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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.

L’Oreal corrects its math error!


_81293792_3ef8e868-5234-4353-bcd9-45c8acdb275dBranch member, Rosemary Lauder, with her undergrad degree in math and her masters in industrial engineering, forwarded this story about changes in an advertising campaign due to Brits pointing out its negative implications. It’s from an article written by Hannah Richardson, education reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

L’Oreal Paris recently ran an ad that “included a throwaway boast about not being good at math.”  The campaign hired British actress Dame Helen Mirren to say: “Age is just a number. And maths was never my thing.” A Twitter campaign in England responded that the ad “appeared to boast about poor math skills.” Established in 2012, National Numeracy aims to improve everyday maths skills among adults and children in the United Kingdom. Part of their mission is to change negative attitudes about mathematics.  Their chief-executive clarified: “Throwaway remarks about being ‘no good at math’ are easy to make.” The problem is they normalize negativity about a key subject in education. He added: “We know that women and girls often have particularly low levels of confidence — and particularly high levels of anxiety — about maths. So it’s especially important that advertising directed at them doesn’t perpetuate the myth that women can’t do maths.”

L’Oreal responded rapidly stating that it “is a strong advocate of women in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] through our For Women In Science program…. We listen to  consumers and value their feedback….” Now, the campaign and its message have been changed.

Obviously, members of AAUW love their new awareness and sensitivity about the issue, and will take the time to learn more about L’Oreal’s For Women in Science program. To learn more, go to


Rosemary Lauder declares herself to be “an engineer who likes doing computer programming and really likes math. After reading the article I spent the afternoon reading more articles about numeracy and math education both here and in Britain. I even found a great TED talk.”

Members who delve deeply into the issues important to AAUW help all of us communicate our mission more effectively. I’m off to ferret out that TED talk!


Tribute to strong women

Here is a wonderful poem with which to bid adieu to Black History Month

and to honor strong women in all cultures.


by Margaret Walker

My grandmothers were strong.
They followed plows and bent to toil.
They moved through fields sowing seed.
They touched earth and grain grew.
They were full of sturdiness and singing.
My grandmothers were strong.

My grandmothers are full of memories
Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay
With veins rolling roughly over quick hands
They have many clean words to say.
My grandmothers were strong.
Why am I not as they?


Buttercup & the Westminster Kennel Club Show

For those of us who adore dogs, here are two photographs of branch member and Public Policy Liaison, Sally Barnett’s young Golden Retriever, Buttercup. As the sporting-breed dogs began to strut their stuff at the Westminster Dog Show, the television caught her eye.  Then, when the sporty Golden Retriever entered the ring, Buttercup sat right down and focused intently on the television screen. Wonder what she was thinking! “If only I had had a little more education….”IMG_0503


Fifth Graders Inspired to Create by The Community Fund

As part of its public policy, “AAUW values and is committed to the arts and humanities, which develop and enhance our pluralistic cultural heritage.”  That links this branch to The Community Fund, which has been extremely successful placing art in public places. Their funding also supports the Youth-in-Arts Festival each spring. In addition, their funding installs new sculptures around town every year. Their funding has generated the art installations created by the Pockets-of-Perception initiatives, wherein creative, high-school students from all three-public-high schools develop common goals, teamwork and, ultimately, create artwork to enhance the community.

Specifically, our branch works with The Community Fund each year by providing volunteers to work with fifth graders who are engaged in making sculptures from found objects. For branch members, it is literally a bonding experience! They handle hot-glue guns to protect kids from getting burned as sculptures are being assembled.

This year Sally Barnett, Marilyn Brown, Judy Buck, Judy Cole, Collette Cullen, Kim Foo, Jan Frank, Bonnie Gerrity, Janet Good, Betty Gruntman, Carmen Gudan, Donna Kolojeskie, Judy Monroe, Valerie Murphy-Goodrich, Jonelle Robinson, Ann Roemer, and Jo West have all stepped up to help. Their aims are steady; their grips are firm. Their dedication to the protection of others is above reproach. They have all been cleared for Congealed Weapons Permits. Clearly, a once sticky wicket, Gun Control has taken on a whole new meaning for dedicated volunteers in this branch.

By the way, Howard School, originally scheduled to be the first day for the Midwest Sculpture Initiative activities, was cancelled due to weather conditions on February 3rd.  Their event  has now been rescheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015. If you have the time available and would like to help us out, please let Anne Gautreau know. It will be much appreciated!

In addition to making sculptures, students also sculpt poems with Anne.

Here are two list poems from Mrs. Alsabahi’s 5th-grade class at Miller School:

Gaze is a run into sunset.
Gaze is a smile on my face.
In morning haze
he eats and neighs.

— Marwa Alhassan re: GazeDSCF3348

You are the rings of love
You are the rings to happiness
You are the rings that make me energetic
You are the gateway to my life
You are the tunnel of me
You are the mirror for the ocean and life
You are the mirror that will guide me
You are the mirror that is brighter than the sun

— Amjad re: Sun Dancer

And here are three more poems from Mrs. Traicoff’s 5th-grade class at Miller School:

Sentinel, you light up the sky every time I see youDSCF3355
Sentinel, you are the best thing I see in my dream world
Sentinel, when I’m sad you could light up my day
Sentinel, you are the thing that makes me happy
Sentinel, you are brighter than the sun
Sentinel, you are the thing that keeps me alive
Sentinel, you are as cool as Tony Starks’ iron suit
— Bilal Nasser

Hay[NA]ku, a six-word, arrange poetry form from the Philippines:

Gazing, looking, laughing
touching, talking
— Ishaac Saad

And last, but not least, haiku, a 17-syllable, 3-line poetry form from Japan:

Just dance, Sun Dancer
Never stop going faster
to impress the sun
— Kassem Bazzi

Before and after the game changed for everyone

75d10b896e7ea6ff5e1e253398d7238cWhy not make a little wager tomorrow! Which Super Bowl occurred after the adoption of Title IX?

Jan. 16, 1972: Super Bowl VI, Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

June 23, 1972: Title IX (No person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.)

Jan. 14, 1973: Super Bowl VII, Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins

The following internet joke must have been written prior to Title IX!

A guy took his girlfriend to the Super Bowl game.
They had great seats right behind the team bench.
After the game, he asked her if she had enjoyed it.
“I really liked it,” she replied, “especially the tight pants and the big muscles, but I just couldn’t understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents.”
Dumbfounded, he asked, “What do you mean?”
“Well, they flipped a coin. One team got it. For the rest of the game, they kept screaming ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!’ I’m like Helloooooo? It’s only 25 cents!”

I’d like to ask what the deal is this year about those men with deflated balls, but that might be misconstrued; so I won’t.

Kudos to WMU for their “RAISE YOUR VOICE” Series

Anita Hill Lecture Web Slide_1A groundswell of voices currently advocates for a safe-supportive environment in which to study, work, live and love. This social-justice movement confronts  sexual harassment, rape, bullying and abuse. Raise Your Voice introduces the WMU community to artists, activists and scholars who work to end hostility and violence against women.

Free tickets, available on a first-come/first-served basis through the Lee Honors College office, are required for all events.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7:00 p.m. Anita Hill delivers a public lecture: Responding to Gendered Violence in Society, Law and on College Campuses in Chenery Auditorium, 714 South Westnedge Avenue.  In 1991, Anita Hill, a young-law professor, found herself at the center of a media storm. Burdened with information that could affect confirmation of a future member of the Supreme Court, Hill’s testimony changed the way sexual harassment and gender are viewed. Her bringing the issue of sexual harassment to public attention forever changed relations between men and women in the workplace. In 1997, Hill published Speaking Truth to Power, a personal memoir of her involvement in the Clarence Thomas hearings. Since that time, she has earned international prominence as an authority on race and gender issues.

On March 3 at 7:00 p.m. Soraya Chemaly presents Effecting Change Through Social Media
in 2000 Schneider Hall on the WMW campus.   Social media is frequently implicated in harassment and abuse. It also provides unprecedented opportunities to effect positive change, particularly when it comes to women’s rights. Story telling, awareness building and social actions can all be used to create a more equitable and empathetic culture. sorayachemaly.tumblr.com

On April 2 at 5:30 p.m. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh presents Stop Telling Women to Smile
in 1004 Richmond Center for the Visual Arts on the WMU campus. This street-art project addresses gender-based, street harassment. The project consists of a series of portraits of women who have talked about their experiences with harassment. The portraits, redesigned as posters, include text inspired by their  experiences. The posters displayed along thoroughfares create a bold presence for women in an environment where they are often made to feel uncomfortable and/or unsafe. www.tlynnfaz.com

Although you may not be able to be in Kalamazoo, you can check out their work on the internet! Maybe the wonderful Women’s Resource Center at UM-D can parallel this kind of program in the future.  No matter what, decide to explore the roots of the problem. Decide to challenge the status quo. Decide to take action toward social transformation. You CAN help change the conversation and create a society with more social justice.

In the USA, 300,000 girls disappear every year!

a-path-appearsBefore you attend tomorrow night’s presentation on human trafficking at UM-D, 6:00 p.m. in Kochoff Hall, University Center Building, seize an opportunity for some prior learning by watching A Path Appears, live streamed on PBS.
If you missed the broadcast premiere of A Path Appears last night featuring Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, along with actor/advocates Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, and Malin Akerman, here’s your chance to watch it online.

Episode one, Sex Trafficking in the USA, took viewers across America to Nashville, Boston, and Chicago to uncover a harsh reality that exists within our borders. The episode shines a light on the organizations that are making significant strides to combat this issue. You can view last night’s episode here, and mark your calendar for the next episodes Feb. 2 and Feb. 9!.


Seeding and Nourishing Change

8922f5d4e2fe662f6e3fba7089a66187As a resident of the city with the largest percentage of Arab Americans in America, approximately 40%, I believe that Dearborn, Michigan, today has become a great example of cultures mixing and gaining understanding of others. So please consider the changing role of women here and in one-specific Arab nation.

Which country adopted a new constitution one year ago?

Which country leads the Arab world in gender equality?

Which country allows women choice of spouse and legal divorce?
Which country prohibits polygamy?

Which country has a legal-minimum age for marriage?

Which country constitutionally protects women’s rights regarding inheritance, property ownership, and child custody?

Which country has a constitutional requirement to work toward gender parity among elected officials?

The answer is Tunisia.

Today over 30% of the seats in Parliament are held by women.

Forty-three percent (43%) of STEM grads in Tunisia are women!

As the northernmost country in Africa, bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the east, Tunisia is still a male-dominated culture. As such, cultural expectations are still a force with which to be reckoned. Many traditional expectations remain entrenched. For instance, women in the countryside are often ignorant of the rights they have gained. Just a little over a quarter of women are actually in the labor force; so their participation in economic life remains low.

Just as it does in this country, inclusion and empowerment for all women remains beyond reach. But with the emergence of women leaders, entrepreneurs and creatives, change is being seeded and nourished. It will grow.

To learn more read: “Life After the Revolution: Tunisian Women’s Economic Empowerment” by Gloria L. Blackwell.        www.aauw.org/2015/01/14/revolution-tunisian-women

Just stand up!

thAn Ellen S. Daniels recently had this to say in a letter to the editor of the New York Times:

First, she described how Rachel Maddow from MSNBC succeeded in being heard on Bill Maher’s raucous show recently when a male guest on the program kept talking right over her remarks.

“Rather than shout back, Ms. Maddow humorously raised her hand, as if she were in school asking for permission to speak. When that didn’t work, she finally just stood up. Her tactic stopped the man cold. And then Ms. Maddow made her point.

Women do need to ‘lean in.’ Women do need to firmly say, ‘I’m speaking now, you’ll get your turn.’ And yes, sometimes women do need to just stand up.”

Ninth Grade Student at Dearborn High Wins Speech Trek

20150154bfd76c6c657Scout Greimel, a ninth-grade student at Dearborn High School, has won the AAUW-Dearborn Speech-Trek contest! This year’s topic was: “How to be a Change Maker Against Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and Violence in School”

Participants in this formal-speech competition were judged upon their abilities to express how these issues have affected their lives and the lives of those around them. Judges included retired educators Beverly Reiter and Jonelle Robinson as well as the Communications Coordinator for the Dearborn Public Schools, David Mustonen.

The first-place winner is Scout Greimel, a ninth-grade student who attends Dearborn High School. (The photograph pictures her with her mother, Suzanne Greimel). Scout won $300 from the Dearborn branch; and she now advances to the state-wide competition via a DVD presentation. The winner at the AAUW-Michigan level will earn an additional $500 and a chaperoned trip to Escanaba, Michigan to present the winning speech to attendees at the AAUW-MI state convention. Scout’s DVD presentation will be available on the AAUW-Dearborn and Michigan websites later this spring.

The mission of AAUW-Dearborn is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research in order to empower women and girls to reach their highest potential. AAUW-Dearborn president, Anne Gautreau, commented, “To watch an adolescent stand up and speak with confidence and conviction is to watch a new world emerge. Finding your own voice is the key to integrity and accomplishment.”

Second place, $100, went to Kristianna Ballnik , a senior from Dearborn High School. Third place, $75, was awarded to Fatima Taj, a ninth-grade student at Fordson High School. Freshman Reem Alshareef, also from Fordson, earned an Honorable Mention.

Rosa Scaramucci, Speech-Trek II liaison for the Dearborn branch, added, “It was evident that all of these young women were passionate about these prevalent issues, and they also offered  viable solutions to foster change in attitudes and actions. This is why we feel so strongly about bringing this educational opportunity to the community.”