Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Women Have Equality Despite Reports That Say Otherwise<p> At Thanksgiving we pause to consider all the good things in our lives that we often take for granted. As American women, it&rsquo;s easy to take for granted that we are equal to our male compatriots under the law, and granted the same civil rights.</p> <p> But as we look around a chaotic, conflict-ridden world this year, we should also appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a civil society that still values both the masculine and the feminine. Men and women should be thankful for one another, and for the balance their complementary strengths can provide.</p> <p> The Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum recently celebrated our annual Woman of Valor dinner, and this year&rsquo;s recipient of the Woman in Business Award, President and CEO of Ariel Corporation Karen Wright, made this point in her acceptance speech:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;America is about equality before the law and equality of opportunity. Never did anybody foolishly imagine that that means we&rsquo;re all exactly the same, with the same exact expectations, talents, looks, and fortitude. And until very recently, in the long arc of human history, we were not intentionally blind to the significant differences in men and women &ndash; the hunter and the gatherer. Just as there is strength in numbers, there is strength in pairing the male with the female.&rdquo;</p> <p> Indeed, America is at a crossroads, where we must consider what metric we will use to define &ldquo;equality&rdquo; between men and women. A World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report ranked the United States 28th in the world in gender equality, <a href="">laughably behind such human rights beacons as Rwanda and Burundi</a>.</p> <p> This misleading report would have American women believe that because we do not have a quota system in place for our legislature or the president&rsquo;s cabinet that we are somehow less free or less prosperous than women in 27 other countries.</p> <p> Ironically, although gender parity is a misguided measure of success for women, there is something refreshing in hearing today&rsquo;s feminists call for more female influence on corporate boards and statehouses. Their cause rests on the premise that men and women are inherently different and possess valuable but complementary strengths.</p> <p> If we can agree on this starting point, then we should be able to agree that women and men may make different choices that lead to different outcomes. But as Karen Wright suggested, the true measure of equality should be equal opportunities, not outcomes. American women can celebrate that we have this kind of equality.</p> <p> Wright also said at IWF&rsquo;s dinner:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Women are the civilizers of humanity, and to see the proof of this look no further than the places where women have no say. The Middle East is the perfect example. The imbalance, chaos, and brutal barbarism we&rsquo;re seeing is astonishing, even completely unbelievable to Americans. Used to as we are to egalitarianism fully embracing the rights of all citizens &ndash; both men and women &ndash; to pursue happiness as they see fit. This illustrates the differences between men and women and their inherent strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, men will run amok without women to balance them out.&rdquo;</p> <p> And conversely, women would run amok without men. The two need each other.</p> <p> According to the <a href="">World Factbook</a>, the countries with the highest male-to-female sex ratio are the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Even in other Middle Eastern countries, like Iraq and Syria, where the sex ratio is more balanced, violent regimes systematically subjugate women, treating them as less than human and precluding their positive influence on society.</p> <p> American women are fortunate to live in a culture that values women &ndash; not just as &ldquo;the same&rdquo; as men, but as unique and complementary to men, a vital part of society.</p> <p> As Christina Hoff Sommers has pointed out in this <a href="">Factual Feminist video</a>, an academic study has shown that personality differences among men and women are the most robust in more prosperous, advanced societies. This may come as a surprise to those who believe that traditional gender roles are a hallmark of oppression, but the opposite is true: Nations with high social development see the greatest level of sex differences in feminine (nurturing, emotionally-expressive) and masculine (competitive, risk-taking) personalities.</p> <p> The bottom line is that American women are free to live out our identities and personalities however we see fit, whether we are more traditional&hellip; or not. We can always feel thankful for both our gender equality and our gender differences.</p> HeathFri, 27 Nov 2015 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDon't Judge Yourself By Instagram 'Likes' & Diversity Among GOP Candidates • Stacy Petty HeathTue, 24 Nov 2015 14:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #25 • A Doctor's Perspective On ObamaCare's Consequences<p> Hadley Heath Manning, IWF Director of Health Policy, sits down with Kelly Victory, a board-certified trauma and emergency specialist in the Colorado area. Dr. Victory is an expert on the Affordable Care Act, the president of Docs For Patient Care&#39;s Colorado chapter, and served as an advisor to Mitt Romney. The two women discuss the ongoing impact of ObamaCare on the world of medicine. Dr. Victory also shares how she would explain the law and impact to a group of young doctors entering the field.</p> HeathMon, 23 Nov 2015 11:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump's Muslim Database • After The Bell HeathFri, 20 Nov 2015 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDon’t Judge Yourself By Social Media ‘Likes’<p> Here&rsquo;s a term you might not know, unless you are a part of Generation Y, the most social-media savvy generation: &ldquo;Instagram Model.&rdquo; An Instagram model is a good-looking woman (or man) who has built a large social media following by posting pictures of herself online. The pictures are usually sexy or artsy and well-crafted. The most successful Instagram models might even have sponsorships to wear or advertise certain brands.</p> <p> Recently, Australian&nbsp;<a href="">Instagram</a>&nbsp;star Essena O&rsquo;Neill announced she was quitting. In a compelling YouTube video, the 19-year-old said she was done pretending to be perfect and measuring her success by the attention she got online. She felt that she had become a part of setting unrealistic beauty standards for young women like her 14-year-old sister, and that she wanted to focus more on &ldquo;real life&rdquo; off the computer.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Don&rsquo;t Blame Social Media&mdash;Or Men</span></strong></p> <p> The phenomenon of Instagram modeling is the confluence of several factors: Women (and men) possess an innate desire to be admired and liked. Modern technology allows anyone to edit or &ldquo;filter&rdquo; photos to make himself or&nbsp;herself&nbsp;more attractive. And the Internet provides immediate access to thousands of people via social media.</p> <p> Certainly, we can all wish O&rsquo;Neill the very best in her life offline, but it may be that leaving social media oversimplifies the real issue here. Yes, technology has put a new twist on an age-old struggle, but the reality is that women (and men) have struggled with appearance and seeking others&rsquo; approval since the dawn of time.</p> <p> It would be another oversimplification to say that we live in a sexist, patriarchal society that holds women to a different standard than men. It may be true that women&rsquo;s appearances (their hair and makeup, fashion choices, age) get more attention than men&rsquo;s, but we can&rsquo;t just blame men for this. Often, it&rsquo;s women who are putting pressure on <em>ourselves</em> to look a certain way. It may be a natural or evolutionary instinct for women to try to look young and beautiful.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Keeping a Natural Desire in Check</span></strong></p> <p> Not all of this is bad. The desire to put our best selves forward and to make the effort to present ourselves well can actually be a good thing. It can be our way of showing someone else, at a job interview or on a date, that we care about him or her and his or her opinion of us.</p> <p> Those who reject overbearing beauty standards sometimes swing the pendulum in the opposite direction, swearing off makeup completely and going around with unkempt hair and clothes.</p> <p> The challenge for everyone is to find balance in this difficult area. There&rsquo;s no shame in wanting to be physically attractive, but we should work to keep this desire in perspective. Unchecked, this desire to be attractive can turn into vanity in ourselves or envy of others. Our looks shouldn&rsquo;t be where we find our identity. Neither should we look for our identity in others&rsquo; opinions, whether about our looks, jobs, achievements, or anything else.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Examining Where We Look for Identity</strong></span></p> <p> O&rsquo;Neill recognized that her Instagram account was causing her trouble in this area. It&rsquo;s admirable that she saw the disconnect between her authentic self and the representation of herself online, and wanted to speak out about that. Going offline may have been a positive or necessary step for her. Another option might have been to continue using social media, but to tame her own heart to depend less on the &ldquo;likes&rdquo; or clicks generated by her photos.</p> <p> Each of us should examine what influences we allow to shape our identity. We all have a choice about how to respond to modern opportunities to interact online.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s all give ourselves some grace when it comes to the way we look and the way we want others to see us: It&rsquo;s human nature to want to seek approval and to be liked. But it&rsquo;s not the approval of others that ultimately defines who we are, on the Internet, or off. Recognizing this truth is ultimately freeing&hellip; even more freeing that deleting an online account.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is the director of health policy at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></p> HeathThu, 19 Nov 2015 11:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Libertarian Reaction To The FBN GOP Debate • Stossel HeathMon, 16 Nov 2015 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPredicting The President • Stossel HeathMon, 16 Nov 2015 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Immigration Debate • Stossel (11.14.15) HeathSat, 14 Nov 2015 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWho Will Be The Economic Leader We Need? • Stossel HeathSat, 14 Nov 2015 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLatest Debate Showcases Diversity on the Right<p> When people think about the diversity of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, the first thing that comes to mind might be demographic characteristics: there&rsquo;s one woman, one African-American, and three of the candidates speak Spanish fluently. There&rsquo;s age diversity, too: The youngest is 44, the oldest, 70.</p> <p> But perhaps the greatest diversity on the political right is in the candidates&rsquo; policy ideas. The fourth of the GOP 2016 presidential debates, hosted by Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, was undoubtedly the most policy-focused so far. The wide-ranging discussion of economic and foreign policy issues showcased the intellectual diversity of a big-tent party with various factions and philosophies.</p> <p> On tax policy, candidates offered a variety of plans: Some candidates, like Ted Cruz, favor a flat income tax paired with a Value-Added Tax. Others, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, reject the VAT and prefer to moderately flatten rates and broaden the tax base.</p> <p> Some candidates, like Ben Carson, suggest getting rid of &ldquo;loopholes and deductions,&rdquo; while others cap or keep some deductions. Whatever your flavor of pro-growth tax reform, someone in the GOP is offering it.</p> <p> At one point, Rand Paul denounced Marco Rubio&rsquo;s proposal of a refundable child tax credit, which Paul called &ldquo;a welfare transfer payment.&rdquo; Herein lies a clash between Paul&rsquo;s libertarian outlook and Rubio&rsquo;s pro-family and politically-palatable plan</p> <p> Republicans have long branded themselves the party of family values, and acknowledging the rising cost of childcare will resonate with young families, single parents and others outside the traditional GOP base. After all, Rubio&rsquo;s proposal is fair to all families, unlike the childcare tax credits proposed by President Obama and Democrats, which would benefit only families with two working parents.</p> <p> But as Paul and other limited-government conservatives might point out, from a pure economic perspective, the best (the least distortionary) tax relief is not the creation of new credits or deductions, but universal reductions in rates.</p> <p> Another wedge economic issue is free trade. Moderator Gerard Baker asked Donald Trump to defend his protectionist stance against trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which launched Trump into a tirade against China and other countries. Trump has also criticized American companies, like Ford Motor Co., for manufacturing cars in Mexico. He proposed to penalize Ford with a 35 percent tax per imported car.</p> <p> However, all of the other candidates on stage support free trade. This exposes the conflict between protectionist-populist Trump and the rest of the field, who see international free trade as an extension of their free-market philosophies as applied domestically.</p> <p> But of all the issues, national defense and foreign policy are where conservatives show the widest array of strategies and philosophies. On the more hawkish side, Marco Rubio wants America to be the &ldquo;strongest military power in the world&rdquo; and Jeb Bush sees us as &ldquo;the world&rsquo;s leader.&rdquo; Carly Fiorina also believes we should have the &ldquo;strongest military on the face of the planet.&rdquo;</p> <p> In dealing with ISIS, Jeb Bush supports a no-fly zone over Syria. So does Fiorina, who offers a specific foreign policy plan including beefing up the American presence in Poland and the Baltic Sea area, cutting communication with Putin until a time when we are in a position of strength, and sharing intelligence with Middle Eastern allies.</p> <p> Marco Rubio had one of his best moments of the evening distilling this issue in moral terms. &ldquo;They hate us because our girls go to school,&rdquo; he said of terrorists.</p> <p> Conversely, dovish Rand Paul criticized Rubio&rsquo;s proposal to increase spending on defense, and called some ideas, like the no-fly zone &ldquo;naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high.&rdquo; Trump, too, said that America shouldn&rsquo;t provide security for the whole world and linked this issue to the national debt.</p> <p> On one hand, the intellectual diversity of the political right poses a great challenge. The GOP nominee will have to be someone who can unite the various factions &mdash; pro-business, pro-family, pro-opportunity &mdash; and ultimately articulate one clear conservative message in the larger contest for the White House.</p> <p> On the other hand, it is refreshing to watch a real debate centered on ideas, and so many of them. As new House Speaker Paul Ryan said in his inaugural remarks, &ldquo;We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated.&rdquo; Let us hope that as iron sharpens iron, so these candidates will sharpen on another, and the best policies can win the day.</p> HeathFri, 13 Nov 2015 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLittle Sisters of the Poor, Obama Administration to face off at Supreme Court<p> The Supreme Court just announced that it will hear a new challenge to ObamaCare&#39;s mandate that all employers provide first-dollar coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives. This case is a lot like the one brought last summer by Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., but this time, the challengers are non-profit groups including hospitals, universities, and charities. Because of their religious affiliations and convictions, these groups do not want to be a part of providing contraceptives that they find morally objectionable.</p> <p> One of these groups is Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who care for the sick and elderly poor. These sisters have taken vows of chastity, meaning not only do they oppose birth control, but they have no need of it. IWF is proud to be supportive of their case through the&nbsp;<a href="'s-Forum-Filed-Amicus-Brief-in-Support-of-Little-Sisters-of-the-Poor" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);" target="_blank">amicus brief that we filed this summer.</a>&nbsp;Here&#39;s an excerpt from our brief: &nbsp;</p> <blockquote> As with the Hobby Lobby case, this case is about more than contraception. It is about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution. It is about empowering women to choose the healthcare and salary options that best fit their needs. And it is about empowering charitable employers, many lead by women, to follow their deeply held religious convictions&mdash;regardless of the form of their charitable entity. Women do not check their religious liberty rights at the office door.</blockquote> <p> The Obama Administration has made a blanket&nbsp;<em>exception&nbsp;</em>to this mandate for churches, but for other religious non-profits, they offered a so-called&nbsp;<em>accommodation:&nbsp;</em>Instead of directly providing insurance coverage for the drugs and devices in question, the non-profit employers must sign paperwork instructing a third party to provide the coverage to their employees.&nbsp;</p> <p> This is troubling not just because it burdens the religious freedom of non-profit employers, but because it puts the federal government in a place it doesn&#39;t belong, deciding who is sufficiently &quot;religious enough&quot; to get an exemption. We might all think that surely&nbsp;<em>nuns&nbsp;</em>are religious enough, but it&#39;s government making this distinction in the first place that is troubling.</p> <p> It&#39;s good news that the Court has decided to take up this case. If the Court applies the same logic as in <em>Hobby Lobby v. Burwell</em>, they will see that the non-profit employers are facing a substantial burden to their religious freedom, even under the &quot;accommodation,&quot; and that there is a better way for the government to attempt to provide broad access to contraceptives.</p> <p> It is suprising that the Obama Administration has not yet realized this: They lost in <em>Hobby Lobby</em>, and these other cases have been working their way through district and appellate courts for years now. Did they not see this coming? Now they will have to deal with the optics of facing nuns, hospitals, universities, and other religious charities in Court. These charities do so much good in society; they simply want no part in ObamaCare&#39;s contraception mandate. But the Obama Administration would prefer to shut them down, through backbreaking fines for noncompliance, than allow them to continue providing education and healthcare services to those most in need. Mind-blowing.&nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 9 Nov 2015 13:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumViral Vulgar Video To Trump • Varney & Co HeathThu, 5 Nov 2015 14:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamacare Stick Shock • After The Bell HeathMon, 2 Nov 2015 15:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDramatic Increase In Obamacare Premiums • After The Bell HeathMon, 2 Nov 2015 14:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #23 • The Conservative Case For Immigration<p> Hadley Heath Manning, IWF&#39;s Senior Policy Analyst, sits down with Linda Chavez, President of Becoming American Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting assimilation and elevating the perceptions of Hispanic immigrants among the American population. Hadley and Ms. Chavez discuss the mission of the organization, the border crisis, and a pathway forward for securing the border and legal immigration reform.</p> HeathMon, 2 Nov 2015 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum