Policy Circle Co-Hosting Women’s Influence & Liberty Event September 17

center liberty

The Policy Circle – think a book club for women to discuss policy (not politics) – and the Center for the Study of Liberty will host the Women’s Influence & Liberty half-day conference September 17 in downtown Indianapolis.

Open to all women – and particularly those who are interested in business, entrepreneurship and even those researching various policy issues – the conference will include a chance for participants to discuss policy issues with each other and policy experts during roundtable discussion breakout sessions.

Nina Easton, chair of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit, will headline as the keynote speaker. A networking reception will follow the conclusion of the event, from 6 to 7 p.m.

The Policy Circle was formed in Illinois and serves as a catalyst for women to join together and share information and opinions, having read data-driven policy briefs prior to group discussions. The non-partisan, 501©3 organization encourages women to join together and discuss policy issues to educate and engage other women in their communities. Following group discussions every other month, members can take action, such as contacting lawmakers to advocate for specific policies, or following along with proposed legislation.

The group guidelines are to leave the social issues at home, however, and follow the direction of former Gov. Mitch Daniels. He urged for a pause on social issues so everyone could focus on other pressing items, such as foreign policy and immigration, education, economic growth, free enterprise and health care.

With 23 circles in 10 states – including Indiana – and almost 900 women involved so far, the organization is growing. For more information on The Policy Circle, including how to join or start a circle, visit the web site at www.thepolicycircle.org.

The registration fee for the Women’s Influence & Liberty event is $75 and includes lunch; register online.

Your Company Can Support New “Pass the Torch” Campaign for Women

The following is a guest blog from Sunny Bray, corporate events director for the Mentoring Women’s Network Foundation.

Mentoring Women’s Network, a community of empowered women supporting one another personally and professionally through mentoring relationships, is holding their inaugural event, “Pass the Torch for Women Luncheon,”  August 14 at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center.

Pass the Torch for Women is chaired by Traci Dolan of ExactTarget and an executive leadership team including senior representation from women from Angie’s List, Fifth Third Bank, Simon Property Group, First Merchants Bank, and many other companies.

The Pass the Torch for Women event is intended to inspire women to pledge to mentor and help develop one another personally and professionally, in order to create new opportunities and advance women in the workplace. Women are making advancements in the workplace and in business, yet we have much work to do to continue to advance women leaders.

Sponsoring this event provides your company with positive visibility and association with a well-regarded national organization. Sponsorship also creates access for your female employees to year-round programs and resources aimed at leadership development, connections and social responsibility.

More than 475 women of the greater Indianapolis business, medical and civic communities will attend the 2014 Pass the Torch for Women Event. Your participation in the Pass the Torch for Women Event affords you networking opportunities and additional benefits.

If you’re interested in supporting this program, contact me at [email protected] or (317) 575-4077.

Throwback Thursday: Back in the Winter of ’59

Today's venture back in the annals features a 1959 collection of research studies, titled "Spotlight on Legislative Issues," which was prepared by the Chamber and provided to state legislators of the day.

I'll list some of the interesting topics du jour, though one observation is that society was still working to define — and regulate — the woman's role in the workplace during that time. Debates centered around the merits of equal pay and how to regulate their hours.

It's also interesting to read that the Chamber was waging the battle for more efficient local government spending back then, as it's no secret we're no fans of the current township structure. One paragraph reads:

"There appears to be no assurance that the local government finance problem will correct itself in the immediate future if present practices and laws are unchanged. The continuing and growing desire of people to 'live out,' the construction of community shopping centers away from downtown areas, the rapid improvement in highway transportation and movement of traffic, and the decentralization trend in industry all point to further complications. These complications are the result of the shifting from one local government unit to another of responsibility  for administration and financing of specific governmental services while the taxable property which normally might be expected to bear a part of the cost of these services is in another taxing unit."

To paraphrase: "Something's askew here." Still how we feel today about local government.

County highway funding was also a major issue then. Legislators and the business community were considering the most efficient ways to keep Hoosiers moving:

"Need for improvement in the administration of county highways in Indiana will be one of the major problems confronting the 1959 Legislature. The importance of this issue cannot be discounted when it is realized that state-collected highway tax funds amounting to $40 million will be expended by the counties this year. Rural residents who use county roads as 'farm to market' or 'job to home' routes know and appreciate the fact that safer and more durable county roads are needed. County roads constitute approximately 77 per cent of the road and street milage in Indiana. This rural road milage is highly essential to the welfare of a large segment of the state's population."

Kentucky Man Learns Every Vote Does Indeed Count

Yowch! Cincinnati.com reports a Kentucky city council race remains tied with all ballots counted. Sadly, one man would’ve won had his wife actually voted. In fairness, she had a valid excuse and his comments about her lack of voting were cordial.

Robert McDonald learned the hard way that every vote counts.

McDonald, who is known to most people as Bobby, finished in a dead heat Tuesday with Olivia Ballou for the sixth and final seat on the Walton City Council.

Each candidate captured 669 votes, but one ballot McDonald is sure would have gone his way was never cast. His wife, Katie, who works nights as a patient care assistant at Christ Hospital and is finishing nurse’s training at Gateway Community and Technical College, didn’t make it to the polls yesterday.

“If she had just been able to get in to vote, we wouldn’t be going through any of this,” McDonald said. “You never think it will come down to one vote, but I’m here to tell you that it does.”

McDonald, 27, said his wife did not want to talk about not voting.

“She feels bad enough,” McDonald said. “She worked extra hours, goes to school and we have three kids, so I don’t blame her. She woke up about ten minutes before the polls closed and asked if she should run up, but I told her I didn’t think one vote would matter.”

More Power to the Women

The numbers do the talking here. Check these out, courtesy of the California Women’s Conference and its executive director — business acceleration expert and corporate CEO Michelle Patterson.

  • American women constitute the number three market in the world with collective buying power that exceeds the economy of Japan
  • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including the following: 91% of new homes, 80% of health care spending, 66% of personal computers and 65% of new cars
  • Women are launching their own businesses at twice the rate of men
  • Over the next decade, women will be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in the United States’ history. Estimates range from $12 trillion to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance, from both their parents and husbands

What more is there to say? I can’t verify all the numbers above, but the point is that female purchasing power and economic influence are at higher levels than ever.

Title IX Celebrates 40 Years of Equality

I spent the weekend playing with my daughter, not realizing that Saturday was the 40th anniversary of a law that impacts both of us. Had I known, we might have celebrated. Well, as much as a nearly six-month-old can celebrate anything, that is.
 
To honor the achievement of Title IX, I’d like to give a quick history lesson. The legislation was signed into law on June 23, 1972 by President Richard Nixon and says this: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
 
That’s it. It’s such a simple sentence – such a basic idea – and yet it does so much. And it doesn’t just affect women, although that is who benefitted the most from the law in 1972 and in years since.

In a recent Indianapolis Star article, the bill’s author, former Indiana Congressman Birch Bayh said at the time he knew the legislation was just the right thing to do. He’d grown up surrounded by strong women and he recognized that they should have the same ability as he did to attend college and be employed.
 
Title IX applies to a wonderful variety of issues: access to higher education, career education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, learning environment, math and science, sexual harassment, standardized testing and technology. It is a vital piece of legislation for our higher education and workforce – opening up the playing field for women educators and innovators, business women and athletes.

And while Bayh hadn’t anticipated that the literal “playing field” would be opened up and affect high school and college athletics the way it has over the past 40 years (virtually changing the landscape of athletics across the nation), that is what most people associate with Title IX, typically without realizing the vast many other topics to which the law applies.

I’m sure I’ve never given this much thought to Title IX. For me, this was just what I was expected to do: get good grades and play sports (I played golf, tennis and basketball), apply for and get accepted at the college of my choice, and follow my desires to a career in journalism and writing. I’ve never before paused at any of those fundamental freedoms that I have enjoyed.

It’s not been until I had my own child that the importance of this law has truly dawned on me – to know that just 40 years ago many of our mothers were either not allowed or didn’t have the option of playing organized sports in high school because they were girls. That they could be turned away from the college or university of choice because they checked the box marked “Female.”

It is amazing how far we have come that just two generations apart have such starkly different opportunities.

So, cheers to a one-sentence, life- and society-changing piece of legislation written by an Indiana congressman 40 years ago. I think we will celebrate with some pureed pears.

Analysis: Foursquare/Facebook Show Gender Divide

The following is an interesting report found on www.mpdailyfix.com about how men and women are using social media differently. Read the full article, but here’s a taste:

A funny thing happened on the way to evaluating our nonprofit agency’s social media results. We discovered a Mars/Venus connection.

Want to know where the boys are online? They are hanging out on Foursquare and other geo-location sites, outnumbering women by a 2:1 ratio. Meanwhile, on our Facebook page, women outnumber men by the same ratio. Of course, Foursquare isn’t anywhere as popular as Facebook, but there are some interesting takeaways from this analysis…

Foursquare tends to reward you with increased status by cultivating frequency without commitment. It’s a little more macho, like an animal marking his territory. Also, there may be a natural hesitance for women to declare their real-time location for safety concerns of stalking or robbery. At least, that’s what the women we talk to say. Guys don’t worry as much about the personal threat of revealing their whereabouts. And then, there’s the stereotype that men are more competitive. Foursquare promotes competition by awarding badges and increased status to frequent participants.

Just to be sure our findings weren’t unique, I did a little investigating and found some interesting confirming data. The Pew Internet research folk, who constantly monitor online behavior, published a piece in 2010 showing exactly the same 2:1 ratio of men using location-based services like Foursquare. And a writer for The Economist blogged in 2011 about “The Secret Sexism of Social Media” in which she noted: “At this year’s SXSW festival held in March in Austin, I ran into a social-media wonk from New York and asked him how he had been enjoying it. He said it was great: He had won five badges from Foursquare… securing the mayorship of his hotel’s pool. It occurred to me that I have yet to hear a woman brag about getting a badge from Foursquare, and that I never will. In fact, come to think of it, I barely hear women mention such services at all.”

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Ashton Eller for the article.

You Were Asking About the First Female Bailiff?

Random info about Wyoming and women (I told you it was random) found in the State Legislatures magazine:

  • The Wyoming Territory (it became a state in 1890) in 1869 was the first to give all women the right to vote. Side note: Women who owned property in New Jersey were allowed to vote between 1790 and 1807
  • Wyoming (known as the Equality State) had the first female justice of the peace, bailiff, all female jury and governor.
  • Neighboring Colorado, however, had the first woman who was elected to the legislature and still has the highest percentage of female lawmakers

Juan Williams Discusses Rise of the American Woman, Changing Culture at Economic Club Lunch

Juan Williams, a veteran journalist now known best for his roles with National Public Radio and Fox News, addressed nearly 700 in attendance at today’s Economic Club of Indiana luncheon in downtown Indianapolis.

Williams, known mostly for his political prowess, delved into the topic of culture and outlined some key points that Americans must recognize as the nation moves forward. For one, he says the growing American population will change the way we interact in the future.

"Right now, the U.S. has over 300 million people — but in 10 years, we’ll have over 400 million," he says. Williams adds that is largely due to the booming growth rates of immigrants.

He also offers some surprise at the increasing power of women in America. While researching for a story on American teens in Minneapolis, he asked a longtime teacher’s aide what was the greatest difference between the 1960s and today. She then explained that out of the very best students, 8 out of 10 were girls, and 5 out of 10 of the best athletes were girls, as well (based on who was likely to compete at a Division I NCAA level).

"Women are now the majority in American graduate programs," Williams adds. "And when John McCain needed help (during the 2008 presidential election), he got Sarah Palin."

He adds there are 16 female U.S. Senators and one-fourth of Congress is female, noting the power of Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

Williams also discussed the rise of political polarization (explaining only 24% of Republicans support the job Pres. Obama is doing versus 88% of Democrats), and is concerned the deterioration of newspapers will only contribute to that as Americans look to media sources that simply validate their previously held opinions.

The Economic Club of Indiana lunch series will head to Merrillville, Evansville and Fort Wayne this summer. Check the web site for details.