2016 Year In Review
March 23, 2017 | By Independent Womens Forum | Impressions: 26 |
Category: Education, Nonprofit
More from Independent Womens Forum
What happens when citizens are informed of the negative consequences of regulations such as the so-called “Healthy Families Act” (HFA)?
How important is the issue of paid leave to voters? And what happens when citizens are informed of the negative consequences of universal paid leave?
A discussion sponsored by the Independent Women's Forum in conjunction with the London Center for Policy Research | Spring 2016
We all want women to succeed in living out their dreams – whether those dreams are to become the CEO of a major corporation, the President of the United States, a home-based entrepreneur, or a stay-at-home mother raising strong children and building a healthy community. We need policies that help women achieve those dreams by creating the conditions for a growing economy that offers a wide variety of jobs with different benefit packages and work arrangements. We need families to be able to get ahead and craft the lives they want with a system that rewards work, allows them to keep more of what they earn, and gives them greater control over resources. The Independent Women’s Forum proudly offers this Working for Women Agenda with specific policy reforms that advance this cause and will give women greater opportunity to flourish by removing government regulations that hold them back and encouraging the creation of a more dynamic, innovative, and flexible work world. Working for Women already has the support by dozens of leaders in the conservative movement.
Julie Gunlock Culture of Alarmism Director rin Hawley Legal Fellow Hadley Heath anning Director of Health Policy Charlotte Hays Director of Cultural Programs Ashley B. Carter Grassroots Director Amber Schwartz Director of Outreach Celia eyer Commu
Dear IWF Friends and Supporters, It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2015 Woman of Valor dinner to celebrate our shared commitment to liberty for women and all Americans.
The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has developed a reputation for putting on spirited but civil panels that address tough questions, but I don’t think we’ve ever tackled a more crucial issue than this one: the future—if there is one—of marriage. An astonishing 40 percent of children in the U.S. are born to unmarried women, a clear indication that marriage as an institution appears to be in jeopardy. Many never-married, low-income women are struggling to raise children in single-parent households, while a significant portion of more affluent young people are opting out of marriage in favor of a single’s lifestyle. Does all this mean that marriage is beyond saving? Can marriage be saved? Should it be saved? On the answers to these questions hang economic outcomes for families and the overall character of our society. We convened a distinguished panel composed of, as a friend of mine put it, “everybody you’d most want to hear from on this topic in one room at one time.” We thank our panelists for such an impressive and provocative discussion. It was so good we wanted to preserve it and make it available to an even wider audience.
A discussion hosted by the Independent Women's Forum [SUMMER 2014]. Featuring: SABRINA SCHAEFFER Executive Director of the Independent Women's Forum. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, as well as Ricochet, The Hill, and National Review. She is a frequent commentator on Forbes on Fox and appears often on Your World with Neil Cavuto as well as on NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and prolific author whose works include Who Stole Feminism?; The War Against Boys, and most recently Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why it Matters Today. She is also now known as the "Factual Feminist" after her popular weekly vlog that debunks agenda-driven false figures and misleading claims. STUART TAYLOR Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on legal policy, as well as a contributing editor to National Journal. He has practiced law, taught "Law and the News media" at Sanford University Law School, and covered the Supreme Court. He is also the author of two important books, including Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. CATHY YOUNG Contributing editor at Reason Magazine and Reason.com and columnist for the New York Daily News. Young has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and has appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. She writes frequently on women's issues. ANDREA BOTTNER Lawyer, political appointee, and expert on women's issues who has served as Director for the Office of International Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Bottner served as Principal Deputy Director and later as Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a Board Member of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
182 — LEAN TOGETHER As I write this, MTV’s 16 and Pregnant , a popular reality show that proles pregnant teens and their “baby daddies,” is launching a fth season. This is not a niche show. When one of the stars went to prison for illegal drugs, the incident rated a segment introduced by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. More recently, another reality television star, Kim Kardashian, made the cover of Vogue . Kardashian is a household name, of course, who married rapper Kanye West—already the father of her child—in a gazillion- dollar ceremony that merited glittering, wall-to-wall coverage. None of the celebrity journalists who covered it betrayed the slightest discomfort with the—uh—situation. But let’s wish her luck—her previous marriage, launched on her reality show, lasted only 72 days. If modesty and hard work are character traits you value, the Duke University freshman who recently announced that she found it “exciting, thrilling, and empowering” to earn money working as a porn star will concern you. Noting that the coed—who used the nom de porn Belle Knox—had spoken publicly about “rough sex,” the liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus penned a column headlined “Hook-Up Culture Run Amok.” Marcus wrote: Knox’s pathetic story wouldn’t be worth examining— exploiting?—if it didn’t say something deeper about the hook-up culture run amok and the demise of shame. In an age of sexting and Snapchat, of “Girls Gone Wild” and friends with benets, perhaps it’s easy to confuse the relative merits of waitressing and sex work. “To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum-wage, blue collar, low-paying service job than I ever did doing porn,” Knox said of her high school waitressing job. 1 To be perfectly honest, Belle Knox’s story also prompts a frank discussion on the meaning of what used to be called an honest day’s work. What
168 — LEAN TOGETHER to encourage more individual saving both for retirement and for other important needs. our aiLinG PubLiC Pension sysTems Our government-run public pension systems are supposed to be an important aspect of Americans’ overall retirement savings plan. Indeed, Social Security provides a majority of retirees with a majority of their retirement income, and payments into Social Security are the largest tax the average working American pays each year. In addition to Social Security, governments at all levels operate pension systems for some government workers. Given that today government employs about 16 percent of workers, this ends up playing a signicant role in the country’s overall retirement security. 1 Yet sadly, while these programs are critical, they often have signicant nancial problems. Most public pension systems are seriously underfunded, which means that they may be unable to pay all benets that have been promised to current retirees and to the workers currently contributing to the program today, who expect future benets. That also means that these underfunded programs are a signicant liability for taxpayers, since governments will turn to current and future taxpayers to pay more so they can make good on promised benets. scl sct Today, nearly 40 million Americans over age 65 receive Social Security’s retirement benets. The average retired worker receives a monthly benet of $1,251.36. 2 For two-thirds of seniors, Social Security accounts for more than half of monthly income, and for more than one-third (35 percent) of seniors, Social Security accounts for more than 90 percent of monthly income. 3 This means that Social Security is a critical part of America’s nancial security system. Unfortunately, the program itself faces signicant nancial problems of its own, because it relies on what is known as a pay-as-you-go system. That means that taxes collected today are used immediately to fund benets to current retirees. Nothing is saved for the future.
152 — LEAN TOGETHER Reform of our social safety net is overdue. When we think about reforming our government’s safety net programs, we should be inspired by this vision for society: We want the unemployment rate falling to new lows even as more Americans enter the workforce. We want there to be multiple jobs for every applicant and full employment for those who want to work. We want the rolls of those on food stamps and receiving welfare to decline. We want people in need to receive the unemployment assistance and other income support they need, but to be encouraged to get back on their feet so they can support themselves again as soon as it is feasible to do so. We want there to be a robust network of support groups—food banks and homeless shelters. It is important to do more than just meet basic needs. We should also foster the attitudes and skills that lead to self-reliance and success. This is our vision for the future. It’s hopeful, attainable, and it will breathe new life into the ideal of the American Dream. Good inTenTions, bad resuLTs Fifty years ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty,” he likely had a similar vision and hoped that his programs could achieve it. Unfortunately, our current reality and the record of his policies show that we are still very far from realizing this vision. In fact, today we have a growing problem of government dependency and too many Americans who don’t believe the American Dream applies to them. This is due in part to ill-advised policies that—though well-intentioned—have served to enable lasting reliance on government, rather than providing temporary assistance while encouraging long-term independence. Statistics tell the story about an America where opportunity has waned and the safety net has grown to become a trap that ensnares all too many Americans in a life of permanent dependence. One in seven Americans (some 46.5 million people) lives below the ofcial poverty line 1 and receives food stamps. The number of food stamp recipients has actually increased by 50 percent since January of 2009. 2 The current effective
138 — LEAN TOGETHER housework eased, women could spend more of their time pursuing an education and working outside of their homes. Today, advances in communication technology have had a similarly revolutionizing effect. And while everyone has beneted from this innovation, and it often seems as though men are more eager to access the latest new gadget and application, women have been uniquely—and in many ways more personally—touched by technologies that provide new paradigms for work, education and communication. Telecommuting An estimated 2.8 million Americans (not including those who are self- employed) consider their primary place of work their home. That means that more than 2 percent of employed Americans are working for pay, but work outside of the typical ofce, factory, shop, or other business environment. 1 Yet this statistic fails to fully capture the prevalence of telecommuting today. The Telework Research Network estimates that 20 to 30 million people work from home at least one day a week. Telecommuters can be broken into different groups: “15 to 20 million are road warriors / mobile workers; 10 to 15 million are home businesses; 15 to 20 million work at home part time (with about half doing so 1-2 days a week); and about 3 million are based at home full time (including self-employed).” 2 Overwhelmingly, these are positions and situations that could not exist without the technologies—the cell phones, internet, and wireless technologies—that allow us to create a virtual ofce from just about anywhere in the world. The many benets of telecommuting are obvious. The U.S Census Bureau estimates the average American spends 50 minutes each day commuting between work and home. That adds up to more than four extra hours a week that full-time tele-commuters have to work productively, engage with their family and friends, or to otherwise simply enjoy. Telecommuters save money that would otherwise be used on their commute and help unclog our nation’s streets and highways, reducing air pollution. 3