80 Reasons to Join AAUW

In honor of the 80th anniversary of the Dearborn Branch, here is a list of 80 things AAUW members–at the national, state & Dearborn levels–have engaged in or lent support to recently, whether through advocacy, coalitions, donations, initiatives, lobbying (for or against) and actual participation.
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1. Advocacy
2. Alternatives for Girls
3. The Big Read
4. The blog on our website
5. THE September Book Sale
6. Bullying and cyberbullying
7. Campus Leadership to shape the lives of future women leaders.
8. Community Action Grants
9. The Community Fund in Dearborn, particularly with regard to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative
10. CEDAW — The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
11. Dearborn Area Theatre Association’s Random Acts of Theatre
12. Dearborn Community Arts Council
13. Dearborn Historical Museum & McFadden-Ross House & Best Dearborn Stories–Voices from Henry Ford’s Hometown
14. Dearborn Symphony Orchestra and Dearborn Youth Symphony
15. Discrimination — Jimmy Carter declared recently, “I am convinced that discrimination against women and girls is one of the world’s most serious, all-pervasive and largely ignored violations of basic human rights.”
16. Educational Funding
17. Elect Her-Campus Women Win — UM-D has just been awarded a grant designed to expand the pipeline of women running for elected office in college and beyond.
18. Equal Pay Day, always in April
19. Equal Rights Amendment, still not passed
20. E-Student Affiliates at a host of colleges and universities
21. Feminism
22. Fender Bender entry to honor Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive coast-to-coast
23. First Step, which serves victims of domestic & sexual violence
24. Federal Minimum Wage
25. Friendship — Female camaraderie lowers levels of stress hormones, particularly cortisol. It allows women to decompress and leads them to achieve more calm and equilibrium. It also increases lifespans!
26. Gender Equity in both education and the workplace
27. Get-Out-the-Vote Effort
28. Global Connections — We contribute to the economic and social development in countries where women endure acute and chronic needs.
29. Health and reproductive rights — Under health care reform, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu shots and regular well-baby and well-child visits will be covered.
30. High School Data Transparency Act
31. Human Trafficking and its horrors
32. Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor, has her new Sexual Assault Response Unit, a giant step for victims.
33. International Day of the Girl Child  celebrated each October 11
34. The International Violence Against Women Act places women at the center of U.S. foreign policy. The bill supports measures to prevent violence, protect survivors and bring perpetrators to justice. It helps prevent and respond to violence against women particularly during armed conflicts.
35. International Women of Courage Awards by the US State Department: “Women’s issues are families’ issues, they’re economic issues, they’re security issues, they’re justice issues.” — John Kerry, Secretary of State
36. League of Women Voters
37. Leadership — We provide development opportunities to our members.
38. LEGACY — our newsletter
39. Legal Advocacy –We challenge sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace.
40. Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
41. Lobby Corp
42. The Marge Powell Leadership Awards
43. The Mayor’s Arts Award
44. Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame — The first Dearborn woman, Kay Cushman, was inducted this month for her participation in ConCon.
45. Miss Representation, the documentary
46. National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall
47. NCCWSL — National Conference for College Women Student Leaders
48. Nineteen — the percentage of women in Congress
49. Oral History Project
50. Paycheck Fairness Act
51. Presidential Commission on the Status of Women
52. Philanthropy: 3.7 million dollars were awarded in fellowships and grants to support 245 women in academic pursuits in 2013 alone! Since 1888, AAUW has awarded nearly $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to more than 12,000 women from 130 countries.
53. Pockets of Perception, sculptural installation by high school students
54. Public Policy: We advocate to advance equity for women and girls.
55. Reproductive rights and responsibilities.
56. Research: We analyze gender equity issues in education and the workplace.
57. Rights in the workplace
58. Safety Net: The number of households living with $2 or less in income
per-person, per-day includes nearly 3 million kids. More than twenty percent of households now live in extreme poverty in this land of the American Dream.
59. Sexism, THE social disease!
60. Sexual Assault in the Armed Services & the documentary film The Invisible War
61. Sexual Assault Awareness Month
62. Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Prevention
63. $mart-$tart Salary negotiation workshops at over 140 colleges including University of Michigan-Dearborn
64. SOAR at UM-D: Student Outreach and Academic Resources program
65. STEM Education — We help level the playing field for girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
66. Student Debt — We’re trying to make it easier for grads to pay back their one-trillion plus dollars of debt.
67. Supreme Court: There are now three women chief justices.
68. Speech Trek to help high school girls find their voices
69. Suffrage — We’ll be showing Iron Jawed Angels at the Henry Ford Centennial Library next August.
70. Tech Trek
71. Title IX
72. Tribal Law and Order Act which aims to decrease violence against women in Native communities.
73. Two-Minute Activist whereby we shape political opinions
74. UM-D AAUW-Student Organization
75. Vista Maria which has been rebuilding lives since l883
76. Violence Against Women Act — No one deserves to be beaten, raped, mutilated or sold into sexual slavery!
77. The Wage Gap — We now know it is projected to close in 2057!
78. Women’s Equality Day
79. Women’s History Month
80. Woman’s Resource Center at UM-D
Not to mention a whole lot of vitality and zest!

Even though we’ve turned eighty, we still have much to do, much to change and much to accomplish! We hope you’ll join us in our mission.

Less than one hundred years

MollyIvins2We should all bubble up with joy and delight; for tomorrow is Election Day and we women get to vote. It’s really quite extraordinary that so many people are so casual about such a precious privilege. We live in a free country. We get to participate in choices about our laws, about those who represent us, and we get to try to do the right thing!  Before 1920, we only could have participated as far as those who resented us would have tolerated.

So in a spirit of celebration, I just want to post a few quips by Molly Ivins, the late-great political commentator from Texas. She was as big and brash as that State in her expression of opinion about the absurdities and foibles that accompany the game of politics. Here, then, are some samples of her delicious wit.

• It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

• The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.

• What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.

Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.

• You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.

• One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it’s not that bad yet — but it’s getting that bad.

• There’s never been a law yet that didn’t have a ridiculous consequence in some unusual situation; there’s probably never been a government program that didn’t accidentally benefit someone it wasn’t intended to. Most people who work in government understand that what you do about it is fix the problem — you don’t just attack the whole government.

• The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children’s blood.

• During a recent panel on the numerous failures of American journalism, I proposed that almost all stories about government should begin: “Look out! They’re about to smack you around again!”

• I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

 
• It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.

 
• What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.

 

Instead of outrage, why not ENGAGE. Cast your ballot. Be a part of an idealistic process, and then pop a cork and celebrate your freedoms. It’s a great day in America when we are allowed entry to that tiny bit of real estate called the ballot box!

 

The Expectant Unexpected

heavylift-hp-434In the late sixties, during my employment interview to teach for the Dearborn Public Schools, the personnel director quizzed me repeatedly about my plans for marriage and family. Only twenty-one at the time, I assumed he was just a bit nosy.

That was an era when a single teacher would have been dismissed for moral turpitude had she become pregnant. That was an era when a woman whose “baby bump” became apparent had to leave her classroom. Evidently, children in that era still believed in storks and cabbage patches. Once a pregnant woman left the classroom, she lost seniority too. The forced departure was considered a personal leave. A non-tenured teacher was not eligible for such leave; so she had no other option than to quit or face termination.

A decade later in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act became law. But even NOW, pregnant persons can be fired for requesting work accommodations.
Want to stay off ladders? You’re gone.
Want to avoid heavy lifting? You’re fired.
Want to sit on a stool at a cash register? You’re toast.
Want to use the toilet more often? You’re discharged.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require employers to make the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they ALREADY MAKE for disabilities. The act would allow pregnant women to continue to do their jobs and support their families.

Wondering how this could possibly be needed TODAY?  Some courts are interpreting employment and civil rights laws already on the books to have open loopholes. Such loopholes have resulted in employers legally refusing to accommodate simple requests. Maintaining a healthy-normal pregnancy sometimes demands such simple entreaties be respected and honored. While a few states have passed laws requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, most have not.

Now, factor in these tough economic times. For many pregnant women losing a job is nothing short of devastating. Then consider that individuals who are fired typically lose their health insurance coverage. Finally, consider how much a company might save on premiums simply by firing the pregnant workers!

Unexpected unemployment is becoming increasingly expectant for expectant women!

The ‘Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’ would assure  NONDISCRIMINATION WITH REGARD TO REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS RELATED TO PREGNANCY.
Employers could:
not make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of a job applicant or employee, unless such covered entity can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such covered entity;
deny employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee, if such denial is based on the need of the covered entity to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of an employee or applicant;
require a job applicant or employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to accept an accommodation that such applicant or employee chooses not to accept; or
require an employee to take leave under any leave law or policy of the covered entity if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of an employee.

We live in interesting times where the wealthy appear to be gaining increasing power over the lives of their “lessers.”  Meanwhile, women are increasingly backsliding and losing control over the simplest and most fundamental aspects of existence.

Wealth Rules, both noun & verb

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Kudos to the League of Women Voters Dearborn/Dearborn Heights and their president Betsy Cushman!  Cushman and her team brought Rich Robinson, Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, to speak to local citizens this past week.

Robinson’s presentation, “Dark Money & Our Democracy,” was depressing, compelling, eye opening and a call to action. We must alert and educate citizens about how political ideals are being undermined by hidden wizards of wealth in our state and nation.

 

Everyone present at the meeting received a 100-page brochure entitled “Descending into Dark Money.” The publication graphically illustrates how the rich are buying elections in Michigan. Our new-gilded age might better be called the guilted age, due to the chicanery of enormously wealthy, hidden-influence peddlers shaping elections.

 

Dark money is slang for monies that fund elections secretly, on behalf of candidates and ballot questions. Key to deception is hiding the source of contributions. Keeping voters in the dark is essential. Those that give expect to get. What is carefully hidden is what candidates exchange or are expected to do  in return for gifts of cash.  Appointments? Contracts? Permits? Policy? Rights to resources?

 
Robinson asserts that there is proportionally more dark money being spent in Michigan than in federal elections! Non-party spending growth in campaigns is now enormous. Although politicians of all stripes come to mind, what may be even scarier is that even judges are being elected via dark money campaigns. What that says about fair-and-impartial justice is too scary to contemplate in a society that claims to be about equality under the law. Nevertheless, Robinson reports that five-out-of-seven of our State Supreme Court Justices are recipients of dark-money campaigns.

 
Ever-slicker, television-and-radio, campaign ads insinuate and infer dreadful traits in opponents’ candidates.  Clearly, we need to do more to educate the electorate about how to think, to analyze, to discern. In the interim, scabrous ads can continue to infer almost any horrific thing about candidates’ characters as long as those ads avoid saying “Vote for or vote against. Support or defeat.”

 
A plutocrat is a person whose power derives from wealth, and a plutarchy is a society ruled by the wealthiest citizens. Obviously, extraordinary wealth can buy extraordinary power in order to serve selfish purposes. In Michigan, we are at risk of devolving into a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy.  It can’t happen though, if enough of us say, “ENOUGH!”

 

Get involved in the issue. Get informed. Make a contribution to support important research that can illuminate how dark money is shaping Michigan politics. Your contribution can be sent to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, 600 West St. Joseph, Suite 3G, Lansing, MI 48933.

 

If you prefer, make a secure, credit-card contribution through Michigan Campaign Finance Network at www:mcfn.org/

Join the Fight to End Slavery!

20130213_092532_33Senator Judy Emmons invites you to attend a community-awareness event to Stop Human Trafficking.

We live in Michigan, one of the top states in the nation for human trafficking.

In order to help diminish this problem, we need to learn to recognize the signs of a trafficking victim.

Theresa Flores founder of SOAP (Saving Our Adolescents from Prostitution) and author of The Slave Across the Street, will share her story. She, herself, is a survivor of human trafficking and now works as a victim advocate. In addition, Senator Emmons will discuss what is happening with legislation to ameliorate this problem in our state.

DATE:                          Friday — October 25, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.

LOCATION:               Warren Road Light and Life Free Methodist Church at 33445 Warren Road

in  Westland, MI 48185

Registration:           Email Chrissy Hemphill at <cchrissyh83@aol.com>

Questions:               Phone Chrissy at (313) 806-3812

Is Foot-in-Mouth Ball here to stay?

Condi-RiceFormer Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, 58, hails from Birmingham, Alabama. She is the daughter of a football coach, and describes herself as “a student of the game.”

 
Apparently her being given a position on the new, 13-member College Football Playoff Selection Committee has sent some old boys into a paroxysm and a tizzy. Those good-old boys are even reported to be experiencing old-fashioned fantods. Next they’ll be calling for smelling salts. What’s old is new again. Sexism is alive and sick in America.

 
Former Auburn coach Pat Dye soiled his reputation on the radio recently when he declared: “all she knows about football is what somebody told her. Or what she read in a book. Or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”
It’s a good thing Rice has a background in diplomacy. She is going to need it. After the controversy broke, she said: “I’ve experienced plenty of heat in my life. Not everyone on the committee has played football. I’m a student of the game, and I believe that I will work very, very hard.” Drew Sharp, while acknowledging the blatant sexism in play,  pointed out in The Detroit Free Press that  “…deciphering the four most deserving teams for the playoff isn’t brain surgery.”

 
Even though Birmingham columnist Kevin Scarbinksy wrote speciously that Rice had “no business” being on the committee because “college football has never been how she’s made a living,” at Stanford, Rice actually hired Ty Willingham to be Stanford’s football coach after Bill Walsh stepped down. Also, Rice points out that, “the most influential commissioner in the history of the NFL was Pete Rozelle. He never played football. And so you can be a student of the game, you can love the game and never have experienced playing the game.”

 
Once again, she will be the first-and-only woman in the room. Clearly, Rice understands the need to honor diversity in the USA. She states: “What’s important is that you have a committee that is going to be responsible and dedicated to make the very best set of decisions possible and that they come from a diversity of backgrounds. I think my diversity in athletics is an important experience to add to that committee. I’m delighted to be a part of the committee, and I’m female, and if people want to take note of that, that’s great.”

Sans Crainte: without fear

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 Help TAKE BACK THE NIGHT on October 17, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. at UM-D.

 

Meet at the auditorium in the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA next to the Mardigan Library. Signs will be posted on campus to direct you to the event.

 

 

For survivors, supporters of survivors, and all those who seek to put an end to sexual assault & domestic violence.
Rally, march around campus, and share YOUR story in a safe environment.
For more information contact Benita Robinson <benitar@umich.edu>  .

Women at the Top: Why So Few?

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AAUW-MI is initiating a speech contest this year for high school students. The topic is “Women at the Top: Why So Few?”

A brief summary of information from just-one newspaper article presents compelling and demonstrative reasons as to why the Speech-Trek topic is about justice and equality for both genders.  Civil rights issues of all stripes are really just about fairness and even handedness. Like all treks, assuring justice and equality in the USA has been a long-arduous journey. As we protect and strengthen the impartial treatment of all citizens, we strengthen the fabric that binds a civil nation.

With that in mind, consider the problems for women on Wall Street:

1. subjected to groping, pay disparity, vulgar office jokes and sexual harassment.

2. reluctant to pursue litigation because of repercussions on careers; women who sue and win learn that going public often means leaving the industry.

3. suffer disproportionate lay-offs and consequent thinning of the ranks

4. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an 11% decline in women employees in the finance-and-insurance category since 2007. By comparison, men have had a 1.6 % decline.

5. The Government Accountability Office reported women managers in financial firms making 58 cents for every dollar that male managers made, the worst pay gap among the 13 industries examined. (The commonly acknowledged nationwide pay gap has been 77 cents to the dollar.)

6. The perception that women are not suited for the job is so acceptable on Wall Street that men often discuss it openly.

In recent cases:

Smith Barney paid $150 million to women who filed claims through a dispute resolution system as part of settlement and agreed to hiring and promotion goals among other reforms.

One recent case involves Debra S. Hayes, a marketing assistant in the brokerage firm Waddell & Reed. Hayes describes a supervisor who badgered her for dates, threw staplers at her and pounded on her desk when she refused his advances. After she reported the desk-punching incident, she was fired!

Employees claim Citigroup disproportionately fired women in 2008 layoffs; 89% of managing directors were men yet only 55 percent of those let go were men.

Goldman Sachs has been accused of discrimination against women in its compensation, promotion and performance evaluation practices.

To learn a lot more, simply Google the topic. There is no shortage of information available.  You can explore the topic for a long time to come!