While we are all quite aware of the looming tax deadline, we might forget that there is another significant day to remember this year, April 14th.  It is the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year.  It takes women about 15 months to earn what men earn in twelve.  That’s the reality of the gender pay gap.

 Quick Facts on the Gender Pay Gap from AAUW tell us that if we assume a lifetime of work( 47 years), the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men is $700,00 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate, and $2 million for a professional school graduate.

The AAUW report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Wage Gap, shows that the pay gap persists across all racial and ethnic groups and is found in every state.  The median earnings of women working full time compared with men’s earnings is an average of 78% nationally.  For us in California, it is 84% and we rank 5th.  Branch members in other states can check on the statistics in the reports referenced above.

There are other “UNHAPPY” statistics for this “Unwonderful” day on the national website, such as the following:  1) at the 2003-13 rate, it will take another 124 years for the pay gap to be eliminated!!!  2) women face a pay gap in every profession and in every state; and , 3) while education helps increase income, it doesn’t help with the pay gap.

One happy and interesting twist to this upcoming day is that it is the birthday of our fearless pay equity advocate, Lilly Ledbetter. So we can celebrate something happy while we symbolize the “UN”happy day it is!

Pick a way to honor the significance of this day and post your experience on our facebook page.  Let other branch members know how you participated or experienced the day we call Equal Pay Day. Watch for a branch email with suggestions.




VGIF News Flash

Members of VGIF's CSW59 delegation during a networking event at the VGIF office.

Members of VGIF’s CSW59 delegation during a networking event at the VGIF office.

The March 30 issue of the VGIF News Flash features the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) staff’s involvement in International Women’s Day activities:

“To recognize International Women’s Day, every March, UN Women organizes the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) around a particular theme. This year CSW59 focused on the Beijing Platform for Action and its 12 Critical Areas of Concerns. Using CSW’s typical format, the UN hosted high-level meetings, while parallel events were organized by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).”

Read this issue of the News Flash to learn more about the panel discussion topics covered at this event.

2014 AAUW Funds Donations

The AAUW Funds committee thanks and congratulates the members of AAUW California for your generous donations. Because of your commitment to AAUW and its mission, $508,644.08 was donated to AAUW Funds from AAUW California members and branches.

Sharon Westafer, Chair, AAUW Funds Committee

AAUW LAF Express, March 2015

Congratulations to Our Newest Title IX Champions!

Our Title IX Champion award continues to thrive, and we’re thrilled to announce several brand-new champions! Check out our awards page to read their stories and be inspired by their work.

Affirmative Action May Be Headed Back to the Supreme Court

After two years, the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas may be back before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008, Abigail Fisher applied for admission to the University of Texas, Austin. After she was denied admission, she filed suit against the university, claiming that the university’s race-conscious admissions policy was unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the policy, and Fisher appealed to the Supreme Court. AAUW signed an amicus brief in support of the university’s policy. In 2013, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the 5th Circuit, holding that the appeals court had not used the proper analysis in examining the case.

In summer 2014, the 5th Circuit issued a new opinion upholding the university’s policy, and Fisher again petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court is likely to decide later this year whether the case will go forward or whether the 5th Circuit’s ruling will stand. Stay tuned for more information.

Learning about NCCWSL-Scholarship Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.38.10 AMOver the past 10 days, CA Online Branch members have been enjoying a program discussion about AAUW’s annual National Conference for College Student Leaders, affectionately known among AAUW members by its acronym, NCCWSL (pronounced “NickWhistle”).  Our discussion included viewing videos of past NCCWSL participants, (such as Donya Nasser from 2013 and Tina Nelson from 2012), and a Q&A with a NCCWSL participant on our program listserv.

NCCWSL provides scholarship assistance, but there are always more applicants for this assistance than funds available, so if you would like to help support more women attend this life-changing opportunity, please make a tax deductible donation to NCCWSL.  We’d like to see the CA Online Branch join the ranks of generous AAUW members who have sponsored students.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.17.03 AMBRANCH CHALLENGE:  Krys Wulff and Jo Harberson will match any donations to NCCWSL made by Online Branch members via the Member Services Database (MSD) on the AAUW website.  Login to the MSD, and click on the “Individual Contributions” tab.  Click on the “Other special funds and giving circles” for a drop-down list, and select the NCCWSL Scholarship Support fund to enter your donation.

DEADLINE FOR CHALLENGE:  March 12.  So make those donations today!

Although this challenge is specifically for AAUW members, non members are also welcomed to make a tax deductible donation to NCCWSL, to support more scholarship opportunities.

For any students interested in attending the 2015 NCCWSL, early registration (best price) ends April 10.


Advocacy Knows No Boundaries

One of the things that drew me to the online branch was its welcome message on the branch website:  “The beauty of an online environment is the absence of geographical barriers in defining membership.” We welcome anyone who meets the AAUW membership requirements and who is interested public policy issues that move our mission forward.

Advocacy crosses geographical boundaries.  Right now online members can connect their voices with other AAUW voices across the country as Congress prepares to vote on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act  (ESEA).  AAUW opposes this bill ( H.R. 5) because it is inherently flawed.  The bill has had no public hearings or opportunity for input from major stakeholders.

It opens the door for private school vouchers which divert public education funds at a time when public education needs support.  It also virtually eliminates the federal efforts to narrow the achievement gap at a critical time when we need to support American students, and it removes accountability mechanisms  that impact billions of federal education dollars.

We need to bring a strong and credible voice to this important debate.  We need to be vocal and vigilant.

Join me as an AAUW Two Minute Activist.  It literally takes 2 minutes or less to contact your representative and add your voice to this debate!


Invitation to Join AAUW delegation to Cuba

CubaTripThe Oakland-Piedmont Branch of AAUW is offering a trip to Cuba and invites any interested AAUW member and guests to join their delegation.  They have had a few cancellations which they need to fill as soon as possible.  The trip is March 29-April 13, and the deadline for applying is February 13.  For more information, contact their Program VP, Lenore Gallin at lgallin@dvc.edu.

A full write-up of the trip itinerary and costs have been posted on Facebook.


Book Group News

Our January book selection is “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. This title has turned up on numerous best books of 2014. FDoerr photorom the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II (from the publisher). Start the New Year with a great book. Discussion begins on Jan. 25, 2015