A conservative think tank’s decision to honor Vice President Mike Pence with its inaugural “Working for Women” award has earned sharp criticism.
The Independent Women’s Forum, which says it aims to “improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty,” will recognize Pence at a reception on Wednesday night in Washington D.C. The “Working for Women” award “recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society,” a news release read according to the Washington Post.
Some took to social media to express their displeasure with the choice — namely because of Pence’s strong anti-abortion beliefs. As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law — later halted by a federal judge — that would have have required women who get abortions to bury or cremate the fetuses, inspiring women in the state to send him details about their menstrual cycle as a form of protest.
Sabrina Schaeffer, the executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum told Glamour magazine in 2013 that the organization avoids talking about social issues like abortion and prefers to discuss economic issues that affect women. In a statement provided to Motto, a spokesperson for the Independent Women’s Forum said: “IWF decided to recognize Vice President Mike Pence because of his long commitment to advocating for limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility including rolling back heavy taxation and regulation , which will ultimately enable economic growth and human flourishing, and which is in line with IWF’s own mission statement.”
As the Post noted, the group produced a report called Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Improving Women’s Lives that argues that tax code revisions and more flexible work schedules would be more effective for women than equal pay laws and paid family leave — positions that Pence has taken in the past too.