Friday, December 28, 2007

International Relations News

Gloria Ghedini reported the following news from the magazine France Amerique.

Angelique Kidjo, a singer from Benin, Africa, but currently residing in New York City, has established the Batonga Foundation with the objective of financing young African girls. "If a mother is educated, then she will do the utmost to keep her children in school." Intermingling her musical tours with trips to African countries in peril, Angelique has very painfully witnessed children with AIDS and suffering abused women, Just this past September, she spent 2 days in Darfur. She is disappointed in the performance of the African Union. This energetic singer also visited a child care center in Zeynab, financed by a micro-credit union. Those interested to learn mkore of her work or hear her albums can log onto

Children Look Forward to AAUW Member Visits

This past summer Poughkeepsie AAUW members volunteered at the Catharine Community Center. Members went on field trips to the FDR home and museum with the children. They read stories about the Roosevelts, helped children do research on the computer and write stories about their experiences.

The Executive Director, Shirley Adams, says “The children were so pleased with visits from AAUW members, that they are really looking forward to seeing them again. When volunteers visit and work with the children, they seem to really behave themselves in order to impress their visitors.” Volunteers are key in helping children stay off the streets and succeed in school.

Poughkeepsie AAUW members will be volunteering again at the center helping the Center’s teachers supervise the children as they do their school homework.

The Catharine Street Community Center was started more than three decades ago to ensure that City of Poughkeepsie children and youth would have a healthy, caring, disciplined environment to come to after school and during the summer recess. The agency strives, through several types of activities and programs, to help children grow emotionally, mentally and physically. Without the Center, many of the children have few options and fewer chances of succeeding at school.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What are we teaching our children?

I just read about a commercial I have been fortunate enough not to have seen. Apparently a father has built a treehouse for his children, but they would prefer to stay in their new car (purchased as a holiday gift) with electronic games/leather seats/toys to entertain rather than educate. The implication, besides the message that this car is certainly a "must" on everyone's list, is that the father is somewhat dim-witted for even thinking that his children might want time with him or time outdoors or time to think! We are putting our little girls into makeup and sexy clothes, teaching our little boys (and girls) through electronic games that killing people is an everyday sport. When will these children get to be children, being curious and learning about the world around them? I only wish that there were some way to promote peace and harmony instead of pushing them to be self-centered adults with nary a thought of how they can make the world a better place. If they don't, and we don't, who will?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holidays and Families - and Peace

My sister is coming! And so is my niece! We always enjoy the chance to visit with these two women - it's just really comfortable to have them here. Since my family is spread all over the country - from Hawaii to Florida to Massachusetts, there aren't many chances for all of us to get together - we make do as we can.
But we are fortunate that we can do this. There are so many women (and men) in the world who do not have the freedom to travel, even to live without fear. We in AAUW have been working for peace, justice and equity for all for over 125 years now. Check to see what your local branch is doing, and come join us in this effort!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Imus Returns

Don Imus returns. When he originally made his appallingly racist and sexist remarks, AAUW NYS spoke out strongly against his continued appearance on the air. He assures us he has truly repented, and time will tell. No doubt he repents either for economics or for personal reasons. One never knows.

Has anything changed? Is there perhaps an awareness of a change of expectations in the country. It is hard to believe that such could be when so many shock jocks remain. Can anyone articulate clearly the difference between freedom of speech and unacceptable manner of speech?

Have we at least learned to speak out loudly? Of all the changes mentioned here, that is the only one which we control.

Diane Haney

Monday, December 03, 2007

CTAUN Conference

If you missed the League of Women Voters Briefing at the UN co-sponsored by AAUW-NYS, another opportunity is coming up soon. The Committee for Teaching About the United Nations is presenting its tenth annual conference, "Teaching and Learning in an Interdependent World", on Friday, February 1, 2008, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

This conference for interested educators and administrators at all levels and in all disciplines, as well as all concerned citizens, will provide resources for enriching curricula, school activities, and community involvement. Topics addressed include "Climate Change: Rethinking the World We Share"; "Moving Towards International Understanding"; and "Implementation Strategies for the Classroom and Community". Five AAUW members were on the planning committee.

Co-sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information,the conference will include prominent speakers from both the United Nations and other organizations, as well as an information fair showcasing materials and educational resources. The conference is from 9:15 A.M. to 5:30 P.M., with an optional international buffet luncheon in the Delegates Dining Room and an optional tour of the United Nations buildings at 4:30 P.M.

For further information and registration forms, go to In order to meet UN Security requirements, the deadline for receipt of the registration and check is January 16. Early registration (December 31) has a discount.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Briefing at United Nations

On Wednesday, November 28, 2007, AAUW members joined with the League of Women Voters in a Briefing at the United Nations on "The Effects of War on Women Around the World". After a tour and luncheon in the Delegates Dining Room, we heard several knowledgeable speakers on this issue.

Xandra Kayden of the LWVUS pointed out that in 1900 war casualties were 5% civilians; by 2000 they were 75% civilians.

Sylvia Hordosch of the Social Affairs Office of the United Nations reported that increased violence against women often precedes armed conflict. Sexual violence against women is increasingly part of war. This problem was not always given priority. The first UN delegation to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban was all male. UN peacekeeping troops are less than 2% women, and peacekeeping police are only 5% female. In peace negotiations, women's issues are often ignored or postponed.

This is slowly changing. UN Resolution #1325 on Women, Peace, and Security of 2000 requires that all peacekeeping groups have gender advisors. Women's security depends on the rule of law, democracy, equity, education, and opportunity.

Donna Bhagwandin, Gender Advisor in the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that sexual violence is used as a deliberate tactic of war and also occurs when there is a complete breakdown of order. The UN Initiative Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, involving 12 UN agencies, is working to stop the spread of sexual violence from one conflict to other conflicts. The UN is raising awareness to make this a priority; coordinating action within countries; and accumulating data to use for early warning, prevention, and protection.

Violence has its roots in discrimination. A change in attitude is needed in the media and in the community. The data indicates that when top civilian and military leaders come out publicly against sexual violence and state that perpetrators will be punished, it sets a standard. A legislative framework complying with human rights, an effective police force, and a modern judicial system are all essential for enforcement.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also monitors the Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) by analysis and standards setting. Among the issues it handles are human trafficking and female genital mutilation. Of the 192 member staes of the United Nations, 181 have ratified CEDAW. The United States has not yet done so.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Effects of War on Women

November 28, 2007, the League of Women voters held their annual United Nations briefing. The American Association of University Women of New York State is one of five other sponsoring organizations. This year's topic was the Effects of War on Women Around the World. About 150 people attended the Briefing- 30 AAUW member-10 more were members of AAUW /LWV.

I was unable to attend. My thanks to Nancy Mion who sent me these notes:

NGO (non-governmental organizations) member’s representatives attend weekly briefings, attend meetings and give reports when requested. AAUW‘s rep is past Vice Chair of the Working Group on Girls

The face of war has changed. In 1900-5% of casualties were civilians; in 2000-75% of the casualties were civilians. In wars today everyone is a combatant.

Sylvia Hordosh, from the UN Division for the Advancement of Women is involved with the implementation of CEDAW (Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Agains Women--almost all nations except the US have signed it). If you want to know what is happening world wide go to . There is unequal power between men and women. Women have been excluded from efforts to resolve conflicts. Yet, they are viewed as the passive peacemakers.

Women are gravely affected by conflicts. They are displayed, become heads of households, lose their resources since they often cannot own land or anything. They try to hold it together, but often are punished after the conflict is settled because of what they had to do to do this.
Women are exposed to violence and abuse. They are preyed upon. They lose protection and freedom of movement; they are forced into marriages, forced to become combatants in army and militia. They are forced to have abortions, forced to be pregnant; they are detained and raped. The rape is not for pleasure but for control. When violence against women increases it is a sign of impending military conflict... It escalates during the war. But continues after the conflict has died down...
Women are underrepresented in power structures. They are left out of decision making that affect all especially them. . At talks going on now about the Middle East in Baltimore there are 40 delegates. Only 3 are women. Women have played key roles in debarments. Women form parties for power base. They are asked to prove that they have this base. Men are not asked to do that.
The 192 member states of the UN are doing 4 things to stop this. They are using Dept. of Peacekeeping, Humanitarian arm, Political Arm and Post Conflict Reconstruction

Since 2000 the UN has made a major change. Policies have been enacted that women be included, quotas have been established for women’s involvement. Women’s financial needs have been acknowledged. More women have become heads of state and even Departments of Defense. However it is not fair that they are held to higher standards then men. Women are mandated on UN peace-keeping missions..
Regarding violence against women: women need to talk to women and to talk to men especially those who support women.
Books recent and future:

In this time of seasonal stress you may find it difficult to find the time to read. If you had time to read, you wouldn't be under all this stress. On the other hand there are those to whom you must give something and books are excellent gifts. You might give one to yourself to read after the holidays. Here are some titles I have read and recommend and some I will read next.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum, a tale of German resistors of the
Holocaust and what it cost them.

The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell, the story of life in Shanghai before WW II, the love of the narrators parents, betrayal and reconciliation.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, a book of masterful short stories about Vietnam. I was just in an elevator in Baltimore with the book in hand and every person in the elevator had read the book and loved it.

Then next books I will read:

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fierce critic of Islam, a former member of the Dutch parliament, a talented writer and a new resident of the US, she was Hero by Glamour magazine in 2005 among other honors.

Cellophane by Marie Arana, a magical realist story of a family that own a cellophane factory in Peru.

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, which looks to be a beautifully written story of a man of twenty, a Chinese man sent to Japan to recover from tuberculosis on the eve of WW II.

Diane Haney

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Behind the Pay Gap
The American Association of University Women is pleased to announce its 2007-2008 Campus Action Project, Behind the Pay Gap, based on the AAUW Educational Foundation research report that was released in spring 2007 and examined the gender pay gap for college graduates. The objective of this year’s CAP program is to provide a platform to raise awareness of the inequity in pay between women and men in the workplace.
While several measures of educational achievement show that on average women are faring as well as their male counterparts today, often times these gains do not translate into comparable economic success beyond college. In 2004, college-educated women 25 and older earned 75 percent of what their male peers earned. This pay gap appears within the first year after college – even when women are working full-time in the same fields as men – and widens in the first ten years in the workforce. AAUW Educational Foundation research points to several factors that appear to be pivotal including, the field of study, occupational choice, and family-work balance issues such as time out of the labor force.1
Students, faculty, and administrators from U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit a proposal for a campus action project (CAP). We expect to fund 5-10 projects of up to $5,000 each. Visit for a full list of recommendations.
1Goldberg, J. D., & Hill, C. (2007). Behind the Pay Gap.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Educational Foundation Research Studies

The AAUW Educational Foundation sponsors many research studies along with its other programs, funding Fellowships and Grants and the Legal Advocacy Fund.

One such publication related to the Legal Advocacy Fund is Tenure Denied - Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia. This publication describes many of the cases supported by the Legal Advocacy Fund and has details about the very first case supported by LAF, Zahorik vs. Cornell,

The Ithaca Branch of AAUW decided to support the original "Cornell 11" in their quest for tenure at the University. From this involvement the Legal Advocacy Fund was created and recently we celebrated the 25th Anniversary and over 100 cases supported.

More recently we are seeing decided victories in court, recognition of AAUW as one of the very few organizations to carry on this important work of advocacy for discrimination in academia.

Please note that this is not just a women's issue. Our institutions of higher learning hold an important place in our society. Since employers look to hire those with degrees for the upper echelons of their companies it is most important to have a diverse group of faculty who make the decisions when granting degrees to applicants.

This generation heading out into the world to make their way are our future corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, politicians, researchers, etc. These are the people who will impact our future at every level. Achieving equality in the tenure process is of major importance to all of us.

You may purchase this book on line at click on Shop AAUW. All AAUW members will recieve a 10% discount.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund

On Saturday, October 27, the people attending the NYS AAUW District III meeting in Ithaca, New York were privileged to hear J. Anthony Gaenslen, the Attorney for the Cornell Eleven. The Cornell Eleven were supported by members of the Ithaca branch. Their efforts helped in establishing a Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) as part of the American Association of University Women. LAF was first a pilot progran (in 1981) and two years later became a permanent fund of the Association. The Legal Advocacy Fund is now part of the AAUW Educational Foundation.
The Legal Advocacy Fund is the nations largest legal fund that is devoted to helping fight sex discrimination in higher education. Since its inception in 1981 the fund has provided more that $1.3 million to over 100 cases. The fund provides financial assistance and outreach for their cases. For more information on LAF go to the American Association of University Women website ( then go to the ADVOCACY tab and then to Legal Advocacy).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Local Programs - NYC

There are some exciting programs coming up in the NYC area. Anyone interested can call the Branch House at 212-684-6068.

Public Policy/Voter Education Event and Ethnic Dinner (gratis): Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 7 p.m. (branch house). We will be featuring a presentation on “Political Equality and Voter Education for Women” by Dr. Nemata Eshun-Baiden, 2007 Madeline K. Albright Award Honoree, Founder and first President of the Fifty-Fifty group and the first female President of the Rotary Club in Sierra-Leone.

Our Third Annual Martin Luther King (MLK) Day Celebrations co-sponsored with the New York City League of Women Voters: MLK Day, Monday, January 21, 2007, 2pm (branch house). This promises to be an exciting public policy/voter education/voter registration/Get out the vote event. This special event will feature some of the political candidates or their representatives running for office in the upcoming elections.

International Issues, Grants and Fellowships

Three urgent issues:

A short story contest on the effect of education in your life is part of AAUW's new partnership with Care. Due date is November 15. For details go to the International Corner on the AAUW website.

Second, AAUW has a number of international programs which support women and education. For details go again to the International Corner on the AAUW website.

Now is the time to apply for AAUW educational grants and fellowships. Applications are due by November 15. Most awards are for women doing advanced study but awards for community action and career development grants are also made. Details are available in the EF section of the AAUW website.

Diane Haney

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pay Equity

Too many times lately I've heard from working women, "Pay equity, that's not an issue for me. It couldn't happen at my workplace." Do they know that pay equity is not an issue at their workplace? Do they have information to back up their statement? The answer to both of these questions is no.

Unfortunately, facts and figures show that pay inequity between men and women does exist. It starts as early as the first year out of college and continues. A research report, Behind the Pay Gap, was put out by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in April of this year. The report states that one year out of college, women working full time, earn less than their male colleagues. The pay gap continues to widen as the years go on. Don't let this happen to you. Become informed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NYC Branch Exhibits Lynn Vergano's Oriental Paintings

The AAUW NYC branch held an exhibit of Lynn Vergano’s Oriental paintings for the Benefit of the Explore Your Opportunities – The Sky’s the Limit, a conference to encourage girls to take courses in math, science and technology.

Lyn Vergano’s delicate brush paintings are a perfect example of a wedding of form and meaning. She studied at Pratt Institute and graduated with a master’s degree from New York University. Her first paintings were in the classic Western tradition. The simplicity and discipline of oriental brush work attracted her. She began to study the techniques, to learn from the masters, and to experiment on her own. As time went on, her technique evolved and sharpened and her paintings revealed a blending of nature and art and philosophy. Now she brings her own unique vision to the classic subjects of a traditional art form. Many of her paintings are of the familiar models of oriental art: birds, flowers, trees, boats, waterfalls. She has brought her own unique vision to these simple images. Her paintings are a fusion of an ancient oriental art form with a modern Western sensibility.

Poughkeepsie Branch Shows the Movie Shame at Vassar Film Theater

The Poughkeepsie Branch of AAUW showed the film Shame at the Vassar College’s film theater. The editor of the film is Niharika Desai, daughter of member Geeta Desai. The film was directed by Mohammed Naqvi.

Shame is the inspiring story of a real-life heroine of our time. The documentary relates the story of Mukhtaran Mai, a Pakistani village woman who, in 2002, was publicly gang raped to atone for a crime her brother allegedly committed. This uneducated woman raised an outcry that became an international cause with wide-reaching consequences. A powerful village tribe learns that Mukhtaran’s 12 year old brother is having an affair with one of its girls. He is accused of rape, beaten up and raped himself. His sister’s honor is demanded as reparation. The 30 year old Mukhtaran is handed over by her father and uncle to the tribe, who abuse her as the whole village watches. Instead of committing suicide, as she is expected to do, the young veiled woman insists on reporting her rape to the police many miles away. Eventually her tormentors are arrested and put on trial. Defying all expectation, Mukhtaran opens the first schools for children in her village and enrolls herself. Pakistani officialdom gets cold feet when she is invited to conferences abroad.

Over 200 members of AAUW, the community and Vassar faculty and students attended the film showing.

AAUW Districts Hold Fall Conferences

The first two fall district conferences were held on Saturday, October 13.

District I met at Chautauqua Institution at the Hultquist Center. The topic for the meeting was “Vote 18” and “Navigating the AAUW Website.”

District V meeting was held at the AAUW NYC branch house. Nancy Mion talked about Women in Government and Peggy Kelland gave a Conflict Resolution workshop. Gail Nordmoe, AAUW Executive Vice President/Secretary encouraged us to be joyful and calm.

District IV met at the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa in Saratoga Springs last Saturday, October 20. May Safar from the Schenectady Branch spoke about the plight of Iraqi Women, Betsy Forkas talked about Women to Women and Voter Turnout, and Peggy Kelland presented a workshop on Women as Peacemakers.

District VI met at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue on October 20. The topic for the meeting was “What Every Woman Wants – Equity, Beyond the Pay Gap.”

Catherine Moore will speak on “Continuing the International Connection” at the District II meeting on October 27. Mildred DeWitt, Marilynn Smiley and Helen Engel will help District III celebrate the 25th anniversary of LAF at the Statler Hotel on the Cornell campus on the same day.

The last fall conference will be held on November 10 at Saranac Lake. Betsy Forkas and Lisa Maatz, the Association’s Public Policy Director , will speak on “What’s At Stake for Women in 2008?” and Eileen Hartmann will do a membership workshop.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Are the Important Ingredient

Last night our branch of the American Association of University Women held a Candidates Forum. It was unusual in that we asked candidates for our local county legislature to send us answers to six questions we asked relating to women’s economic security. The questions were related to local child care, pay equity and women’s educational issues. We felt that by not having to appear we would be able to present the thoughts from all the candidates from a Legislative District. The responses from all parties were supportive of meeting these needs.

Interestingly though, only half the candidates responded. Several came to give their answers in person. The candidates were contacted by people living in their Districts. Why did some answer and others not? We determined that the major factor was personal contact. One Legislator running for reelection indicated that establishing relationships with his constituents was important to him.

Your legislators are elected by you. They hold office because you vote for them. They want to be reelected themselves or to have their party’s candidates elected. They need to know what you think. Anyone can call at their offices or make an appointment to talk with them. How can they know what you want if you don’t tell them? You visit the doctor, the repair shop, etc. to live a better life. Why not add those you elect to the list. Their decisions affect you life too. You are the important ingredient in making the government reflect your beliefs. Vote and let your voice be heard in legislators’ offices the rest of the year.

Nancy Mion

Sunday, October 14, 2007


For the last four years our New York City and Westchester branch members have worked at creating a successful mission based project for girls, Expanding Your Horizons™. After much discussion by the planning board it was unanimously decided to change the name to be more in line with what we offer our young 7th grade girls. We are now
Our program focus will continue to provide opportunities for 7th grade girls to interact in workshops and with professional women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Our conference this year will be on
Saturday, March 15, 2008 from 8:30-3:00 at Barnard College
For more information contact Lorrin Johnson at 212 854-2437 or OR

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New video!

View an inspiring video about AAUW that serves as a powerful reminder of why the organization is still necessary in today's world.
Members of diverse ages and backgrounds share why they felt compelled to join AAUW and why they feel other women should join. The video is six minutes long.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fair Play in the Workplace

I have been loosely following the Isiah Thomas trial and was very curious to see what the outcome would be.

While the case is not finalized yet (and the inevitable appeals haven't even begun) the jury has ruled that Thomas , the Knicks Coach harassed a former team executive and that Madison Square Garden fired her in retaliation for complaining.

What I found interesting about this case was the arena, if you'll pardon the pun, in which the harassment occurred - Madison Square Gardens and male professional sports.

Having worked in finance for a number of years I recognize that in certain fields there is a certain amount of harassment that most women just simply deal with as "a cost of doing business." Typically these are industries that remain sacred ground of sorts of and for men. Professional sports, the vast majority of which are male, would fall under this heading.

When a women steps up and cries foul - and a jury agrees with her - it makes me feel like the game isn't over yet.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

AAUW open houses

The New York City area (District V) has many branches. Now is the time for them to recruit new members by having Open Houses. In addition, open house lets new and old members know about the programs that are planned for the year. I went to my first open house last week at the near by Rockland Branch . President Joyce Brown had a list of great mission based activities and interest groups. During the meeting members got a chance to design ways to make these activities work.

Then this week I went to the new Manhattan Branch Open House. It was a small group but ready to take on the mission of AAUW. President Lisa Wilson along with the newly installed officers explained the their plans to have activities during the year. State President, Diane Haney gave the group a background of the history of AAUW and the types of programing that has been successful. The members are already beginning to raise funds for EF and LAF . They are off to a great start.

On Sunday, October 7, 2007 the New York City Branch will have their Open House. President, Maria Ellis along were her communication committee have invited not only all members but local MAL. There will be 8 tables with Committee Chairs and literature about their programming for this year. All are welcomed to the program at the Branch house -
111 East 37th Street. from 2-5. Hope to see you there.

As University and College director for the State I am on a mission to get more member colleges through these branches.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


When a woman's value is not respected she is being mistreated. When a woman works at the same job as a man and is paid only three- quarters of what a man is paid, that is abuse. When she works at a job that is comparable to the job a man is doing and is paid one quarter less than a man that is abuse.

Women deserve respect the same as men. What is respectfully about receiving less money for their labors? When a woman buys a car she is not given a 25% discount. She is economically abused in that she has to pay 25% more of her salary to buy the car than a man.

Women work hard at their jobs. It is abusive for employers to pay them less than men. They do this because they can get away with it. What recourse do women have? They need jobs to provide the necessities of life.

What can be done to stop this economic abuse? Contact your legislators and ask that they pass state and federal fair pay bills. AAUW believes in economic equity. AAUW’s national website has facts, figures and reports on Equal Pay. Also there are prewritten letters that you can adapt, to send to your Congress people at a click of a button. Try our state website for resources too.

This Bloggers Against Abuse Campaign has brought us together in voicing our care about those who need to be treated with the respect they deserve. The outpouring of fellow bloggers shows the humanity in us all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Our Future Scientists?

This was just received from the Association:

Worldwide Comparison of Higher Education Released
On Tuesday, September 18, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released “Education at a Glance 2007,” their annual report of data and analysis of education systems in their 30 member countries. According to Inside Higher Ed, the report shows that the competitiveness of American higher education continues to decline compared to other countries. One startling statistic in the report shows that the proportions of employed 25 to 34-year-olds in the U.S. who have a science degree significantly lag the OECD averages. The article quotes John Douglass, senior research fellow in public policy and higher education at the University of California at Berkley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education as saying, “The latest OECD published data shows a continued trend of stagnation in higher education access and graduation rates in the U.S. among younger students, and a relative decline in our standing when compared to other developed economies. It’s a trajectory that could prove a real drag on the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness. Among younger students, the U.S. is now a little bit better than mediocre in getting students into colleges and universities, and pretty lousy at getting those who enroll to actually get a degree.”

Since its founding in 1881, AAUW has been committed to making the dream of a higher education a reality for women. Read more about AAUW’s commitment to and recommendations for the Higher Education Act, the cornerstone of the federal government’s commitment to post-secondary education. AAUW also supports promoting and strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, especially for girls and other underrepresented populations. For more information on AAUW’s stance on girls’ and women’s education in STEM fields, please read AAUW’s legislative agenda for the 110th Congress and watch for an upcoming release of AAUW’s new STEM position paper.

From Diane: AAUW has always supported education and long sponsored programs to encourage girls to consider careers in the STEM (science, technolgy, engineering and math) areas. Our work is just important as ever.

By joining AAUW you become elegible to receive (or just visit the web-site and read) the Washington Update which contains information on this and many other issues of importance to women. For more information contact or

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pay Equity legislation--urgent

I just received this communication from Lisa Maatz,the American Association of University Women staff person who guides us on public policy :

A critical bill is pending in the Senate, and we need your help to make a strong statement about AAUW's support for the Fair Pay Restoration Act (S. 1843). Thanks to the efforts of AAUW members around the country, the House has already passed its version of the Ledbetter bill, and it is now pending in the Senate. This bill would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which severely weakens legal remedies for workers who have faced pay discrimination. The plaintiff in this case, Lilly Ledbetter, one of very few women supervisors at an Alabama Goodyear plant, suffered decades of pay discrimination and sexual harassment. While a jury found in her favor, the U.S. Supreme Court took her compensation away, holding that she waited too long to file her case. Under this newly-created Ledbetter rule, victims of discrimination have no recourse against such treatment unless they file a charge within 180 days of the employer’s discriminatory decision, even if they are unaware that pay discrimination is occurring, even when the discrimination continues into the present.
The Fair Pay Restoration Act would overturn this damaging decision and reinstate the "paycheck accrual rule," which allows that each discriminatory paycheck triggers a new claim filing period. Passing this bill is essential to ensure that those facing pay discrimination can effectively protect their rights.

New York State AAUW will support this. It would be a really good time for everyone to contact their senator whether or not you are a member of AAUW. You can contact your senator directly or go through the AAUW Two Minute Activist at

Lisa is also a terrific speaker and will be at the District 6 conference on Long Island, Oct. 20. For more information contact me.

Diane Haney

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day - What can it mean?

Labor Day weekend. I used to think it was a holiday weekend - and I think it's truly supposed to be just that, to honor our laborers throughout history. But I think it has come to mostly be "just" a three day weekend - to get ready for school, take a last break before winter, etc. But at our house we have labored.
We have a greenhouse - not the new, no-maintenance-vinyl/fiberglass type thing you can build now, but an old-fashioned wood-and-metal frame room attached to the original house dating back to 1920 - converted into a sunroom sometime during the past century. "Charming", you may say, but "maintenance!!!!!!" the practical will proclaim. And it's that five-year time for practical to win. It has to be maintained - scraped, sanded, washed, primed, painted inside and out.
Now, there are choices. We could just ignore it (but it will only get worse), we could move (it doesn't go away - just becomes someone else's problem), we could pay someone to do it (but would they do it right?), or we can do it ourselves, which we are doing. In our mid-sixties (both of us), we probably shouldn't be doing this kind of work, but it's our choice this year.
It's sort of like the AAUW mission - equity for women and girls - we know it IS still an issue. I could ignore it - but it would only get worse. Or I could pretend it's not a problem (but it IS), or I could assume that someone else will take care of it (but will they do it, or do it right?). OR - I can decide that since it's my problem it's my responsibility. As part of this wonderful organization, that's my choice.
Those of us in AAUW have decided that this battle needs to continue until true equity for women and girls is achieved - and we have decided that this is OUR battle. I urge any of you who feel the same way to seek out your local AAUW branch (or, if there is none nearby, to become an individual member) and join us in this mission! Check the Association branch locator ( to see your options.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Public Policy for All Ages

I was in Rockville, MD last week with my family. My husband was down on business and I took the opportunity to take the kids to DC.

As we toured the usual tourist stops around the city we happened to see two young men, congressional aides probably, standing out on the terrace of the Russell house office building, one of the three used by U.S. Representatives. My 6 year old son really wanted to go into the building and stand where those men were standing.

Wanting to get my kids excited about democracy and teach my kids about how our government works I, of course, agreed. So in we went. We went up the stairs and wandered about a bit. I pointed out the posters outside many of the offices, highlighting the legislation that Representative was involved in.

Outside one office there was a poster referencing the national debt. My son became very excited and wanted to go in immediately to ask about it. While I was quite impressed with his enthusiasm, I was puzzled at the same time. When I asked him what he wanted to know, he said he wanted to see if we could go out onto the "National Deck."

Activism is often like that. We assume others know what we are talking about and what our issues are, but sometimes we need a reality check.

And sometimes we just need to walk into our legislators offices, or send them an email or make a phone call and let them know what's on our mind.

That is why these building remain open to the public. So we have access to our legislators who, after all, work for us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Buffalo to hear Lilly Ledbetter!

Presumably everyone is now aware of the (in my opinion, also expressed by dissenter Ruth Bader Ginsberg) misguided ruling of the US Supreme Court in the Ledbetter vs Goodyear case regarding ongoing pay inequity. Congress has responded, with the US House of Representatives having passed what is being billed as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Buffalo Branch is delighted to announce that Ms Ledbetter will be speaking at the first branch meeting of the 2007-08 year, the annual prospective member/new member potluck supper.

Prospective members are invited to attend the meeting on Monday, September 10 at 5:30 in Buffalo - watch for further details. There is no cost for non-members to attend, however, reservations are required. Reserve your place today by emailing: or calling 716-559-3037 (choose option 3).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Virginia Gildersleeve

The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund is a charitable and educational fund which supports projects worldwide, focusing on women's educational activities, leadership training, community development, and the advancement of understanding and cooperation among women. It was founded in 1969 by eleven members of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) to assist women college graduates in identifying and implementing solutions to a variety of problems confronting their nations. Grants for small amounts of money are awarded to aid educational and community development projects affecting the condition of women and girls.Today, most of the projects funded are to women in low per capita income countries. In 1997, VGIF achieved NGO status at the United Nations.

The fund was named in honor of Virginia Gildersleeve, a noted leader in women's education and Dean of Barnard College. Gildersleeve was a co-founder and twice president of the International Federation of University Women. She was the only woman appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the U.S. Delegation which established the United Nations, and the first woman in the United States to sign a United States treaty.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why do I care?

My older grandson turns eight this week. My younger grandson is five. No granddaughters, and unfortunately there won't be any. So why do I still care about equity for women and girls? Because my grandsons will always live in a world with women, and I want a fair playing field for all of them. I envision a world where men and women can both live and grow freely, where a person is paid for the quality of his/her work and not more or less because of her/his gender, where women are not treated as second-class citizens. My grandsons are being raised to be normal, equal-opportunity people - I hope that by the time they're adults that will be the standard.

AAUW is working towards this mission - "equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research". By working in AAUW I help support this goal. I am not an outspoken person; I don't like to give speeches, etc. My AAUW work is "background" stuff - but it needs to be done. There's a place in AAUW for everyone who believes in this same mission.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Getting Along?

Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and often mentioned when we talk about communities, is the guru of "social capital" which basically refers to all the ways that people form relationships in their community or not. Communities with high social capital seem to also have better economies, more education, less crime and so on.

Recently the NYT had an article on his recent research which to his surprise showed that more ethnically diverse neighborhoods had more isolation and less trust than more homogeneous ones. In other words they had less social capital Not only did the residents not trust those of other groups, they did not trust members of their own group either. For those of us believing in diversity this is perplexing news.

What does it mean? Obviously no one knows, and lots of people have opinions. Maybe it just means that diversity is harder than we thought. The best way to convince yourself that not all Muslims are terrorists is to meet Muslims who are good citizens and neighbors. Of course, that goes for any other group. But it apparently is not going to just happen. We are going to have to work at it. And it won't always be comfortable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


One of the amazing convention speakers was Renee Poussaint who with Camille Cosby founded the National Visionary Leadership Project (at which interviews prominent African American leaders. Absolutely fascinating web-site both for the content and how it is done. Learning that today's students are not interested in the written word, she developed a means of linking older community members with youth. Interviews can be brought up and viewed in 45 second units, transcripts read, or research links explored. In addition Ms. P. is a speaker worth studying in her own right--a really brilliant speakers.

Friday, July 06, 2007

One Shared World

Thanks to global trade, travel, and communication, our national borders are melting away. The coffee we drink, the shoes we wear, the customer service line we call - all link us to people throughout the world. Global poverty links us, too. What happens abroad affects our health, our jobs, our environment, our security, our way of life. AAUW members, with their deeply held values of generosity, social justice, and activism, have the power to make a difference.

AAUW is one of only four national women's organizations selected as a "Connecting Working Women to International Development" grantee of One Shared World, a new national campaign funded by the United States Agency for International Development to help raise awareness of America's global development assistance efforts. One Shared World seeks to engage American working women in thinking about and supporting the many public and private efforts that help people in developing countries live better, healthier, and more productive lives.
I just returned from Phoenix - where the heat is a "dry heat" - and the American Association of University Women national convention. It was a great four days, filled with information on mission-based programming and big decisions on the future of the organization.

For me, AAUW conventions, both NYS and Association (this was my second Association convention), tend to be both energizing and moving. This past weekend in Phoenix was no different.

I attended a workshop on the status of Title IX, the law that ensures equity in educational opportunities for girls. The law has done a world of good in helping girls achieve in sports (for which the law is perhaps best know) as well as in areas in which girls are typically underrepresented. Lisa Maatz, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, led the workshop and was a dynamic speaker. There seems to be a strong inclination on the part of the current administration to erode much of Title IX. Maatz however was clear about the work AAUW members and other like-minded organizations and individuals must do to protect this important law.

I was also able to hear members from Alabama discuss ways to engage young women through a Student Advisory Panel. The young women gain invaluable leadership skills while still in college. AAUW gains critical insight into the next generation of members and leaders. This workshop left me jazzed to work with NYS branches in implementing similar efforts here.

The highlight of my convention experience however was bringing my daughter (eight years old) to hear Dr. Mae Jemison. Dr. Jemison received the 2007 AAUW Achievement Award, AAUW's highest honor. She was dynamic, funny and inspiring. And hearing the woman who inspired much of the work we do with the Expanding Your Horizons(tm) was a real treat.

As always, after a weekend with AAUW women, I came home with renewed determination and passion for the work we do. Knowing that you are in the company of dedicated, terrific women will do that for you.

If you aren't already a member, check out your local branch and see how you might reap the rewards of membership. (Click here for a map of NYS branches. If you're not in NYS, click here.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alrusa International and AAUW

Our AAUW NYC and Weschester Expanding Your Horizon(TM) Conference has many supporters. One of our main supporters through the years has been the local New York branch of ALTRUSA INTERNATIONAL. This year Altrusa is having it's fundraiser and it might be of interest to those of you who like the Races. It will be held on June 23 at Belmont Raceway. Anyone interested can contact
Remember that like AAUW, Altrusa supports our EYH program because it is helping young women remain interested in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New York City AAUW

New York City AAUW has just updated its website . Take a look at it!!! This award winning branch is very active. The anti-trafficking group is still celebrating the recent signing of Govenors Spitzer strong new anti trafficking law. At the annual meeting new board members were inducted and President Maria Ellis is appointing people to head committees. The first activity of the new 2007-2008 year will be a barbecue at the branch house, 111 East 37th Street. This event is an opportunity to meet members of the branch in a relaxed setting. The Program VP's are starting to plan events for the upcoming year. You can be member of this branch. To find out more about this branch and it's activities you can call us at 212 684-6068.

Join AAUW Now!!!!

This is the time of year when all AAUW branches are renewing and recruiting members. AAUW is open to all graduates who hold an associates degree or equivalent, or a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited college or university. AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership with no barriers to full participation on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or class. You can find a branch near you by going to our New York State website Each of the branches is unique in their programming as they work at the mission of equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. Full membership will include Association, State and local dues. Women who join now still have time to go to the National AAUW convention in Phoenix, Arizona, June 29-July 2. New York State has a leadership conference this summer at Delta Lake, New York -July 13-15.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Give Mom the Gift of Financial Security A Poll Shows Nearly One-Half of U.S. Adults Don't Know Mom's Financial Situation
While repaying mom for all she’s done in years past may be an impossible task, asking her a few simple questions right now may make a difference when it comes to her financial future. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation's telephone survey of U.S. adults found that 40 percent knew very little or nothing about mom’s financial situation. In addition, the poll found that while most adults whose moms have retired realize that Social Security is her primary source of income, those whose mothers have not yet retired don't fully appreciate the importance of Social Security for their mothers or for themselves.

Is your mom over 65? Did you know that your mom will live alone for much of her retired life because your dad was older than she and women live three years longer than men? Did you know that because your mom was a mom and caregiver she had a shorter work life and because women are paid 23% less than men she did not have the opportunity to earn as much as a man. This means her Social Security will be less and she will not have been able to have saved as much in IRA's as she will need to live, for women need to save at least 12% of their income vs men's 10%. Did you know that only 6% of older women receive help from their families?

What can you do ? Be sure Social Security as we know it with its benefits will stay in place. (It can continue just the way it is for the next 33 years) Work to increase women's wages, urging passage of the NYS Fair Pay Bill will help. Finally, develop a financial plan that will provide for income after retirement. Love your mom and help her prepare for her future now. If you would like more information about this AAUW study go to their website

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nancy Mion asks us to repond to this request. Regulars will remember that adequate and fair school funding is a main concern of the American Association of University Women. Sound policy also requires accounatbility.


To find the email address if your state senator, go to and click on the senators button on the left side of the page.

If we work together we can make education work in NY.

Diane Haney

Jane Roberts, 34 million Friends of UN

The American Association of University Women, NYC branch, 111 East 37th St. (btw. Park & Lexington Aves) invites you to a wine and cheese event on Friday, May 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. to meet JANE ROBERTS, co-founder, 34 Million friends of UN Population Fund. Jane is one of the amazing women who began a grass roots project to ask 34 million Americans to donate at least $1 to UNFPA, when the United States cut off its funding of $34 million dollars to the agency in 2002. to date they have raised $3,519,677.
UNFPA works worldwide to eliminate gender-based violence including female genital cutting and rape used as weapons of war. For more information For information and other programming at the AAUW New York City branch contact Joan Jacobson, Public Policy chair 212 725-9590

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


What an exciting morning. In recognition of Equal Pay Day we, members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), went to local RR stations. We talked to .commuters about the fact that women earn 77% of what men do. They must work until April to earn as much as a man did last year. We encouraged people to sign petitions asking our Governor, Speaker of the State Assembly and the Senate Majority Leader to pass the NYS Fair Pay Act. Commuters signed, laughed, supported our efforts and took the brochures and Pay Day® bars. Information about the new AAUW Research “Behind the Pay Gap” which proved that women are receiving less pay because of sex discrimination was given. See preceding AAUWNY Blog for details.

These are comments from AAUW members who were involved:

“It was a lovely experience. People were patient and cooperative. As soon as I mentioned the words "gender equity" three gals I was talking to told me to say no more, just pass them the clipboard (with petition)! One woman told me we were doing a good thing.”

"Just returned from the RR Station--------------very good experience. Most commuters were very receptive and were aware of Equal Pay Day through the media coverage. Gave out all the literature and bars."

We should all be paid equally when we do the same job regardless of gender.

Equal Pay Day

I just got the kids off on the bus. I have two - a daughter, almost 8 and a son who just turned 6. Why do I mention this? Aside from the shameless bragging, I wonder about their futures as all parents do. They are both extremely bright. They are both very curious, as most kids are. They both enjoy school.

But my daughter is likely to earn less than my son earns. Over her lifetime, her earnings will trail his by over half a million dollars. It will, statistically speaking, take her until April 24 - Equal Pay Day - to earn the same amount her brother earns by the previous December 31.

In the new report, Behind the Pay Gap, the AAUW Educational Foundation found that just one year after college graduation, women earn only 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall further behind, earning only 69 percent of what men earn. Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the research indicates that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained and is likely due to sex discrimination. Over time, the unexplained portion of the pay gap grows.

Being a bottom-line thinker, I think about what that means for my daughter and my family. Well for starters, she will be less able to pay off the inevitable student loans which may necessitate additional support for her after college.

Wage discrimination goes beyond the first few years after college however, and indeed actually grows. Her total lifetime earnings will be lower - by over a half million dollars, on average - lowering her Social Security and pension benefits as well as her ability to save for retirement.

I'm not just a bottom-line thinker, though. I'm also an activist and a member of American Association of University Women. This gives me additional means to fight to end this discrimination, for myself and my family and for my daughter and her future.

I can read the full Behind the Pay Gap Report.

I can (and you can too) use the two-minute activist to write to legislators on various issues effecting women's economic security.

I can (and will) attend the AAUW NYS Convention in Saratoga Springs to network with other women and hear from Evelyn F. Murphy, author of Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men and What To Do About It and leader of The WAGE Project.

I can start a WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Club. There are resources to show me how.

I can see where my state ranks for women's pay equity.

I can make use of AAUW's Pay Equity Toolkit to find more ways to work towards equal pay.

I have a voice to fight pay disparity. I will use it. Not only for me. But for my daughter - and my son, as he will likely grow and one day have a wife of his own, who will make these issues his issues as well.

How will you use your voice?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NYIT seminar on human trafficking

April 17, North Shore Branch held a terrific program on trafficking and Hezbollah with Professor Edward Maggio who spoke on issues of human trafficking.

Regarding trafficking (one of our state issues) he noted the surprisingly large numbers involved and our responsibility to be aware of where our inexpensive clothes are made and to avoid companies using slave labor. Companies have responded to citizen pressure.

It was also noted at the meeting that the bills currently in the NYS legislature have problems. More on that when we get more information.

Many thanks to Marcia Singer of NYIT and Joyce Beucher and Barbara Kaim, c0-presidents of North Shore for arranging a super program.

Diane Haney

Helping Girls with STEM interests--program idea

I received this from Carolyn Hayek. It has some excellant ideas for programing. Note the $1000 mini-grants.
Diane Haney

For those interested in getting involved with the National GirlsCollaborative Project, I prepared some ideas below. Maybe some of thisinformation would work for some of the blogs and other listservs you arepart of.Carolyn HayekAAUW Liaison for Mountain Pacific RegionNational Girls Collaborative ProjectNational Girls Collaborative ProjectAdvancing the Agenda in Gender EquityFor Science, Technology, Engineering and MathematicsThe AAUW Educational Foundation, in partnership with the Puget Sound Centerfor Teaching, Learning and Technology (based in Bothell, Washington), hasreceived a substantial grant from the National Science Foundation to supportthe expansion of the National Girls Collaborative Project from a regionalorganization to a national support and financing network for projects whichencourage K-12 girls to study STEM subjects and to consider STEM careers.Individual AAUW members are encouraged to get involved in a variety of ways:1. Read about AAUW's role in this project in the most recent issue ofOutlook magazine and review the information about NGCP on the AAUW Search the on-line program directory to see what programs are listed inyour area. If you or your branch are involved in programs which encouragegirls in STEM fields and the project is not listed, encourage the leader ofthe project to add it to the list and, at the same time, sign up to gete-mail news of NGCP activities. Projects to be listed include careerconferences, such as Expanding Your Horizons, and scholarship and studentrecognition programs, if they target or recognize girls in STEM fields.(Science, technology, engineering and math.)3. Use the information you find in the program directory and other areas ofthe website as a resource for possible branch programs or to find possiblepartners for community projects.4. Spread the news about this project to other members of your branch andcommunity. This project periodically holds conferences, throughout thecountry and through webcasting, that AAUW members are welcome to participatein.5. Plan a future branch project, along with a community partner, and applyfor one of the $1000 mini-grants that will be available in many parts of thecountry, starting in the fall of 2007. Watch the website for more details.6. Explore the Resources page of the National Girls Collaborative Review past issuesof the newsletter for news of upcoming events and consider adding yourselfto the listserv to obtain future editions.7. Watch the NGCP video from the Share it with yourbranch.8. Recruit AAUW members and others interested in encouraging girls to pursueSTEM for leadership positions in this project. Each NGCP region has aChampions Board of community and business leaders as well as a steeringcommittee which works together to present local conferences and forums. Ifyou know of someone who might like to participate, share that informationwith your AAUW regional liaison. (See the list of names in the Outlookarticle and on the AAUW website.)9. Get involved and share your ideas. The National Girls CollaborativeProject and AAUW's role in this project are still evolving. There is roomfor the ideas and participation of anyone who supports the goal of improvinggender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics bysupporting programs which encourage girls to pursue those subject. It wouldbe wonderful for every branch to be part of the NGCP listserv, for everybranch to have a project listed in the program directory, for every branchto make sure at least one local community project is also listed, and forevery branch to have at least one member participating either in a localNGCP event or in a webcast.10. Come to Phoenix. AAUW members involved in the NGCP will be presenting aworkshop at our national convention in June and also hosting a networkingsession on June 30 during the time slot for special interest group meetings.We are looking forward to having many members participate.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Join with American Association of University Women (AAUW) branch members on Tuesday April 24, 2007 as we continue to raise awareness to the fact that a woman earns only 77% of what a man does in a year. We know the cost of goods and services is the same for everyone.

A woman must work until April 2007 to make as much money as a man did in 2006. In her lifetime a female college graduate will earn (in 2006 dollars) $526,000 less then a male counterpart unless we end this cycle. AAUW’s Mission is ti advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and researdh.

We are planning to distribute materials relating to pay equity, including PayDay candy bars at commuter stations during the morning rush hour, at local colleges and a visit to legislators offices. Our purpose is to alert voters to this inequity and to request them to ask their legislators to vote for the NYS Fair Pay Bill A2712/S3936.

You are needed to spread this vital information. Are you, your daughters and granddaughters worth less then the men in your life? The NYS Pay Equity Coalition and Women on the Job are working together with AAUW on this project.

Give an hour on a Spring Day to make a difference. For information, petition and other materials contact me at Make this brief commitment to pay equity.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oswego Branch Presenting its 2007 "GEMS" Awards

This year the Oswego branch of the American Association of University Women is again presenting its "GEMS - Girls Excelling in Math and Science" awards to eighth grade girls in the Oswego, Fulton and Red Creek School Districts. The "GEMS" program, established in 2000, recognizes eighth grade girls who have achieved an average of 90% or above in both math and science. The intent is to encourage girls to continue with math and science in high school and consider it in determining a career choice.

The program was initiated after an AAUW Educational Foundation funded study, "Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America" revealed that girls in elementary school show aptitude and interest in math and science, but tend to fall behind in these areas in middle school. The Oswego branch wanted girls to continue to both value and excel in math and science.

AAUW: 125 Years of Working for Equity

“125 Years of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a Legacy of Leadership in Words and Music” was presented by eight members of the AAUW Islip Area Branch. We wrote the scrip using the book “Degrees of Equality” and the AAUW online museum

Our program started with the founding of AAUW in 1881 by a group of college educated women who wanted to make a difference in there lives and those of other women. Women at that time were supposed to stay home and tend the family. Song Bird in a Gilded Cage was sung. AAUW encouraged women to seek higher education Song Cornell Alma Mater sung. The first AAUW Research project was to disprove the commonly held notion that education endangered a woman’s health and ability to bear children. This assumption was proved false.

AAUW’s history was divided into twenty year segments which were presented using the same format of interspersing facts and appropriate songs. A few highlights were AAUW’s involvement in unequal pay for women working for the government during World War I. Women from across the nation were brought together by the use of the telephone. Now it is the computer.

In the thirties the Associations emphasis on Equity Education and its reputation for quality research and moderate leadership gave AAUW a quirt stature in an era of social crisis. During the McCarthy era AAUW warned of the danger of losing liberties by the same means adopted to defend them. In 1958 our Education Foundation was established to administer AAUW scholarship and grant program. Now over $3 million annually

Starting in the seventies AAUW spoke out firmly and clearly to promote equal rights, to end inequities based on gender, to develop affirmative action polices on campuses and to encourage women to increase their professional training. Now over 50% of college students are women. In 1981 the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund was started to provide support for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination. To date over $1 million has been given to litigants. In 1991 AAUW introduced its Initiative for Educational Equity with the publication of Short Changing Girls, Short Changing America. This study showed how girl students were not being treated equally with boy students. When the impact of this study and subsequent ones were absorbed into the educational system, the sky was the limit for girls.

In 1995 one of our presenters attended the Woman’s Conference in Beijing attended by 189 nations. The topic was how these countries were going to advance women’s rights. In 2002 AAUW hosted its first National Conference of College Women Student Le3aders. AAUW has worked to protect Title XI and Social Security. In 2005 we opened our membership to all with a two year or equivalent degree or higher. Today AAUW’s theme is Education is the Gateway to Women’s Economic Security. Our most recent study “What’s Behind the Gap” will be released on Equal Pay Day, April 24. The time when a woman finally makes as much money as a man did last year. We ended our presentation with I am Woman. Indeed we are an organization with a Legacy of Leadership in advocacy, education and research to obtain equity for women and girls.

Monday, March 26, 2007

AAUW Honored at Women's History Month Celebration

The Town of Islip, NY at its Women’s History Month Celebration tonight, honored the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for its 125 year commitment to equity for women. The Proclamation acknowledged AAUW’s service to the community and included our Mission statement “AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research".

The AAUW Islip Area Branch President was also honored for her years of service as an educator, her AAUW commitment and her many outstanding contributions to the community. In her acceptance talk she mentioned that we will be acknowledging Equal Pay Day, April 24. by distributing Pay Day candy bars at railroad stations, colleges, and legislator’s offices. A woman must work until April this year to earn as much as a man did last year for a woman earns 76% of what a man does..

AAUW is an organization with a sterling past, a meaningful present and a brilliant future.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


On Wednesday, the 8th Annual Blueprint for Gender Equity in Education Conference titled Confidence and Competence-Becoming Your Best Self was held at SUNY Stony Brook. This conference is sponsored by the Long Island Fund for Women and Girls, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), SUNY Stony Brook and others. It was attended by 250 middle and high school girls and adults.

The day began with an Interactive Panel Discussion”Been There Wish I’d Known That…Strategies for Becoming Your Best You”. The panelists were independent young women (18-22) who were developing their careers. One was a union carpenter. They all wanted eventually own their own businesses.

There were nine adult workshops. The two for students were “10 Things Every HS Student Should Know About Life After High School” was hilarious and effective in showing a glimpse of what can or could be. “What Does Leadership Look Like?” was presented by girls from the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. It was interactive and presented a compelling picture.

The Keynote presentation at lunchtime was “Packaging Girlhood-Don’t Buy It” was a frightening presentation with visuals of how sex is being marketed to 5 year olds and up. Passive images of girls were shown. Even Dora the Explorer is in reruns and now has a line of mini kitchen and home products, as well as, Princess wear. This Princess concept, complete with makeup and lotions, is not the way we thought advertizers would be reaching little girls. Thiis is happening to American Girls products too.

The Conference was well received by all who attended. I was pleased to have been on the committee for all these eight years representing AAUW. This conference reinforced AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

AAUW NY Honors Educator and Scholar

The President of St. Joseph’s College, NY received The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Long Island Interbranch’s Woman of Achievement Award at their annual Luncheon today. One hundred and thirty women heard her speak of the challenges facing education today Student’s need to stay in school. She noted that at St. Joseph’s College 75% of the students were female. Sadly, she indicated that the cost of a year in jail is higher than the cost of a year in college.

It was rewarding for us to hear what it meant to receive an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation Fellowship from the young woman who received it. Her dissertation was about the relationship between black women and their daughters. Knowing that AAUW had acknowledged her research and writing ability inspired her. The funds kept her going. All three of these factors and more helped her secure a position at New York University.

The AAUW NYS President spoke of AAUW’s contributions to educational research and the significance of the well researched “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America” on the education of today’s girls, Equal Pay Day , Campaign for Fiscal Equity, our upcoming NYS Convention and more.

Finally, on this special day we honored outstanding women from our branches for their commitment and dedication to AAUW.

Friday, March 23, 2007


This Sunday we had a Victorian Literary Tea at my house. It was a very successful fundraiser for the American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund. This fund was established to provide funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination. The monies donated are used to help litigants, to acknowledge institutions of higher education and reach out to campuses interested in knowing what rights they have.

At our Victorian Literary Tea those who wish dressed in fancy dresses and a few wore appropriate hats. There was lace and flowers everywhere a fun glimpse at the past.

We started with elderberry flower juice, sparkling apple juice and apricot brandy for mixing if desired, brie and artichoke. With pineapple/strawberry and blueberry teas we had homemade scones with clotted cream and homemade jams; both salmon and bacon quiches; rainbow sandwiches (my grandmother’s recipe); turkey/havarti and crabmeat sandwiches and a six fruit platter. This was followed by strawberry pie, cannole cake, chocolate pecan torte, six kinds of cookies and candies served with cherry vanilla and harvest rose teas.

Out “Literary“selections included readings from favorite books, poetry some had written. Also did you know that the first “Bestseller” was written by Mrs. Radcliff in 1795 and was called “The Adventures of Udolpho” and that Victorian critics felt that women writers were sometimes undervalues and capable of excellent works.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


It's Spring, in a few more days, and time for new beginnings. Islip Area's March branch meeting features "Women in Government". Town councilwomen and a Girl Scout Director will address the points of:
How do women get these positions?,
What keeps them there?,
What obstacles do they face?.
Young women in student government from the Bay Shore High School will be guests at this panel discussion.

In April our branch meeting will address the State Project. Through strategic planning, our members will decide on a Public Policy issue which they feel they want to know more about, help plan programming to increase our knowledge and finally use our information to educate the voters through various venues.

Perhaps the most anticipated project is Equal Pay Day, April 24, the day that women must work to in the current year to earn the same amount of money that a man made in the previous year. Women still earn 76% of a man's income for comparable work. Partnering with other community groups and wearing sandwich boards that display "Equal Pay Day" and the marketing posters, we will be distributing Pay Day candy bars along with pay equity and membership information.
Our targeted areas are LIRR stations early in the morning to meet commuters, college campuses, DMV and possible a courthouse. MAL's are invited to participate.

Islip Area is springing into action.

Friday, February 23, 2007

New York State Convention: A Good Mix of Business and Pleasure

The 2007 AAUW New York State Convention, April 27-29, at the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa in Saratoga Springs is shaping up to be a fun event filled with time well-spent.

The keynote speaker at Friday evening's Presidents' Dinner will be Sally Chamberlain, program vice president of the Educational Foundation (EF). She'll be bringing us up-to-date on important changes within the Foundation. EF awards will be presented to outstanding branches, and I know I'm looking forward to the after-dinner entertainment featuring Revisions, a nationally renowned barbershop quartet.

Saturday morning's Awards Breakfast will recognize branches for outstanding work in the areas of: membership development, outreach, visibility, leadership development, technology and communication.

The Public Policy Forum that follows Saturday's business meeting will include Dr. Evelyn Murphy speaking on "Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men and What to Do About It". Workshops after the Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) awards luncheon will cover a wide range of topics including: workplace inequities, conflict resolution, working with community colleges, the gender gap as it relates to Information Age technology, female political candidates, sexual harassment, retirement security, and an in-depth look at the work of the LAF.

Saturday afternoon will find AAUW members exploring Saratoga Springs by following Treasure Hunt clues as part of the Fun Walk for EF. At least one member or team from each branch is encouraged to participate and awards will be presented to those who raise the most funds or who find the most correct answers for the Treasure Hunt.

Highlights of Saturday evening's Educational Foundation Gala will be the installation of officers and the chance to bid on theme baskets created by branches to benefit LAF.

Before you know it, it will be Sunday morning. You'll have just enough time to pack up, eat breakfast, see if you won that LAF basket you had your eye on, and celebrate the good works of branches across the state, before you enjoy one last great meal: the IFUW Bina Roy Luncheon.

Whew! A trio of days filled with non-stop, fun-filled activities -- not to mention good food! Have I convinced you to attend? Did I mention the good food? Great! Send in your registration form now while you're thinking about it. We'll see you there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Ongoing Debate Concerning the New Gender Divide

Did you see the article "The New Gender Divide" which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education? It explored the "boy crisis" and gender ratios on college campuses. It cites data confirming that, according to the U.S. Education Department's most recent statistics, women make up about 58 percent of undergraduates nationwide. The gender divide debate centers around this fact -- that more women than men now enroll in college -- but is there really a "boy crisis"?
This so-called "boy crisis" has been an ongoing issue for AAUW. Many groups and individuals have interpreted the growing number of women on college campuses to be detrimental to men's success, when in reality, more women and men as a whole attend college today. Like the Education Sector wrote in a recent report: girls are doing better, boys aren't doing worse.
Quoted in the Chronicle article was AAUW's own Catherine Hill:
"There is this echo of fear when women are achieving a lot and doing well, but when girls do better, it doesn't mean that boys are necessarily doing worse," says Catherine Hill, director of research for the American Association of University Women. She calls concern over the rising proportion of college women a backlash that masks "a discomfort with women's achievement."
The report Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2006, published last year by the American Council on Education, says women now dominate in almost every measure of college attendance. Data show that in college young women do indeed outperform young men by many measures. College women earn better grades, hold more leadership posts, spend more time studying, and earn more honors and awards. They report being more involved than young men in student clubs and volunteer work.
Food for thought.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Career Day New York City

Black History Month Career Day. The New York City AAUW Branch is having a career day on Saturday, February 24 from 2-6PM. The day will include discussions with women in the fields of technology and website design, nursing, law, social work and many more. There will be a workshop on writing resumes and another on how to interview. The keynote speaker, Dr. Nkechi Agwu is a Professor of Mathematics at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
The program is free and all are invited. The program will be held at the AAUW-NYC Branch House, 111 East 37th Street, (between Lexington Ave and Park Ave), New York, NY. Contact phone Number 212 684 6068

Monday, February 19, 2007

Our Westchester Branch Is Getting Ready to Expand Horizons!

Westchester AAUW branch member Wilma Gitchel has sent me a note about the fourth annual AAUW-Expanding Your Horizons (tm) Conference for Seventh Grade Girls which we co-sponsor with the New York City branch:

On Saturday, March 10, 150 young women, and numerous scientists, parents, educators and volunteers will converge at Barnard College for a fun day of hands-on workshops and networking. This may well be the girls' first experience on a college campus, and their first chance to meet, face-to-face, real-live women who are working in the fields of math, engineering, science and technology. We expect eyes and minds will be opened.

Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Ray Ann DePrisco Havasy, who has been a scientist and an educator for over 15 years. She received her bachelor's degrees from Connecticut College and Davis and Elkins College and her masters and doctorate degrees from Columbia University. Beginning her career as zoologist, Dr. Havasy turned her attention to education when she realized that students enjoyed investigating science. Her educational research focuses on inquiry and informal science education and their connections to student achievement and motivation. Dr. Havasy's community work extends to the development of not-for profit organizations such as a civil legal assistance organization. She works to help other community based organizations design strategies for fund development and programming.

She is President of The Center for Science and Teaching and Learning (CSTL ), dedicated to engaging people in science learning. CSTL hosts science competitions and science camps, conducts professional development for educators, and develops science research programs for students. As a part of her expertise and interest in dinosaurs, she worked with Steven Speilberg in developing the film Jurassic Park. In 1993, she helped create "The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park", one of the most successful traveling exhibitions in the United States. Proceeds from this exhibition fund research worldwide.

Thanks for the information, Wilma. It sounds like it'll be another great conference!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Women and Music

Two weeks ago we missed a Buffalo Philharmonic concert because of the weather. I'm looking forward to going tonight, and especially looking forward to hearing our maestra JoAnn Falletta's pre-concert talk. She is so knowledgeable and a wonderful speaker!
I got to thinking about how AAUW might have played a part in getting us to the point where we could even see a woman conductor. My mother was very involved with music - symphony, church, choral, opera - and would not, I'm sure, have even dreamed of possibly conducting a large orchestra. I did a little research and found an interesting history piece on the Julliard website ( about the history of women as conductors. Who would have guessed that women conductors were common in the early part of the 20th Century? Of course, that was all-women orchestras - created because women were excluded from the major groups at that time. There were a few women who led the all-male groups, but not many. Then came World War II. Orchestras, meet Rosie the Riveter! Men were gone, women had their opportunity to step in and did so with gusto! As we look forward to Women's History Month, I wonder what other herstories we will find this year!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Support Pay Equity!
Join with branch members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 as we continue to raise awareness to the fact that a woman earns only 77% of what a man does in a year. We know the cost of goods and services is the same for everyone.

A woman must work until April 2007 to make as much money as a man did in 2006. In her lifetime a female college graduate will earn (in 2006 dollars) $528,000 less then a male counterpart unless we end this cycle. AAUW’s theme is Education as the Gateway to Women's Economic Security .

On that day we are planning to distribute materials relating to pay equity, including PayDay candy bars at LIRR stations during the morning rush hour; at noontime at a local college and perhaps a business venue; and visits to legislators offices. Our purpose is to alert voters to this inequity and to request them to ask their legislators to vote for the NYS Fair Pay Bill A2712.

You are needed to spread this vital information. Are you, your daughters and granddaughters worth less then the men in your life? The NYS Pay Equity Coalition and Women on the Job are working together with AAUW on this project.

Give an hour on a Spring Day to make a difference. Make this brief commitment to pay equity. I'd be pleased to share information with you

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Enough with the snow!

Although we in Western New York are not getting nearly as much lovely white fluff as the central part of the state, we've had enough for a while! As I write this I realize that I will probably not be able to get out to attend the branch meeting tonight - a presentation of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha at one of the newer Buffalo libraries. I was looking forward to seeing this - I hadn't realized that Joplin had written any operas and the storyline sounds intriguing. Although the hero rescues the heroine at one point (and I'd prefer that heroines take care of themselves), the two together help educate a community which has been for the most part denied such privileges. For 1884, this was pretty progressive thinking!

This is actually the first of two programs celebrating Black History Month. The next is next Wednesday at the same library and will be a live performance - selected performed readings of Pat Conroy’s The Water Is Wide. I look forward to escaping into the city to see that!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


In Gov. Eliot Spitzer's State of the State Message, he pledged to reform the health care system to make health care affordable for each person, family, business, and for government.

He stated " Our agenda is based on a single premise: patients, not institutions, must be at the center of our health care system. That means that every decision, every initiative and every investment we make must be designed to suit the need of patients first. The result will be a high-quality health care system at a price we can all afford."

" What went wrong is that health care decision-making became co-opted by every interest other than the patient's interest. Government abdicated its responsibility to set standards, demand results and hold institutions receiving billions in state tax dollars accountable to the State and to the people those institutions serve."

" Despite leading the nation in health care spending, we are not leading the nation in results:
2.6 million New Yorkers, including 400,000 children, are uninsured.
New York has a higher percent of deaths due to chronic disease than any other state in the
New York's nursing homes rank among the nation's worst in citations for placing their
residents at immediate risk for serious injury or death.
Statewide, one in every twelve of our children is afflicted with asthma. And almost one in four
are obese."

"To meet the challenges, we need a Department of Health that is organized to implement a patient-first agenda. We have already established an Office of Health Insurance Programs to bring together all of our public insurance programs in order to coordinate, streamline and simplify these programs so they reach the maximum number of eligible people. And we will establish an Office of Long Term Care to zero in on efforts to expand options for long term care in the least restrictive, most integrated settings possible. We will continue to take these kinds of steps to remake our Department of Health into the preeminent health agency in the nation."

"I know that change, especially such fundamental change, will not be easy. But its time has come."

"I will do what the people elected me to do and fight for what I believe is right and for the good of all New Yorkers."


Diane Pedevillano, the Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum, was chosen as Woman of the Year by the Poughkeepsie Branch of AAUW.

Diane is completely committed to providing opportunities for all children to reach their full potential and to enhancing the quality of life in her community. She has successfully led a growing team of talented individuals in the museum's steady growth.

The museum offers interactive exhibits and programs which educate over 60,000 annual visitors about the environment, arts, culture, history, health and science. The museum has become an educational resource center, family destination, tourist attraction and catalyst for downtown/waterfront revitalization.

Diane also serves on the board of the Children's Services Council of Dutchess County and the Child Care Council of Dutchess and is a member of the Zero to Three Partnership. She has served as an advisory board member for the Poughkeepsie City Schools Even Start Program.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Promoting Women in Government

Kate Hogan, Warren County (NY) District Attorney, will speak at the February 10, 2007 meeting of the Adirondack Branch AAUW. Kate has worked to establish a grass-roots network called Communities that Care and created a child advocacy center that was fully funded through grants from the state. She has served on the Commission on the Jury and serves a statewide task force on children’s justice issues. Kate will speak about being a woman in politics who also is a wife and mother of three children, and will address some criminal justice issues that often are of great interest to women, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and Megan's law. Plan to join us!

Kate will speak at 11:30 a.m. at the Chinatown Restaurant, 994 Route 9, Queensbury, NY. Lunch will follow at 12:15 pm. For more information, call Mary King, (518) 494-4833.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Combating Health Crises in Africa

Dr. Barbara Weiser, Co-Director of HIV Medicne, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and professor of medicine at Albany Medical College, will lead a discussion of the progress being made in medical research and treatment for HIV and other major health issues confronting developing nations in Africa. The presentation includes personal experiences and images from Kenya and Rwanda where she has lived and worked.
The program, co-sponsored by the Schenectady Branch AAUW and the Niskayuna Central School District Community Education Program, will be presented on Wednesday, April 25, 2007, 6;30 p.m., at the Van Antwerp Middle School Auditorium, 2253 Story Ave., Niskayuna, N.Y. The public is invited to attend.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Education as the Gateway to Women's Economic Security

That is the "theme" for AAUW this year. It's long and has a lot of words, but the meaning is clear. AAUW programs across the state focus on this theme and on our mission: advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research.

AAUW NYC Branch is focusing it's efforts for Black History Month on advocacy through education by holding a panel discussion highlighting a wide variety of careers (2/24/07) and dinner and "teach-ins" (2/23/07). This event is free, but an RSVP is required by Feb. 17th to Chair Dr. Nkechi Agwu, 212 220 1337 or

You need not be a member to attend these events. For more information on the events click here. The branch can be contact directly at 212-684-6068,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Finance--Liz Perle's Book

In her book, Money, a Memoir, Liz Perle notes that a child today is more likely to see her parents go bankrupt than to see them get a divorce. Women tend to avoid dealing with issues that involve money, but unfortunately the problems of avoidance descend on us all eventually. This book, a choice on the AAUW Adelante book list this year, examines Ms. Perle's experiences with the emotional aspects of money and relates it to what is known about the rest of us. You may learn a little more about Ms. Perle's quirks that you really want to know, but the information is solid and, honestly, I skimmed the dry spots. I still loved the book It is not a how-to but a so-what. It should stimulate some excellent discussions in book groups across the state and fits nicely with our concerns about equity. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Black History Celebrated

All too often the important contributions made to our nation and indeed the world by men and women of color get relegated to a historical footnote or are overlooked entirely.

Black history month is a way in which these historical omissions can begin to be corrected. Ideally, by introducing ourselves to previously uncelebrated scholars, inventors, activists and others we can more fully appreciate the diversity around us every day.

For those of you in the Metropolitan New York area on Monday, January 15th, consider stopping by the AAUW New York City Branch house for their Martin Luther King Day program. The event itself will be rich and diverse boasting a silent auction, book readings and discussions and a panel discussion on voting rights and voting discrimination.

Reservations are not required. Monday, 01/15/2007, 2-6pm, AAUW NYC Branch House, 111 East 37th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenue), New York, NY 10016, 212-684-6068/