Washington, D.C.—Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), a leading national women’s organization, celebrates Women’s History Month, a time to mark the achievements of women from all walks of life who have made valuable contributions to this great nation. It is also an opportunity to consider how new policy initiatives threaten women’s freedom—proving that the fight is far from over.
“Women have come a long way, but we must remain vigilant in understanding how many proposed policies could reverse women’s progress,” said Carrie Lukas, president of IWF. “President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on gender identity and the so-called Equality Act that just passed the U.S. House are examples of policies that disproportionately harm women and girls.”
The measures redefine “sex” to mean “gender identity,” legally erasing biological women from our civil rights laws and undermining other laws put in place to protect women and girls from discrimination and harm.
“Nowhere is this more clear than in the context of women’s sports,” said Jennifer C. Braceras, director of IWF’s Independent Women’s Law Center. “A generation of female athletes fought hard for a place on the field. Today, those opportunities are being opened up to biological men. This undermines the entire purpose of Title IX, and it isn’t fair.”
Other policy actions under consideration—including the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and mandating a $15 minimum wage—will destroy opportunities for millions of workers, including those with fewer skills, younger workers, and workers who can’t work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule, many of whom are women.
“The administration and Congress have made it clear that they are out of touch with the needs of today’s working women,” said Patrice Onwuka, director of IWF’s Center for Economic Opportunity. “The PRO Act is based on outdated stereotypes about what workers want and ignores how the diversity of employment opportunities make it possible for people—but especially women—to work and build the lives they want. In addition to flexibility, independent contracting gives individuals complete control over their time and labor. They can contract with multiple companies; decide when, where, and how to complete their assignments; and negotiate their own pay. They are their own bosses.”
The economic disruption caused by COVID-19 and policymakers’ refusal to reopen schools has been catastrophic for women-owned businesses and for working mothers who have had to step back from employment to focus on child care and educating their children.
“American women have been hearing a lot of talk about breaking glass ceilings and the concept of women’s empowerment,” added Lukas. “But now is the time for more than talk. After living for a year with COVID-19, our country has developed new strategies for prevention, treatments, and living with the virus. It’s time to open our society and allow women to move forward.”
IWF continues to advance policies that improve the lives of women and their families. In the second edition of the “Working for Women” report, IWF offers recommendations for policy reforms that will give women greater opportunities and more choices for themselves and their loved ones today and in the future.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.