Thursday, February 28, 2008

VOTER EDUCATION

AAUW’s Voter Education Campaign encourages women voters to get involved in the political process and shows the impact congressional action has on their lives and the lives of the people they love. You can learn about all these actions at the website www.aauw.org.

Register to vote – and vote!
Do not under estimate THE POWER OF ONE VOTE!
Educate yourself and others. Discover where to find candidate information and how you can help others learn about the issues. Share your accomplishments. How have you influenced the debate?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Moving The Mission Forward

When my 8yo daughter asks me what I do for and with AAUW, I tell her that I work to help women and girls so that they are treated fairly. I use an example she can relate to. I ask her if she does the same chores as her brother, would she think its fair if she gets paid less because she's a girl.

Well you can imagine the indignation an 8 year old girl would display at the mere suggestion. Even her 6 year old brother is outraged.

If 8 and 6 year olds get it, why do our legislators have such difficulty with the concept?

This is one of the topics AAUW members from around the state will be discussing at our convention April 25-27 in Cooperstown, NY.

Lilly Ledbetter will be our keynote speaker on Friday night. Ms. Ledbetter was launched into the national spotlight when she sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for unfair pay. A jury awarded her $223,776 in back pay and $3 million in punitive damages. She never received any money and ultimately the case was thrown out when the Supreme Court ruled that the 180 day filing limit had begun with the first check she received showing her lesser pay. (So apparently our Supreme Court justices don't get it either!)

The House Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would return us to the longstanding rule (before the Supreme Court changed it in May), which treated each and every discriminatory paycheck as a new discrimination, thus re-starting the 180-day clock.

We will also be hearing from Clair Schuster, a tenured Associate Professor of Nursing at Berea College, who sued the institution for sex discrimination in pay in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract. More details on this case are available on the Association website - http://www.aauw.org/advocacy/laf/cases/schuster.cfm. AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund supported Ms. Schuster in her fight for equity.

Workshops will focus on grass roots activism, personal and professional development along with some general interest topics.

It's a great opportunity to network, learn about AAUW and help us Move The Mission Forward.

If you are interested in finding out more, visit our website at aauw-nys.org/convention.htm.

You can contact me directly with any questions. I hope to see you there.

International Women's Rights Treaty

Equity is the legal right of all women and girls. AAUW frames and fosters factual, in-depth, objective dialogue among legislators and change makers that results in political, institutional and legal support for women's equity in all areas of life and work.

Support an International Women's Rights Treaty Learn about the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and ways to work towards the ratification of this important treaty. The AAUW International Affairs Committee has compiled this comprehensive set of resources to assist AAUW states and branches in their education and advocacy efforts on behalf of the ratification of CEDAW, the women's rights treaty. More information at www.aauw.org/advocacy/legal advocacyfund.

International Women's Day.
Visit www.internationalwomensday.com for background information and find out how you can celebrate this important day for women around the world.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Diversity Books

AAUW has published book lists devoted to diversity for several years. It is time to create a new list. Old lists are available on the web-site at www.aauw.org if you would like to know more. If you have read a wonderful book that deals with a group or disability and which would increase our understanding of others, please contact me at president@aauw-nys.org. Examples would be books dealing with growing up Hispanic, life with a visual impairment or an emotional disability, or life as a native American. There are many possibilities We are also looking for books that will increase our financial literacy and dealing with change in organizations such as AAUW.

Read any good books lately? Let me know.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Background on CTAUN:

"You behave very differently if you think you're the only elephant on the block." (Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations)

"What does it mean to live in a global society? In this era, complete self-sufficiency is an illusion. We are, whether we like it or not, interconnected, and linked internationally through the media and telecommunications, culturally through our societal interactions, economically through trade, politically through our treaties, and environmentally through the air we breathe.

The issue of interdependence is not simply a case of emerging nations dependent upon the West. Nor can we afford to be arrogant about our own capacity for independence. We live in a a world where climate change is becoming a reality; our security is at risk; we are open to pandemics; and even the safety of everyday items - food, toys, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc. - can no longer be taken for granted. We depend on other nations for energy, intelligence gathering, and even disaster relief. In the summer of 2003, heat waves in Europe killed 35,000. In 2007, firefighters from Australia, Canada, and Mexico were needed to battle blazes in the American West. The UN itself depends for its effectiveness on the political will and cooperation of its 192 member states.

Teaching about interdependence should be a focus of curriculum at all levels. Education is a powerful tool for change. We cannot deny that the lives of children are increasingly shaped by events in other parts of the world." (conference brochure)

CTAUN provides educators with oportunities to learn about the work of the UN and to incorporate global awareness into curricula and school activities at all levels. 30 AAUW members from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut attended this year's conference. There are 7 AAUW New York State members on the CTAUN committee who were actively involved in planning the conference. Carolyn Donovan, AAUW's Representative at the UN, serves as CTAUN's Second Vice Chair. CTAUN is always looking for new members to help plan the annual conference. Send inquiries to dfcamc@aol.com

Friday, February 08, 2008

CTAUN CONFERENCE

"Teaching and Learning in an Interdependent World", the tenth annual conference of the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations, was held on Friday, February 1, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. 473 people fron as far away as Texas came to hear speakers on climate change, learn about multicultural efforts, and discover innovative educational approaches.

We were welcoomed by Radhika Coomaraswamy, Under-Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. She spoke about the problems of child soldiers and sexual abuse, and UN efforts to act against genocide and mass abuses. She quoted Sylvia Gordon describing the classroom as "a sheltered environment for children".

A panel on "Climate Change: Rethinking the World We Share", was moderated by AAUW's Carolyn Donovan, who will be our speaker at the NY State Convention in April. Dr. Alan Robock, Professor of Climatology at Rutgers University and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, gave a lucid and compelling presentation. He addressed three questions: How will climate change in the future? (considerable warming, glacier retreat, greater and more extreme precipitation, extinctions, stronger hurricanes, sea level rise); How will it affect us? (water availability, tropical agriculture, national security); and What should we do? It's cheaper to mitigate right now (reduce emissions, increase efficiency).

Rebecca Pearl of the Women's Environment and Development Organization spoke on the interaction of climate and gender. When men and women have equal rights, equal numbers die in natural disasters. Where rights are unequal, more women die. 55%-85% of the dead in the tsunami were women.

Dr. Steven Frantz, Sustainability Education Coordinator for the Scarsdale School District, showed how his district is trying to "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" in facilities, grounds, and transportation; curriculum and staff development; and attitudes and behavior. He concluded that "It's good to change your light bulbs, but it's more important to change our leaders."

The final speaker of the day, Dr. Spencer Wells, Genographic Project Director of the National Geographic Society, gave a cogent explanation of how DNA mutations, the Y chromosome, and mitochondrial DNA can be used to trace the origins and migration of human populations from subsaharan Africa. Climate change in the Sahara 50,000 years ago and at later periods was the main determinant of migration routes. he is currently testing indigenous populations around the world as well as any volunteers to refine this knowledge.