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Betsy DeVos Watch: The Secretary of Education receives an award from an anti-feminist women’s organization

December 4, 2019

Last month, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos received an award from the group known as the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).

According to the Independent Women’s Forum website, it states: 

We work every day to engage and inform women and create a community to discuss how policy issues – including paid leave, health care, taxes, energy, minimum wage, and education – impact them and their families. 

The IWF does work on these issues, but they function from a patriarchal framework.

The IWF was founded by a group of women who were upset that Clarence Thomas was being accused of sexual harassment during his nomination to the US Supreme Court. According to Sourcewatch, the IWF is an anti-feminist organization predominantly funded by right wing foundations. 

The IWF is also connected to groups like the American Exchange Legislative Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity. The IWF has defended right wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, they opposed teaching “global warming” in US schools and they oppose VAMA, the Violence Against Women Act.

However, the Independent Women’s Forum is primarily focused on supporting GOP candidates, especially those who are the most anti-feminist. For example, the IWV made $67,242 in independent expenditures aiding Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin with calls and independent voter outreach in November 2012, after Akin claimed on August 19, 2012 that rape victims couldn’t get pregnant because “if it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 

Betsy DeVos was thrilled to receive an award from this anti-feminist group and she used the opportunity to preach her own anti-feminist perspectives.

The Department of Education posted Betsy’s speech online in mid-November. In that speech, DeVos claimed that Title IX was overreach. DeVos also goes out of her way to dismiss Title IX in her acceptance speech, framing the issue in what she believes is justice. However, as we have reported previously, what Betsy DeVos has done to Title IX, was to provide anti-feminist organizations a platform to push their agenda, an agenda which seeks to minimize campus sexual assault and provide greater protections to perpetrators. 

Of course, Betsy DeVos also used her acceptance speech as an opportunity to push her Neo-Liberal Education model, specifically the Education Freedom Scholarships, which provides matching federal funds for states which would want to adopt a  “school choice” model. 

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