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

VGIF “The Flash” – December 2014

This month’s issue of The Flash from the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) is well worth reading to see their short summary of how their grants have made a difference in the lives of women and girls this past year, as well as mentions of the celebration of VGIF’s 45th anniversary in October.

The California Online Branch of AAUW is a member of VGIF, and encourages its members to join VGIF as individuals, too.

AAUW LAF Express December 2014

Supreme Court Hears Pregnancy Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Young v. UPS, a case that could affect the rights of pregnant workers across the country. Peggy Young, a UPS driver, requested temporary light-duty work as a result of pregnancy complications. Although UPS provided light-duty work to other drivers with similar restrictions, the company refused to provide the same accommodation to Young. If the court sides with UPS, it could leave pregnant workers vulnerable to discrimination in the workplace. During the arguments, AAUW and our allies led a rally in support of workplace protections. Check out our Supreme Court preview for more information on Young’s case and others awaiting the court’s decision in 2015.

Message from Linda Hallman, CAE, AAUW Executive Director

2014 has been quite a year for AAUW! From empowering women at the ballot box to continuing our groundbreaking efforts to close the pay gap, AAUW remains a leader in the fight to level the playing field for women and girls.

With your support, we were able to:

– Work with President Obama to increase pay protections for women. AAUW’s Lisa Maatz stood with our friend Lilly Ledbetter and the president as he signed two executive orders that banned federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries. Thanks to these measures, the U.S. Department of Labor will now collect wage data to help identify patterns of discrimination and support compliance. We will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work for everyone.

– Leverage our internationally acclaimed report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We’re proud and excited about completing the research on our latest project to address the biases and stereotypes that have held women back in engineering and computing fields — and early this spring, we will launch a new report delineating the concrete actions that families, schools, workplaces, and policy makers can take to level the playing field in the years to come.

– Help thousands of college women advocate for themselves and learn how to negotiate their salaries through our $tart $mart workshops. In 2015, we’ll expand our reach with Work $mart, empowering professional women around the country to negotiate better salaries and benefits.

Because of you, we accomplished a tremendous amount this year, and we have big plans for 2015 — but only if we have your support.

Thanks to the generous donors of the Mooneen Lecce Giving Circle, every tax-deductible gift between now and December 31 will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $35,000.

Donate today and guarantee that your commitment to the advancement of girls and women goes twice as far in 2015.


Linda D. Hallman, CAE
AAUW Executive Director