AAUW Updates and Action Alerts


Equal Pay Day Is Tuesday, April 12.  AAUW has worked for equal pay since the late 1800s as detailed in this 7-minute video: https://www.aauw.org/…/aauw-and-the-fight-for-fair-pay-an-o…/. Worth a look! Link to recent studies of the issue and data by state at: https://www.aauw.org/…/public-po…/aauw-issues/gender-pay-gap/. There you will discover that women in our branch’s Ohio Congressional District rank 11th out of 16 districts in the pay gap between women and men. Men in our area make an average of $55,716 annually whereas women make $41,459. Do something about this and other important issues that impact women by signing up for the AAUW Action Network at: https://www.aauw.org/what…/public-policy/two-minute-activist/.



As we dive into 2016, it’s important to take stock of AAUW’s policy achievements in 2015, and to thank AAUW Action Network members like you for your extraordinary efforts to advance our shared mission. Your advocacy has helped AAUW influence public policy at the national, state, and local level. Your support has also ensured we could implement successful and exciting policy programs and campaigns throughout the last year.

As an Action Network member, you make our AAUW advocacy community strong—and we hope you will forward this e-mail to friends and family members and urge them to join you as a Two-Minute Activist. Make it your New Year’s resolution to help grow AAUW’s advocacy community!

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that 2015 was a roller coaster of a year for our AAUW policy priorities, but members and supporters like you made their voices heard. For all the instances that infuriated us in 2015, there were successes that provided a silver lining.

From all of us in the AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department, best wishes for a wonderful start to a healthy and productive new year!


Lisa M. Maatz
AAUW Vice President of Government Relations
Thanks to the work and generosity of you and all our members and supporters, we can be proud of some impressive AAUW advocacy achievements in 2015. Here are just a few:

  • Over 250,000 emails were sent by Action Network members to their legislators, both statewide and nationally. Your online advocacy efforts amplified AAUW’s voice far and wide and across the nation. Each Thursday, when the AAUW Action Fund’s Lobby Corps hits Capitol Hill, they are able to show members of Congress how many of their constituents are AAUW activists. Our Action Network was a critical force in furthering our public policy priorities in the states and in Congress in 2015!
  • AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps made over 1,300 visits to senators and members of Congress on issues important to women and families. Lobby Corps members were toasted by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in recognition of the corps’ 40 years of citizen lobbying.
  • New Title IX coordinator materials were released this year! After several years of advocating, AAUW realized a huge victory when the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights published the first-ever official tools for Title IX coordinators. These free resources, including a guidance letter and manual, reinforce the authority of Title IX coordinators and supports their work. AAUW was specifically mentioned in press, from Politico to Huffington Post and Inside Higher Ed. AAUW branches across the country have undertaken a resource delivery project, in which they meet with Title IX coordinators in their communities and school districts to highlight the importance of – and to share – the new materials. Since the project began this summer, more than fifty schools or district offices across seventeen states received the Title IX Coordinator Guidance from AAUW members. There will be even more deliveries in 2016!
  • AAUW leaders Bets Brown (ME), Christine Siebeneck (OH), Corinne Anderson (MS), Denny McGuire (NC), Mary Modder (WI), Deborah Karvey (GA), Katherine Burgess (CO), and Sharon Bigot (MN) were a key part of our coalition lobbying efforts when they came to Capitol Hill to advocate for critical civil rights protections in federal K-12 education laws. The bill that was signed into law included several of these important civil rights and gender equity provisions.
    The House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing on Campus Sexual Assault. AAUW’s Lisa Maatz was invited to testify at the House Education and Workforce Higher Education Subcommittee Hearing on “Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault on College Campuses.”
  • After advocacy by AAUW and other groups, the U.S. Department of Justice released much needed guidance on identifying and preventing gender bias in law enforcement’s response to sexual assault and domestic violence. The gender bias present in policing results in decreased protection, less robust services, and a diminished response – especially for women of color. The new guidance provides tools and resources for law enforcement while recognizing and addressing biases, assumptions, and stereotypes.
  • AAUW released the Fall 2015 edition of The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, complete with new information and tools about AAUW’s expanded state policy efforts.
    AAUW released Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s’ Success in Engineering and Computing, with additional recommendations for state and federal policy makers to increase women’s participation in STEM fields. AAUW hosted a packed briefing at Google, as well as a Capitol Hill briefing, to share the policy recommendations of Solving the Equation.
    President Barack Obama’s paid leave executive order includes many AAUW priorities, and is the result of years of persistent member advocacy. The president announced his support for many AAUW endorsed policies including 1) Healthy Families Act, which would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time; 2) a budget plan to help states create paid leave programs; 3) a presidential memorandum that will ensure federal employees have access to at least six weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives, and proposes that Congress offer six weeks of paid administrative leave as well. AAUW’s statement was included on the White House Blog reacting to Obama’s proposal for paid sick leave!
  • The U.S. Department of Labor issued final rules prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who ask about or share salary information. AAUW led the fight to secure this executive order, and AAUW members from all 50 states submitted over 1,000 comments in support of this rule to the U.S. Department of Labor. This important rule will protect almost 28 million people working for federal contractors.
  • It took years of hard work and dedication to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The law’s campus safety provisions – sometimes called Campus SaVE or the VAWA Amendments to the Clery Act – are now supported by final regulations that require colleges and universities to take new and better steps to end sexual violence. Now the rubber meets the road: These critical new rules from the U.S. Department of Education went into effect, on July 1.
  • AAUW’s annual Title IX anniversary event on Capitol Hill exceeded expectations with over 200 attendees! It was a bi-partisan event attended by 45 congressional and committee offices, 25 advocacy and civil rights organizations, and AAUW members. Lobby Corps members were lauded as “AAUW Title IX Champions.” Click here to see pictures from the event!
  • AAUW public policy priorities were included in the 2015 State of Union Address. Our staff was at the White House for the live SOTU watch party with leading White House policy staff. We were very pleased to hear the president urge Congress to support reforms that will provide concrete economic benefits to women and their families — working toward equal pay, expanding care tax credits, establishing paid sick days and paid family leave, making college more accessible and affordable, improving retirement savings, raising the minimum wage, and making investments in education. Following the State of the Union, Lisa Maatz wrote a blog reacting to the speech.

2016 EQUAL PAY DAY set for April 12

AAUW “celebrates” Equal Pay Day annually by sponsoring research and activities that draw attention to the pay gap between men and women.  Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year. Thanks to the gender pay gap, it takes women more than an extra three months of wages to make up the difference. Equal Pay Day 2016 will fall on Tuesday, April 12, so mark your calendar and participate in some way.

You can start by reading a recent update of AAUW’s seminal study, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap.  Going far beyond the widely reported statistic that women earn on average 78% of what a man earns, the study addresses why the pay gap exists. The report is full of facts and figures that clearly document the history of pay discrimination against women in the workplace; how it affects women of all ages, races, and education levels; and what we can do to close it.

One of the more contentious issues swirling around the pay gap debate has been whether women are paid less because they choose lower-paying jobs, because more women work part time than men do or because women tend to be the primary caregivers for their children. The short answer is that after all these complications are factored in, a wage gap of 7% still exists one year after women graduate from college and a 12% gap exists among full time workers 10 years after college graduation.

Read the latest AAUW Washington Update. Read recent Two-Minute Activist alerts and act. Sign up to be a Two-Minute Activist and receive the Washington Update.

Read a recent AAUW Action Network publication that encourages you to visit with your legislator or attend a Town Hall meeting to lobby for a new economic agenda for women and families and offers tips on how to do that.