Happy Thanksgiving to all! And as we get ready for the big feast tomorrow, let’s remember how much we have to be thankful for, especially we women. Fortunately, three of the IWF’s favorite gals, Myrna Blyth, Karlyn Bowman, and our own Carrie Lukas are here to remind us of what we’ve got.

First, Myrna, who writes on National Review Online to set the facts straight on a gloom-and-doom report from the ultra-liberal Institute for Women’s Policy Research that peddled the old chestnut that women earn only 76 cents for men’s dollar. Here’s what the IWPR report said, according to Business Week:

“Given current rates of change, it will be 50 years before women achieve equal pay with men and nearly 100 years before they gain equal representation in Congress, estimates the think tank on issues affecting women. Currently, females earn 76 cents for every dollar males earn (up from 73 cents in 2002) and have only 79 representatives in Congress out of a total of 535 seats, despite representing slightly more than half of the U.S. population.”

Myrna counters:

“[W]hat’s in the IWPR report that paints such a gloomy picture of American women’s lives this Thanksgiving? Unfortunately, much of the same-old, same-old….
“Now I know this much-bandied-about statistic is flawed but I checked it out, once again, with Karlyn Bowman at the American Enterprise Institute. Karlyn told me, as she has before, that this wage-gap figure — so often used by women who like to maintain that members of their gender are still victims of an oppressive male hierarchy — simply does not compare like to like. It does not compare the wages of women in the same jobs, with the same skills, and the same years of experience to men with the same qualifications; rather, it compares men and women workers overall. When the comparisons are made more equitably the wage gap practically disappears. In fact, some recent reports note that young professional women not only earn as much as young professional men, but even earn slightly more.

“The IWPR report also complains about women’s lack of political representation….But that may be more for lack of trying than discrimination. According to Karlyn Bowman, ‘women who run win just as often as men at every level of our politics.’ She cited a well-known study by the National Women’s Political Caucus that concluded that a candidate’s sex does not affect his or her chances of winning general elections. And even IWPR’s report, so full of doom and gloom, noted some positive developments on the political front. For example, the number of women governors jumped from one to nine between 1996 and 2004.”

So there. And here’s Carrie, with a list of women’s achievements in 2004 on the IWF’s home page (her article also appears on National Review Online, just below Myrna’s):

“Twelve million Iraqi women who once lived in fear under Saddam Hussein now work with Iraqi men to build a stable government that respects individual rights. Afghani woman — formerly prisoners of the Taliban, forbidden from leaving their homes or showing their faces — now march to voting booths and cast ballots in a democratic election. The road to stability in both countries will be long and treacherous, but we should applaud the bravery of these women who are laying the foundation for a hopeful future for their societies.

“Here at home, American women continue to excel and break new ground. Condoleezza Rice has been nominated by President Bush to serve as Secretary of State. She will be the first African-American woman to hold that post. Across the country, women are excelling in our universities, earning more than half of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a growing portion of law, medical, and doctoral degrees. These well-educated women will join a growing economy and make important contributions for decades to come.

“Much of America’s pop culture — from reality television to Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez’s highly publicized, tumultuous love lives — suggests that our moral fabric continues to fray. Yet there are positive signs that the next generation may be embracing greater personal responsibility. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that the birth rate among 10-to 14-year-old girls has plummeted to its lowest level since 1946. The portion of pregnancies ended through abortion has remained stable for 30 years, so that this figure represents a decline in both underage pregnancies and abortions.

“This trend is also evident among older teens. Public-health experts credit several possible causal factors — such as increased sex education and greater focus on abstinence — but data indicates that more teens are embracing an ethic of reserving sex for love and marriage. The percentage of high schoolers who have had intercourse fell from 54 percent to 46 percent over ten years — a 16-percent drop. A 2003 survey of teens asked when it was okay for someone to lose their virginity; a majority responded ‘eighteen or older’ and one in four volunteered that virginity should be maintained until marriage.”

So it’s been a great 2004 for all of us women: gains in the workplace and in political life as well as a new-found sense of moral self-respect for many of our daughters and younger sisters. Hooray, and let’s give thanks! And a blessed tomorrow for all of our InkWell readers!