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Welcome to the Dearborn, MI Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)!

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Founded in 1881, AAUW is open to graduates with an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university, as well as students currently enrolled in college.  Dues support the operations of the Dearborn-Michigan branch, founded in 1933, as well as the state and national organizations.

Let’s All Study Gender Economics!

Barbara Bergmann persisted.
She challenged assumptions and doubted conclusions.BERGMANN-OBIT-WEB-master180
She defeated discrimination.
She overcame barriers to women
Never shy, she had a voice that was outspoken and forceful when communicating her insights.

“We have our Scrooges, and lately the Scrooges have grown bolder in expressing themselves, but we are not a nation of Scrooges. On the contrary, we are a nation that, seeing voluntary efforts as commendable but chronically insufficient, has for almost 50 years been relieving social distress through the federal Treasury, using the coercive powers of government to collect the funds.”

In the mid-1950s, she was doing graduate work at Harvard. At that time, one library was off-limits to women! Women had just been permitted to work as teaching fellows. Exams were administered separately for men and women. The atmosphere was clearly less than congenial. It clarifies why the seven sister colleges were so significant at the time. Even getting an academic job was dicey unless a woman wanted to teach at a women’s college.

Her book, The Economic Emergence of Women, documents the history of women in the workplace. Prior to the rise of feminism, woman began to join the labor force in large numbers in the nineteenth century. Bergmann argued that leaving the home and working for hire was not a result of changing attitudes. Her thesis declared that economic forces made women’s labor too valuable to be confined to domestic work!

She foresaw that computers would destroy jobs for typists, secretaries and clerical workers; tasks largely performed by women. She also predicted that salaries would be adversely impacted in such fields. She pointed out the economic law of unintended consequences. While technology improved productivity, women suffered ever more difficulty finding jobs. The outcome was society producing more poverty.

Bergmann called for the government to do more on behalf of women and single-parent families. She argued they needed to increase access to day care and pass legislation mandating pay equity. She may have passed, but her work has not!

Born July 20, 1927
B.A. from Cornell in 1948
Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1958
Subsequently taught at Harvard
Joined the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 1961.
Co-founded the International Association for Feminist Economics
Worked at Brandeis University and the Brookings Institution
University of Maryland faculty 1965 –1988
American University faculty 1988 — 1997
Died April 5, 2015

From Lee Savage, College/University Director


Branch and state board member, Lee Savage needs your help in getting the word about a new initiative out. “If you know a college student that would be a good fit, please encourage them to apply. They need a recommendation from either a branch member or a campus administrator. If you are thinking of them, you could volunteer to write their recommendation. Getting the recommendation is to me the hardest part of the application process.”

AAUW Michigan proudly announces the creation of a state Student Advisory Council (SAC).

The SAC is a state coalition of student leaders that will advise AAUW Michigan on strategies for the future of young women and girls, make program recommendations, write for the AAUW newsletter and blog, develop student workshops and introduce speakers at the AAUW MI Fall Leadership Conference and the State Annual Meeting & Convention.

An Amazing Leadership Opportunity for Students

Serving on the AAUW MI SAC will provide college women with many opportunities to represent the voices of students, develop as leaders, network, and gain valuable, résumé-building experience. SAC members gain mentors and learn how to mentor others. They learn how to apply their strengths toward individual and team projects. They learn about gender issues and network with state and community leaders at the AAUW MI Fall Leadership Conference and the AAUW MI Annual Meeting & Convention. Through these experiences, they will gain leadership skills and find a community within AAUW.

Spread the Word to Branches, Colleges, and Students You Know!

Applications are currently open and will close May 1, 2015. Each year up to 10 students will be selected to serve on the AAUW MI SAC and become AAUW ambassadors on their campuses. Members will serve a one year term beginning July 1, 2015 and ending June 30, 2016. Students are to participate in monthly electronic meetings and attend our Fall Leadership Conference at the Sheraton Detroit Novi on 10/31/2015 and our 2016 Annual Meeting & Convention at the Somerset Inn in Troy on 4/28/2016. AAUW Michigan will pay for SAC members’ registrations at these one day events.

Application and instructions can be found on the AAUW MI website: http://aauwmi.org/state-student-advisory-council/

Students must complete the application form as well as include a brief resume, a recommendation letter from a staff or faculty member at their college/university or a member of their local AAUW branch, and a maximum 600 word essay. The essay needs to include their reason(s) for applying to become part of the AAUW Michigan SAC, the skills and qualities possessed that make them an excellent candidate for the position, a time they exhibited leadership (in school or elsewhere), the gender issue(s) that they are most passionate about and why, and what they hope to gain from serving on the SAC.

Become a Change Agent with the AAUW MI SAC!

Members, STEM and the Paradigm Shift


Three AAUW members were seated in a San Diego sauna. The Baby Boomer was sixty-nine years old. The Millennial member had just turned thirty, and the Generation Z member, a recent graduate was twenty-one.

A beep sounded. The Millennial pressed her forearm and the beep ceased.
“That was my pager. I have a microchip under the skin of my arm,” she explained.

Four minutes later, a phone rang. The Generation Z member lifted her hand to her ear and spoke. After disconnecting, she explained that she had had a microchip implanted into the back of her hand.

The Baby Boomer, feeling hopelessly low-tech but looking determined nonetheless,  left the sauna for the bathroom. When she returned to the sauna, toilet paper was dangling from her cheeks.

Upon seeing her, the Millennial and Generation Z members raised their brows and looked amused.

The Baby Boomer twisted around, looked down and declared, “Well, will you look at that! I’m getting a fax!”

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Marge Powell Leadership Award!

Kiera Wright, Fordson High School faculty advisor, with honoree Rodney Dykes:


 Honoree Lama Ahmad, Edsel Ford High School senior, with Anne Gautreau, president of AAUW-Dearborn:


Kathy Malone, Dearborn High School counselor, with honoree Grace Sekulidis:


Three students from Dearborn’s public high schools received the Marge Powell Leadership Award from the American Association of University Women, Dearborn branch on March 26, 2015, in the Edison Room, at Henry Ford Village, where Marge Powell now resides. Lama Ahmad from Edsel Ford High School, Rodney Dykes from Fordson High School, and Grace Sekulidis from Dearborn High School were honored. Each was awarded an honorarium, a framed-commemorative certificate, and recognition on a plaque where their names will be placed in perpetuity in the individual high schools. For five years now, AAUW-Dearborn has recognized and honored remarkable, high-school seniors for having demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential, exemplary integrity and commitment to community service.

The award honors Marge Powell and recognizes her unique service and leadership within this community. It is designed to encourage young people to emulate the kind of character and integrity Marge Powell has demonstrated in, and for, Dearborn, Michigan. Marge Powell spent 35 years breaking barriers in public life. A brief overview of her contributions includes her having been:

  • President of the Dearborn PTA Council
  • Elected to City Council as highest vote getter in 1977, the first woman to do so in over 20 years at that time
  • Mayoral candidate in 1985; Marge lost to Mike Guido by fewer than 100 votes
  • Successful candidate for State Representative in 1986
  • Member of UM-D Citizen-Advisory Council
  • Member of the Governor’s Energy-Awareness-Advisory Committee in 1979, long before it was “cool” to be energy conscious
  • Member of the Dearborn Civil-Service Commission
  • One of the first female members allowed to join Dearborn Rotary in 1988

She also won numerous awards, including the:

  • Ruth Heston Whipple Award from the Michigan Federation of Business & Professional Women
  • Citizen-of-the-Year from the Metro Detroit Boys & Girls Club
  • Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Rotary
  • Inter-Service Club Council Person of the Year

As for the students, each is exceptional, unique and ambitious.
Lama Ahmad has served as class president for all four years at the Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology. She is currently serving her second year as president of the National Honor Society and is president of Business Professionals of America Chapter. Lama Ahmad has achieved excellence in numerous advanced placement classes including biology, environmental science, calculus, statistics, English language and composition, English literature, US history, microeconomics, government and politics, computer science and computer information systems. Community service includes volunteering at Oakwood Hospital and the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Plans include majoring in economics with a concentration in social research and public policy at NYU. After that she would like to pursue a masters degree in public health in international development issues such as poverty, racism and sexism as well as issues around access to health care and population dynamics.

Rodney Dykes was selected for his strong engagement with others and for possessing extraordinary social skills. He has worked in peer mediation and assisted with implementing programs that support diversity both at school and in the community. Twice he represented Fordson High School at the Student Leadership and Diversity Summit.  At his high school, his efforts have focused upon mentoring and defeating bullying. He has been a key player in the Peer-to-Peer Club and Students Advocating for Equality. In addition, he has worked with autistic students. Also, he hosted a successful fundraiser for First Step of Wayne County.

Grace Sekulidis has served as her class presidents all four years at Dearborn High School. She has varsity letters in theater, band and academics. She has been president of Key Club and Thespian Troupe 586. She is an Advanced Placement Scholar and a member of National Honor Society. Community involvement includes volunteering at Summer in the City, Vacation Bible School, Relay for Life, Cafe Night and a community service trip to Nashville. Plans include attending Michigan State University where she plans to double major in Spanish and mathematics.
Branch president, Anne Gautreau says, “We look ahead to a solid future, reassured of its ultimate success, when we encounter these remarkable students.” She stresses that, “This award differs enormously from the awards of other community groups. No one can apply for our award! The students we honor are selected by the professional educators who know them best!”

Gautreau encouraged the three honorees to realize, “You can choose to be just one individual who is out to change your school, your community, your county, your state, your country, or even your world for the better.”

Branch members, Joan Arrick and Betty Martin have worked with the three high schools and organized the award ceremony every year since its inception. It is now in its fifth year.

AAUW-Dearborn in Jeopardy!


Jeopardy! the American-television, game- show gained a new reincarnation last night at our general-membership meeting. Donna Palm, program v.p., designed a quiz competition in which contestants, Barb Brandenburg, Doris Matthews and Lee Savage were presented with clues about women in history. Donna’s game became a perfect complement to Women’s History Month. Afterwards she said that she had really enjoyed building the quiz show on her computer and learned a lot putting it together.

Sarah Lebrell was timekeeper. Joan Arrick, our resident thespian, did dramatic readings of quotations from the various historical figures recalled. A few members chimed in to do musical interludes. There were no buzzers; so diminutive, crayola-colored, plastic bats served to deliver competitors’ ready-sounds as they hovered above a table ready to whack their bats with authoritative speed.

About the game itself, Donna concluded, “What made it successful in my mind was the willingness of everyone to play, whether singing the Jeopardy song, swinging the silly bats or guessing the answers.  Joan was perfect as a dramatic reader. It is a great group to do things with.”

As she left the building, winner Barbara Brandenburg was glowing with pride about her age having enhanced her knowledge base.

Although there were a few inaccurate computer links, happily, the technical glitches served to put everyone at ease. When a high-caliber engineer like Donna Palm is challenged, everyone is free to relax about their recall being challenged!

Once again the branch thanks Donna Palm for her creative, problem-solving skills and again pulling off a clever and enjoyable program.

Photo credit: Judy Monroe captured Lee Savage wielding her hot-pink, plastic, whack-bat.








AAUW-MI has a new Student Advisory Council


The Student Advisory Council (SAC)  is a coalition of college women studd51e82bc-161d-4c09-bfd7-aa1f4ba6254aent leaders in Michigan. The coalition will advise AAUW-Michigan on strategies to engage young people, propose programs, write for the AAUW newsletter and blog, develop student workshops and introduce speakers at the AAUW-MI Fall Leadership Conference as well as the  Annual State Meeting & Convention.

Serving on SAC will provide college women with opportunities to represent students, develop  leadership skills, network, and gain experiences ideal for resumes. SAC members will have their own mentors and learn how to mentor others. They will learn via individual and team projects about gender issues and network with state and community leaders at the AAUW MI Fall Leadership Conference and the AAUW MI Annual Meeting & Convention.

Applications for SAC are now open and will close May 1, 2015. Up to 10 students will be selected each year. Members will serve one-year terms beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016. Students will participate in monthly electronic meetings and attend the Fall Leadership Conference at the Sheraton/Detroit in Novi on 10/31/2015 and the 2016, Annual Meeting & Convention at the Somerset Inn in Troy on 4/28/2016. AAUW-Michigan will cover SAC members’ registration fees.

Application and instructions can be found on the AAUW-MI website: http://aauwmi.org/state-student-advisory-council/

Students must complete the application form,  include a brief resume, a recommendation letter from a staff or faculty member at their college/university or a member of their local AAUW branch, and a maximum-600-word essay that provides their reasons for applying including the skills and qualities that make them an excellent candidate, a time they exhibited leadership, the gender issue(s) that they are passionate about and what they hope to gain from serving on the SAC.

If you have questions, contact AAUW-MI College/University Director, Lee Savage, at <sac@aauwmi.org> . Lee Savage, pictured above, is Program Liaison for the Women’s Resource Center and Office of International Affairs at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus.

Right Stuff–Wrong Gender

GetImage.ashx                                        (Bernice Steadman stands at the far right in the photograph.)

Bernice Steadman had “the right stuff”; but due to gender, she was denied a chance to be an astronaut. Steadman, a professional pilot, was one of 13 female finalists to be possible astronauts under a NASA program in the 1960s.  The title of her autobiography — “Tethered Mercury: A Pilot’s Memoir: The Right Stuff — But the Wrong Sex” says it all.

As one of only 13 female pilots who passed NASA’s Mercury Program, she and the other dozen women demonstrated that women had what it takes physically and emotionally. The Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame states: “Even though these 13 remarkable women were not allowed to complete their space mission, they proved to the country that women were equally as qualified as their male counterparts.”


Born Bernice Trimble in Rudyard, Michigan, in 1925, when just a one-year-old child, the family home caught fire. The conflagration killed her father, her sisters and a brother.  After high school, Steadman earned a flight license before her driver’s license. As a charter pilot, she started her own flight school and charter service called Trimble Aviation in Flint. As one of the first women to get an Airline Transport Rating (ATR), the highest rating for any pilot, she taught about 200 men who went on to become airline pilots. Ironically, at that time, the airline industry would not hire female pilots!

The Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame indicates she was a charter member of the women’s advisory committee on aviation for the Federal Aviation Agency and chair of the Airport Commission in Ann Arbor.

Steadman died Wednesday at her home in Traverse City at age 89. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her brother Ray Whipple, son Michael, and two grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her four sisters, a brother and her youngest son.

Hope to see you at the Susan B. Anthony Awards Dinner

 The University of Michigan-Dearborn, Commission for Women presents its 37th Annual, Susan B. Anthony Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in the Michigan Rooms at Fairlane Center South, 19000 Hubbard Drive in Dearborn.
Reception and Silent Auction —  5:00 to 6:15 p.m.
Dinner and Program — 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Karen Holland, Special Events Coordinator in the Office of the Chancellor, is the Campus Award Recipient.
Deborah Kennedy, Executive Director of AAUW-Wyandotte & Downriver and Secretary of AAUW-MI , is the Community Award Recipient.
The keynote speaker is Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor.
Cost for event: $40.
Contact Judy Walker at  (313)  593-5430 or <jlwalker@umich.edu