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 http://www.aauw.org/museum/index.cfm

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

MAXIMIZING GIRLS POTENTIAL

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

AAUWNY FUNDRAISING

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

Spring


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.