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.