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 RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Hillary's Gender Rhetoric Will Get Women Nowhere • CNN Newsroomhttp://iwf.org/media/2800050/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 27 Apr 2016 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF's Working For Women Report Seeks To Give Women More Opportunity • Washington Journal <p> <a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?408126-3/washington-journal-sabrina-schaeffer-paid-family-leave"><strong><em>Click here to watch the full interview.&nbsp;</em></strong></a></p> http://iwf.org/media/2800023/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 23 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHistory Lesson for Donald Trump: We Live In A Republic, Not A Democracy • After The Bellhttp://iwf.org/media/2800008/Sabrina SchaefferThu, 21 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIt's A Retirement Account, But For Maternity Leave<p> Fewer than half of the workers in the United States can take paid time off to care for a new baby. The rest either find a way to make it work -- scale back at the office, drain savings, enlist relatives -- or slip into poverty.</p> <p> With no guaranteed income during one of life&#39;s priciest events comes a flood of proposed solutions, mostly from the left. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for 12 weeks of partly paid leave . Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed the same. San Francisco this month became the first U.S. city to require businesses to cover six weeks of parental leave at full wages.</p> <p> And a group of conservative thinkers in Washington wants to deviate from these concepts, promoting an alternative that shifts responsibility from taxpayers and companies to the individual.</p> <p> Think of it as a 401(k) but for maternity leave.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The recommendation is part of a bundle of family-friendly policy proposals from the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, a right-leaning think tank in Washington.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Such a report is rare, because Democrats have traditionally focused on the struggles of working mothers and because Republicans have long argued that boosting the economy will boost everyone. (For context, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida made history last year when he became the first Republican candidate to release a paid-leave plan.)</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But liberals shouldn&#39;t continue to dominate the discussion, said Sabrina Schaeffer, IWF&#39;s executive director. Republican lawmakers ignore reality when they gloss over parents&#39; needs, she said, and it&#39;s also a political blunder to let one side own an increasingly hot issue.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;We&#39;re responding to the progressive feminist and Democratic ideas about how to best help women in the workplace,&quot; Schaeffer said. &quot;We want to recognize that people&#39;s lives aren&#39;t static and give them flexibility.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">IWF proposes that states, which can move more nimbly than the federal government, create their own gender-neutral Personal Care Accounts (PCA) for potential parents to fill with tax-free savings, with as much as $30,000 during a lifetime.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Workers would be allowed to store the equivalent of 12 weeks pay per year, capped at a maximum of $5,000 annually. They could cash out only when they&#39;re eligible for extended leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides most workers with 12 weeks of job-protected time off to care for a new child, tend to a sick relative or recover from an injury. The act, though, does not guarantee pay during that time.</p> <p> Employers would also have the option to match contributions.</p> <p> The approach resembles America&#39;s most popular way to save for retirement (and similar models that encourage people to put away funds for education and medical care), although the period to accrue interest would be much shorter. If a worker never uses the money, the fund would essentially become an Individual Retirement Account.</p> <p> The PCAs, of course, couldn&#39;t help women who don&#39;t have money to contribute or those who become pregnant before a reservoir of cash accumulates. The accounts mostly would lift people who already have resources to stash and grow.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Not everything is going to help every person,&quot; Schaeffer said. She and her colleagues also suggest giving tax breaks to small businesses that offer generous family-friendly benefits and simplifying the tax code to benefit families.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The IWF report argues that these strategies would take the burden off the employers -- and shield women from the social consequences of one-size-fits-all policies.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The authors point to a 2015 study in Chile, which showed that, after the government told companies to provide childcare to working mothers, women&#39;s wages dropped. They also cite research from Cornell University economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, who found that women in European countries offering lengthy maternity leaves were promoted much less often than their American counterparts.</p> <p> Jeffrey Hayes, program director of job quality and income security at the Institute for Women&#39;s Policy Research, questioned the effectiveness of IWF&#39;s proposal, saying more attention should be paid to young parents with the least financial security. Some work part time or for small firms that supply no benefits. Others carry thousands of dollars in student debt.</p> <p> &quot;Pregnancy tends to happen early in the life course,&quot; Hayes said. &quot;You don&#39;t have time to build up much money.&quot;</p> <p> About 88 percent of employees in the private sector have no access to paid family leave, leaving low-income workers with few options when a newborn arrives. Some women return to work a week after giving birth, he said. Some return before the incision from a Cesarian section heals.</p> <p> Momentum to tackle the issue continues to grow nationwide. While California, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York are so far the only states to offer new parents partial pay, advocates say lawmakers in at least 18 other states are considering implementing some form of the benefit.</p> <p> The District could soon follow San Francisco&#39;s lead, with council members working on legislation that would provide new parents with 16 weeks of paid leave.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799998/Sabrina SchaefferThu, 21 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIt's A Retirement Account, But For Pregnancy<p> Fewer&nbsp;than half of the workers in the United States can take paid time off to care for a new baby. The rest either find a way to make it&nbsp;work &mdash; scale back at the office, drain savings, enlist relatives &mdash; or <a href="http://www.npc.umich.edu/publications/workingpaper05/paper19/Poverty-6-9-05.pdf">slip into poverty</a>.</p> <p> With no guaranteed income during one of life&rsquo;s priciest events&nbsp;comes a flood of proposed solutions, mostly from the left. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for <a href="https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/paid-leave/">12 weeks of partly paid leave</a>. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2016/01/08/3737305/2016-paid-family-leave/">proposed the same</a>. San Francisco this month became&nbsp;the first U.S.&nbsp;city to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/san-francisco-first-us-city-to-require-businesses-to-offer-new-parents-paid-leave/2016/04/06/7529d338-fc2b-11e5-9140-e61d062438bb_story.html">require businesses</a>&nbsp;to cover six weeks of parental leave at at full wages.</p> <p> And a group of conservative thinkers in Washington wants to deviate from these concepts, promoting an alternative that shifts responsibility from taxpayers and companies to the individual.</p> <p> Think of it as a 401(k) but for maternity leave.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The recommendation is part of a </span></span><a href="http://workingforwomenreport.com/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">bundle of family-friendly policy proposals</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> from the </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, a right-leaning think tank in Washington, for the consideration of state lawmakers.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Such a report is rare, because&nbsp;Democrats have traditionally focused on the struggles of working mothers and because Republicans have long argued that boosting the economy will boost everyone. (For context, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida made history last year when he became <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/marco-rubios-paid-family-leave-plan-may-not-work/">the first Republican&nbsp;candidate</a> to release a paid-leave plan.)</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But liberals shouldn&rsquo;t continue to dominate the discussion, said Sabrina Schaeffer, IWF&rsquo;s executive director. Republican lawmakers ignore reality when they gloss over parents&rsquo; needs, she said, and it&#39;s also a political blunder to let one side own </span></span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conservatives-frustrated-by-gops-drop-in-working-womens-votes/2015/06/19/e2c5e736-0f84-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">an increasingly hot&nbsp;issue</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re responding to the progressive feminist and Democratic ideas about how to best help women in the workplace,&rdquo; Schaeffer said. &ldquo;We want to recognize that people&#39;s lives aren&#39;t static and give them flexibility.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">IWF proposes that states, which can move more nimbly than the federal government, create their own gender-neutral Personal Care Accounts (PCA) for potential parents to fill with tax-free&nbsp;savings, with as much as&nbsp;$30,000 during&nbsp;a lifetime.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Workers would be allowed to store&nbsp;the equivalent of 12 weeks pay per year, capped at a maximum of $5,000 annually.&nbsp;They&nbsp;could cash out only when they&#39;re eligible for extended leave&nbsp;under the <a href="http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/">Family Medical Leave Act</a>, which provides most workers with 12 weeks of job-protected time off to care for a new child, tend to a sick relative or recover from an injury. The act, though, does not guarantee pay during that time.</p> <p> Employers would also have the option to match contributions.</p> <p> The approach resembles America&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2016/03/08/a-guide-to-making-the-most-of-your-401k/">most popular way to save for retirement</a>&nbsp;(and similar models that encourage people to put away funds for education and medical care), although the period to accrue interest would be much shorter.&nbsp;If a worker never uses the money, the fund would essentially become an Individual Retirement Account.</p> <p> The PCAs, of course, couldn&rsquo;t help women who don&rsquo;t have money to contribute or those who become pregnant before a reservoir of cash accumulates. The accounts&nbsp;mostly would lift people who already have resources to stash and grow.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Not everything is going to help every person,&rdquo; Schaeffer said. She and her colleagues&nbsp;also suggest giving tax breaks to small businesses that offer generous family-friendly benefits&nbsp;and simplifying the tax code to benefit families.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The IWF report argues that these strategies&nbsp;would take the burden off the employers &mdash; and shield women from the social consequences of one-size-fits-all policies.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The authors point to a 2015 study in Chile, which showed that, after the government told companies to provide childcare to working mothers, women&rsquo;s wages dropped.&nbsp;They also cite research from Cornell University economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, who found that women in European countries offering&nbsp;lengthy maternity leaves&nbsp;were promoted <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp7140.pdf">much less often</a> than their American counterparts.</p> <p> Jeffrey Hayes, program director of job quality and income security at <a href="http://www.iwpr.org/about/staff-and-board/jeffrey-hayes">the Institute for Women&rsquo;s Policy Research</a>,&nbsp;questioned the effectiveness of IWF&#39;s proposal, saying&nbsp;more attention should be paid to young parents with the least&nbsp;financial security. Some work part time or for small firms that supply&nbsp;no benefits. Others carry thousands of dollars in student debt.</p> <p> &quot;Pregnancy tends to happen early in the life course,&quot; Hayes said. &quot;You don&#39;t&nbsp;have time to build up much money.&quot;</p> <p> About 88&nbsp;percent of employees in the private sector have no access to paid family leave, leaving low-income workers with few options when&nbsp;a newborn arrives. Some women return to work a week after giving birth, he said. Some return before&nbsp;the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/san-francisco-first-us-city-to-require-businesses-to-offer-new-parents-paid-leave/2016/04/06/7529d338-fc2b-11e5-9140-e61d062438bb_story.html">incision from a Cesarian section heals</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> Momentum to tackle the issue continues to grow nationwide. While California, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York&nbsp;are so&nbsp;far the only states to offer new&nbsp;parents partial pay, advocates say lawmakers in at least 18 other states are considering implementing some form of the benefit.</p> <p> The District could soon follow&nbsp;San Francisco&#39;s lead, with council members working on&nbsp;legislation that would provide new parents with 16 weeks of paid leave.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799984/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 20 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump Needs To Shift From Victim Status To What He Will Offer • Coast To Coast http://iwf.org/media/2799964/Sabrina SchaefferMon, 18 Apr 2016 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDON’T LISTEN TO THE POLITICIANS – HERE’S 4 WAYS WOMEN CAN ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS<p> This week marked &ldquo;Equal Pay Day,&rdquo; which, though a myth, as <a href="http://opportunitylives.com/the-unequal-pay-myth/">this publication describes</a>, remains a point of contention for women because for many, it speaks to a broader point about happiness. Many women feel not making as much &mdash; or having to work more, instead of spend time with their kids &mdash; prevents them from living the life they&rsquo;d dreamed of living. That doesn&rsquo;t have to be the case. Here&rsquo;s a few ways women can make their dreams their reality, regardless of what politicians and the media say about a &ldquo;wage gap.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>1 If you don&rsquo;t want kids, pursue your calling, not your job</strong></p> <p> An increasing number of women are delaying parenting because either they&rsquo;re unsure if they want children or, more likely, are unsure how to maintain both the career they&rsquo;ve worked hard to achieve and raise children. If you find yourself in the lot with the former, it&rsquo;s important not to allow yourself to get caught up doing something for too long, just to pay the bills. Before you know it, you&rsquo;ll find yourself ten years down the road, still wishing for that vocation you find fulfilling.</p> <p> This may be difficult. The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum works tirelessly to promote women&rsquo;s ideals. In their<a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/Working_for_Women.pdf"> new report &ldquo;</a><a href="http://workingforwomenreport.com/">Working for Women</a>: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&rsquo;s Lives,&rdquo; they described some of the challenges women face when it comes to the workforce.</p> <p> &ldquo;In 2015, there were 56.2 million women outside the labor force, which is 6.6 million more than in 2009,&rdquo; the report says. &ldquo;The number of employed women increased by 3.5 million during that period, which means that for every woman who became employed during this time period, nearly two did not participate in the labor force at all. As a result, women&rsquo;s labor force participation rate is at the lowest level since 1988.&rdquo; Their suggestions for what policy makers and politicians can do to correct these problems are worth understanding.</p> <p> That said, if you&rsquo;re employed but still fight that nagging feeling you&rsquo;re not fulfilling your calling, Forbes suggests trying to <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/11/01/9-questions-thatll-help-you-find-your-dream-career/#72d8859c23bb">answer these questions</a>, to guide you towards your dream job. That doesn&rsquo;t mean quit doing work that&rsquo;s just paying bills either&ndash;at least right away. As Jon Acuff said in his book <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/15750894"><em>Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job</em></a><em>, </em>&ldquo;Quitting a job doesn&rsquo;t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose, and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job.&rdquo;</p> <p> In an interview with <a href="http://www.womansday.com/life/work-money/a2382/career-advice-from-successful-women-116731/"><em>Woman&rsquo;s Day </em></a>a few years ago, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, the Executive VP &amp; artistic director of <a href="http://www.opi.com/">OPI</a> nail products said she&rsquo;d offer this advice to women: &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s important to be focused. Of course, there will be many bumps along the way, but don&rsquo;t get distracted by the zigzags in the road. Vision and passion are very clear; if you believe in something, other people will too.&rdquo;</p> <p> Utilize the people you know, the tips you&rsquo;ve gleaned, and the education you have, to pursue the thing that makes your heart yearn, and fills a void in the world&ndash;while paying your bills&ndash;and you&rsquo;ll be an effective, happy member of society, at least when it comes to work.</p> <p> <strong>2 If you want kids, don&rsquo;t delay them</strong></p> <p> According to the U.S. Census Bureau&rsquo;s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, up from 46.5 percent in 2012. This represents the <a href="http://time.com/3774620/more-women-not-having-kids/">highest percentage of childless women</a> since the bureau started tracking that data in 1976. Additionally, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2013, there were just <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/women-are-having-fewer-kids-and-demographers-dont-know-why/article/2549445">62.9 births for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44</a> in the U.S. In essence, more women are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/childless-more-women-are-not-having-kids-says-census_n_7032258.html">waiting longer </a>to have kids, if they have them at all.</p> <p> If I may be so controversial, I think this is a mistake. Many women wait longer, striving to develop their career, only to <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3104023/NHS-chief-warns-women-not-wait-30-baby-country-faces-fertility-timebomb.html">struggle to conceive </a>when they&rsquo;re older, just due to biology. Outspoken UK-based feminist <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/kirstie-allsopp-urges-young-women-to-put-off-university-and-have-children-younger-fertility-is-the-9470411.html">Kirstie Allsopp say</a>s women should put off university and have children because &ldquo;fertility falls off a cliff when you&rsquo;re 35.&rdquo; She offers the same advice I was given in my early twenties based on the same logic: &ldquo;[It] might sound wholly unrealistic. But we have all this time at the end. You can do your career afterwards.&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course some careers are trickier to put on hold than others. But now, with the way many can telecommute, it&rsquo;s a feasible goal. Many jobs, even <a href="http://www.nejmcareercenter.org/article/part-time-physician-practice-on-the-rise/">medicine</a>, pharmaceuticals, <a href="http://www.flextimelawyers.com/">law</a> and engineering&ndash;jobs women typically think of as demanding, 50-plus hours a week fields&ndash;are offering flex time positions.</p> <p> <strong>3 Don&rsquo;t try to have it all, try to have what matters</strong></p> <p> Of course if you&rsquo;re going to raise kids and work, it&rsquo;s imperative you face one caveat: You cannot have it all. On this matter, it&rsquo;s better to channel Oprah,<a href="http://www.oprah.com/own-oprahs-next-chapter/Can-Women-Have-It-All-Video"> who said</a>, &ldquo;You can have it all. Just not all at once.&rdquo; How?</p> <p> Michelle McRae, a mom of two in Virginia, who went back to work full-time recently told me the key to making her career at work and job as a mom function in tandem was knowing what was important, and tossing all the rest. &ldquo;Ironically, in many ways my schedule actually feels much more sane now than it did when I stayed home. Why? I&rsquo;m ruthless in setting and keeping priorities, particularly in regards to my schedules and commitments.&rdquo;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/sabrinaschaeffer/2016/04/13/the-women-on-the-train-women-stress-and-the-workplace/#5a32bc032688"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Sabrina Schaeffe</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">r is the Executive Director of the aforementioned Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, a mother of three, and is a regular panelist on Fox News&rsquo; &ldquo;Forbes on Fox&rdquo; e-mailed me her tips for trying to balance the calling of her work and motherhood:</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;No working mother will tell you that balancing work and home is easy, but I benefit tremendously from working in a &lsquo;virtual office.&rsquo; This means that I&rsquo;m often at my desk at 6am and back online in the evening, but this allows me to have the ability also to get dinner on the table and be able to help children with homework when they return from school. Allowing women flexible work arrangements is one of the best ways to ensure productivity and a happy workforce!&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <strong>4 Don&rsquo;t forget yourself</strong></p> <p> Many women will balk at this idea either because it sounds selfish, or impossible, or, let&rsquo;s face it, both. But every person, man or woman, needs time to recharge and refocus, whether a weekend once a year or a few minutes every day. For working women, or working moms, this can be a difficult, if monumental, task. But it&rsquo;s key to sanity, energy&ndash;and to doing what you love, even better.</p> <p> Sepi Asefnia, President of <a href="http://www.sepiengineering.com/">SEPI Engineering</a>, a North Carolina&ndash;based civil engineering firm had this to <a href="http://www.womansday.com/life/work-money/a2382/career-advice-from-successful-women-116731/">say on the topic</a>, &ldquo;If you are not a whole person &ndash;&ndash; a happy and content person &ndash;&ndash; then your career does not matter. Respect your personal life; take time for it and don&rsquo;t feel that you are detracting from your efforts at work by doing so. The more joy you have in your private life, the better your performance will be at work.&rdquo;</p> <p> I know one working mom who gets a pedicure about every quarter; another who views it as a treat to go to a salon a few times a year to get her hair done. A homeschooling mom I know goes away for a weekend a year &mdash; to plan her upcoming year. Whatever you like to do to recharge and refocus, make time for it in your schedule. You&rsquo;ll feel better and you&rsquo;ll be a better employee, mom, sister, and friend to those around you.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799948/Sabrina SchaefferFri, 15 Apr 2016 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Women On The Train: Women, Stress, And The Workplace<p> Sitting on the train between DC and New York this week, I over-heard two young working mothers talking. One expressed excitement about starting a new job after finally quitting one she didn&rsquo;t like; the other was moving up the ranks at her marketing firm. One conveyed concerns about the lack of diversity at her company. Both had young children and were juggling the typical day-to-day to-do list: coordinating carpool, school photos, soccer practice.</p> <p> Listening to their conversation, I was reminded of women&rsquo;s achievements and opportunities today. But I was also reminded of the challenges that continue to face many women and their families. While these young women appeared to enjoy their work, they weren&rsquo;t out the door and on the road at the crack of dawn just for fun. One mentioned expensive home renovations; the other, the need to change schools for a child trapped in an overcrowded classroom. Both acknowledged being exhausted.</p> <p> These women are not alone in facing financial pressures and employment challenges. In fact, millions of American women are without jobs right now &ndash;women&rsquo;s labor force participation rate is at its lowest level in close to three decades. Many women can&rsquo;t find jobs at all; still others can&rsquo;t find jobs that pay sufficiently or offer the kind of flexibility they require. And these challenges fall against the backdrop of rising living expenses &ndash; homes, food, household goods, childcare.</p> <p> Noting these challenges, progressives frequently suggest women are a victim-class in need of special assistance from government, and offer a host of government-directed &ldquo;solutions&rdquo; &ndash; from sweeping legislation to micromanage wages and mandatory benefit packages to the hyper-regulation of business. Of course, none of these proposals would ease the burden or open up opportunities for the women on the train &ndash; or the millions of other women around the country. Rather these sweeping government interventions are likely to make matters worse for most women by diminishing economic opportunity and job prospects.</p> <p> What was clear from listening to my train companions was that what would help them most is a dynamic economy with plentiful jobs so they can find work opportunities that suit their different needs and preferences. That&rsquo;s why this week the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum released its new report, <a href="http://workingforwomenreport.com/"><em>Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women&rsquo;s Lives</em></a>, which lays out a positive, alternative economic agenda to ensure more opportunity for women and their families.</p> <p> IWF highlights the importance of eliminating as many unnecessary barriers to entry into the workforce as possible, to make it easier for women who need and want to work to find jobs. Policymakers can start by relaxing minimum wage regulations for those who have been unemployed or are starting out in their careers, and by eliminating unnecessary licensing regulations and fees.</p> <p> We advocate for lowering tax rates so that women, not the government, take home more of what they earn. And we urge lawmakers to eliminate or reduce workplace regulations that put unnecessary restrictions on how and when women can work so there&rsquo;s more opportunity for flexible schedules.</p> <p> Childcare costs undoubtedly burden working women like those on the train, which is why policymakers should roll-back regulations of daycare providers. Everyone wants safe childcare, but research shows these government regulations do nothing to improve quality, yet raises costs for working parents. And of course policymakers ought to consolidate government spending and tax credits for children to again put more resources &ndash; and choices &ndash; in the hands of parents, so they have the ability to choose the childcare arrangement that works best for their families.</p> <p> Finally we recognize that bad employers do exist and discrimination does occur &ndash; as the one woman pointed out not all workplaces respect women equally &ndash; so we propose reforms to clarify language in existing pay equity and pregnancy discrimination laws to ensure women are adequately protected.</p> <p> My experience on the train this week confirmed research that IWF conducted about <a href="http://www.iwf.org/media/2797374/RELEASE:-WHAT-DO-WOMEN-REALLY-WANT-IN-THE-WORKPLACE-">What Women Really Want in the Workplace</a>. The reality is that women want and need very different things. Mothers tend to be flexibility-maximizers, while non-mothers tend to be salary-maximizers. Both are valid priorities, and we want to ensure that big-government doesn&rsquo;t get in the way of either goal.</p> <p> The fact is women are not all the same &ndash; and their needs and preferences for work life aren&rsquo;t the same either. If we really want to see women advance in the workplace we must insist that government take a step back, allow businesses to grow and create jobs, and give women (and men) every chance to enter the workforce, gain experience, and find jobs that fit their needs.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2799918/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 13 Apr 2016 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual Pay Day: Real World Economics or Political World Expediency? • Special Reporthttp://iwf.org/media/2799917/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 13 Apr 2016 09:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNBC Only Network to Spread Debunked ‘Facts’ On ‘Equal Pay Day’<p> NBC&rsquo;s <em>Nightly News</em> Tuesday did itself a disservice by spreading &ldquo;facts&rdquo; about pay inequality that have been debunked for years. Anchor Lester Holt opened the program by trotting out the tired old &ldquo;Women make seventy-nine cents for every dollar a man makes&rdquo; line before delving into the report, which relies on celebrities and disenfranchised civilians repeating faulty statistics as &ldquo;proof&rdquo; that the wage gap is a legitimate and serious issue.</p> <p> Holt led into correspondent Andrea Mitchell&rsquo;s report by heralding the &ldquo;major unveiling&rdquo; as President Obama dedicated a new national monument to &ldquo;a battle generations have fought for women&rsquo;s equality.&rdquo; Holt claimed, &ldquo;On average, women in the U.S. make 21% less than men,&rdquo; before handing the report off to Andrea Mitchell.</p> <p> Mitchell opened by interviewing a woman who worked in the education field, coming to, as Mitchell put it, &ldquo;the stunning realization&rdquo; that she made $12,000 less than her male colleague. Mitchell repeated the erroneous statistic that women make $0.79 for every dollar a man makes before playing clips of the U.S. women&rsquo;s soccer team and actress Patricia Arquette advocating for &ldquo;equal pay.&rdquo;</p> <p> NBC then played a clip from a <a href="http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2016/04/12/andrea-mitchell-hypes-gender-pay-gap-myth-equal-pay-day">MSNBC segment earlier today</a> of Mitchell talking to Arquette, who urged, &ldquo;Concrete changes have to be made. Women can&rsquo;t wait any longer.&rdquo;</p> <p> While NBC irresponsibly spread a message of activism rather than actual journalism, on Fox News Channel&rsquo;s <em>Special Report with Brett Baier</em>, a much more fact-based approach to &ldquo;equal pay day&rdquo;was underway.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Guest Sabrina Schaeffer from the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum blasted President Obama for repeating those debunked statistics stating, &ldquo;Saying it over and over again simply does not make it true.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Host Shannon Bream brought up that various media outlets have debunked these statistics as false or misconstrued, yet the President and other media (like NBC) keep repeating it, wishing it was. Bream explains:</span></strong></span></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">BREAM: </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Washington Post</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&#39;s fact checker called similar statements by the President misleading and gave them a two Pinocchio rating, meaning &ldquo;significant omissions and/or exaggerations.&rdquo; The conflict comes when raw wage data from the Labor Department is lumped together and averaged without taking into account actual hours worked. Significant absences from the work force and that men overwhelmingly select the more dangerous fields which come with bigger paychecks. Statistics also show that nine of the ten most profitable are dominated by men while nine of the ten least profitable are dominated by women.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Schaeffer added in that it&rsquo;s not just conservatives saying this.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">SCHAEFFER: There are plenty of groups on the left as well who have double research and they have &mdash; you know, it&rsquo;s their research has shown the same thing that when you control for any number of these variables, you have a much smaller wage gap.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Telemundo&#39;s Maria Celeste Arraras also devoted 38 seconds to equal pay day, regurgitating the same statistics, which claim women make $11,000 less than the average salary for a man.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2799913/Sabrina SchaefferWed, 13 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHillary Clinton Concerns In New York? • Kennedyhttp://iwf.org/media/2799904/Sabrina SchaefferMon, 11 Apr 2016 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDoes The Donald Actually Love The Negative Media Attention? • Kennedy http://iwf.org/media/2799902/Sabrina SchaefferMon, 11 Apr 2016 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPot In The Classroom: With Freedom Comes Responsibility • Kennedy http://iwf.org/media/2799903/Sabrina SchaefferMon, 11 Apr 2016 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTax Season: IRS Fraud Runs Rampant • Forbes On Foxhttp://iwf.org/media/2799834/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 9 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs the US Bolstering Iran's Nuclear Program? • Forbes On Foxhttp://iwf.org/media/2799833/Sabrina SchaefferSat, 9 Apr 2016 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum