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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.

Discouraged, Disallowed, Discredited

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As members of AAUW, we hear about the “gender gap” all the time; whether in pay equity, in leadership roles, or in the science/technology/engineering/mathematics fields. But one of the most glaring and longstanding gaps is rarely acknowledged. For centuries, women artists endured being disallowed or discouraged from studying in art academies. When they did succeed, they usually failed to be recognized. The few that prevailed and achieved being recognized were typically discredited. What follows is just one telling example.

A schoolmaster in Amsterdam persuaded Jan van Huysum to take on his daughter as a pupil. Later that same daughter, Margareta Haverman, moved to Paris, married an architect, and in 1722 became a member of the Académie Royale, only the second woman to be so appointed!

A year later, she was expelled because Academicians decided her “reception piece”– the artwork required of each new member — must have been executed by her tutor, Jan van Huysum. They had no evidence to support their case, and nothing further is known of her life!

Today, outcomes in creative fields have changed. Still, only five percent of the art currently displayed in U.S. museums is by women. Only one major museum in the world, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. is dedicated solely to displaying the works of women artists. It is satisfying to realize that when our national organization hosts its annual-art contest, it works with the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This fine collaboration succeeds in providing additional attention to deserving women artists.  This is just one more good reason to belong to AAUW!

Brainy STEAM

Neuro1-e1397066807510Corey Kilgannon recently published a fascinating profile about a neurosurgeon named Kathryn Ko in The New York Times. Dr. Ko happens to be a perfect exemplar of STEAM education, which I argued for in the previous post. To further clarify the concept of STEAM education, I’d like to quote four paragraphs from the body of Kilgannon’s article:

  Even before she took up painting 10 years ago as a creative outlet, Dr. Ko said, surgery had kindled her appreciation of the brain’s visual beauty — the way its image reflects off a scalpel’s shiny surface, the glistening landscape of its various lobes.
    Both her vocation and her avocation, she said, require a skilled hand and talent polished by study and practice, as well as an excellent observational eye.
    The discipline involved in painting and the study of color and form have helped sharpen her surgical acuity, from spatial skills to the ability to detect subtle differences in hue that can help a surgeon recognize different sections of the brain or spot abnormalities. While noticing the gradations of gray in reading a brain scan is seen as an advanced skill for a medical student, she said, it is “something you learn in the first year of art school.”
    “The paintbrush is like an additional tool in my medical kit — it’s like the scalpel,” she said, adding that her surgical training had helped improve her art, especially with anatomical painting.

Perhaps one day I will be privileged enough to hear Dr. Ko speak about her fully integrated mind and the practice of medicine and art at a conference or convention having to do with education in America! Then again, maybe the TED talk people will invite her to do a presentation! That could be very satisfying as well.

From STEM to STEAM

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I like that this organization cares deeply about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. However, I worry about the Balkanization of education in America today. [The Balkan peninsula has divided into smaller and smaller, mutually hostile countries with conflict subsuming lives for over a century.] In similar fashion, many have lost the big picture of what an education provides a life. Too many Americans see education as a way to earning a living, rather than creating a rich and rewarding life. Therefore, I wish everyone would re-invent the notion of STEM education. Because the vitality and significance of arts education needs to included, I want us to deem it STEAM education.

Because the primary goal of education is to teach students HOW to think, cross-disciplinary learning and interdisciplinary collaboration are superb ways to open young minds to the richness and rewards of delving into diverse knowledge, taking risks, and solving problems creatively. Consider the myriad achievements of Leonardo da Vinci, the perfect exemplar of the seamless-integrated mind! Sir Kenneth Clark argued that “Art and science are not… two contrary activities, but in fact draw on many of the same capabilities of the human mind… The development of science… has touched that part of the human spirit from which art springs, and has drained away a great deal of what once contributed to art.” Now is the time to repair the artificial division that attends too many classrooms today! Art and science both take on the BIG questions that accompany life’s journey. What is true? What is good? What is of worth? Society cannot move forward when citizens forget to grapple with the essentials.

Artists, society’s creatives, often intuit societal needs and aspirations before technicians even realize there is a problem to be solved. Once a problem is recognized as needing a solution, visualization has to occur. Engineers must visualize solutions before problems can be tackled. So look around and consider that everything takes “form” eventually, and that form has first to be visualized and designed. The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, “Ideas Worth Spreading,” illustrate this point repeatedly. Divergent thinkers from science, technology, culture, art and design share thought provoking, creative observations and often offer solutions to societal puzzles.
Ideas based in keen, cross-disciplinary thinking can change everything–attitudes, lives, societal problems, community, country and world. The individuals who deliver the TED talks clearly enjoyed the benefits of educations that nurtured creativity. Let’s do the same in our organization, for our kids, for our schools, for our futures. Let’s promote STEAM education with earnest determination! All knowledge is interrelated. Let’s stop focusing on parts and instead begin picturing the whole.

Quite a Successful Year!

Linda-Hallman-300x200Linda D. Hallman, CAE and AAUW Executive Director, has shared some reflections upon significant activities accomplished this year:

In 2014, 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.
 
Leverage our acclaimed report, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” by completing the research on a project to address the biases and stereotypes that have held women back in engineering and computing fields.
Help thousands of college women advocate for themselves by learning how to negotiate salaries at our $tart $mart workshops.

We have accomplished a tremendous amount this year, and we have big plans for 2015.

Consider donating now to make more-good things happen!  AAUW is rated 4 of 4 stars by Charity Navigator. It also was named a top-rated nonprofit in two categories through GreatNonprofits’ reviews of charitable organizations. AAUW is listed as a top women’s empowerment organization and a top education organization. It has also been recognized as a  top charity by the Huffington Post, Charity Navigator, and even NerdWallet!

 

 

 

 

 

Children, Cooking and Church

German Chancellor Merkel listens to Families Minister Schroeder and Labour Minister von der Leyen before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in BerlinGermany’s coalition government plans to mandate 30% quotas for women to fill positions on executive boards at approximately 100 top corporations. Strong-traditional attitudes regarding gender still dominate cultural beliefs in Germany. Cultural norms suggest women should focus their lives upon their children, their cooking and their church.  Meanwhile, eight other members of the European Union already have adopted such quota systems.

 

Heart to Heart

15_heartdisease  U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, along with 11 other women Senators, urges the Administration to combat heart disease, the number one killer of women in Michigan. One-out-of-three women die of heart disease, and Michigan is the 8th worst state in the country for deaths from this preventable-treatable disease.          The bipartisan-women Senators recognize that women’s heart disease continues to be under-researched, sometimes misdiagnosed, and often untreated because heart distress is more difficult to diagnose in women than men.         Senator Stabenow clarifies that “When we help educate women and their doctors to create more opportunities for women to get screenings and get more money for research, we can fight this disease and save lives.” She has long advocated for better research, funding and education around women’s heart disease.

Time, Talent and Treasure

-1Today is National Philanthropy Day; so here’s wishing that all AAUW members have a Happy National Philanthropy Day!

Philanthropy is one of the four mainstays of our mission. Research, education, advocacy constitute the other three.

The word philanthropy derives from Latin out of Greek. It means “mankind-loving.” So, it follows that if one loves humanity, one is going to do all that is possible to improve the conditions of our fellow travelers here on Earth.

The day received its moniker in 1986, and the season chosen seems particularly apt. The middle of November signals that two-huge, American holidays are near: Thanksgiving and Christmas. During November and December, the spirit of giving is always boosted.

Think of all the giving, volunteering, service and charitable interactions that shape our world for the better, that improve the public good. The positive impact upon communities is simply beyond measure. Foundations, corporations, government employees, individuals and even children honor and improve lives with their efforts.

So, even though you may not be recognized publicly, know that you are thanked and appreciated for everything you do to help us succeed in funding our endeavors. This organization is indebted to each-and-every member for its successes.

R.I.P. Sylvia

-1Unfortunately, AAUW-Dearborn has lost another longtime branch member.  Sylvia Rock, age 89, died November 9, 2014, after suffering a stroke.

Her funeral service took place this morning at Divine Child Church, of which she had been a founding member.

Sylvia was an active branch member for many years. As she was an astute manager of money, we all benefited from her knowledge when she served as branch treasurer.

She earned her bachelors degree from Marygrove College and her masters from University of Michigan.

She had been married to husband Robert for sixty-seven years! Together they had five sons, one of whom predeceased her. In recent years, she resided at Oakwood Common.

As a longtime Dearborn resident, she had served on the Dearborn Historical Commission. She also was sister in the “Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards and loans; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.”

With gratitude to our big-hearted members

o-GENEROSITY-facebookSo far this year, specifically at the end of the third quarter, AAUW members in Michigan have contributed $32,151.63 to AAUW-national funds this year.

The Dearborn branch and a dozen, individual members contributed $1,593.00 or 4.9% to that total. By the way, in the State of Michigan, there are nearly 3,000 members in 38 branches.

The branch itself donated $608 to support the Legal Advocacy Fund.
The branch itself donated $500 to support the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund.
The branch itself donated $50 to support the Leadership Programs Fund.
The branch itself donated $50 to support the Educational Opportunities Fund.

In addition, June Anderson, Carolyn Blackmore, Sharon Dulmage, Betty Gruntman, Carmen Gudan, Chris Hilbush, Eleanor LaRoy, Dolores Markowski, Diana Marx, Melinda Reeber, Phyllis Solberg, and Louise Trujillo contributed to AAUW Funds to add the rest.

So whether you helped us raise funds in our book sale or during table appeals or at Mistletoe Mart, we thank you for your efforts. Philanthropy is one of four central aspects in our mission.

You may want to consider ameliorating Uncle Sam’s burden by writing a check in favor of a favorite fund before the New Year arrives to enjoy a little tax relief.

Election Barriers Broken

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  • North Carolina in a special-election victory determined that Alma Adams becomes the 100th-woman member of the current 113th Congress.
  • West Virginia and Iowa elected women to the U.S. Senate for the first time.
  • Iowa also elected a woman to Congress for the first time.
  • Rhode Island elected its first-woman governor.
  • New Jersey sent its first-African-American woman to the House.
  • Utah elected Mia Love, the first-Republican, African-American woman, to Congress.
  • Elise Stefanik, age 30, is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
  • There are now 20 women in the U.S. Senate and 80 in the House of Representatives.