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 Young People Causing Lower Level Of Health?<p> News articles are advising young people to go to the doctor before their bodies fall apart, but one commentator thinks it still boils down to individual responsibility.&nbsp;</p> <p> According to information published in Nevada&rsquo;s <em>Reno Gazette-Journal</em> and in <a href=""><em>USA Toda</em></a><em>y</em>, some Millennials feel pretty invincible, which is something ObamacCare supporters have said in recent years. Regardless, the articles say young adults need to find a doctor before neglect of their health - like neglect of car maintenance - leads to potential breakdowns and expensive repair bills.</p> <p> Medical professionals interviewed for the articles recommend Millennials &quot;go to the doctor right now&quot; to check things like blood pressure and cholesterol, and establish a healthy diet and exercise.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at 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;">, says it is good advice although not everybody will have the same needs.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Ultimately some of the questions about how often to go and what kind of tests and screenings you&#39;re going to need will come down to your individual judgment and your individual health history,&quot; she says.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The aforementioned recommendations are the same things doctors have been advising people to do for years - and not just to Millennials.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;It&#39;s certainly not for lack of information that people are unhealthy,&quot; says Manning. &quot;I think the suggestion to always have a point of contact in the medical system in whatever city you&#39;re living is good advice.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Even without that, Manning says it certainly would not prevent anyone from accessing care if they have an emergency.&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;You can always go to an emergency room and do it that way, but the bottom line here is this is an individual responsibility,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;No number of recommendations or even government rules are going to make it so that everyone eats healthier, exercises more often and utilizes more preventative care as they should.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></p> HeathFri, 12 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThis Valentine's Day, Bring Back Dating<p> Old-fashioned Valentine&rsquo;s Day traditions include cards, flowers, and going on dates. Today, a lot of single young adults might wonder what happened to this last tradition, as a culture of casual sexual encounters has largely replaced dating. &nbsp;This is a problem that&rsquo;s&nbsp;not just on manufactured holidays like Valentine&rsquo;s Day: Dating served an important role for society, and singles are suffering from its decline.</p> <p> Traditional dating allows young adults to get to know one another, practice communication skills, and figure out if they are compatible before introducing the complicated emotions that come with getting physical. We hardly need a study to tell us something so obvious, but scientists have confirmed that when sexually aroused, both men and women make poorer decisions. Cooler jets lead to clearer thinking.</p> <p> Additionally, a slow-moving dating relationship provides a more solid foundation for the long run, putting young adults on a path to marriage and maturity. Throughout life, there are chapters where two partners may not be able to engage in sex &mdash; a period of long distance separation due to a move or a deployment, the recent birth of a child, or a major illness. It&rsquo;s important that friendship and true compatibility exist as the foundation during these times, and that partners know how to show and share their love in ways beyond the physical.</p> <p> Understandably, dating can be difficult, especially in an era of rapid change in the way people meet and communicate. But it&rsquo;s worth it &ndash; dating has better returns in the long run, even when it results in a break-up.</p> <p> Dating helps young adults prioritize what&rsquo;s important to them in a partner, and over time they become more selective as a result. This forgotten process is what used to drive most young adults to marriage.</p> <p> Dating also can teach good life lessons, even for the perpetually single. Relationships require that we learn to communicate well, to be patient, to set goals and boundaries, and to compromise.</p> <p> In fact, even from a young age (the teen years), dating helps youth understand how affection and intimacy function within a relationship, according to Gateway, a publication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about teen issues. We continue this learning process as adults.</p> <p> That is, unless we choose to go another way, and act immaturely, engaging only in so-called &ldquo;hook-ups.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Hooking up,&rdquo; which has largely replaced traditional dating, puts things in reverse. The sex comes first, and the &mdash; maybe &mdash; couples will explore if there is more there than physical attraction.</p> <p> Some might ask if hooking up and dating have to be mutually exclusive. Many dating relationships started as a hook-up, but turned more serious as feelings got involved. This isn&rsquo;t uncommon, but it&rsquo;s not what&rsquo;s best. In fact, this phenomenon can lead to mismatched expectations among hook-up partners, and ultimately to bitterness, confusion, and regret.</p> <p> When asked, most young adults describe their hooking-up experiences negatively or ambivalently. According to author Donna Freitas, who interviewed college students on hooking up, they commonly used words like &ldquo;regretful,&rdquo; &ldquo;empty,&rdquo; &ldquo;miserable,&rdquo; &ldquo;disgusted,&rdquo; and &ldquo;ashamed.&rdquo; Nothing changes about this after college.</p> <p> Dating, on the other hand, has the benefit of being shame free. When a relationship doesn&rsquo;t work out, but both parties acted honestly and in good faith, then the two can walk away with clear consciences (and yes, sometimes heavy hearts). The real shame lies in short-selling yourself as anything less than a person who deserves to be known and loved fully, not just used for a one-night fling.</p> <p> This Valentine&rsquo;s Day, bring back dating. It has benefits for young singles who are looking for love, and it also has benefits to society more broadly, by better preparing people for adult life. The dating experience might come with many highs and lows, but for most, the result is a strong relationship with a better bond &ndash; and yes, ultimately, better sex &ndash; than any short-lived &ldquo;hook up&rdquo; might provide.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is a senior policy analyst for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em>?</p> HeathFri, 12 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThis Valentine’s Day, Campus Grievance Feminists Should Take a Holiday<p> Every year at Valentine&rsquo;s Day, groups on college campuses push feminism &ndash; and not just any strain of feminism, but a body-centric version of feminism that includes recitations of the &ldquo;Vagina Monologues&rdquo; and focuses on all the ways that women are oppressed by our male-dominated society.</p> <p> This strain of feminism, which could be described as <a href="">grievance feminism</a>, paints all women as victims. While it&rsquo;s important to be vigilant against sexism, today too many women &ndash; especially college women &ndash; have been encouraged to see sexism lurking behind every corner&hellip; even in places it doesn&rsquo;t really exist.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s the case with two economic myths &ndash; the &ldquo;pink tax&rdquo; and the &ldquo;tampon tax.&rdquo; Young women should learn the facts and understand that neither of these phenomena are evidence that our society, or our economy, is inherently sexist.</p> <p> The pink tax refers to the price disparity between men and women&rsquo;s toiletry items, like shampoo and deodorant: If a man and woman go to a pharmacy and buy items targeted to their gender, chances are the woman will pay more per ounce. In fact, a recent study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found <a href="">the price disparity to be about 7 percent</a>.</p> <p> Why do companies charge more for pink razors and perfumed shampoos? There are two reasons, neither of which has to do with sexism.</p> <p> First, there are costs to developing and marketing products for a specific audience. In some cases, companies try to find ingredients that work better for women&rsquo;s use. These research, development, and marketing costs are passed on to consumers.</p> <p> Secondly, women <em>demand</em> different products. Even if women and men&rsquo;s products cost the same to produce, the fact that women are willing to pay more for the feminized versions means prices will reflect this higher demand.</p> <p> Critics of the pink tax say that women are paying more than men for the same products. But are the products really the same? This is the critical question.</p> <p> In economics, two goods can be considered <a href="">perfect substitutes</a> if consumers don&rsquo;t see any difference between the two. But women do see value in women&rsquo;s products. We know this because women <a href="">reveal our true preferences</a> in what we buy.</p> <p> If men&rsquo;s products or gender-neutral products were just as satisfactory to women, then women would buy those instead, and therefore we&rsquo;d pay the same price as men. There&rsquo;s no law against that!</p> <p> Ironically, the myth of the &ldquo;pink tax&rdquo; &ndash; like many other victimhood myths &ndash; relies on a bad (and sexist!) presumption about women: that we are stupid. Grievance feminists are making the argument that women can&rsquo;t make good decisions about what products we want to buy and what prices we are willing to pay.</p> <p> The pink tax isn&rsquo;t a sexist conspiracy. On the contrary, it&rsquo;s a reflection of the bountiful choices our competitive market has to offer. We should celebrate that we have so many options, and that companies are responding to the pocketbook power of women, who make about <a href="">85 percent of brand decisions for consumer goods</a>. We can choose among a wide array of products, with different features and scents, which many women value and are willing to pay a premium to obtain.</p> <p> The so-called &ldquo;<a href="">tampon tax</a>&rdquo; is a different concept. This refers to an actual sales tax, collected by state governments. Unlike the pink tax issue, discussions of the tampon tax apply only to feminine hygiene products for which there are no male equivalents.</p> <p> Women should know that there is no special tax just for tampons or similar hygiene products. In most states, a regular sales tax is applied to these items, just as it is to other toiletries and similar goods. A few states have exempted these products from sales tax by categorizing them as &ldquo;necessity items&rdquo; like food and over-the-counter drugs, and some activists would like to see every state follow suit. But importantly, no state has intentionally burdened women with an excise tax or a special tax for hygiene items.</p> <p> Misinformation abounds when it comes to both the &ldquo;pink tax&rdquo; and the &ldquo;tampon tax.&rdquo; Feminists like to tie these two unrelated issues together (along with another one of their favorite myths &ndash; <a href="">the wage gap</a>!) and paint a picture of our economy that constantly and intentionally keeps women down.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not an empowering message. And most importantly, it&rsquo;s simply not accurate. This Valentine&rsquo;s Day, let&rsquo;s all take a holiday from grievance feminism.</p> HeathFri, 12 Feb 2016 09:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMillennial Impact In NH • After The Bell HeathTue, 9 Feb 2016 12:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLadies, Don't Fall for "Pink Tax" Myth<p> IWF&#39;s executive director recently spoke at a college campus about feminism. After her talk, some of the college women had questions about the so-called &quot;Pink Tax.&quot; I&#39;m glad!</p> <p> <a href="">Grievance feminists</a> have a whole set of myths to perpetuate the idea that the deck is stacked against women, and the latest myth is the &ldquo;Pink Tax&rdquo; myth: Evil corporations charge women more for everyday products like shampoo and deodorant because they are sexist and bigoted and trying to take advantage of women.</p> <p> This simply isn&rsquo;t true. Sure, you can visit a pharmacy and compare the prices of men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s products, and you will find a price discrepancy. According to one study, the difference is about <a href="">7 percent</a>. But often, the products aren&rsquo;t exact substitutes. If they were, then women are free to buy and use the men&rsquo;s products &ndash; and they would do so.</p> <p> In reality, many women&rsquo;s products smell different, work differently, and contain different levels and mixes of active and inactive ingredients. Companies work hard to develop products that will appeal to women specifically. Then they package and market those products differently&hellip; and those research, development, and marketing costs are reflected in the higher prices women (voluntarily) pay.</p> <p> This myth &ndash; like many other victimhood myths &ndash; relies on a bad presumption about women: that we are stupid. Nannies, regulators, and grievance feminists are making the argument that women simply don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s best for themselves, that women can&rsquo;t help but get duped at the sight of pink packaging in the toiletry aisle.</p> <p> Come on, now, we know better than this. I&rsquo;ve used my husband&rsquo;s body wash in a pinch before&hellip; and that musky scent just wasn&rsquo;t my favorite. As soon as I went to the store, I got some Dove white bars, my body soap of choice. I bet there were store-brand soap bars that were even cheaper, but I like the way Dove smells and hey, I don&rsquo;t mind paying the extra 25 cents to smell like I want.</p> <p> Men and women are different. Our preferences are different, and our needs are different, too. My husband can get away with a dab of shampoo, sure, but I have longer hair than him and will go through my Herbal Essences bottles faster than he&rsquo;ll get through his Pantene Classic Clean Two-in-One. (Two-in-one? Not for me!)</p> <p> Yes, women pay more for toiletry items. But this isn&rsquo;t a sexist conspiracy. It&rsquo;s a reflection of the bountiful choices our competitive market has to offer. We should celebrate that we have so many options tailored to various audiences (while folks in <a href="">socialist Venezuela are waiting in long lines to visit their grocery stores</a>). The pink tax is definitely a #FirstWorldProblem.</p> <p> If you don&rsquo;t like the &ldquo;pink tax,&rdquo; then you don&rsquo;t have to play the game. Buy the men&rsquo;s products. Or better yet, buy whatever&rsquo;s on clearance.</p> HeathTue, 9 Feb 2016 11:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre Female Bernie Sanders Supporters Going To Hell? • Vicki McKenna HeathMon, 8 Feb 2016 09:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumClinton Caucus Corruption? • CNN Newsroom HeathThu, 4 Feb 2016 14:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDemocrats’ Latest Wage-Gap Fix Won’t Work Either • KLZ Wake Up With Steve Curtis HeathThu, 4 Feb 2016 12:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSchools And Healthcare: Government’s The Problem, Choice Is The Answer • Stacy Petty HeathTue, 2 Feb 2016 11:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIA Voters Vs. NH Voters: What Will Be The Outcome? • CNN Newsroom HeathTue, 2 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Cruz Beats Trump In IA • After The Bell HeathMon, 1 Feb 2016 10:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSchools And Healthcare: Government’s The Problem, Choice Is The Answer<p> This week is National School Choice Week, a week when education reformers stress the importance of individual choice in education. While the official effort is focused on education issues, the underlying principle &ndash; choice &ndash; is critical to a host of current policy issues, especially health care. &nbsp;</p> <p> The parallels between education and healthcare policy are instructive. &nbsp;In both areas, the national debate centers around what role the government and individuals should each play in making decisions and controlling resources in these service industries. The policy solutions that will maximize choice, abundance, and favorable outcomes are also similar for both issue areas.</p> <p> In many parts of America, families do not enjoy much educational choice. They are assigned a public school based on where they live. Unless they can afford to move, pay tuition for private school or homeschooling, they have to use that local school. Similarly, more and more Americans face limits on what healthcare providers they can access, due to the narrow and ultra-narrow networks offered in their Affordable Care Act health insurance plans. Even worse, many Americans don&rsquo;t even get to choose their health insurance plan; it&rsquo;s simply assigned to them based on where they work.&nbsp;</p> <p> These inputs &ndash; addresses and places of work &ndash; are arbitrary and tell us little about the needs of students and patients. We aren&rsquo;t assigned a grocery store, auto-body shop, or shopping mall based on where we live or work.&nbsp; Rather, we are free to participate in a marketplace of offerings that compete with one another for our business. Why &ndash; in arguably the two most important service markets &ndash; would Americans be assigned limited options?&nbsp;</p> <p> In education, some believe that public school assignments create more equitable outcomes. The thinking goes: If every child in the neighborhood is forced to attend the same school, and every parent is equally invested in seeing the school succeed, then all children will get a quality education. &nbsp;</p> <p> However, reality is very different. Public schools vary greatly from place to place, with some having far more resources, both in terms of dollars and in engaged, supportive parents, than others.&nbsp; Furthermore, wealthier families, regardless of where they live, always have the option of sending their children to private schools. It&rsquo;s low- and middle-class children who are trapped when the local public school fails to deliver a quality education. &nbsp;</p> <p> Similarly, our healthcare system is inequitable. American tax laws encourage employers to provide, and workers to obtain, health insurance through their businesses.&nbsp; Especially today, when so many workers do not have traditional full-time jobs that they keep for many years at a time, this makes little sense.&nbsp; Employees have only the insurance options selected by their bosses, and Americans without workplace health benefits are at a big disadvantage.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p> The solution to giving people more and better access to health care is the same kind of policy fix we need to improve the education services that are available:&nbsp; We have to return choice to the individual level. This means two changes: First, real choice means control of resources. Families have to be entrusted with their own healthcare and education dollars. Secondly, government should deregulate and de-standardize these areas to allow maximum experimentation, innovation, and competition. &nbsp;</p> <p> In education, here&rsquo;s what this looks like: Allow families to choose the school that is right for their child, and then allow state education dollars to follow the child. This would spur competition among schools for students, the greatest accountability mechanism of all. &nbsp;</p> <p> In healthcare, dollars must similarly follow patients. Policymakers should replace the tax advantage enjoyed by employer-based plans with a universal tax deduction or credit that all consumers could use to purchase the health plan of their choice. Again, competition would reign and consumers would benefit from more choices, higher quality, and more affordability. &nbsp;</p> <p> In both issue areas, government regulation must be scaled back.&nbsp; Just as each child has unique and personal educational needs, each patient needs individualized care. Our governments &ndash; both state and federal &ndash; seek to put in place basic standards for what is acceptable. Government regulates school curriculums, just as it regulates insurance policies. But it has gone far too far.&nbsp;</p> <p> Not every child benefits from the same curriculum or teaching methods. Not every patient needs the same insurance coverage. Attempts to over-standardize have limited &ldquo;competition&rdquo; to a meaningless choice. Only when education and healthcare providers are free to creatively explore new ways to provide what consumers want will we see meaningful, innovative, diverse options in a robust market. &nbsp;</p> <p> As we celebrate National School Choice Week, let&rsquo;s also consider how the concept of choice can be applied in other issue areas. This includes healthcare, a similarly important service industry, which sorely needs greater competition and real choice. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Manning is the director of health policy at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> HeathFri, 29 Jan 2016 16:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual pay: “Simple averages simply aren’t good measure of fairness” [VIDEO]<p> Hadley Heath Manning, Policy Analyst at&nbsp;Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) and a contributor to Red Alert Politics, <a href="">joined Charles Payne on Fox Business</a> to discuss President Obama&rsquo;s new plan to force employers to give the federal government data on salaries based on gender.</p> <p> She points out that this data will only create more confusion about the so-called pay gap:</p> <p> &ldquo;Unfortunately this is most likely going to create more confusion about the way men and women are paid and create more useless information like the national wage gap statistic, which shows a disparity where women make 79c on the dollar compared to men. But, importantly, this statistic is a simple average. It doesn&rsquo;t take into account the different professions that men and women enter, the number of hours per week they work, the number of years of experience or education they have. So, if we&rsquo;re going to collect data like this from large companies, it&rsquo;s going to be a simple average. It&rsquo;s not going to be useful where we can compare case by case discrimination.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;We know that across the economy women are more likely to make tradeoffs where they except lower pay in order to get some of those benefits that you mentioned. Flexibility, in terms of their work schedule, the ability to take paid time off or work from home, and those are many benefits that women enjoy and celebrate. So we shouldn&rsquo;t limit the opportunities of women by over-standardizing the way that men and women are paid. We all want women and men to be treated fairly, but simple averages simply aren&rsquo;t good measure of fairness.&rdquo;</p> <p> The segment gets better, as she reminds viewers a real example of an average:</p> <p> &ldquo;Certainly, Secretary Clinton, who is also a former Senator, can understand that sometimes on average men make more money that women. That was the case in her office when she was a US Senator.</p> <p> Are liberal feminists in the Obama administration willing to go after Hillary Clinton and other Democrats on the Hill who have a pay gap?</p> <p> The fact is, employees who feel they have been discriminated against based on gender already have a legal recourse:</p> <p> Remember, sex discrimination in the workplace has been illegal since the mid-1960s because of the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the 1964 Equal Rights Act. So there&rsquo;s already opportunities for women to bring cases against employers who are discriminating. That would be a better use of our government resources.&rdquo;</p> <p> Watch the full clip here:</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> HeathFri, 29 Jan 2016 13:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObama Admin To Force Employers To Reveal Gender Pay Info • Varney & Co HeathFri, 29 Jan 2016 10:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSheryl Sandberg Says We Have A "Toddler Wage Gap" + Hillary Clinton's Women Problem • Vicki McKenna HeathThu, 28 Jan 2016 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum