News Channel&rsquo;s <em>Forbes on Fox</em>, where I&rsquo;m a weekly panelist, how I would make things better. How would my proposed market-based policy reforms have prevented me from getting the letter I opened this morning?</p> <p> The big answer is markets understand individualization and the need to meet consumers unique needs. And a real market in health care would allow me to customize a health insurance plan that balanced my needs with my budget &ndash; not just offer me four prohibitively expensive plans with coverage I don&rsquo;t want.&nbsp; I should be able to customize my health plan the same way I can customize my cable package, my cell phone, my grocery cart, even my clothing shopping.</p> <p> One of the great failures of ObamaCare is that typical of government: it views us as all &ldquo;kind of the same&rdquo; &ndash; an unmarried woman, a family of four, a senior man &ndash; rather than as individuals with unique preferences and requirements. Changing this mindset doesn&rsquo;t require a miracle, only smart policies that would expand the health care marketplace and encourage insurance companies to cater to individuals rather than groups.</p> <p> There are many policy changes that can move us in that direction:&nbsp; Reforming the tax code so that individuals receive the same tax benefits as corporations, enabling a citizen to purchase health insurance outside of her state of residence, and remove coverage mandates so individuals can choose insurance packages that meet their needs.</p> <p> What was lost on Democratic lawmakers and progressive activists is that when government gets into the business of health care, bureaucrats in Washington and at large insurance companies are making the decisions, not individuals. The best thing for women &ndash; and for all Americans &ndash; is not a one-size-fits-all health care system modeled for a person &ldquo;like me.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a market that allows for the greatest freedom of choice so individuals can make determinations for themselves.</p> <p> The architects of ObamaCare ignored what all the &ldquo;free&rdquo; benefits would cost the economy, our tax burden, and our individual wallets. Let&rsquo;s just hope this is one system that is too big <em>not</em> to fail.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> SchaefferTue, 2 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTaxpayers footing $156m bill for federal employees to work for unions • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 29 Nov 2014 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSearch for leaders to unite us to succeed not divide us to fail • Forbes on Fox SchaefferSat, 29 Nov 2014 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum