Current Actions

  • Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care in Arizona!

    Coordinated attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care keep coming in Arizona and across the country. On April 10, the Arizona legislature sent to the governor yet another bill seeking to curtail women’s reproductive choices.

    Women’s health access will take a huge hit – unless Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes HB 2284 by Thursday, April 17.
     
    The misleadingly named Women’s Health Protection Act would open the door for more harassment of doctors and patients by subjecting clinics providing abortions to unnecessary surprise inspections – without requiring a search warrant! Additionally, the bill would criminalize some acts to help a minor access abortion care.
     
    AAUW believes that all women deserve safe, confidential access to all health care services, and that includes abortion. Tell Governor Brewer to veto this misleading legislation right now!

     
    Four years ago, our state put in place a warrant requirement for abortion clinic inspections, and only once has such a warrant ever been requested — interestingly enough, the request came just as this bill was about to be introduced. Clearly HB 2284 is a policy "solution" in search of a problem — not a measure to protect women.
     
    The deadline for Governor Brewer to make a decision about HB 2284 is Thursday, April 17, so she needs to hear from you today! Urge Gov. Brewer to veto HB 2284, and make clear that harassing patients and cherry-picking abortion clinics for “gotcha” inspections have no place in Arizona.

  • Tell Your Senators How You Feel about Equal Pay Vote!

    On April 9, the Senate voted along party lines to once more prevent the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199/S. 84) from receiving an up-or-down vote. Even though a majority of senators support this common-sense legislation, the bill was blocked by procedural rules and partisan bickering.

    This is so frustrating! But in times like these, we don't give up – we double down.

    Your senators need to hear how you feel about their votes. If they supported the bill, thank them for standing on the right side of history, and strengthen their resolve to keep fighting for fair pay. If they chose partisan gridlock over real change for women and working families, make sure they know how wrong they are.


    What happened in the Senate is huge, and we can't let it go quietly into the night. Senators didn't just fail to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act – they failed to agree to debate the bill! At a time when working families are struggling to make ends meet due to gender pay discrimination, a minority of senators thought it was a good idea to block the Senate from even talking about passing a bill that would give employers and employees the tools they need to close the pay gap.

    Make sure your senators know you were watching the equal pay vote! They need to know that this issue isn't going away – and that we are certainly not going away either.

    We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to bring the Equal Pay Act of 1963 into the 21st century. The Senate’s failure to end Mad-men era policies has significant, real-world implications for millions of American women and their families. Today – in 2014! – women face a gender pay gap at every education level and in every occupation, and the gap is worse for mothers and women of color. Even when comparing "apples to apples" and controlling for all factors known to affect earnings, AAUW researchers still found a 7 percent unexplainable pay gap between men and women just one year out of college – and 7 percent is no small change.

    Gender pay discrimination isn't a myth, and the wage gap isn't just a number. The gap is real dollars and cents that translate into less money for food, gas, housing, education, child care… the list goes on. All workers deserve the chance to succeed, and hard work deserves equal pay. It's just that simple. It's not a partisan issue, and it shouldn't be. It is simply the right thing to do.

    Thank your senators if they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act. And if they voted the wrong way, tell them they can't ignore women and working families any longer.

  • Tell the House: It's Time for a Vote on Paycheck Fairness

    Although a majority of Americans support equal pay legislation, the House of Representatives still hasn't brought up the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377) for a vote. But we have a chance to right this wrong.

    There’s an obscure House of Representatives procedure called a discharge petition, which automatically brings up a bill for a floor vote if a majority of representatives (218) sign it. As of April 8 - Equal Pay Day - 197 representatives have signed on to the discharge petition for the Paycheck Fairness Act. We just need 21 more signatures, and then the House will be forced to hole a vote on the bill.

    Contact your representative, and tell them the House must vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act!

    The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the original law from better addressing the pay gap. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to prove that pay disparity is based on a legitimate business reason not related to gender, or due to seniority, merit, or productivity. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss or ask about salary information.

    We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to bring the Equal Pay Act of 1963 into the 21st century. Today – in 2014! – women face a gender pay gap at every education level and in every occupation, and the gap is worse for mothers and women of color. Even when comparing "apples to apples" and controlling for all factors known to affect earnings, AAUW researchers still found a 7 percent unexplainable pay gap between men and women just one year out of college – and 7 percent is no small change.

    Tell your representative to sign the discharge petition and call for a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

  • Urge Michigan Legislators to Pass Pay Equity Bills: HB 4516-4519 and SB 0296-0299

    The pay gap is not only a women’s issue – it’s a family issue.

    Urge your state representatives and state senators to keep Michigan’s working families healthy and economically secure by passing Michigan HB 4516-4519 and SB 0296-0299.

    The economic recession that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Michigan families. Michigan experienced significant job losses and an anemic economy, and household incomes fell to historic lows. These economic circumstances illuminate the increasing reliance on women’s wages to make ends meet. Four in 10 mothers are the primary or sole breadwinner for their families, and two-thirds of mothers are the primary or co-breadwinner - yet in Michigan, the earnings of women on average are only 74 percent of men's earnings. For African American women, it’s 65 percent, and for Hispanic women it is only 56 percent.

    If you are one of the two-thirds of women who are their families' primary or co-breadwinner, the gender pay gap can contribute to poor living conditions, poor nutrition, and fewer opportunities for your children. Closing the gender pay gap and ending gender pay discrimination against these women is more than just a point of pride - it's a matter of survival.

    Women and children serve as a barometer for the economic health of a society. Support economic security for Michigan women and families. Contact your Michigan legislators, and tell them to pass pay equity legislation NOW!

  • The Florida Legislature is at It AGAIN on School Vouchers

    They're at it again.

    In 2012, Florida voters resoundingly rejected private school vouchers. In 2014, hundreds of people contacted their state legislator to oppose vouchers. It's simple: Floridians oppose vouchers.

    It doesn't look like our state legislature has gotten the message. They've moved legislation to increase vouchers in the House, and now they're moving it in the Senate. Once again, we need to tell our legislators to oppose vouchers for private schools.

    The proposed legislation would nearly double the number of vouchers given to private schools. That's millions of dollars less for our public schools, and millions less for teachers and social services. That's just wrong.

    Those in favor of this bill talk about parental choice, yet this proposal does the exact opposite - it prevents choice. Parental choice requires a healthy, strong public school system, and one that is properly funded. This legislation would starve Florida's public schools, and our legislators should oppose it.

  • Happy Equal Pay Day!

    Today is Equal Pay Day in the state of Nevada! Thanks to the work of AAUW of Nevada members and supporters like you, Governor Sandoval issued a proclamation that draws attention to the gender wage gap and acknowledges that a lifetime of lower pay means women have a harder time saving for retirement and less income from Social Security and pensions. It also acknowledges that closing the gender wage gap is important to the financial security of families and the Nevada economy.

    AAUW of Nevada would like to mark Equal Pay Day by thanking Governor Sandoval for issuing the proclamation and declaring today - April 8, 2014 - Equal Pay Day. Won't you please take two minutes to let Governor Sandoval know that we appreciate his effort?

  • Ohio's Equal Pay Act Needs a Second Hearing!

    Ohio’s Equal Pay Act (HB 456) would bring the provisions of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into Ohio civil rights laws, so that individuals who are discriminated against in their pay can file for relief in a more accessible state court. Back pay may be recovered for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge. 

    The Ohio Equal Pay Act (HB 456) had its first hearing and we need to keep momentum going for a second hearing!

    Together, let's send a message to Chairman Butler, loud and clear, that he needs to stand with women by supporting Ohio's Equal Pay Act (HB 456) and granting a second hearing!

  • Urge the Senate to Move on Paycheck Fairness!

    "If the Paycheck Fairness Act had been the law, I would have talked about my salary without fear, and I likely would have known where I stood in comparison to the men I worked with and those I supervised. Instead, without the Paycheck Fairness Act, I wasn’t able to ask, and I made less."

    - Kerri Sleeman, an AAUW member in Michigan, speaking before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on April 1

    At a recent Senate committee hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199/S. 84), AAUW member Kerri Sleeman bravely shared her experience of learning that men she trained and supervised were being paid more than her – simply because they were male breadwinners. Kerri crisscrossed the country to Washington, D.C., for a whirlwind trip – lasting fewer than 24 hours! – to drive home the message that no one should be paid less than their value and it's long past time for our lawmakers to do something about gender pay discrimination.

    Unfortunately, our senators didn't seem to get that message – on April 9, a minority of senators blocked a procedural vote to debate and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    We need your help: Make sure your senators know that this issue isn't going away – and that we are certainly not going away either. Please contact your senators and urge them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act when it comes up for a vote again.

    The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the original legislation from fully addressing the pay gap. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to prove that pay disparity is based on a legitimate business reason not related to gender, or due to seniority, merit, or productivity. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss or ask about salary information.

    As Kerri said at the Senate committee hearing, the Paycheck Fairness Act could not be more important: "Given the landscape, women cannot close the pay gap by ourselves. We need policymakers to do their part, ensuring that the protections and assistance of the Paycheck Fairness Act are there to help both employees and employers work together towards a more equitable workplace."

    We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the persistent gender pay gap. Please write your senators now!

    Women working full time, year round, still earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and that pay gap is worse for women of color. When you drill down into the numbers even more and do an "apples to apples" comparison of women and men working in the same jobs, in similar geographic regions, and with the same levels of education, the pay gap shrinks – but it doesn't go away. No matter the size of the gap, the lost income adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over a woman's lifetime.

    Thanks again for helping out with this push – together, let’s send a message to our senators, loud and clear, that they need to stand with women and working families by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act!

  • Oppose Private School Vouchers in Florida

    Last month, AAUW FL and its allies defeated a proposed expansion of the state school voucher program. Yet over the last few days, that proposal has been re-introduced. We need to tell legislators, once more, that we oppose vouchers for private schools.

    Due to procedural rules, this proposed expansion of the voucher program has been added to another bill, but it would do that same harm as before. The legislation proposed would raise the cap on tax credits that fund private school vouchers from $286 million to $874 million over the next five years.

    Tell your legislator to oppose taking almost a billion dollars out of Florida's public schools.

    In 2012, Florida voters rejected private school vouchers. It's clear Florida voters oppose vouchers, yet legislators keeping pushing. Those in favor of this bill talk about parent choice, yet this does the exact opposite - it prevents choice. Parental choice requires a healthy, strong public school system, that is properly funded.
     
    Legislators should listen to the people, and not fund private school vouchers.

  • Tell Your Legislator: Failure is Not Acceptable!

    Members of the American Association of University Women of North Carolina (AAUW of North Carolina) have a history of lobbying their state legislators, both at home and in Raleigh, and holding their legislators accountable for how they vote on AAUW of North Carolina issues. The 2013 AAUW of North Carolina voting record provides information about elected state legislators through the votes cast on critical AAUW issues - and for your legislator, the news is NOT good.

    Your legislator received a 0% on the AAUW of North Carolina report card, meaning that he/she voted against AAUW priority issues throughout the 2013 legislative session. From education to health care and unemployment insurance to election reform, your legislator was on the wrong side of the issues each time.

    Tell your state legislator: As a constituent, I deserve better than a representative with a failing grade! Using the tool below, you can send a message to your legislator expressing your disappointment in his/her votes in the 2013 regular legislative session and your hope that he/she will better represent your community in the upcoming 2014 short legislative session.

  • Support the National Women's History Museum

    Along the National Mall in Washington, you’ll find many different museums. What you won’t find is a museum about women’s history.

    The House of Representatives will soon consider legislation that could begin the process to change that. This bill establishes a commission to follow the recognized process for instituting a museum on the mall.

    Tell your Representative to support this legislation. This bipartisan bill begins the process of determining how best to honor the generations of women who played a role in shaping our communities and nation.

    A National Women’s History Museum, particularly on the National Mall, would forever mark the many accomplishments of extraordinary women in our country’s history. Women have made meaningful and lasting contributions to the marketplace, laboratory, government, entertainment industry, classroom, home, and family. Women – including AAUW members – have made history, and that history should be remembered.

    Tell your Representative that women’s contributions deserve to be recognized.  

  • Free Seminar on Running For Office


    Free seminar at the Iowa State Capitol open to all Iowa women interested in running for office: April 8-9th, 2014

            Iowa Commission on the status of women
            Mar 25 at 8:14 AM

    Get ready to run for office!


    50-50 in 2020 in collaboration with The Iowa State Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics and The University of Iowa N.E.W. Leadership invite women who’ve thought about running for office sometime in the future to a two-day seminar at the Iowa State Capitol. The event will be held on April 8 & 9, 2014.


    Seminar Details


    Date: April 8-9, 2014

    Location: Iowa State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa

    Cost: There is no fee for the seminar. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, overnight accommodations, and meals.

     

    To Register:
    Email mailto:info@50-50in2020.org?subject=Iowa State Capitol Seminar
    Please put “Iowa State Capitol Seminar” in the subject line and include the following information in the email.
    Name:
    Email Address:
    Cell #:
    Home or Office Telephone: #
    Mailing Address:

     

    AGENDA

     

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

     

    ·         3:30 pm Gather, Inside the visitor’s entrance (South door, ground level)

    ·         4:00 pm Welcome, Room 304

    ·         4:15 pm Keynote, Room 304
    Dianne Bystrom, Director, Iowa State Carrie Chapman Catt Center
    “Women in State Legislatures: Making a Difference”

    ·         5:00 pm House & Senate Staff, Decorum, Rules, Attire, Room 304

    ·         5:30 pm Adjourn

    ·         6:00 pm Join women legislators for hors d’oeuvres and cash bar at local restaurant:
    Open Sesame, Third & Locust

    ·         7:00 pm Dinner on your own

     

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

     

    ·         8:00 am Gather, Ground Floor, Senate Side
    “Behind the Chambers” tour and visits to leadership offices

    ·         9:00 am Observe opening and debate, Senate Gallery

    ·         10:00 am or when scheduled: Attend Committee Meetings

    ·         11:00 am Briefing by Legislative Fiscal, Division & Legislative Services, Division, Small Dining Room

    ·         12:00 Lunch in the cafeteria

    ·         1:00 pm Meet with House Speaker, Majority and Minority Leader, Room 304

    ·         2:00 pm Meet with lobbyists, Room 304

    ·         2:30 pm Discussion & Final Remarks, Room 304

    ·         3:00 pm Adjourn

     

    See the website for more information.

     

    Kristen Corey | Program Planner

    Office on the Status of Women | Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs
    Iowa Department of Human Rights | Lucas State Office Building

    321 E. 12th Street, 2nd Floor | Des Moines, IA 50319

    W 515.281.4470 | F 515.242.6119

    E Kristen.Corey@iowa.gov

    www.women.iowa.gov  | www.iowacapi.org

     

  • Thank you, Senator Pryor!

    Just in time for a Senate hearing on the bill next week, and Equal Pay Day on April 8, Sen. Pryor has formally co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84). This critical update to the 1963 Equal Pay Act would give employers and employees the tools they need to help close the gender pay gap. This is much-needed in Arkansas, wherre women on average earn only 77 percent of what men make. That's unacceptable!

    Today, join others from across Arkansas to say "Thank you, Senator Pryor" for supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act and equal pay for equal work. Women and working families in Arkansas have been waiting too long for the Paycheck Fairness Act – let’s thank Sen. Pryor for taking this important stand on their behalf.

  • Urge MI Lawmakers to Pass Equal Pay Bills

    The pay gap is not only a women’s issue – it’s a family issue.

    Urge your state representatives and state senators to keep Michigan’s working families healthy and economically secure by passing Michigan HB 4516-4519 and SB 0296-0299.

    The economic recession that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Michigan families. Michigan experienced significant job losses and an anemic economy, and household incomes fell to historic lows. These economic circumstances illuminate the increasing reliance on women’s wages to make ends meet. Four in 10 mothers are the primary or sole breadwinner for their families, and two-thirds of mothers are the primary or co-breadwinner - yet in Michigan, the earnings of women on average are only 74 percent of men's earnings. For African American women, it’s 65 percent, and for Hispanic women it is only 56 percent.

    If you are one of the two-thirds of women who are their families' primary or co-breadwinner, the gender pay gap can contribute to poor living conditions, poor nutrition, and fewer opportunities for your children. Closing the gender pay gap and ending gender pay discrimination against these women is more than just a point of pride - it's a matter of survival.

    Women and children serve as a barometer for the economic health of a society. Support economic security for Michigan women and families. Contact your Michigan legislators, and tell them to pass pay equity legislation NOW!

  • E-mail Senator Heller: Tell Him Nevadans Support Paycheck Fairness!

    This is it: On April 1, the Senate held a committee hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84) – and we need your help to make sure that Nevada Senator Dean Heller supports the bill when it comes up for a vote as early as April 8.

    The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the original legislation from fully addressing the pay gap. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to prove that pay disparity is based on a legitimate business reason not related to gender, or due to seniority, merit, or productivity. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss or ask about salary information. This bill passed the House in a bipartisan vote in January 2009 – now it's time for the Senate to do the same.

    Senator Heller has shown he supports the anti-retaliation provision of the Paycheck Fairness Act by introducing separate legislation with that provision – help us call on him to see the big picture and support the full Paycheck Fairness Act.

    Women working full time, year round, still earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and that pay gap is worse for women of color. When you drill down into the numbers even more and do an "apples to apples" comparison of women and men working in the same jobs, in similar geographic regions, and with the same levels of education, the pay gap shrinks – but it doesn't go away. No matter the size of the gap, the lost income adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over a woman's lifetime.

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has said in the past that pay discrimination is unacceptable. It's time for him to follow through on that position by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act. 

  • Members of Congress Can't Agree on Anything, Right?

    Actually, wrong. Just two weeks ago, the House Small Business Committee unanimously passed a bill that would expand federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. That's great, but we need your help to make this good idea become law.

    The legislation - the Women's Procurement Program Equalization (H.R.2452) - would amend the Small Business Act so that women-owned small businesses can bid for a wider variety of federal contracts.

    Encouraging women-owned small businesses is not just good public policy; it also makes economic sense. Enabling women to grow their businesses will empower many women to become their own bosses, letting them set their own wages and escape the lingering wage gap that still dogs our economy.

    Tell Congress to support women-owned small businesses!   

  • Action: Stop two terrible bills

    Our legislature has been up to much mischief again this week.  AAUW members across Wisconsin need to contact their legislators immediately.
     
    A proposed schedule for the remainder of the week has the state Assembly taking up two bills the Senate approved last week.  Among the items on the Assembly's calendar for this Thursday (March 20) is Senate Bill 324 restricting early voting and Senate Bill 655 giving lawmakers seven more weeks to squeeze lobbyists for political donations.

    If you agree with us that just about the last thing Wisconsin needs is less time for voting and more time for lobbyists to pass checks to legislators, don't keep your opinion to yourself. Tell your representative in the Assembly how you feel below!
     
    It only takes a few minutes of your time, and the more constituents the Assembly hears from, the more likely we can change the course of their voting. Please enter your zip code below, edit the suggested letter to your liking, and send immediately, day or night to your legislator’s office.
     
    This is URGENT! Please take action today. We are counting on you!

  • Stop School Vouchers in Florida

    A proposed bill in the Florida House would greatly expand our state's private school voucher program - we need you to take action today!

    Let your state representative know that the excessive increase of monies to Step Up for Children and other organizations designed to give monies for private school vouchers is directly harming public education. Florida's school voucher program allows private corporations to receive a corporate tax relief credit by donating to these organizations, which in turn funnel money to private schools that are not held to the same standards and civil rights laws as public schools.

    Our state Constitution says directly that Florida should provide a free, high quality public education. Public funding of private education does not fulfill this obligation.

    Public education has already been stretched financially, and more money needs to be directed to it. Additionally, our taxpayers are being stretched when they are asked to raise taxes to fund public education because of the money being directed away from the public coffers and given to vouchers.

    Tell your state representative to honor the Florida Constitution and properly fund public education before increasing money to unaccountable private schools.

  • Who’s Your Boss? Maybe Not Who You Think

    The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong again, and it’s up to us to get Congress to fix their mistake. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has specifically asked us to!

    In a 5-4 ruling last year, the court created an artificial distinction between types of workplace “supervisors.” This decision creates an extra hurdle for workers suing their employers for workplace harassment, unequal pay, and other forms of discrimination.

    Here’s the problem: The court’s ruling doesn’t mesh with the realities of the modern workplace! Millions of workers are overseen by other employees who don’t have the authority to hire or fire them, yet still shape their day-to-day work experience through actions such as making their schedule, giving them time off, or assigning them projects and tasks. This wrong-headed decision virtually gives a green light to sexual harassment as long as it doesn’t come from “the boss.”

    Under the 2013 ruling, known as Vance v. Ball State University, this “overseeing” type of employee is now classified as a co-worker, meaning that any harassment from them is subject to a lesser standard – despite the obvious fact that they have power over other workers. This problematic decision is of particular concern to women – a national poll found that 25 percent of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, as have one in 10 men.

    Tell Congress: We need laws that reflect what it’s like to work in the real world.
    We need the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would restore longstanding workplace protections the Vance ruling took away. We must return to a reasonable definition that reflects the modern workplace.

    Think about your own experiences at work. You knew who set your schedule and gave you assignments, but did you know who could make the decision to fire you? Was it your direct boss? Was it the HR manager? Was it the company president that you met only once? Under the court’s standard, if your boss doesn’t have the power to fire you, he/she isn’t considered your “supervisor.” And that’s just silly.

    The Fair Employment Protection Act was just introduced on March 13, so it's time to make your voice heard: Tell Congress to support the Fair Employment Protection Act to protect all workers from harassment.

  • Urge Your State Senator to Vote "Yes" on the NH Paycheck Fairness Act

    Fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act and five years after passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, it’s clear the gender pay gap is unlikely to go away on its own - we must continue to fight the battle at both the federal and state level. We have an opportunity to make 2014 the year for progress on equal pay in New Hampshire by supporting the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.

    The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act (SB 207) would strengthen the state’s current pay discrimination law and encourage businesses to end gender pay discrimination in the workplace. It would also deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages.

    With a record number of women in the workforce and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-bread winners for their families, equal pay for women is critical to families’ economic security. Yet in 2012, New Hampshire women working full time, year round, were still paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates nationwide just one year after graduation.

    Please urge your state Senators to support the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act!

  • Help Us End Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania!

    Human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, forces an estimated 27 million people worldwide – including people in the United States – into prostitution or involuntary labor. Pennsylvania's existing law on human trafficking is weak and ineffective.

    In December, AAUW-PA members and supporters called on the Pennsylvania State Senate to strenghten human trafficking legislation. Thanks to you, this legislation (SB 75) passed unanimously!
     
    In recognition of  International Women's Day (observed on March 8), we're asking for your help again: It's time to pass human trafficking legislation in the House (HB 1417, the House version of SB 75).

    Please contact your PA state representative and ask him or her to sponsor HB 1417 or ask the Legislative Committee to bring this bill to the floor.

    HB 1417 would update and strengthen the law in the areas of the "three Ps": prosecution of traffickers, prevention of human trafficking, and protection of victims, many of whom are women and girls.

    We must end human trafficking in Pennsylvania, and you can help. Contact your state representative today!

  • Tell the Senate: Don't Discriminate with Our Tax Dollars

    Imagine a public school where admissions officers could choose not to accept a child because of her gender. Imagine a public school where a principal could choose not to hire an outstanding teacher because of the teacher's religion. Imagine a public school where employment decisions are made based on a teacher's sexual orientation instead of his or her qualifications.

    We don't want to imagine any of these scenarios – because schools that use our federal taxpayer dollars shouldn't be allowed to violate the civil rights laws that many of us fought so hard to enact. But two proposals in the Senate would use vouchers to re-direct billions of dollars in public education funding to private and religious schools that can discriminate when it comes to which students they accept and which teachers they hire.

    That’s a terrible idea, and we need your help to stop it.

    Talk about déjà vu. Time and time again, evidence shows that vouchers do not improve student performance and instead take away precious taxpayer dollars – estimated at more than $1 billion this year alone – from public schools. One proposal by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) would turn 63 percent of all federal education funding into private school vouchers.
     
    Admissions policies at private and religious schools can discriminate on the basis of gender, special needs, income, behavioral history, prior academic achievement, standardized test scores, and more. Furthermore, not only are private and religious voucher schools not required to hire “highly qualified” teachers, they are also allowed to choose not to employ education professionals for discriminatory reasons such as religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

    Tell the Senate that we shouldn’t give our tax dollars to unaccountable private schools.

    Instead of funneling federal taxpayer dollars to private schools, Congress should invest these funds in public schools that serve all students regardless of gender, disability, economic status, or educational achievement.

    Make your voice heard: Tell the Senate to protect funding for public education and oppose vouchers for private schools.

  • ERA Day of Action: E-mail Your Elected Officials!

    With only two, five, or 10 minutes of your time on March 7, you can help make meaningful change for equality by participating in a multi-state day of action for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

    The ERA would add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." We need the ERA to explicitly grant women equal rights and outlaw sex discrimination – that way we can better fight for advancements such as equal pay and push back against efforts to roll back our rights.

    Members of the U.S. Congress have introduced a resolution (H.J. Res 43/S.J. Res 15) that would remove the deadline for states to ratify the ERA. Once the deadline is lifted, only three more states need to ratify the amendment for it to become law.

    Our efforts on Friday, March 7, will be focused on passing that congressional resolution so we can lift the deadline and clear the way for states to ratify the ERA. Led by AAUW of Louisiana, advocates in Alabama, Florida, Nevada, and Texas are all going to be concentrating their efforts on March 7, so we can have a greater impact – and you can take action from the comfort of your own home!

    Follow the instructions below to urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor H.J. Res 43/S.J. Res. 15 today!

  • Urge the Alabama Senate to Expand Medicaid!

    The issue of whether or not to expand Medicaid has been a major dialouge in Alabama for months. Medicaid expansion could extend health insurance to nearly 80 percent of the uninsured population in Alabama – that's 300,000 people who would be eligible for quality, affordable health care if our state takes this important step. The Medicaid expansion is particularly important for women, who are more likely to be low income than men and often have more difficulty paying for health care costs.

    That's why we need to take action to support Medicaid expansion in Alabama!

    The Governor of Alabama has refused to make providing affordable healthcare options a priority for the people of the state. There are too many women and families with unpaid medical bills and long-lasting debt as a result of health problems.

    Please take action to support SB92, the Medicaid expansion bill, today!

  • Urge Your State Legislators to Support the NH Paycheck Fairness Act

    Fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act and five years after passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, it’s clear the gender pay gap is unlikely to go away on its own - and that we have to fight the battle at the federal and state level. Together, let's make 2014 the year for progress on equal pay in New Hampshire by supporting the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.

    The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act (HB 1188/SB 207) would strengthen the state’s current pay discrimination law and encourage businesses to end gender pay discrimination in the workplace. It would also deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages.

    With a record number of women in the workforce and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-bread winners for their families, equal pay for women is critical to families’ economic security. Yet in 2012, New Hampshire women working full time, year round, were still paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates nationwide just one year after graduation.

    Please urge your state legislators to support the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act!

  • Support the Georgia Family Care Act

    On February 5, we celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act. AAUW started advocating for federal family and medical leave legislation in 1986, and we were thrilled to see it become a reality seven years later. But the federal Family and Medical Leave Act was only a step in the right direction. Georgia can take another step with the Family Care Act.

    Will you help Georgia take another step in the right direction for working families by sending a letter to your elected official urging them to support the Family Care Act?

    The Family Care Act would allow Georgia workers to use their earned sick time to care for family members who are ill. Because workers have already earned these paid sick days, the Family Care Act would strengthen Georgia's families and economy. According to the Georgia Job and Family Collaborative, 23 percent of workers have lost a job or been threatened with job loss for taking time to care for a personal or family illness.

    Take action today – tell your state representative to co-sponsor the Family Care Act and help women and working families today.

  • Tell the D.C. Council It's Time to Go to Bat for Title IX and Athletic Equity!

    On January 22, the D.C. Council Committee on Education held a hearing on the Title IX Athletic Equity Act. This bill requires D.C.’s public and charter K-12 schools to report the gender breakdown for student athletic participation and expenditures for sports programs on a public website. It also requires new regulations establishing grievance procedures and district- and school-based Title IX athletic coordinators and instructs the mayor to develop a strategic plan for D.C. schools to comply with Title IX.

    Tell the D.C. Council that you support Title IX and urge them to pass this bill!

    Most D.C. public schools have at least a 10 percent disparity between the number of girls enrolled and the athletic opportunities offered to them, with the disparity reaching up to 25 percent at some schools. Even when girls do play, they are likely to receive less experienced coaches, poorer playing fields, less scholarship counseling, and less expenditure on their sport in general.

    This is unacceptable, and the D.C. City Council should end this disparity.
    The Title IX Athletic Equity Act requires transparent reporting on all of these issues to a website so students, parents, and teachers can hold schools accountable.

    Title IX athletic compliance is more than just a head count! Studies have shown that girls and women who participate in sports are less likely to get pregnant, drop out of school, do drugs, smoke, or develop mental illnesses. All D.C. students need these opportunities to thrive.

    Take action: Tell the D.C. Council to pass the Title IX Athletic Equity Act.

  • Urge Washington Lawmakers to Act on Equal Pay and Paid Sick Days

    In less than one week, AAUW of Washington state activists will head to the state Capitol to lobby our legislators on equal pay and paid sick days, the two issues of focus for our joint Public Policy Impact Grant with AAUW of Oregon.

    Whether you can or cannot attend Lobby Day on January 27, we hope you will take two minutes today to contact your legislators about these issues!

    During this legislative session, we expect our lawmakers to address the issue of paid sick days. Seattle is already leading the way when it comes to city-level ordinances on this issue, and Washington state can play a similar role at the state level. Although there are no plans for action on pay equity at this time, it is our responsibility to keep that issue in the forefront, too, in hopes of a bill next year.

    Thank you in advance for taking two minutes to e-mail your legislators about these key issues.

  • Take Action for Equality in New Jersey

    "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

    Sounds like a no-brainer, right? That's the text of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution (ERA), introduced in 1923 and sent to the states for ratification in 1972. Unfortunately, the ERA fell three states short of the 38 states that needed to ratify it to go into effect.

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment in the 113th Congress so we can finally make this amendment a reality. Has your representative co-sponsored this critical piece of legislation?

    TAKE ACTION: Urge your representative to get with the times and co-sponsor the Equal Rights Amendment (H.J. Res 56).

    We need the ERA to explicitly grant women equal rights and outlaw sex discrimination – that way we can better fight for advancements such as equal pay and push back against efforts to roll back our rights. AAUW of New Jersey strongly supports the ERA, and we hope you will join us in this effort.

    We've waited nearly a century for the Equal Rights Amendment to become law – tell your representative you won't wait any longer!

  • Lilly Ledbetter: Help Me Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

    A message from Lilly Ledbetter:

    Five years ago, I stood next to President Barack Obama while he signed his first bill into law – my law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. On the anniversary in January 2014, I came back to Washington, D.C., again – not only to celebrate the law's passage, but also to remind Congress that their work is not done.

    Will you help me urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act?

    As you know, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important first step in our fight for pay equity, but it was just that – a first step. While the Ledbetter law righted the wrong-headed decision the Supreme Court made in my case, we need the Paycheck Fairness Act to give employees and employers the concrete tools they need to make real progress in closing the gender pay gap.

    I’ve always said, giving women my Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act without the Paycheck Fairness Act is like giving them a nail without the hammer.

    In recognition of the fifth anniversary of the law’s signing, I went to Washington, D.C., in January 2014 with my friends at AAUW to meet with members of Congress and urge them to take the next step we've been fighting for: the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    That's why I need you to take action today – so that members of Congress know I've got the voices of thousands of AAUW members and supporters behind me.


    Please join me in urging your elected officials to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Together, we can make 2014 the year for progress on equal pay.

    Yours in AAUW,
    Lilly Ledbetter

    Photo from WhiteHouse.gov

  • Tell Governor Cuomo What You Think of His 2014 State of the State Address

    AAUW-New York State members across the state listened intently to Governor Cuomo’s 2014 State of the State Address on January 8, hoping the governor would add access to affordable child care and paid family sick leave to his 2014 agenda and make good on his 2013 promises to upgrade New York's laws for women and their families.

    While the governor did not specifically mention several policy priorities important to AAUW-NYS, including affordable child care, paid family sick leave, equal pay, reproductive health care, and ending human trafficking and sexual violence, he did strongly renew his commitment to the passage of the Women’s Equality Act (WEA), which addresses these important issues.

    For this, the governor gets an A- from AAUW-NYS – and we need you to tell him! Send a message to Gov. Cuomo today thanking him for his commitment to NYS women and families and urging him to act on his promises.

    Gov. Cuomo acknowledged what we know all too well: that discrimination against women still exists in New York State and that it must stop. AAUW-NYS wholeheartedly agrees, which is why we stand firmly with the other 860 organizations in the New York State Women’s Equality Coalition urging legislators to finish what they started in 2013 and pass the comprehensive Women’s Equality Act (WEA).

    The 10-point Women's Equality Act will help secure equal pay for women, ensure access to reproductive health care, and provide freedom from discrimination and violence. The WEA passed the NYS Assembly in 2013 but stalled in the Senate.

    Please take a few minutes to thank Gov. Cuomo for his renewed commitment to WEA and urge him to take action on additional AAUW-NYS policy priorities in 2014.

    New York women and families have waited long enough for equal protections under the law. It’s time to act!

  • Tell Congress to Get Back to Work Helping Americans Get Back to Work!

    Since Congress let extended unemployment insurance lapse late last year, over 2.5 million Americans have lost these critical benefits. 72,000 more people lose their benefits every week that Congress drags its feet.

    Tell your Senators and Representative that this is unacceptable. Contact your elected officials today and urge them to vote "yes" on the emergency unemployment insurance extension!

    Unemployment insurance helps struggling families stay out of poverty. The national unemployment rate of women in March 2014 was 5.9 percent, and women are just as likely as men to receive unemployment insurance benefits. In 2012 alone, unemployment insurance kept more than 1.7 million people, including 655,000 women and 446,000 children, from falling into poverty.

    Tell this “Do-Nothing” Congress to get back to work and restore emergency unemployment insurance benefits now.

    It’s hard to be unemployed, even in a good economy. It’s even harder to believe Congress hasn't acted to provide relief for these men, women, and families. Their failure to extend long-term unemployment insurance has the same effect as voting “no” on helping the unemployed.

    Unemployment insurance helps struggling families stay out of poverty and get back to work – that’s why Congress needs to restore the benefits now.

    Unemployment benefits are one of the best economic boosts out there because recipients use the benefits to pay for necessities such as food and rent. Indeed, the Department of Labor has found that for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars are pumped back into the economy.

    This economy is rough enough, and Congress shouldn’t make it harder on families. Please urge your representative and senators to extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits!

  • Pledge to Help Your Loved Ones and Community Get Covered California

    Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace is up and running. Covered California is the only avenue for the federal premium assistance which makes health coverage more affordable for many.  Also through Covered California, Californians can find out if they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal, which can make the difference between coverage or no coverage for many.

    This holiday season, Covered California encourages you and yours to share the gift of well-being and peace of mind. With family coming home to visit, now is the time to talk about the need to have health insurance. Young adults, most of whom have never dealt with the process of acquiring a suitable health insurance plan tailored to their needs, will especially benefit from a dialogue with older, wiser family members who have experienced how suddenly one's life can change from unexpected medical challenges with often shockingly high costs. These same young adults can also help other members of the family use the computer to engage the Covered California website successfully.

    Take a moment to pledge that you will spend time talking to your family about the need for health coverage and the variety of healthcare options available: https://www.coveredca.com/pledge/   

    Beyond your family, consider local colleges and universities. Some colleges and universities are promoting enrollment in Covered California on campus, but since there is no mandate to do so, other institutions have no organized efforts. If your branch has a college/university partner, consider ways that your branch and college partner could work to promote the benefits of enrollment, which may have little or no cost to students. Open enrollment runs through March 31, so while time is short, there is still time to act.

    Learn more on the Covered California website: https://www.coveredca.com

  • Help End Violence Against Women Worldwide

    Throughout 2012 and the beginning of 2013, your persistent advocacy enabled us to pass a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that will protect all survivors, including Native American and immigrant women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals; and students on college campuses.

    However, VAWA only helps survivors in the United States – that's why Congress needs to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, known as I-VAWA.

    I-VAWA would provide essential support for proven strategies to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, and it would bolster the efforts of women and men around the world who are working to reduce gender-based violence in their communities. Many of the I-VAWA programs help women and girls do things we so often take for granted: go to school, earn an income to take care of their families, collect food or water without fear of rape, and bring perpetrators of abuse to justice. I-VAWA would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing U.S. foreign policy to end and respond to violence against women and girls around the world.

    Globally, it is estimated that one out of every three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, with rates of domestic violence reaching up to 70 percent in some countries. Somewhere a woman is raped, beaten, killed by her husband, trafficked or forced to trade sex for food every day. Not only is violence against women and girls a gross human rights violation, it is also a public health epidemic and a barrier to solving global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and terrorism.

    When implemented, I-VAWA would help put an end to the fear, pain, and suffering experienced by countless women and girls globally. Please urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor I-VAWA!

  • Take Action on Human Trafficking!

    This week is an exciting time for AAUW Pennsylvania: On Wednesday we are having our first-ever Lobby Day, and the Senate is expected to vote on the AAUW-supported anti-human trafficking bill any day now!

    You can "virtually" participate in the lobby day right now by writing your state senator and urging him/her to support the anti-human trafficking legislation, Senate Bill 75.

    Human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, forces an estimated 27 million people worldwide – including people in the United States – into prostitution or involuntary labor. Pennsylvania's existing law on human trafficking is weak and ineffective. Senate Bill 75 would update and strengthen the law in the areas of the "three Ps": prosecution of traffickers, prevention of human trafficking, and protection of victims, many of whom are women and girls.

    We must end human trafficking in Pennsylvania. Add your voice to the dozens of other AAUW-PA voices that will be advocating for Senate Bill 75 at the State Capitol this week: Contact your senator today!

  • Fight Human Trafficking By Supporting the NYS Women's Equality Act

    Human trafficking is one of the largest organized criminal activities worldwide, second only to drug trafficking.  According to the New York State Office of Children & Family Services, it is estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 U.S. citizen children are currently involved in sex trafficking and 80 percent of identified victims are female. The average age of girls when they are initially trafficked is 13 years old.

    December 10 has been designated by the United Nations as Human Rights Day and will be the culmination of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign for 2013. Activists like you are fighting back against human trafficking around the world - and we can start right here in New York.

    The Women’s Equality Act (WEA) provisions will not only help 10 million women and families in New York State by ensuring fair treatment and equal pay at work, eliminating housing and lending discrimination, and helping survivors of domestic violence, but it will also help fight human trafficking in New York State.

    New York State has taken a bold stand against human trafficking, and the Women's Equality Act would strengthen those laws by allowing women and girls to avoid prosecution if they are sold into sex slavery. We must urge the New York State Senate and Assembly to finish the job they started in passing this critical legislation!

    Let's make this a WEEK of action against human trafficking and gender violence – and let's start by urging our New York State legislators to pass the Women’s Equality Act (WEA). Contact your state legislators today!

  • Petition: Support Equal Pay Task Force

    In a recovering economy, equal pay for women has never been more critical. Federal legislation for equal pay has existed for more than 50 years, yet Oklahoma women continue to make only 76 cents on average for every dollar earned by their male counterparts doing the same work. That's why we must take steps at the local level to help close the gender pay gap.

    Join us as we urge Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and the Oklahoma City Council to form a Gender Equity in Pay Task Force. The task force would research the gender wage gap in Oklahoma City and make recommendations to the city government to help ensure all women in our city receive equal pay for equal work. The research of this task force has the potential to make a positive impact for women statewide.

    Sign the petition today!

  • Tennessee Women Deserve Equal Pay

    In 2012, Tennessee women working full time were still paid 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Even after accounting for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a seven-cent gap persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation. Our federal and state lawmakers need to enact equal pay legislation so Tennessee women can bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

    Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Tennessee in supporting equal pay for women: Sign this petition today!

  • Remove the Crime of Sexual Assault from the Military Chain of Command

    26,000.

    No, that’s not what the Dow closed at yesterday. It’s how many service members, male and female, that a recent Pentagon study estimated were sexually assaulted in 2012. That figure is up from 19,000 in 2010. Other surveys of female veterans have found that close to one-third were victims of rape or assault while they were serving, which is double the rate in the civilian population. This problem is even worse in conflict zones, with half of the women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan reporting sexual harassment and nearly one in four reporting sexual assault.

    This is unacceptable and must change.

    The Pentagon has been aware of this problem for decades, yet it persists. It’s time for Congress to act and take the crime of military sexual assault out of the chain of command and give this authority to an independent body.

    Contact your representative today and
    tell them to remove sexual assault from the chain of command.

    Through true accountability, we can end sexual assault in the military. Please, take two minutes to urge your representative to protect our service members.

  • Urge Sen. Heller to Support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

    The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84) is a much-needed update to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It would protect employees from retaliation if they share or ask about wage information and implement stronger deterrents to prevent discrimination in the first place.

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has said in the past that pay discrimination is unacceptable. It's time for him to follow through on that position by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    Sign AAUW of Nevada's petition today urging Sen. Heller to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act!

  • Georgians Need the Family Care Act

    For an estimated 878,000 workers in our state, the choice between their family and their job is one they are forced to make every time a loved one is in need. We have the power to change that. The Family Care Act would allow Georgia workers to use their earned sick time to care for family members who are ill. Because workers have already earned these paid sick days, the Family Care Act would strengthen Georgia's families and economy without adding any additional burdens on businesses.

    Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Georgia and the Younger Women's Task Force Atlanta Metro in supporting the Family Care Act: Sign this petition today!

  • Tell Congress to End Sequestration

    Several weeks have passed since Congress came to its senses and ended the unnecessary federal government shutdown that turned families' lives upside-down and cost our economy millions of lost days of work. Now it's time for our lawmakers to – finally – get down to business, and we can make them do it.

    As part of the October budget deal that re-opened the federal government, Congress established a joint House-Senate budget committee to find a path forward. The House and Senate have adopted that committee’s proposal, averting a shutdown for now. Yet the deal doesn’t contain additional revenues or close corporate tax loopholes, nor does it end the misguided across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, which began in March. The effects of sequestration have been painful so far, and they will only get worse over time. Congress must support a transparent appropriations process that ends sequestration once and for all.

    Want to make sure low-income women, infants, and children have access to the food they need?

    Want to protect access to services for domestic violence survivors?

    Want to stand up for quality public education and safe school climates
    free from bullying and harassment?

    Then we need to contact our members of Congress today and urge them to pass a budget that ends sequestration once and for all.

    Congress must end sequestration, period. Please, take two minutes to urge your senators to support a transparent appropriations process that ends sequestration!

  • Sign the Petition: We Need Computer Science Education in Schools

    In a world increasingly dependent on technology, computer science is a foundation for every student. Help introduce it to 10 million. All it takes is your signature on this petition.

    While computer science education is critical to the future of our economy and American innovation, it is particularly important to promote this subject to girls. In AAUW's 2010 report on the alarmingly low number of women and girls in STEM, we recommend encouraging high school girls to take computer science classes as a way to increase women's participation in STEM fields.

    Sign this petition to make it happen!

  • Did Your Senators Strike Out?

    Eight judges to do the work of 11 people? That math doesn't add up – and what's worse is, your senators may have wasted their third chance (yes, you read that right) to do something about it.

    Due in part to the Senate's inability to move judicial nominees through the confirmation process, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has had only eight judges to do the work of 11 people. But three times in the last seven months, the Senate has refused to even consider qualified female judicial nominees for these vacancies.

    Most recently, the Senate held a procedural vote on November 12 to consider the nomination of Nina Pillard for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A "yes" vote meant that a senator agreed to move forward with giving the nominee an up-or-down confirmation vote. Sixty votes were required to move on to considering Pillard's nomination – the vote failed by a 56-41 margin.

    This failed vote is yet another example of how broken our judicial confirmation process is. Do you know how your senators voted? Send your senators a message today to tell them how you feel about their votes!

    This isn't about politics: Each of these procedural votes is about moving forward with considering judicial nominees and strengthening our judicial system, which is often the last, best hope for women who have experienced discrimination in education, employment, health care, and other aspects of their lives. But instead, some senators are playing games with the judicial confirmation process – and American women and families are paying the price.

    The stakes couldn't be higher. A strong judiciary is critical to American women. Find out how your senators voted on the November 12th cloture vote for judicial nominations, and tell them how you feel about their votes!

  • Petition: Support Equal Pay Legislation

    The pay gap is real, and it hurts Louisiana's women, their families, and our economy. In 2012, women in Louisiana working full time, year round, were paid 67 cents on average for every dollar paid to men – making our state's gender pay gap the second-largest in the nation. We need our elected officials to stand up for Louisiana women and support extending the Equal Pay for Women Act to cover all women in the workplace.

    Sign the AAUW of Louisiana equal pay petition today and make your voice heard!

  • Petition: Women Deserve Equal Pay

    In 2012, Florida women working full time were still paid 84 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Even after accounting for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a seven-cent gap persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation. Florida lawmakers need to enact equal pay legislation so Florida women can bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

    Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Florida in supporting equal pay for women: Sign this petition today!

  • Petition: Urge Gov. Bentley to Expand Medicaid

    The Medicaid expansion could extend health insurance to nearly 80 percent of the uninsured population in Alabama – that's 300,000 people who would be eligible for quality, affordable health care if our state takes this important step. The Medicaid expansion is particularly important for women, who are more likely to be low-income than men and often have more difficulty paying for health care costs.

    But Gov. Bentley is refusing to expand Medicaid. SIgn AAUW-AL's petition to urge Gov. Bentley to stop playing politics with people's health and their lives and support the Medicaid expansion today!

  • Petition: Stand Up for Texas Women and Families

    The stakes for Texas women and families have never been higher. We need our elected officials to stand with Texas women and families and provide them with the support they need for a healthy and well-rounded future.

    Sign the AAUW Stand Up for Texas Women and Families petition today and make your voice heard!

  • Petition: Bring Paid Sick Leave to Washington State


    For too many workers in our state, the choice between their health and their job is one they are forced to face every time they or a family member gets sick. The Washington State Legislature must change this situation by allowing workers to earn paid sick days.

    Seattle is already leading the way when it comes to city-level ordinances on this issue, and Washington state can play a similar role at the state level. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Washington in signing this petition today!

  • Petition: Close the Wage Gap in Washington State

    In 2012, women in Washington state working full-time, year round, were still paid 78 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation.

    The Washington State Legislature needs to take action to enable Washington women to bring home the pay they have rightfully earned. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Washington today in signing this petition!

  • Help End Sex Trafficking

    At a time when most girls her age were going to football games on Friday nights and junior prom, Keisha was being sold as a sex slave.1

    Keisha, originally from Florida, found herself trapped by "Mastur D" after running away from her foster family at age 14 to escape sexual harassment from one of the family's relatives. Mastur D promised to return Keisha to her biological family, but instead he physically assaulted her and forced her to have sex for money with men of his choosing. This went on for months at a time, even after Keisha was arrested for sex solicitation and briefly returned to her foster family.

    Keisha finally got out of this vicious cycle when she received assistance from a social worker. Now she has a protective order against Mastur D and is working on her GED. But she'll never get back the years she lost to slavery.

    Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery that forces an estimated 27 million people worldwide – including people in the United States, people like Keisha – into prostitution or involuntary labor. According to a 2007 U.S. State Department report, 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls.

    AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies against human trafficking to promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people. The End Sex Trafficking Act (H.R.2805/S.1354) would strengthen federal law to improve the arrest and prosecution of the people responsible for human trafficking – people like Mastur D, who took advantage of Keisha when she was a minor.

    By targeting the criminals responsible for human trafficking, we can help stop the vicious cycle that enslaves women and girls every day. Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor the End Sex Trafficking Act (H.R.2805/S.1354) today.

    1 Keisha's full story can be found on the Polaris Project website.

  • Did Your Representative Use Women's Health as a Bargaining Chip?

    The federal government shutdown furloughed tens of thousands of federal employees and shocked our already fragile economic recovery, just to name a few of the effects. But before the shutdown even began, your representative may have already done something truly unacceptable.

    Late at night on September 28, the House of Representatives voted to fund the government through mid-December – but the bill they passed contained a provision that would allow employers to use their personal beliefs to restrict their women employees' access to health care.

    Enter your zip code below to find out if your representative voted for this bill.
    If he/she supported the bill, you'll see a message you can send to let your representative know that this vote was unacceptable. If he/she opposed the bill, you'll see a thank-you message you can send.

    Imagine your boss being able to say he’s opposed to HPV vaccinations that help prevent cervical cancer? Or that she opposes birth control services that help women plan and space their pregnancies for healthier children?

    Not so shockingly, there’s no similar provision that would in any way affect preventive health care for men, such as limiting access to prostate exams and other services. Sarcasm aside, there shouldn’t be attempts to limit anyone’s access to preventive care. This issue is too important to be used to score political points, much less hold the federal budget hostage.

    We can't let the House of Representatives get away with using women's preventive health care as a bargaining chip in the current budget showdown. Find out how your representative voted and contact your representative today!

  • Support Paid Family and Medical Leave

    On February 5, we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), our country's only law designed to help working people balance work and family. Yet FMLA leaves out 40 percent of the workforce, and it provides workers with only unpaid leave to care for themselves or an ill family member, which millions of workers cannot afford to take.

    That's why AAUW supports the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), which would create a national insurance program funded by employee and employer contributions.

    The FAMILY Act would provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for situations such as their own serious illness, the serious illness of a child, parent or spouse (including a domestic partner), and the birth or adoption of a child. This program would be funded by employee and employer contributions that would amount to less than $1.50 per week for the average worker, or two cents for every $10 of an employee's salary.

    Across the country, people are working hard to make ends meet and provide for their families, yet the nation fails to provide the support people need to manage job and family and the support businesses need to maintain healthy and productive workplaces. The FAMILY Act would strengthen the economic security of working people, their families, and businesses – and when individuals, families, and businesses are secure, our economy as a whole benefits.

    The FAMILY Act would recognize the hard work of workers across the country and bring our employment laws more in line with the needs of the 21st century workforce and the rest of the world. Urge your representative to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act today!

  • Tell the Senate to Shake a Leg on Judges

    Eight judges to do the work of 11 people? That math doesn't add up, and your senators can do something about it!

    Due in part to the Senate's inability to move judicial nominees through the confirmation process, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has only eight judges to do the work of 11 people. This court hears some of the most complicated cases, from vital national security challenges to reviews of federal regulatory agencies, and the court is hearing them without a full slate of judges.

    The situation on the D.C. Circuit Court is another example of how the Senate's failure to do its job is threatening equal rights for women and girls. Tell the Senate to stop dragging its feet and hold yes-or-no votes on whether to confirm these nominees!

    A strong judiciary is critical to American women. Our courts need qualified judges who will uphold our constitutional values and ensure that the clock is not turned back on decades of progress for women and girls.

    Your senators have an opportunity to stand up for American women by moving forward with the confirmation process for the D.C. Circuit Court nominees – urge them to act today!

  • Petition: Urge Virginia Lawmakers to Support Equal Pay

    Equal pay for women is critical to families’ economic security. Yet in 2012, women in Virginia working full-time, year round, were still paid 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even worse than the wage gap existing is the reality that few women actually know if they are being paid unfairly, and some don't feel safe asking those questions at work for fear of retaliation from their bosses. They could even be fired!

    If we are to help women ensure they are being paid fairly, we have to change this. Urge Virginia's lawmakers to take action for equal pay: Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Virginia in signing this petition today!

  • Petition: Restore Domestic Violence Prevention Funding

    One in four women has experienced domestic violence at some point in her lifetime - yet our members of Congress have allowed across-the-board spending cuts to slash funding for critical domestic violence prevention and treatment programs.

    That's why AAUW of Mississippi has created this petition to urge Mississippi's senators and representatives to restore funding aimed at ending violence against women.

    Enter your zip code below to view and sign this petition today!

  • Petition: Expand Medicaid in Mississippi

    The Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act could extend health insurance to nearly 80 percent of the uninsured population in Mississippi – that's 231,000 people who would be eligible for quality, affordable health care if our state takes this important step.

    The governor shouldn't be playing politics with people's health and their lives. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Mississippi today in urging Gov. Bryant to support the Medicaid expansion.

    Enter your zip code below to view and sign the petition today!

  • Petition: Pass the Federal End Sex Trafficking Act

    Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery that forces an estimated 27 million people worldwide – including people in the United States – into prostitution or involuntary labor.

    New Jersey is already leading the way with one of the nation's strongest human trafficking laws – now our representatives in the U.S. Congress need to step up and ensure women and girls across the country have the same level of protection. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Jersey in signing this petition to New Jersey's congressional delegation today!

  • Petition: Close the Wage Gap in New Jersey

    In 2012, women in New Jersey working full-time, year round, were still paid 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation.

    The New Jersey Legislature needs to take action to enable New Jersey women to bring home the pay they have rightfully earned. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Jersey today in signing this petition!

  • Petition: Bring Paid Sick Leave to Oregon

    For too many workers in our state, the choice between their health and their job is one they are forced to face every time they or a family member gets sick. The Oregon Legislature must change this situation by allowing Oregon workers to earn paid sick days.

    Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Oregon in signing this petition today!

  • Petition: Close the Wage Gap in Oregon

    In 2012, women in Oregon working full-time, year round, were still paid 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. Even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates nationwide just one year after graduation

    The Oregon Legislature must act to help close the gender wage gap once and for all. Join the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Oregon in signing this petition today!

  • Petition: End Sex Trafficking in Pennsylvania

    Human trafficking forces an estimated 27 million people worldwide – including people in the United States – into prostitution or involuntary labor. Yet Pennsylvania's existing law on human trafficking is weak and ineffective.

    That's why AAUW of Pennsylvania has created a petition urging Pennsylvania's Legislature to pass Senate Bill 75, which would update and strengthen existing law in the areas of the "three Ps": prosecution of traffickers, prevention of human trafficking, and protection of victims, many of whom are women and girls.

    Enter your zip code below to view and sign this petition today!

  • Petition: Restore Domestic Violence Prevention Funding

    One in four women has experienced domestic violence at some point in her lifetime - yet our members of Congress have allowed across-the-board spending cuts to slash funding for critical domestic violence prevention and treatment programs.

    That's why AAUW of Pennsylvania has created a petition to urge Pennsylvania's senators and representatives to restore funding aimed at ending violence against women.

    Enter your zip code below to view and sign this petition today!

  • Petition: Urge Illinois to Ratify the ERA

    In the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution fell three states short of the 38 states that needed to ratify the amendment for it to go into effect. Illinois is one of the states that did not ratify the ERA, but now we have a chance to fix that: Sign this petition to the Illinois Legislature so our state can help move the ERA forward!

  • Petition: Urge Missouri to Ratify the ERA

    In the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution fell three states short of the 38 states that needed to ratify the amendment for it to go into effect. Missouri is one of the states that did not ratify the ERA, but now we have a chance to fix that: Sign this petition to the Missouri Legislature so our state can help move the ERA forward!

  • Protect Women and Families in the Budget

    Thanks to you, we sent more than 35,000 messages to Congress urging lawmakers to get their act together and pass a responsible budget—and finally, our lawmakers listened. On October 16, the House and Senate agreed to lift the debt ceiling through February and reopen the government through January 15. But we’re not done yet.

    Now the focus shifts to a budget conference committee consisting of senators and representatives. The committee has until December 13 to submit a spending bill to Congress, and members of the committee are already hard at work.

    Just like the student can’t recycle an old book report and expect to pass the test, Congress can’t recycle old solutions (like sequestration) and pass our test. That’s where you come in:

    Tell your representatives and senators that you expect them to end sequestration and protect the needs of women and their families!

    These are difficult times to prepare a federal budget, yet domestic spending has already been significantly cut to reduce the deficit. Unless Congress acts, the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration will continue throughout the next decade.

    This is not the way to write a budget. Sequestration has real impacts: In the last year, school districts across the country have lost $3 billion in federal education funding. This cut has meant larger class sizes, elimination of after-school programs, fewer teachers, and fewer resources for kids who need the most help. Even worse, the damage will only grow each year that sequestration continues, as will cuts to other important programs such as cancer screenings, services for domestic violence survivors, federal funding for low-income schools, and food assistance programs for women and children.
     
    Tell your members of Congress: You’ve had many months to fix sequestration, and it’s time to do your homework. You should support budget policies that further the principles of fairness and fiscal responsibility and protect women and their families.

  • Stand Up for Voting Rights

    In 2013, we observed the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when 250,000 stood up and demanded the equal rights granted to all of us by our Constitution. The participants in that march 50 years ago took action—we must do the same today.

    In states across the country, voting rights are under attack. Look at North Carolina, which recently enacted one of the strictest voting laws: The state's own board of elections says 64 percent of the women registered to vote in North Carolina lack the required ID—which means they may have problems voting in the next election. Our members of Congress can and should do something about these nonsensical state voting restrictions.

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965, enacted in part because of the actions of the March on Washington participants, was supposed to stop states from passing these kinds of voting restrictions. But a recent Supreme Court decision has taken most of the "meat" out of the law, gutting the spirit but leaving the name.

    That's why Congress needs to pass H.R. 3899/S. 1945, an amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which would require key states that have demonstrated a history of voting discrimination to obtain preclearance prior to any voting changes.

    Tell your members of Congress: Support H.R. 3899/S. 1945 so we can fix the Supreme Court decision. We must continue bipartisan support to protect voting rights nationwide.

    The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was an historic one, and we can't let it pass us by. Thousands of people marched for voting rights 50 years ago – can you take two minutes to ask your members of Congress to protect those rights today?

  • Give Congress Its Back-to-School Checklist

    Backpack, pencils, notebooks, ruler…

    That’s what you’ll find on most back-to-school checklists, but what about Congress’ back-to-school list? Just as students across the country start another school year, Congress will soon return to Capitol Hill. And we already have homework for them.

    1. Congress should finally update the flawed and outdated No Child Left Behind Act. After two years of "waivers" from the No Child Left Behind Act, over 40 states have agreed to the president's plan for education in their states. But this is not a long-term solution. Congress must act in a responsible, bipartisan way to permanently fix the problems of the No Child Left Behind Act by reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

    2. Congress should close the legal gap that allows bullying and harassment in schools. Although some federal laws address particular kinds of harassment, there is no comprehensive law to address bullying and harassment. Most kids celebrate the end of school because it means no more homework, no more waking up early, and plenty of time at the beach. But for some kids, it finally means a relief – albeit a short one – from the relentless bullying they encounter in the school hallways, on the playground, in the classroom, and countless other places in the school environment. Congress should take action to make schools free from bullying and harassment so students feel safe all year.

    3. Congress should pass the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (S.372/H.R. 725). This bill would expand comprehensive sex education while ensuring that federal funds are spent on effective, age-appropriate, medically accurate programs. Students deserve to have all necessary information about their bodies and health.

    These three items are just as important for our students' success as the school supplies being picked up by families across the country. Now is our chance to push for these education priorities, while everyone has "back to school" on the mind. Contact your senators and representative today and tell them to do this homework for our nation’s students!

  • Urge Your Representative to Reform our Broken Immigration System Now!

    There is rare bipartisan consensus on one thing: America’s immigration system is broken. No one believes the current system is a good thing for our country, economy, or human rights. The Senate has already acted; now it's time for the House to update our broken immigration system.

    Although the Senate-passed bill is not perfect, it goes a long way to provide a fair and just path to legal status for immigrants, promote policies against human trafficking, honor an earlier deal with Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) authors to include battered immigrant provisions, and provide a long-term solution for growing our domestic STEM workforce. The Senate bill would

    • Enact the DREAM Act. Increasing access to higher education is imperative for individual financial security and our nation’s economic recovery;
    • Provide a fair and just path to legal status for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country;
    • Improve the visa process to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence; and
    • Create a STEM education fund to help move women and girls into STEM fields.

    We cannot let the search for a “perfect bill” get in the way of the good solution to our broken immigration system. The lives of millions of undocumented immigrants and the strength of our nation's economy depend on it.

    Now is the time to act – send a message to your representative today!

  • Urge Your Representative to Reform our Broken Immigration System Now!

    AAUW believes the House must act now to modernize our immigration system and use this opportunity to bolster critical funding for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education necessary for a globally competitive U.S. workforce.

    There is rare bipartisan consensus on one thing: America’s immigration system is broken. No one believes the current system is a good thing for our country, economy, or human rights. At the same time, companies say they cannot find the skills they need in our domestic labor pool and thus need access to a global pool of STEM workers.

    AAUW supports efforts to supplement our own home-grown STEM workforce through a STEM education initiative implemented as part of immigration reform legislation. The initiative would be funded through fees collected from U.S. employers who recruit foreign STEM workers, and be used to educate the next generation of American STEM workers. Write your representative today and ask him or her to include this fund in any immigration proposal.

    It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, and funding at federal and state levels is inadequate to improve our country’s system of STEM education. Collecting these fees would result in an influx of millions of dollars that could develop the STEM workforce of the future and eliminate our reliance on foreign temporary workers. We can’t afford to lose out any longer because women’s ideas and experiences aren’t fully contributing to our country’s STEM workforce.

    Your representative needs to know that this STEM education fund is a vital part of any immigration reform package. Take two minutes to send a message now asking your representative to pass an immigration reform bill that also provides an educational pathway to STEM careers for U.S. workers!

  • Urge Your Representative to Reform our Broken Immigration System Now!

    AAUW believes the House must act now to modernize our immigration system and use this opportunity to bolster critical funding for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education necessary for a globally competitive U.S. workforce.

    There is rare bipartisan consensus on one thing: America’s immigration system is broken. No one believes the current system is a good thing for our country, economy, or human rights. At the same time, companies say they cannot find the skills they need in our domestic labor pool and thus need access to a global pool of STEM workers.

    AAUW supports efforts to supplement our own home-grown STEM workforce through a STEM education initiative implemented as part of immigration reform legislation. The initiative would be funded through fees collected from U.S. employers who recruit foreign STEM workers, and be used to educate the next generation of American STEM workers. Write your representative today and ask him or her to include this fund in any immigration proposal.

    It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, and funding at federal and state levels is inadequate to improve our country’s system of STEM education. Collecting these fees would result in an influx of millions of dollars that could develop the STEM workforce of the future and eliminate our reliance on foreign temporary workers. We can’t afford to lose out any longer because women’s ideas and experiences aren’t fully contributing to our country’s STEM workforce.

    Your representative needs to know that this STEM education fund is a vital part of any immigration reform package. Take two minutes to send a message now asking your representative to pass an immigration reform bill that also provides an educational pathway to STEM careers for U.S. workers!

  • Did Your Representative Vote for the Bad Education Bill?

    On July 19, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the federal education law that is wrong in so many ways. Find out how your representative voted and tell him/her what you think of the vote!

    The House-passed bill (H.R. 5) would:

    • Virtually eliminate federal enforcement of narrowing the achievement gap;
    • Give a free pass to states and districts to define their own standards, assessment, and accountability systems;
    • Freeze the funding levels for K-12 education at a time when we need to invest in our children's futures;
    • Ignore the urgent need for comprehensive bullying and harassment policies to protect all our children in public schools; and
    • Fail to provide adequate protections for civil rights of students.

    Your representative needs to know you were watching this vote – you saw it, and you'll hold the House accountable.

  • Tell Your Senators to Fix the Confirmation Process!

    You know the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, the executive and judicial confirmation process is VERY broken in the Senate, and it looks like senators are finally going to try and fix it!

    Senate Democratic leaders are trying to find a way forward on nominations that have been stalled for weeks and months – send a message to your senators to urge them to find a solution!

    Everyday Americans are suffering from the broken confirmation process, which is largely responsible for empty seats in federal courtrooms, at the heads of Cabinet departments, and on major federal agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board. Delayed confirmations mean heavier workloads for courts and agencies and longer delays for those appearing before these bodies. And let’s be clear: Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Your senators need to know how important it is to you that they find a way to fix the confirmation process. Please take two minutes to send your message now!

  • Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

    President Barack Obama has said he will sign an executive order raising the minimum hourly wage for federal contractors to $10.10. But we can do more: if Congress would increase the minimum hourly wage for all workers from its current rate of $7.25, it could raise the pay of up to 28 million workers. Congress needs to act now.

    A lot has changed in the last five years: The economy dove into a recession, the price of milk, gas, rent, and nearly every other major expense has shot up, and a record number of women were elected to the current Congress.

    Yet 2009 was the last time the federal minimum wage went up. With today's minimum wage stuck at $7.25 per hour, someone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, meaning they and their familiy would live below the poverty line.

    It wasn't always this way, and it doesn't have to be. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would gradually increase the minimum wage over the next three years until it eventually reaches $10.10. The minimum wage is a working woman’s issue – 56 percent of the workers who would benefit from this bill are women – and it is especially important for women of color.

    Urge your members of Congress to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010/S. 460) today! Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward increasing the economic security of working women and their families, and it's a step your members of Congress should take.

  • Your Health or Your Job?

    For too many American workers, the choice between their health and their job is one they are forced to face every time they or a family member gets sick. That's because nearly half of all private-sector workers in this country – millions of Americans – don't have the right to earn paid sick days. Fortunately, we can help change that.

    Urge your members of Congress to keep America's working families healthy and economically secure by cosponsoring the Healthy Families Act.

    The Healthy Families Act would provide full-time employees the right to earn seven paid sick days a year to be used for their own medical needs or to tend to the medical needs of a family member. It would also allow workers to use paid sick time to recover from or seek assistance related to an incidence of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Part-time employees would earn a prorated share of these paid sick days.

    It's time for the United States to join the more than 160 countries – including 14 of the world's 15 most economically competitive countries – that guarantee workers' right to earn paid sick days. In these tough economic times, the decision to stay home sick without pay is a very difficult one. And if your job and your economic security are on the line, it's a risk many workers can’t afford to take, and shouldn't have to take. Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the Healthy Families Act today!

  • Is Your Senator One of the 39?

    At the end of March, the Senate wisely rejected an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget resolution that would have turned Title I – a federal program that provides funding to high poverty schools – into a voucher program. But 39 senators thought it was a good idea and voted the other way!

    Do you know how your senators voted on this budget amendment? Were they part of the 39? They need to hear you feel about their votes, so they know to reject this proposal if and when it comes up again!

    This vote wasn't the first time private school vouchers have been debated in Congress – and it probably won't be the last time, even though vouchers have not been shown to be more effective at preparing students for higher education. Instead, vouchers redirect taxpayer money away from public schools, undermining the American promise of a quality education for every student. At a time when public schools face budget crunches and overcrowded classrooms, public money should be spent on improving public schools, which educate over 90 percent of America’s students – not on supporting private, often religious, schools that do not have to comply with federal civil rights laws such as Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.

    Find out how your senators voted on the vouchers budget amendment, and tell them how you feel about their votes! Now is the time to remind your senators that you are watching their support for public education.

  • Tell Your Representative How You Feel About His/Her VAWA Vote!

    On February 28, the House of Representatives approved the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization that protects all victims and includes critical campus safety protections. This has been a long, hard battle, and we thank all of our advocates for contacting their elected officials and standing up with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) the whole way through.

    Do you know how your representative voted on VAWA? Tell your representative how you feel about his or her vote!

    AAUW fought for this version of VAWA because it will create meaningful change on college campuses, which is essential in light of high-profile cases of rape and sexual assault. We celebrate that colleges and universities will now be required to create prevention programs for students and have greater transparency in reporting and better services for victims. Additionally, we should all be proud that the House and Senate acted quickly in the 113th Congress to move a bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

    Your representative needs to know how you feel about his or her vote! Simply enter your zip code below to send a message.

  • Did Your Senators Vote for Strong Federal Courts?

    Eight judges to do the work of 11 people? That math doesn't add up, and your senators had a chance to do something about it!

    On October 31, the Senate held a procedural vote to consider the nomination of Patricia Millett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A "yes" vote meant that a senator agreed to move forward with giving the nominee an up-or-down confirmation vote. Sixty votes were required to move on to considering Millett's nomination – the vote failed by a 55-38 margin.

    This failed vote is yet another example of how broken our judicial confirmation process is. Do you know how your senators voted? Send your senators a message today to tell them how you feel about their votes!

    (No, this is not the same alert you got in March. That was for Caitlin Halligan. This time it is another qualified female jurist, Millett! Let’s make sure our senators get the message this time so judges can get back to business in our courts.)

    Due in part to the Senate's inability to move judicial nominees through the confirmation process, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has had only eight judges to do the work of 11 people. The vote on October 31 was about moving forward with considering judicial nominees and strengthening our judicial system, which is often the last, best hope for women who have experienced discrimination in education, employment, health care, and other aspects of their lives.

    The stakes couldn't be higher. A strong judiciary is critical to American women. Find out how your senators voted on the October 31st cloture vote for judicial nominations, and tell them how you feel about their votes!

  • Help Michigan Lead the Way on Equal Pay

    June 10 marked 50 years since we thought we would have equal pay for men and women – and here we are, with Michigan women on average still earning 26 percent less than their male counterparts for the same work. Our state's wage gap is worse than the national average, and the numbers are even larger for African American and Hispanic women.

    Fortunately, there's something we can do right here, in our home state, to make equal pay for equal work a reality for millions of women.

    Our hard work in April for Equal Pay Day paid off when the Michigan House introduced a package of four bills that will help combat gender pay discrimination in Michigan and close the wage gap. But we must keep the pressure on our legislators and urge them to discuss the bills in committee.

    Help Michigan lead the way on equal pay: Contact your state representative and urge him or her to support House Bills 4516-4519!

    Taken together, House Bills 4516-4519 would create a civil rights commission on pay equity and prohibit public employers in the state from paying lower wages to women than they pay to men for doing the same or similar work. The package of bills would also implement stronger deterrents to stop discrimination in the first place and prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who ask about wage practices or share their salary information with co-workers. This last piece is particularly important since there are NO federal protections against retaliation for workers!

    We can't – and we won't – wait another 50 years for action on equal pay. If we flood our state lawmakers with messages in support of House Bills 4516-4519, we may be able to build enough momentum to push these bills through the next stage in the legislative process.

    Contact your state representative today!

  • Tell the House: It's Time for an Up-or-Down Vote on Paycheck Fairness!

    In June, AAUW and the AAUW Action Fund Lobby Corps led nearly 75 volunteers from various organizations to Capitol Hill so they could lobby Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. You can help sustain the momentum from this lobby day by contacting your representative now and urging him or her to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    The participants in the lobby day were multi-generational (including some small children!) to demonstrate that women from all generations are demanding an update to the Equal Pay Act, a law that hasn't been updated in generations despite major changes in the workforce. With the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act still fresh in our minds, the timing is perfect - and you can help us make it happen.

    Can you take two minutes to contact your representative and keep the drumbeat going after our visits to Capitol Hill?

  • Make Our Schools Safer

    In December 2012, hearts were breaking across the country as we learned of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where 26 elementary school children and staff were shot to death. Months later, our hearts are still broken, and our resolve has not wavered – Congress must act.

    As Congress considers gun-violence prevention laws in the wake of the shooting, our elected officials must recognize that we cannot end school violence without creating safe school climates – places where students are not bullied or harassed and where students feel they can report bullying and harassment to supportive staff members who are trained to handle these issues. The School Safety and Campus Enhancements Act (S.146) would help create safer environments in K-12 public schools and boost resources for college campus public safety officers so they can access best practices, research and training. Urge your senator to cosponsor the School Safety and Campus Enhancements Act today!

    AAUW's report Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School shows that nearly half of all 7-12th grade students said that they encountered some form of sexual harassment and that this harassment caused them to feel sick to their stomach, have trouble sleeping, and even skip school. Every student deserves a safe place to learn, and the School Safety and Campus Enhancements Act would make this goal a reality. Take action now: Urge your senator to cosponsor the School Safety and Campus Enhancements Act today!

  • Protect Students from Bullying and Harassment

    As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, students around the country can almost taste it: summer.

    Most kids celebrate the end of school because it means no more homework, no more waking up early, and plenty of time at the beach. But for some kids, it finally means a relief – albeit a short one – from the relentless bullying they encounter in the school hallways, on the playground, in the classroom, and countless other places in the school environment. This summer, take action to make schools free from bullying and harassment so students feel safe all year. Tell your senators: Bullying and harassment has no place in our schools, and it's time for Congress to act.

    Although some federal laws address particular kinds of harassment, there is no comprehensive law to address bullying and harassment. The Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 403) would fill that troubling gap in federal education policy. S. 403 would ensure states, districts, and schools have policies to prevent and appropriately respond to bullying and harassment.

    Urge your senators to cosponsor the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 403) today!

  • Help S.T.O.P. Sexual Assault in the Military

    Bear with us for a moment as we share some numbers:

    • More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, making up 14.5 percent of the active-duty force.
    • Nearly 3,200 cases of sexual assault in the military were reported in 2010, yet the Department of Defense estimates the actual number of assaults to be 19,000 since most cases are never reported.
    • Of the sexual assault cases actually reported to military officials, only 8 percent of the attackers in those cases were prosecuted in the military court system – compared with 40 percent of similar offenders prosecuted in the civilian court system.

    Eight percent. And even if the military justice system convicts a perpetrator of sexual assault, military commanders outside of the courtroom are still able to throw out that conviction at their own discretion.

    That list isn't just a bunch numbers. There are people behind those numbers – people like Kelly Smith, who was sexually assaulted her first night in the barracks at age 19. When Smith first reported the assault, investigators interrogated her for eight hours and accused her of lying. Although her attacker eventually signed a confession, Smith says he never appeared before a court martial and instead retired with full honors and benefits.

    We have to do something to prevent experiences like what Kelly Smith went through. We have to do something about those numbers.

    A proposed bill in Congress called the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, or STOP Act, would create an independent, professional office in the military to investigate, and prosecute sexual assault, instead of leaving the decisions in the hands of commanders who can act at their own discretion. The STOP Act would still keep the authority over sexual assault cases in the military—just not in the hands of individual commanders who are not trained to handle these cases.

    Urge your representative to cosponsor the STOP Act (H.R. 1593) and fundamentally change how sexual assault is handled in the military.

  • Tell Your Senators to Cosponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act

    June 2013 marked 50 years since we thought we would have equal pay for men and women – and here we are, with women typically earning 23 percent less than their male counterparts for the same work. The wage gap is even more severe for African American and Hispanic women, and it begins one year out of college.

    Tell your senators, it's time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act!

    The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84) would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, bar retaliation against workers who disclose their own wages to coworkers, and give both employers and employees the tools they need to end unequal pay practices. Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, it’s long past time for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

  • Time to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

    The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." We need the ERA to explicitly grant women equal rights and outlaw sex discrimination – that way we can better fight for advancements such as equal pay and push back against efforts to roll back our rights.

    Members of the U.S. Congress have introduced a resolution (H.J. Res 43/S.J. Res 15) that would remove the deadline for states to ratify the ERA. Once the deadline is lifted, only three more states need to ratify the amendment for it to become law.

    Urge your senators to co-sponsor H.J. Res 43/S.J. Res. 15) today!

    We've waited over 40 years for the ERA to be fully ratified – tell your representative and senators you won't wait any longer! Your state can lead the way in renewing efforts to ratify the ERA, and you can be a part of it.

  • Go to Bat for Girls in Sports!

    Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs which receive federal funding assistance, has made great strides in breaking through barriers for women athletes. But today, more than 40 years later, there is still work to be done, particularly at the high school level. High schools girls continue to face discrimination in scheduling, equipment, facilities, and overall participation opportunities.

    Better information can help high schools enhance compliance with Title IX and continue expanding athletic opportunities. Unlike colleges, high schools are not currently required to release any data on equity in sports, making it difficult for high schools and the communities they serve to assess the status of girls' access to athletic opportunities. The High School Data Transparency Act (H.R. 455/S. 217) would address this gap, requiring high schools to report basic data on the number of female and male students in their athletic programs and the expenditures made for their sports teams.

    Urge your senators and representative to cosponsor and support the High School Data Transparency Act (H.R. 455/S. 217).

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