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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.

Women’s Right to Vote Won 95 Years Ago

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Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet States continue to impede voting rights.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet elected women equal less than 20% of Congress.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet gender bias is rampant in STEM fields.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet women continue to face sexist labels daily.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet one-in-five women are targets of sexual assault.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet States continue to introduce bills restricting reproductive health care.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet 22 million lack paid sick leave and are forced to choose between families and jobs.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet women are still paid less than men.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet female athletes receive far less remuneration than male athletes.

Ways to celebrate?
Encourage women to run for elected office.
Educate others about Title IX.
Register to vote; then VOTE in each and every election!

WANT TO DELVE INTO YOUR PAST?

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Dr. Nancy Nelson will teach a memoir workshop in Dearborn this fall, beginning Tuesday, October 6, 2015, and ending November 10, 2015. Sessions are from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The workshop is aimed at beginning writers or those who have done some creative nonfiction but wish to further their progress in crafting personal narrative.

Nancy Owen Nelson has published poetry and creative nonfiction as well as articles in several academic journals and anthologies. In addition, she has edited academic books. She earned her B.A. in French and English at Birmingham-Southern College and her M.A. and PhD in English at Auburn University.

She has taught composition and literature at a number of universities and currently teaches at Henry Ford College. Also, she has served as Assistant Director of the Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.

She recently published her memoir Searching for Nannie B: Connecting Three Generations of Southern Women. Contact Nelson at <nelnan@aol.com> or 928-308-3785 or visit  <www.nancyowennelson.com>  for further details.

Senator Debbie Stabenow Responds

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Dear AAUW-Dearborn,

Thank you for contacting me about the Supreme Court decision that invalidated a part of the Voting Rights Act. I share your concerns, and that is why I am cosponsoring legislation to reinstate federal oversight of local voting laws to protect against voter discrimination.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturned 50 years of law by allowing parts of the country with a history of voter discrimination to change local voting laws without any federal oversight. In fact, within hours of the ruling, several states were preparing laws making it more difficult to vote.

Congress must act to fix the law and ensure that all voters are able to cast their vote without barriers, fear, or intimidation. Our bill, the Voting Rights Advancement Act (S. 1659), is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can count on me to keep fighting for all measures that would restore the Voting Rights Act.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Successful Teams

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August is upon us and our executive board is stirring. There’s the book sale to launch, there’s the directory to compile, there’s the onslaught of details demanding attention after summer respite.

Recently, the New York Times published a piece entitled, “Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others.” Basically, it suggested that three characteristics are present in effective teamwork.

1. Members contribute fairly equally, as opposed to one or two dominating.

2. Members can read emotional states in the faces of others.

3. Teams with more women do better than those with more men. Apparently, women are better at mind reading. Emotion matters.

“What makes teams smart must not be just the ability to read facial expressions, but a more general ability, known as Theory of Mind, the ability to take another perspective, to put oneself in the others’ shoes.”

Sensing what others feel, know and believe is essential to success.

Join Our AAUW Circle for Women and Girls

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Accept an authentic community that supports
balanced belonging and
cultivates connections

Develop together

Energize playfulness
for creativity to flourish

Go where women seldom go

Hope for healthy-sustained relationships

Integrate diverse, individual-collective lives

Journey into interior landscapes and external worlds

Kindle kindness

Learn the wisdom of other women

Move toward creative expression

Nurture contributions

Open eyes wide to the
potential shadows that constrict lives

Quit never

Reap rich-rewarding experiences

Support other women’s aspirations

Talk after listening and provide

understanding

Value unique contributions

Work to improve startling realities

eXamine with wide-angle, medium and close-up lenses

Yearn for authentic connection with Spirit

Zoom past emotional zigzag zones

 

 

(Photo: Courtesy of branch-member Shirley Damps’ blog)

House Education Bill Tainted by Vouchers

Misguided politicos are making a grab for tax dollars once again. The U.S. House education bill is scheduled for a floor vote this week, and voucher amendments haunt the process.kids-reading1.s600x600

Admissions policies at private and religious schools are allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender, special needs, income, behavior, academic achievement, and standardized test scores. Also, private and religious schools can choose not to employ teachers and other education professionals for discriminatory reasons such as religion, gender, or being gay.

Therefore, schools that use our federal taxpayer dollars must not be allowed to violate the civil rights laws that many of us fought so hard to enact!

American Association of University Women opposes H.R. 5 and any school voucher amendments that may be proposed to the bill.

Vouchers do not guarantee improved student performance. Instead they remove taxpayer dollars – estimated at more than $1 billion yearly – from public schools. Congress must invest in the PUBLIC schools that serve ALL students regardless of gender, disability, economic status, or educational readiness.

Public education policy should move us forward, NOT backward. Re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) represents a tremendous opportunity to improve educational equity and achievement in our nation’s schools. However, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) does NOT. School voucher amendments promise to make H.R. 5 even worse!

 

 

One more barrier broken about image and race

Misty-Copeland-9Thirty-two-year old Misty Copeland has become the first African-American, female-principal with the American Ballet Theater, a top-flight dance company. She has performed with them for the past 14 years, the last eight as a soloist.

 

Last week she starred in “Swan Lake,” the first African-American to do so. Cheers from the audience repeatedly stopped the show; then fans swarmed the stage door after the performance and crowd control had to be instituted. In her memoir published last year, LIFE IN MOTION: AN UNLIKELY BALLERINA, she stated, “My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company. …if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”

 
Michael Cooper, dance reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES observed: “If the company had not promoted Ms. Copeland, it risked being seen as perpetuating the inequalities that have left African-American dancers, particularly women, woefully underrepresented at top ballet companies.”

 
Within the leading ballet companies, being a principal dancer earns one status, bigger income and bigger roles, and a name in promotional print.

At the AAUW Convention

DSC_0012On July 1, 2015, Valerie Murphy-Goodrich assumes office as president of AAUW-Dearborn. She phoned yesterday from San Diego where she has been attending our national convention. Clearly, her attendance has had the desired effect! Her enthusiasm was infectious. Our branch makes a commitment to fund the president to the tune of $2,000 to attend, and the pay-off is guaranteed. (By the way, Valerie’s expenses are also guaranteed to surpass that amount!) So we need to be grateful for her financial contribution as well.

The national website has a good piece on what has sometimes been accomplished at conventions and how it assists leadership development. Here are their observations, edited for space.

Gathering women to talk about experiences and struggles in education, work, and life has been invaluable for AAUW members. Convention is one of the best places to learn about what other women are experiencing and decide how to band together. It’s a place where women’s voices are the priority.

  • In 1923, the recently introduced Equal Rights Amendment was a contentious subject at convention; no consensus was reached.
  • In the 1940s, the AAUW War Relief Committee worked for safe havens and new jobs for Jewish-women scientists fleeing Nazism.
  • In 1959 Eleanor Roosevelt bolstered our dedication to global issues at the height of the Cold War.
  • In 1963, U.S. Rep. Edith Green (nicknamed “Mrs. Education” for her work on women’s education and the Equal Pay Act) talked about the need to end sex discrimination in higher education.
  • The 1970s brought the women’s liberation movement, including activist Gloria Steinem and anthropologist Margaret Mead to conventions.
  • In 1971, delegates voted to support equal rights, and members drew up guidelines for universities to end sex discrimination on campus.
  • In 1972, Congress passed Title IX.
  • In 2009 , delegates passed one member/one vote to assure that every member has the opportunity to help decide AAUW’s future. (Sadly, Valerie reports that only a little more than 12% of the members voted this year!)

Today dealing with women’s issues is changing:

  • Technology and social media allow electronic-grassroots protests.
  • New skill sets allow members to react quickly and effectively to women’s issues. Feminists can spread the word on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Tech-aided advocacy efforts still employ basic grassroots skills to lobby elected officials, to get women’s history into local classrooms and to fight for fair pay.
  • The AAUW National Convention has become a place where members gather not only to exchange ideas but also to get training and resources to enhance skills.

The issues of the organization are urgent and evolving. Women  learn from each others’ experiences. Empowering women and girls carries out the mission (research, education, advocacy and philanthropy) of AAUW everyday.

It’s good to know Valerie will have much to share upon her return!

Re: Military Sexual Assault

 

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Dear Anne,

Later today, the U.S. Senate will take an important vote to ensure survivors of sexual assault in the military can finally get justice.

I am an original cosponsor of an amendment authored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that takes responsibility for prosecuting sexual assaults outside the military chain of command. Far too often, members of the military are scared to report sexual assaults to their superiors who determine their career advancement. As a result, many of these assaults continue to go unreported, and a shocking number of victims do not receive the justice they deserve.

In addition to changing how sexual assault cases are processed, our amendment would give prosecutors new tools to punish those who engage in retaliation to intimidate survivors.

I will cast a loud “yes” vote in favor of this legislation on the Senate floor this week, and you can count on me to continue to support the strongest possible policies to assure that all allegations of wrongdoing are fully investigated and that survivors of sexual assault get the help and the justice that they deserve.

Sincerely,
Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator