Thursday, February 28, 2013

House Passes Inclusive VAWA

The House of Representatives approved the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization that protects all victims and includes critical campus safety protections. This has been a long, hard battle, and I cannot thank you enough for contacting your elected officials and standing up with AAUW the whole way through.

Today is a great day to be part of an organization whose volunteer Lobby Corps and members across the country have knocked on Congress’ door for almost two years urging a VAWA that would protect all victims and improve campus safety. Thank you again for your advocacy and your support.

Yours in AAUW,
Lisa Maatz
AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
Excerpt from Action Network Announcement

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AAUW Introduces New Logo, Tagline and Website

AAUW's new logoThe website redesign allows for complete mobile access and features expanded and improved social media integration for all our online content. This integration should make the site more user friendly, provide a better experience for smartphone and tablet users, and create greater visibility for AAUW. It’s easier than ever to use the new website and share AAUW content across platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

To develop the tagline, the working group tried another new trend, crowdsourcing. They posted a description of AAUW and our communications goals on Crowdspring and invited freelance writers from around the world to submit ideas. The process netted more than 2,000 entries and showed remarkable consensus around the themes of empowerment and AAUW’s extensive history. The working group quickly settled on “Empowering women since 1881” as the new tagline, and the board approved it unanimously in October.

We’re excited to roll out these changes to support our reinvigorated branch activities and our digital communications efforts. The new national logo and other branch and state resources are available on our new AAUW Branding Tool Kit page.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Meet with your Congressmen to Lobby for Women's Issues

This month, your senators and representatives will be considering the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), fair pay legislation, and potential spending cuts that could be devastating to critical programs such as education and civil rights enforcement – now more than ever, they need to hear from you, their constituents. Your members of Congress will be in their home districts for the week of February 18, and that is the perfect time to schedule a meeting to discuss these important issues with them.

Once the request has been formally submitted, be persistent — legislators’ offices receive a lot of incoming communication, so you may need to follow up to arrange a meeting. In the meantime, you can start preparing for the meeting with AAUW's tried-and-true tips! We have suggestions on what to bring to the meeting, how to get the answers you're looking for, and how to follow up afterwards. We also have sample talking points and "asks" for you to make of your members of Congress.

We’ve heard it 100 times: “Women’s votes were key to electoral victories.” We saw it firsthand with the successful AAUW Action Fund “It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard” campaign. But will our newly-minted Congress listen and act on the concerns of women and families in our communities now that they’ve been elected? That’s where you, as a concerned constituent, have the power to hold our elected officials accountable—and scheduling a meeting with your member of Congress is the first step!

P.S. Make sure to email to tell us how the meeting goes and share any pictures from your meeting!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Convention Program Highlights

AAUW NYS Convention   

 High Peaks Resort, Lake Placid, NY,  April 26-28, 2013

Plan to join us and register now! The entire convention packet, including registration forms and program details is available here. A special registration package is offered to encourage student affiliate members to attend. Attendees will be able to take advantage of the program which will focus on student members, public policy, college/university relations, and community support for the aging and life balance.

Lisa Maatz
Friday: Registration, walking tour of downtown Lake Placid and EOF Fundraiser, LAF Fundraiser, branch exhibit and LAF basket/purse room setup, President's reception, Emerging Leader Recognition, President's Dinner. Lisa Maatz,  AAUW director of public policy and government relations, will be the keynote speaker. She will talk about  AAUW's efforts to promote our mission of equity and for women and girls. 

Saturday: Business meeting, AAUW NYS Awards ceremony, LAF Luncheon with LAF litigant speaker, branch exhibits, LAF basket/purse room, college/university relations panel.
Choice of workshops: 
  • STEM-Oriented Day Camp for Girls -- A Branch Success Story
  • Helping our Communities Respond to "Aging in Place"
  • Half the Sky/My Sister's Keeper Panel
  • Project Have Hope
Saturday keynote speaker
Addie Jenne Russell

Installation of Officers Dinner: NYS Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell, representing the 116th Assembly District, will speak. Ms. Russell, an attorney, formerly served on the Jefferson County Board of Legislators, is a past president of the Jefferson County Branch AAUW, and a former member of the AAUW NYS Public Policy Committee.

Sunday:Counterpart Breakfast;  Choice of workshops:

  • Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act
  • International Issues: United Nations/IFUW
  • Today's College Student
  • From Page to Stage: Bullying Prevention and the Arts

Sounds of the Northway performance, closing buffet luncheon




Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plan to Show The Invisible War at Your Branch

The documentary The Invisible War, an award-winning film about military sexual assault that features several LAF-supported plaintiffs, is now available to rent from Netflix and to purchase from Amazon.

This important film was recently listed as the 10th movie and the only documentary on Time’s top 100 movies of 2012. It is nominated for the Independent Sprit Awards’ best documentary, and it’s rumored to be on the short list for an Academy Award nomination.

The Invisible War Program in a Box

AAUW members who are interested in hosting a screening of The Invisible War can download the Program in a Box. AAUW members and college/university partner members can show the film for only $150 for a public screening and a discussion guide.

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Bucket Notes from your BFF Joan Monk

Can you imagine a 32-page picture book teaching children of all ages the benefits of kindness through the metaphor of a bucket? Check out Carol McCloud’s “Bucket Books” for students from preschool through middle school. The series has taken off and become one of the most effective character development programs offered to all ages. That's bucket filling and AAUW members had their first introduction to this seemingly simple concept at Summer Leadership at Cazenovia. Some lucky branches went home with buckets of their very own.

Bucket filling is not for children only. Dr. Donald Clifton and his grandson, Tom Rath developed this bucket and dipper concept for corporate America.  Through his 50 years of research providing positive strategies for work and life, Dr. Clifton is considered “The Grandfather of Positive Psychology.”

A bucket-filling branch is a great place to learn. A bucket-filling school is a place to grow and thrive.  A bucket-filling family is a great place to grow up.  A bucket-filling community is a great place to live.   These are places where kindness, respect, fairness, other-centeredness, responsibility, and generosity are part of daily life.

Bucket filling is easy.  It doesn't cost any money.  It doesn't take much time.  It doesn't matter how young or old you are. Bucket filling makes everyone feel good. 

Contact your new BFF (Bucket Filling Fairy aka Joan Monk) to learn how your branch can start a bucket filling project and become part of AAUW NYS Bucket Brigade. You’ll be glad you did!

Monday, December 03, 2012

AAUW NYS to Attend the CTAUN Conf. at the U.N.

United Nations
United Nations (Photo credit: Ashitakka)

CTAUN Conference:
“Advancing Social Justice: The Role of Educators”

AAUW encourages our members to attend CTAUN at the United Nations scheduled for Friday, January 18, 2013 from 9:30 to 4 in New York City. 

Registration Fee: $65
Student Fee - ID required: $40
The Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) will examine the social justice issues of Human Trafficking and Economic Inequality.
Distinguished speakers from the United Nations and International NGOs will provide insight and information helping to empower you with increased awareness.

I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation. And if you care about promoting opportunity and reducing inequality, the classroom is the place to start. Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.
     US Education Secretary Arne Duncan,
9 October 2009
To register and obtain additional information, visit

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Planning for the 2013 AAUW NYS Convention and Annual Meeting

Adirondack High Peaks
Adirondack High Peaks (Photo credit: johncudw2399)
Looking ahead - join us at High Peaks Resort at Lake Placid, April 26-28, 2013. Convention 

Convention Director Karen Carr will share more information about the program and the business meeting as details develop.

  • The nominating committee has nominated the following:
    • Maria Ellis as Membership Vice President
    • Donna Seymour as Public Policy Vice President
    • Edwina Martin as Secretary/By-Laws
    • Mildred DeWitt as Treasurer
  • You may read about all four of the candidates and view their images here on the New York state website.
  • Nominations for other candidates will be open to the floor during the business meeting on Saturday morning.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tell Speaker Boehner: We Need Women Committee Chairs

Two Minute Activist

Take Action!
Women showed up at the polls on November 6, and women were elected to the House and Senate in record numbers this year. Yet when the House leadership announced the chairs of the major committees for the 113th Congress, there were no women to be found

AAUW wants to know: Where are the women?
Two House Committees—the Committee on House Administration and the Ethics Committee—still need chairs, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gets to appoint them. Tell Speaker Boehner: Fill those committee chairperson slots with women! These decisions are being made as you read this, so take action now!

To send a message to Speaker Boehner, visit AAUW Two-Minute Activist
 or click on the "Take Action" link in the upper right hand corner of this email.

The House GOP leadership should be representative of all lawmakers and all citizens. Excluding women from major committee posts is not an option. Urge Speaker Boehner to appoint women as chairs of the Committee on House Administration and the Ethics Committee.

Follow AAUW Public Policy on Twitter
, and read the award-winning AAUW Dialog blog
 for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
Are you an AAUW member? Subscribe to Washington Update
a members-only weekly e-mail bulletin with an insider's view on public policy and politics news, resources for advocates and programming ideas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ithaca College Wins AAUW Campus Action Project

The Ithaca College Seal
The Ithaca College Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The AAUW-NYS Board congratulates Ithaca College. We look forward to the results of their project.

The 2012-13 Campus Action Project will allow teams of faculty and students to bring awareness to the gender pay gap one year out of college and its connection to student debt. Nine teams from around the country were selected to implement projects based on recommendations from AAUW's 2012 research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation.

There was one winning team from New York State: Ithaca College is a C/U partner with AAUW.

The Ithaca College team will develop a workshop series to address issues pertaining to the pay gap, specifically one year after college graduation. A team of students will video-record the workshops, and format them similar to TED Talks. Each workshop will include 8-18 minutes of lecture-style presentation, and an interactive piece that will take 20-40 minutes. Workshop topics will range from self-advocacy to salary negotiation skills. The video-recordings will be made into short films that will premiere at an event in May 2013 and then will be used in future campus and community trainings.

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Union, Religious, Civil Rights and Sports Activist- celebrate birthdays

Rose Pesotta addresses the floor at the 1965 I...
Rose Pesotta addresses the floor at the 1965 ILGWU convention, December 15, 1965. (Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University)

Three very different women celebrate(d) birthdays on Nov. 20.-- Rose Pesotta, Rev. Dr. Anna Murray, and Billie Jean King. Learn about them.

Nov. 20 is the birthday of Rose Pesotta (1896-1965), a feminist labor organizer and vice president within the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. In 1913, at the age of 17, she emigrated to New York City and found employment in a shirtwaist factory, quickly joining the ILGWU, a union representing the mostly Jewish and Latina female garment workers. Working hard to educate her fellow workers, Pesotta was elected to the all male executive board of ILGWU Local 25 in 1920. In 1944 Pesotta resigned from the executive board of the union in protest of the fact that, despite 85% of the union's membership were women, she was the sole female executive member.

The Reverend Dr. Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray was born on Nov. 20, 1910. She was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, and writer. She was also the first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest and the first black person to earn a doctorate at Yale Law School. She died in 1965.

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Happy birthday to Billie Jean King, born Nov. 20, 1943. A professional tennis player, King won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles through out her career. An advocate for sexual equality, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs in 1973, was the founder of the Women's Tennis Association, World Team Tennis and the Women's Sports Foundation. One of the 20th century's most respected and influential people, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. In 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, the first female athlete so honored.

Submitted by Donna Seymour

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

One Year After Graduation, Female Pay Lags Behind

One year after college graduation women working full time earn less--82 percent on average--than male counterparts, the American Association of University Women finds in "Graduating to a Pay Gap," a study released Oct. 24.

This is slightly higher than it was in 2001 when, among the same group, women earned just 80 percent of what their male peers earned. Women working full time earned $35,296 on average, versus $42,918 for male counterparts. Business was the most popular major for both men (27 percent) and women (19 percent), but female graduates in this sector earned just over $38,000, while men earned just over $45,000.

The study shows that differences in job type and hours explain part of the pay gap, but about one-third of the gap remains unexplained, suggesting that bias and discrimination are still problems in the  workplace. 

What Can Employers Do?

In light of the findings, authors recommend that employers

  • Increase transparency in pay systems 
  • Ensure clear structures for evaluation
  • Conduct internal pay equity studies and 
  • Take steps to address any gender disparities. 
The analysis is based on data of about 15,000 students who received a bachelor's degree between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, and were tracked by "Baccalaureate and Beyond a longitudinal study" by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Lower Pay Means Greater Debt Burden

The study also finds women more burdened by student debt. Women and men borrowed roughly similar amounts of money—about $20,000--among 2007-08 college graduates. Women, however, often appear to have a harder time repaying the money for two reasons: lower earnings and a bigger share of the national student loan pie because they are more likely to go to college than men.

Among full-time workers repaying their loans one year after college graduation in 2009, 53 percent of women (39 percent in 2001) versus 39 percent of men (27 percent in 2001) were paying a greater percentage of their earnings toward student loan debt than the American Association of University Women estimates a typical woman or man could reasonably afford to pay. Also, women are more likely than men to borrow money for school (68 percent versus 63 percent).

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Monday, October 22, 2012

For a Little LAF Competition Among Branches

This is a gentle reminder from Roli Wendorf, AAUW-NYS Legal Action Fund VP ...the LAF fundraising year 2012 has just a couple of months left. The deadline to send in branch and individual contributions is December 31, 2012. This is a good time to remind your branch members and leadership to send in their contributions and hold their fundraisers.

Check the NYS website for directions, send copy of branch donation forms to Roli, or give Roli a call for help.

AAUW Legal Action provides significant support for cases that fight for legal issues impacting women and girls. Can your branch exceed your branch 2011 contributions? By what target percentage?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Increase US' political and financial investments to end child marriage

From Melissa Guardaro, forwarded from Pathfinder International:
At 12, a girl needs school, not a husband. Yet every three seconds, a girl under 18 becomes a child bride.
Alemnesh* was one of them. At 12, she was married to an older man, a custom common in Ethiopia. Marriage was not her choice; she wanted to stay in school. With the support of a Pathfinder project, she got her wish and is now thriving in school again.
But not all girls have the support Alemnesh had. That’s why we need the US government to commit increased political and financial investments to end child marriage and support married adolescents. Will you take action to end child marriage today?
Our hope is to have 10,000 emails sent to Secretary Hillary Clinton by the end of October. As we approach October 11th, the first-ever International Day of the Girl, help girls like Alemnesh by showing your support to end child marriage.
Together, we can make sure more girls like Alemnesh can have bright futures.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month: Learn About Sor Juana

During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) we hope you'll take a few minutes to learn about Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The First Great Latin American Poet.
It turned out that the hair grew quickly and I learned slowly. As a result, I cut off the hair in punishment for my head’s ignorance, for it didn’t seem right to me that a head so naked of knowledge should be dressed up with hair, for knowledge is a more desirable adornment,
—from The Reply to the Very Illustrious Sor Philotea de la Cruz, written in 1691
"Sor Juana was published in different parts of the Hispanic world during her lifetime and she enjoyed the reputation of being the premiere Baroque poet in New Spain (Mexico), which earned her both praise and vicious misogynistic attacks. Sor Juana was persecuted for being an intellectual and a woman, a nun, and a writer who wrote quite provocatively in the very Christian New Spain of the 1600s."
This background information comes from  Edsitement!, the National Endowment for the Humanities on the web, which your branch may find a rich programming resource. This particular unit provides background information, guiding questions, and two lessons for high school students. They work for adults just as well.