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Independent Women’s Network Launches Philadelphia Chapter

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Independent Women’s Network (IWN), the national grassroots community activist arm of Independent Women’s Voice, proudly announced the launch of its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter, led by Elizabeth Harris and Bridget Michener. This chapter joins 33 other chapters around the country and an online community of more than 32,000 IWN members. The Chapter’s inaugural event, held on Sunday, May 19, brought together an incredible group of women from the Philadelphia area who share a common goal of advocating for women’s rights and safeguarding women’s sports.

“The Philadelphia launch of Independent Women’s Network is another step in the right direction towards freedom and independence for women and for saving women’s sports,” stated Elizabeth Harris, Philadelphia Chapter Leader.

IWN serves as a platform to protect women’s civil liberties and safety, particularly in relation to crucial constitutional rights. The organization firmly believes that the ability to exercise knowledge and raise our voices should not be controlled by any political administration. This includes the pressing issue of preserving women’s sports, which are currently under threat.

Bridget Michener, Philadelphia Chapter Co-Leader, said, “What we don’t know WILL hurt us. It was inspirational and powerful to have a well-attended event with a collective group of so many intelligent, interested, passionate, and strong women in one room: grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, friends, aunts, nieces, professionals, athletes, homemakers, and philanthropists alike.”

Michener expressed her gratitude towards her cousin, Megan Kaltenbach Burke, an IWN advocate and trailblazer in Colorado. Burke’s encouragement led Michener and Harris to establish the Philadelphia chapter. Pennsylvania, being a significant political market, has the potential to foster positive change through the power of information sharing.

The chapter launch featured speakers who further ignited the attendees’ desires and aspirations for policy change, including Amber Schwartz, Executive Vice President of Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). IWN Ambassadors Paula Scanlan, former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jen Sey, founder of XX-XY Athletics, also spoke, making the event an unforgettable experience.

IWN was created to build a supportive community for women and to give them the tools they need to make a positive difference in their neighborhoods and our country.  

“We heard from thousands of women from across the country who said they wanted a community where they could connect, share ideas, and take action,” said IWN Director, Julie Gunlock.. “We launched the Independent Women’s Network to stand shoulder to shoulder with women who are ready to turn our economy around and fight to save our freedoms by countering the woke mob and standing up to cancel culture and out-of-touch bureaucrats.”

An engaging and growing community of independently-minded women work together to advance shared principles through chapter gatherings and the IWN online movement. Membership to IWN opens access to message boards, curated news, smart content, a resource center, exclusive events, and an action center.

“IWN members are happy warriors who stand up to bullies – bullies with positions in school boards; bullies on social media; bullies in corporations and in politics,” said IWN National Chapter Director, Christy Narsi. “Our Chapters are communities of women who form lasting bonds and are ready to take local action. We support one another, and our members are not alone when they stand up to lead on issues critical to our country.” 

Members of the community who are interested in joining Independent Women’s Network should email IWN Membership Coordinator Kiara Kincaid  ([email protected]) or visit iwnetwork.com for more information.

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www.iwnetwork.com  

Independent Women’s Network, a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in partnership with Independent Women’s Forum, is a positive, supportive community of engaged, informed, and activated women working together to inspire, interact, influence, and have impact.

Biden’s Woke Title IX Rule Is So Insane, It Forces Kids And Teachers To Lie

This op-ed was written by Angela Morabito, visiting fellow with Independent Women’s Forum. Originally appeared on Fox News.


The American left has invented its own lexicon, in which “mothers” are erased in favor of “birthing people,” “inclusivity” excludes conservatives, and “woman” means “anyone who identifies as female.” 

Until now, anyone who rejected this false language around sex has had the freedom not to use it. But President Joe Biden’s new Title IX rule is about to make woke-speak the official language of our nation’s public schools. 

The rule redefines “sex” to include “gender identity,” which means schools must treat students not according to whether they are a boy or a girl, but whether they identify as a boy or a girl. As a result, “misgendering” someone – or referring to him or her by the “wrong” pronoun – could create a hostile environment, which amounts to sex-based discrimination. Because it is sex-based discrimination, schools are obligated to stop it.  

If a school allows such a speech crime to go unchecked, it could find itself on the receiving end of a federal investigation, which may result in the Department of Education yanking its federal funding. 

Referring to a boy as “he” is now cause for alarm, if the “he” in question would rather be referred to as “she.” So, too, is calling a trans-identifying person by his or her given name. School employees and students must use the child’s preferred name and pronouns, even if the child’s parents don’t want to do so.  

The parents might not even have the opportunity to object. Nothing in the rule requires schools to notify parents if their child requests a new name and gender identity while at school.   

This creates a nightmare for teachers and students who don’t believe this nonsense. If a student or teacher at your child’s school chooses to go by a different name and pronouns, your child will be forced to be complicit in affirming that new identity when speaking to or about that person. The Biden administration is trampling on the right to free speech and freedom of religion to appease the radical left.

To pretend that the categories “male” and “female” have little to do with biology will confuse the country’s youngest students, who are only beginning to learn the meaning of words and how to identify similarities and differences in the world around them.  

No one is stopping any child or teacher from calling someone else by their preferred name or pronouns. But just as individuals deserve the freedom to do that, they deserve the freedom not to. 

In the leftist lexicon, male and female are not the only genders, but just two out of an infinite number of possibilities. This creates a nightmare for enforcement. Is it discrimination, in the eyes of the administration, for schools to tell an “agender” or “nonbinary” student to use either a male or female restroom? How should administrators respond if a teacher calls a “genderfluid” student by a male name on a day the student feels more female?  

These are the questions brought about when government leaders ignore biology to appease a new privileged class, whose self-image will soon be valued higher than truth in our nation’s schools.  

The new rule is deeply harmful, not only to students who will be forced to “affirm” a lie, but also to the students who reject their sex. The vast majority of students who experience gender dysphoria will grow out of it without medical intervention. Having their peers and teachers treat them according to their chosen identity not reality simply sets them up for long-term confusion and distress.  

This government-imposed manipulation of language results in the loss of sex-segregated spaces in colleges and K-12 schools. Under Biden’s new rule, allowing boys in girls’ locker rooms, sports teams, restrooms and dormitories is not a violation of Title IX.  

He has robbed the law of its original meaning and replaced it with a radical nightmare for women and girls. The Biden regime says that a man in the women’s locker room does not constitute a hostile environment, but repeated “misgendering” might.  

The Defense of Freedom Institute, joined by the States of Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi and Idaho, the Louisiana Department of Education, and 18 Louisiana school districts, has sued the Biden administration to halt this rule before it takes effect on August 1. Ending the rule would benefit students, parents, and teachers who deserve better than this egregious step backward for civil rights and free speech. 

New Title IX Regulation Threatens Women’s Athletic Opportunities

This piece was written by Paula Scanlan, ambassador at Independent Women’s Forum and former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a teammate of Lia (formerly Will) Thomas. Originally appeared in RealClearEducation.


For more than 50 years, Title IX has outlawed sex discrimination in education and required schools to provide equal athletic opportunities for male and female students.

But a recently released Title IX regulation contradicts this mandate by redefining “sex” to include “gender identity,” thus requiring schools to allow males who identify as women to enter women’s spaces and take opportunities from female students.

Knowing that the vast majority of Americans disapprove of male bodies on women’s athletic teams, the Biden administration disingenuously claims that the rule doesn’t apply to sports. And, yet, the Administration has repeatedly insisted — in court filings and in public pronouncements — that Title IX requires schools to allow trans-identified males to play women’s sports.

Well, the Biden administration can’t have it both ways. Either they are using Title IX to force schools to allow males on women’s sports teams or, if they are not, then schools should stop the madness right now.

Claims that the new rule doesn’t apply to sports are, moreover, belied by the fact that it explicitly applies to women’s locker rooms.

I know well the dangers of inviting males into women’s locker rooms. I was a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team when the school allowed Lia (formerly Will) Thomas to compete and undress alongside us.

My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a 6’4” tall biological man fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week. Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls and others used the family bathroom to avoid this. Having Lia in our locker room was particularly traumatizing for me, as prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania, I was sexually assaulted. The swimming locker room had always been a safe space for me. That is, until my university invited a male body to undress alongside me. I began to have nightmares and mentally had to relive my own attack every week that I changed in that locker room.

When we tried to voice our concern to the University Athletic Department, we were told that Lia swimming and being in our locker room was non-negotiable, and we were offered psychological counseling to help us get over our discomfort.

The administration says it will address athletics in a separate regulation to be released at a later time (no doubt, after the election). But that rule will merely provide procedures for implementing the default position announced last week: that schools must prioritize the wishes of trans-identifying students over those of female students.

Hopefully, the courts will see this for what it is, an unlawful rewrite of Title IX, a statute passed to increase educational opportunities for women—not limit them.

Independent Women’s Network Arizona Chapters Issue Statement on State Lawmakers’ Walk Out of  Border Crisis Committee Hearing 

PHOENIX, AZ — Today, Independent Women’s Network (IWN) Arizona Chapters released a joint statement in response to Arizona Democratic party lawmakers,...

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Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Documentary of Former Inmate Exposes Shocking Human Rights Violations Inside Women’s Prisons

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) released the second episode in its exclusive documentary series, Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons. The series documents the ugly fallout of policies that allow male inmates—including convicted sex offenders—to declare themselves “women” and be housed with females. The second episode in the series features Amie Ichikawa, a former inmate who now serves as an ambassador at Independent Women’s Forum.

Ichikawa was incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), where she served five years. After her release from prison, Ichikawa co-founded a nonprofit organization, Woman II Woman, where she keeps in contact with hundreds of female inmates to provide them support. In 2021, after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 132—legislation that opened the door for male prisoners to transfer into women’s prisons—Ichikawa began receiving letters, emails, and phone calls from incarcerated women being harmed by this policy.

As a former inmate who was also incarcerated with convicted men who identified as women, Ichikawa feels obligated to be a voice for desperate women who are being silenced behind bars. She began sounding the alarms about what was happening as a result of Newsom’s policy, but was met with the cold-shoulder by organizations that traditionally serve as advocates for female inmates. 

“There was so much despair and hopelessness, and it was really intense. I reached out to other organizations, the larger organizations that would characteristically help women, and the pushback I got was very surprising,” Ichikawa says in the documentary. “No one wanted to talk about it. And the people who did want to talk about it told me I needed to get educated and learn the language. Someone actually told me that I needed to be careful, and I didn’t care then because it didn’t feel political, it felt like a human rights issue, and I still don’t care because it is a human rights issue.”

IWF’s Storytelling Director and co-producer of the series, Kelsey Bolar, said, “Amie Ichikawa began fighting for female inmates when no one else would. IWF is honored to now stand alongside her in this fight for dignity and justice for incarcerated women. As her story makes clear, there is nothing safe, compassionate, or humane about forcing women to live alongside violent, predatory men.”

IWF’s Storytelling Manager and co-producer of the series, Andrea Mew, added, “Women behind bars trust Amie with their lives – and that’s because she’s genuinely one of very few invested in this fight day in and day out to protect their rights. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for biological truth rather than simply take the path of least resistance. Female inmates bearing the burden of ‘inclusive’ policies deserve a better chance at rehabilitation – and Amie’s tireless advocacy truly demonstrates the urgency of this situation in California and beyond.”

Amie Ichikawa and Kelsey Bolar recently joined The Megyn Kelly Show to discuss the Cruel & Unusual Punishment series and the dangers of integrating men into women’s prisons. As an IWF ambassador and former inmate, Ichikawa will continue to fight for the rights of incarcerated women. 

Watch Amie Ichikawa’s story HERE.

Read Amie Ichikawa’s New York Post exclusive op-ed featuring Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons, HERE.

BACKGROUND:

As more states allow men who identify as women into women’s prisons, few are aware of the harmful fallout. Women with histories of trauma and domestic abuse are forced to share their most private and intimate spaces with intact males—many of whom are violent, sexual predators serving time for heinous crimes.

Allowing male offenders to reside in women’s prisons is dangerous and unfair. Put simply, it’s cruel and unusual punishment. These stories stand as a testament to why biological sex matters, especially in institutional settings. Incarcerated women need and deserve female-only spaces. Anything less is a violation of their most basic human rights.

The eradication of single-sex prisons is harming female inmates.

In this documentary mini series, IWF brings voices to light who detail the untold, gruesome story about what’s been happening to female inmates behind closed doors. As more and more prison systems allow males to declare themselves “women” and opt to be housed in facilities meant for females, the voices of those most affected deserve to be heard. 

Watch the Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons trailer HERE. Each episode of this ongoing short documentary series produced by IWF, varying from 5 to 10 minutes in length, will be released individually over the coming weeks, with episodes available to the public for free on YouTube.

Direct media inquiries and booking requests to [email protected]

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www.iwf.org 
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.

Independent Women’s Network Launches Indianapolis Chapter

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Today, Independent Women’s Network (IWN), the national grassroots community activist arm of Independent Women’s Voice, celebrated the launch of its Indianapolis Chapter. This chapter joins 26 chapters around the country and an online community of more than 32,000 IWN members.

“Growing up in Wyoming, the equality state, it was always instilled in me the need to use my voice for good and always know that I could and should speak up for what I believe in. I’m sad to say that in the past few years I had lost sight of the importance of being taught this as a young woman. But attending the IWF gala this year and being surrounded by other strong women from Wyoming it re-lit the fire within me. I want all women to have the opportunities I had, to get a good education, and play sports in a safe environment, and to be supported and surrounded by strong independent women. When I joined IWN and noticed that there was not a chapter in my area it spurred me into action,” said IWN’s Indianapolis Chapter Co-Leader, Amber Hageman. 

Hageman continued, “The Indianapolis chapter will aim to bring women of different backgrounds together in an environment where we can all voice our opinions and have meaningful conversations while still respecting the beliefs of those around us. As a society today, we have lost the ability to respectfully agree to disagree.” 

The Indianapolis Chapter Co-leaders Amber Hageman and Linda Ball are both passionate about building a community of strong women to advocate for the Indianapolis community. 

As a dedicated mom of four, wife, and real estate broker, Linda Ball is committed to empowering women to succeed both personally and professionally. Linda resides on the west side of Indianapolis, where she helps real estate clients achieve their dreams in both residential and commercial real estate. 

Amber Hageman is a member of the development team for EdChoice and is an advocate for educational choice options for families. As a professional fundraiser, Amber believes in the power of conversations and learning about who someone is through those conversations. 

IWN was created to build a supportive community for women and to give them the tools they need to make a positive difference in their neighborhoods and our country.  

“We heard from thousands of women from across the country who said they wanted a community where they could connect, share ideas, and take action,” said IWN Director, Julie Gunlock.. “We launched the Independent Women’s Network to stand shoulder to shoulder with women who are ready to turn our economy around and fight to save our freedoms by countering the woke mob and standing up to cancel culture and out-of-touch bureaucrats.”

An engaging and growing community of independently-minded women work together to advance shared principles through chapter gatherings and the IWN online movement. Membership to IWN opens access to message boards, curated news, smart content, a resource center, exclusive events, and an action center.

“IWN members are happy warriors who stand up to bullies – bullies with positions in school boards; bullies on social media; bullies in corporations and in politics,” said IWN National Chapter Director, Christy Narsi. “Our Chapters are communities of women who form lasting bonds and are ready to take local action. We support one another, and our members are not alone when they stand up to lead on issues critical to our country.” 

Members of the community who are interested in joining Independent Women’s Network should email IWN Membership Coordinator Kiara Kincaid  ([email protected]) or visit iwnetwork.com for more information.

### 

www.iwnetwork.com 

Independent Women’s Network, a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in partnership with Independent Women’s Forum, is a positive, supportive community of engaged, informed, and activated women working together to inspire, interact, influence, and have impact.