Visiting the AAUW office

DSC_0109AAUW members kept telling me that if I was ever in Washington DC, I should stop by the AAUW office to visit.  So when my travels brought me to the nation’s capitol a few days ago, I did just that.  My timing wasn’t the best.  The only day my husband and I could squeeze in a stop at the AAUW office was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, and we showed up in the late morning when some of the staff was leaving for their lunch break.

Yet staff members Christy Jones and Angie Cooper gave us a first-class tour of the facilities and fascinating memorabilia of AAUW’s history, and introduced us to every single staff member who was in the building to learn about their work.

Christy Jones (left) and Angie Cooper (right) with me in front of the AAUW building.  And, yes, that's an AAUW shirt I'm wearing!

Christy Jones (left) and Angie Cooper (right) with me in front of the AAUW building. And, yes, that’s an AAUW shirt I’m wearing!

They truly went above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating what a wonderfully dedicated staff we have working for us.  And meeting the staff and seeing the work being done was an uplifting reminder of the myriad ways AAUW advocates for equity for women and girls.

So if you’re ever in Washington DC, be sure to visit 1111 Sixteenth St NW!


AAUW LAF Express – May 2015

Calling All Attorneys! Earn CLE Credits at Convention

This year, we’re making skill-building at the AAUW National Convention an even better deal. Before convention gets under way, join us for a three-hour continuing legal education (CLE) program and earn three hours of CLE credit! Laws of Gender: Updates on Title IX and Title VII will cover Title IX developments in California, campus sexual assault under Title IX, and sexual harassment under Title VII. The CLE program will take place on Thursday afternoon, June 18, just before convention starts. Cost is $150 for private practitioners, $80 for nonprofit and government practitioners. Register now!

Looking for a Quick Update on an LAF-Supported Case?

Visit the redesigned LAF Case Support homepage, which now includes a brief summary and current case status for each active LAF-supported lawsuit. We’ll add case status updates as soon as we hear about them. Are your branch members looking for more ways to keep up with LAF news? Encourage them to e-mail to join the LAF Express mailing list.

VGIF News Flash-Water Projects

Community participants build water filters to ensure clean water

Community participants build water filters to ensure clean water

The April issue of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) News Flash features a Kenyan project that empowers women in the community to build and maintain rainwater tanks, as well as teaching basic hygiene.  In much of the world, women and girls are largely responsible for providing fresh water for household needs, so involving women in the projects that create water sources ensures their sustainability.

Read all about it in this issue, as well as how you might want to be a VGIF volunteer.  The CA Online Branch is a member of VGIF.

CA Online is a 2014 AAUW Funds Top 10 Contributor!

We made it into the Top Ten!

The annual meeting for AAUW CA Funds luncheon revealed that the AAUW CA Online branch was 9th in per capita fundraising for the state. 

Thank you to all branch members who generously gave to AAUW Funds in the 2014 year! 

We will be hearing about our NCCWSL scholarship winner around May 7 and will keep branch members informed.  We requested a California recipient and hope to have a name for our branch scholarship to NCCWSL, 2015.

Our Online branch Named gift Honoree for 2014-15 is Jo Harberson! Congratulations, Jo!  You are an inspiration to us all!

AAUW LAF Express – April 2015

Supreme Court Gives Peggy Young a Chance to Make Her Case

On March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Young v. UPS, an important pregnancy discrimination case that we discussed in our Supreme Court preview last fall. The court ruled 6-3 in favor of Young, sending her case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

The plaintiff, Peggy Young, had requested temporary light-duty work as a result of pregnancy complications. Even though UPS provided light-duty work to other drivers with similar restrictions, the company refused to provide the same accommodation to Young. She eventually filed suit under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. During the oral arguments before the court last winter, AAUW and our allies led a rally in support of workplace protections. Look for information on our Supreme Court wrap-up call this summer to learn more about the court’s decision.

New AAUW-Supported Case Seeks Justice for Military Veterans

AAUW is proud to support four courageous servicewomen who are taking a stand against military sexual assault in Baldwin v. U.S. Department of Defense. While AAUW has supported several earlier lawsuits brought by veterans, Baldwin takes on a new legal strategy and a new request for relief. In addition to making constitutional claims, the Baldwin plaintiffs filed suit under federal laws (including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits gender discrimination in employment) that protect civilian employees. They are seeking an injunction to stop the military from allowing service members who have committed sexual harassment or assault to serve as convening authorities in other sexual assault investigations. The LAF-supported lawsuit could help bring justice to survivors of sexual assault in the military. Stay tuned for updates as the case continues.


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.