Women selected to moderate two debates

Jim Lehrer (PBS), Candy Crowley (CNN) and Bob Schieffer (CBS) will host three debates between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney.

Martha Raddatz (ABC) will host the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan.

For the first time in two decades, women have been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host debates!

“We picked the people we thought were the best…,” said Co-chairman on the Debate Commission, Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. “This is a two-year process, and all the way through we looked at new ideas, new people. But historically, we have stayed with television journalists, because the moderators have to be experienced.”

Janet Brown, the executive director of Commission, declared: “You have to look at how journalists handle pressure, how they think on their feet. There is a very fine art to mastering the material, moving in real-time while a producer is in your ear, and having the confidence to tell presidential candidates they’re over time or not answering the question. That takes a lot of skill, and the people best-suited to do this are people with experience. Without it, in real time, moderators are taking a significant risk, which is a disservice to the American people and the candidates.”

Selecting moderators voters can trust is becoming increasingly tricky.
As racial and ethnic diversity continues to grow and a younger demographic comes of age, all decisions become more complex when representing the viewing public.

The Commission strives to select moderators who “have nothing left to prove and are not moving to make a name for themselves.”

Today, women constitute more than half of the electorate and over ninety percent of women are online. AAUW hopes to hear candidates discuss: health care, childcare costs, pay equity and access to higher education.

Conference Call

The White House Office of Public Engagement and Council on Women & Girls has requested to host a conference call for AAUW members to discuss issues impacting women and girls, including the new preventive care coverage requirements, STEM education initiatives, the Violence Against Women Act, and the budget.

Just announced: Our speakers will include Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women & Girls and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women; and Steve Robinson, Special Assistant at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

WHAT: White House Special Summer Update Call Just for AAUW Members
DATE: Thursday, August 16
TIME: 2 p.m. Eastern Time
REGISTER HERE: http://www.aauw.org/act/issue_advocacy/signup.cfm
*Dial-in information will be sent prior to the call*

There will be an opportunity for questions, so come prepared! During the call, you can also submit questions by tweeting @AAUWPolicy using the hashtag “#AAUW2WH.”


From Janet Watkins, President, AAUW of Michigan

Take part in “RAISING OUR VOICES: Michigan Women’s Virtual-Action Days,” August 13, 14, & 15.

The assault on women’s health by state legislators has mobilized women to take action.

AAUW of Michigan opposes state H.B. 5711 which will virtually eliminate safe, affordable, and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services in Michigan. The bill especially affects economically disadvantaged women who rely upon family planning clinics for mammograms, Pap exams and cervical cancer screenings.

AAUW and AAUW of Michigan public policy position supports:

~Protecting Reproductive Health
~Improving Reproductive Health
~Putting Prevention First
~Comprehensive Sex Education
~Access to legally prescribed contraception and emergency contraception

Let your elected officials know that women’s reproductive choice is a matter of health, not a matter of politics! See page 43 of our Dearborn Branch Directory for contact information.

Also, plan to visit Lansing this Wednesday:

“Women Are Watching,” Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join us at 11:30 a.m. on the Capitol Lawn. We will then go inside to show the Michigan Senate that “Women are Watching” from the Michigan-Senate Gallery! The Senate Session is scheduled to begin at noon.

Several petitions are circulating urging the Michigan Legislature to put an end to this. We urge you to make your voice heard; sign on to ALL of them!
• Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan http://miplannedparenthood.org/page/war-women-michigan
• Michigan NOW https://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-mi-and-senate-protect-choice-reject-hb-5711
• ACLU of Michigan https://ssl.capwiz.com/aclu/issues/alert/?alertid=61513786&type=CU&s_src=UNW120001C00&ms=web_120627_MI_reprorights_ac
• Credo Action http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/michigan_abortion/?r_by=-3351093-dj6blnx&rc=confemail

The Blithe and Brash Bella

Congress designated August 26 National Women’s Equality Day after passing a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug in 1971.

Bella Abzug (1920–1998) famously wore wide-brimmed hats and exuded a fiery personality. Her work for feminism, peace and civil liberties landed her at the center of the women’s movement. She championed human rights, especially for the poor and oppressed, throughout the world. Her wit was wondrous. Some of her pithy observations follow:



• They used to give us a day–it was called International Women’s Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn’t behave and here we are.

• Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick.

• The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.

• Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.

• We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. We want an equal share in government and we mean to get it.

• Abortion doesn’t belong in the political arena. It’s a private right, like many other rights concerning the family.

• The inside operation of Congress — the deals, the compromises, the selling out, the co-opting, the unprincipled manipulating, the self-serving career-building — is a story of such monumental decadence that I believe if people find out about it they will demand an end to it.

• I’ve been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish mother with more complaints than Portnoy.

Two Weeks From Now

Two weeks from now, Sunday, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day which commemorates women gaining the right to vote. That occurred on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified. It is worth noting that the amendment had been originally introduced in 1878!

Clearly, persistence and tenacity are keys to societal evolution. Ultimately, the patience and determination of suffragettes paid big dividends.

Canadian Women Legalized in 1929!

Member Donna Palm photographed this statue in Calgary’s Olympic Park. In her email she states, “The stunning point of course is that women were not defined as legal persons until 1929. The entire sculpture is actually a group of five women.”

Wikipedia explains: “The Famous Five or The Valiant Five were five Canadian women who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question, “Does the word ‘Persons’ in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?” in the case Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General). The petition was filed on August 27, 1927, and on 24 April 1928, Canada’s Supreme Court summarized its unanimous decision that women are not persons.  The last line of the judgement reads, “Understood to mean ‘Are women eligible for appointment to the Senate of Canada,’ the question is answered in the negative.” This judgement was overturned by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This case, which came to be known as the Persons Case, had important ramifications not just for women’s rights but also because in overturning the case, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council engendered a radical change in the Canadian judicial approach to the Canadian constitution, an approach that has come to be known as the “living tree doctrine”.

The precedent did establish the principle that women could hold any political office in Canada. Moreover, the Five clearly did devote their energies to increasing women’s participation on legislative bodies with greater power.

The five women were:
Emily Murphy, the British Empire’s first female judge;
Irene Marryat Parlby, farm women’s leader, activist and first female Cabinet minister in Alberta;
Nellie Mooney McClung, suffragist and member of the Alberta legislature;
Louise Crummy McKinney,  first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, or any legislature in Canada or the rest of the British Empire;
Henrietta Muir Edwards, advocate for working women and a founding member of the Victorian Order of Nurses.
Nearly 80 years later, on 8 October 2009, the Senate voted to make the five the first “honorary senators”.