Current Actions

  • Encourage Senator Enzi to Pursue the Budget Committee Chairmanship

    Senator Enzi is in a unique position to raise Wyoming’s profile within Congress. Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate after the midterm elections earlier this month, opening up leadership positions. 

    News outlets have reported that Sen. Enzi is considering exercising his seniority to take the gavel at the Budget Committee. Send a message to Sen. Enzi today encouraging him to actively seek out that Chairmanship.  

    Sen. Enzi was first elected to the Senate in 1997. He has served on the Budget Committee since 2005 and is one of its most senior members. The Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress’ annual budget plan and for monitoring the federal budget - no small task.

    Urge Sen. Enzi to pursue the Chairmanship by sending him a message today!

    The experience, seniority, and thoughtful leadership he would bring could truly benefit the Committee, the Senate, and Wyoming. 
  • ERA is Moving in Illinois House: Take Action Today!

    The Illinois General Assembly is returning to Springfield on November 19 for the end of the legislative session—and it's possible the House will vote on the Equal Rights Amendment just one day later!

    Take action below: Contact your state representative and urge her/him to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)!

    All eyes are on Illinois—that's what we're hearing from our allies across the country.
    Oregon voters approved a state Equal Rights Amendment just two weeks ago, and now they are looking to our state to keep the momentum going for other states and finally guarantee full constitutional equality for women.

    The text of the ERA is simple: "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.

    The ERA was sent to the states for ratification in 1972, but it fell three states short of the 38 states that needed to ratify it to go into effect.

    Illinois is one of the states that did not ratify the amendment, and now we have a chance to fix that. Contact your state representative today!

    The lack of constitutional equality for women reaches every aspect of women’s lives. The ERA would clarify, once and for all, that sex discrimination in employment, health insurance, Social Security, education, and more is a violation of our constitutional rights as Americans.

    We need to act fast. The Illinois Senate already passed the ERA resolution in May—if the Illinois House doesn't pass the ERA resolution in this fall legislative session, then we have to start all over again in 2015. Please contact your state representative today!

  • Tell the Labor Department You Support Strong Enforcement of Equal Pay Laws!

    In April, we celebrated when President Obama signed executive orders to help combat pay discrimination—actions that wouldn't have happened without the persistent advocacy of AAUW Two-Minute Activists like you! Now the Obama administration is getting ready to implement the executive orders, and we need to send a strong message again.

    To ensure that the executive orders have the maximum impact in closing the persistent gender pay gap, the Department of Labor (DOL) needs to receive supportive messages from the public—including you, your friends, and your family—on why these executive actions are so sorely needed. Take action below!
     
    I still remember the excitement of being at the White House on April 8, 2014, when President Obama signed the executive orders. One of those orders directed DOL to issue new regulations requiring federal contractors to regularly report what they pay their employees by gender, race, and ethnicity.‎ Most companies already have this data—they just don't share it.
     
    We believe that this data collection will encourage federal contractors to make proactive changes in their pay practices. This tool will also help us gain insight about pay by gender, race, and ethnicity in the broader workforce, which helps both DOL and AAUW continue to research the pay gap and propose specific solutions to the problem.  ‎

    This new rule is a big deal—federal contractors employ more than 20 percent of the American workforce. That's 28 million people!‎ AAUW has endorsed the rules and regulations proposed by DOL, and sending your own message of support will provide further evidence that the new rule is a good one.
     
    This is your chance to tell the Department of Labor why collecting compensation data on gender, race, and ethnicity is important.

    Please submit your comments today to help flood the pipeline with positive messages. You can be sure that opponents of fair pay will be submitting lots of comments aimed at gutting the new rules—we need to make sure our voices are heard, too, loud and clear.


    The gender pay gap isn't just a number on the page – it means less money for food, education, housing, and retirement for millions of women and families nationwide. Closing the pay gap will require addressing pay discrimination based on sex and race, and the proposed rule from DOL will give us more tools to do just that.

    It's a privilege to be awarded a federal contract. It's important to make sure that federal contractors aren't using our tax dollars to discriminate against their employees.  ‎

    We have to make sure the Department of Labor hears from people like you who support equal pay and understand the importance of accurate data collection to closing the gender pay gap. Thank you for taking action today!

  • Sign the Petition to Improve Virginia's Assistance for Human Trafficking Survivors


    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. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reports that it received 742 phone calls from individuals seeking help in Virginia in 2013—the sixth-highest number of calls among all states and Washington, D.C., that year.

    Despite the wide scope of the problem, Virginia's laws on human trafficking are lacking in the area of providing assistance to human trafficking survivors: Sign the petition below to urge the Virginia General Assembly to act!

  • Tell Congress to Pass Equal Pay Legislation!

    Wednesday, October 8, marks the symbolic day when Hispanic/Latina women’s earnings catch up to non-Hispanic white men’s earnings from the previous year.

    Yes, you read that right — Latinas have to work 21 months to make what white men made in just 12 months.

    That’s because Latina women typically make 56 cents to the dollar when compared with white, non-Hispanic men. This lost income adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over a woman's lifetime.

    This huge pay gap is just one of the many reasons why Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377/S. 84), which 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.

    Your senators and representative need to hear from you TODAY – please take two minutes to send a message urging them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

  • (No Title)

    Did Your Representative Score a 100 Percent?

    There's a lot of negative talk about Congress these days—and that might be the understatement of the year! But when it comes to some representatives, we've got a lot to be thankful for.

    One hundred and twenty representatives received a 100 percent score in the newly-released AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—meaning they voted for or co-sponsored selected AAUW priority bills 100 PERCENT OF THE TIME.

    The Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—CVR, for short—includes legislators' votes or co-sponsorship on legislation to strengthen our nation's equal pay laws, raise the minimum wage, protect LGBT workers from discrimination, re-open the federal government, and other critical issues.

    Enter your zip code below to find out if your representative received a 100 percent score, and then send a message thanking your representative for supporting women and girls in the 113th Congress.

    A legislator's rating does not indicate the full extent of his/her support of or opposition to AAUW positions. While the voting record is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of any member of Congress, we encourage you to use this record as a tool to hold your representatives accountable for their positions.

    You can also use the CVR to find out how your U.S. senators performed in the 113th Congress. Did they vote for bills to help women and girls succeed? Did they co-sponsor bills that advance AAUW policy priorities, as reflected in the member-adopted AAUW Public Policy Program?

    Once you see how your elected officials fared in the CVR, share the news on Twitter (make sure to tag your member of Congress' Twitter account!) and order print copies to distribute during local voter education events; with coalition partners, friends, and family; and at local libraries, community festivals, and civic centers.

    By taking these actions, you can help educate your community on the issues and on policy makers’ records.

    It's our responsibility to demonstrate to women voters exactly what’s at stake, and we need to encourage them to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 4—use the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record to make that case!

  • (No Title)

    Did Your Representative Score a Zero?

    Congress may be out for the month, but their report cards are in—and for some U.S. representatives, it's not looking good.

    The following representatives received a zero percent score in the newly-released AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—meaning they voted for or co-sponsored selected AAUW priority bills ZERO PERCENT OF THE TIME:

    - Rep. John Campbell (CA-45)
    - Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS-01)
    - Rep. Jimmy Duncan (TN-02)
    - Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-36)


    The Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—CVR, for short—includes legislators' votes or co-sponsorship on legislation to strengthen our nation's equal pay laws, raise the minimum wage, protect LGBT workers from discrimination, re-open the federal government, and other critical issues.

    If your representative is listed here, send a message below sharing how you feel about his zero percent score.

    A legislator's rating does not indicate the full extent of his/her support of or opposition to AAUW positions. While the voting record is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of any member of Congress, we encourage you to use this record as a tool to hold your representative accountable for his/her positions.

    Send a message to your representative today to let him know you're watching his votes and you will hold him accountable!

    You can also use the CVR to find out how your U.S. senators performed in the 113th Congress. Did they vote for bills to help women and girls succeed? Did they co-sponsor bills that advance AAUW policy priorities, as reflected in the member-adopted AAUW Public Policy Program?

    Once you see how your elected officials fared in the CVR, share the news on Twitter (make sure to tag your member of Congress' Twitter account!) and order print copies to distribute during local voter education events; with coalition partners, friends, and family; and at local libraries, community festivals, and civic centers.

    By taking these actions, you can help educate your community on the issues and on policy makers’ records.

    It's our responsibility to demonstrate to women voters exactly what’s at stake, and we need to encourage them to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 4—use the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record to make that case!

  • (No Title)

    Your Senator Scored a Zero Percent!

    Congress may be out for the month, but their report cards are in—and for one of your senators, it's not looking good.

    Your senator received a zero percent score in the newly-released AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—meaning your senator voted for or co-sponsored selected AAUW priority bills ZERO PERCENT OF THE TIME.

    The Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—CVR, for short—includes legislators' votes or co-sponsorship on legislation to strengthen our nation's equal pay laws, raise the minimum wage, protect LGBT workers from discrimination, re-open the federal government, and other critical issues.

    Look up the details of your senator's record, and then send a message below sharing how you feel about his zero percent score.

    A legislator's rating does not indicate the full extent of his/her support of or opposition to AAUW positions. While the voting record is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of any member of Congress, we encourage you to use this record as a tool to hold your senator accountable for his/her positions.

    Send a message to your senator today to let him know you're watching his votes and you will hold him accountable!

    You can also use the CVR to find out how your other U.S. senator and your U.S. representative performed in the 113th Congress. Did they vote for bills to help women and girls succeed? Did they co-sponsor bills that advance AAUW policy priorities, as reflected in the member-adopted AAUW Public Policy Program?

    Once you see how your elected officials fared in the CVR, share the news on Twitter (make sure to tag your member of Congress' Twitter account!) and order print copies to distribute during local voter education events; with coalition partners, friends, and family; and at local libraries, community festivals, and civic centers.

    By taking these actions, you can help educate your community on the issues and on policy makers’ records.

    It's our responsibility to demonstrate to women voters exactly what’s at stake, and we need to encourage them to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 4—use the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record to make that case!

  • (No Title)

    Thank Your Senator for a 100 Percent Record!

    There's a lot of negative talk about Congress these days—and that might be the understatement of the year! But when it comes to your senator, we've got a lot to be thankful for.

    Your senator received a 100 percent score in the newly-released AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—meaning your senator voted for or co-sponsored selected AAUW priority bills 100 PERCENT OF THE TIME.

    The Congressional Voting Record for the 113th Congress—CVR, for short—includes legislators' votes or co-sponsorship on legislation to strengthen our nation's equal pay laws, raise the minimum wage, protect LGBT workers from discrimination, re-open the federal government, and other critical issues.

    Look up the details of your senator's record, and then send a message below thanking your senator for supporting women and girls in the 113th Congress.

    A legislator's rating does not indicate the full extent of his/her support of or opposition to AAUW positions. While the voting record is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of any member of Congress, we encourage you to use this record as a tool to hold your senator accountable for his/her positions.

    Send a message to your senator today to say you're thankful for votes and actions supporting women and girls in the 113th Congress!

    You can also use the CVR to find out how your other U.S. senator and your U.S. representative performed in the 113th Congress. Did they vote for bills to help women and girls succeed? Did they co-sponsor bills that advance AAUW policy priorities, as reflected in the member-adopted AAUW Public Policy Program?

    Once you see how your elected officials fared in the CVR, share the news on Twitter (make sure to tag your member of Congress' Twitter account!) and order print copies to distribute during local voter education events; with coalition partners, friends, and family; and at local libraries, community festivals, and civic centers.

    By taking these actions, you can help educate your community on the issues and on policy makers’ records.

    It's our responsibility to demonstrate to women voters exactly what’s at stake, and we need to encourage them to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 4—use the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record to make that case!

  • Thank Rep. Gibson for His Support of Equal Pay Legislation!

    Women across America understand that "equal pay for equal work" isn't a partisan issue – it's simply the right thing to do.

    Yet for months, some members of Congress have been playing partisan political games with our wallets by blocking progress on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a much-needed bill that would help close the gender pay gap. As recently as September 15, Senate Republicans blocked the bill again!

    But here's the good news: Your representative is working to be part of the solution, not the problem.

    Last week, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) officially co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, making it a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Take action today: Send a thank-you note to Rep. Gibson for supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act!


    The Paycheck Fairness Act is a critical update to the 1963 Equal Pay Act that would give employers and employees the tools they need to help close the gender pay gap. This is much-needed in New York, where women on average earn only 86 percent of what men make. That's better than the national average, but it's still unacceptable!

    All workers deserve the chance to succeed, and hard work deserves equal pay. It's just that simple – and your representative gets it.

    Your persistent advocacy over the years helped convince Rep. Gibson to take this important step in supporting equal pay. This is AAUW's thank-you note to you!

    Now your representative needs to know that you appreciate his leadership – so send him a thank-you note today!

  • Take Action on State Equal Pay Bill!


    On September 18, AAUW-PA President Dot McLane will testify before the PA House Labor and Industry Committee about HB 1890. This bill would strengthen our state's existing equal pay law and protect employees who are trying to find out if they are being paid fairly.

    While AAUW and women across the country continue to work toward passage of the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, we cannot wait to act at home. Pennsylvania's women and families need the additional protections provided by HB 1890.

    Add your voice to Dot's: Enter your zip code below to contact your state representative and urge her/him to support HB 1890.

    Even today – in 2014! – women who work full time, year round, earn on average 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Minority women and mothers face a larger wage gap, and AAUW research shows that the gender pay gap begins as soon as women enter the workforce.

    Because of the gender wage gap, since 1960, the real median earnings of women have fallen short by more than half a million dollars compared to men.

    Clearly our state's equal pay law is not strong enough to close the persistent gender pay gap. That is why we need the state legislature to pass HB 1890 and bring our equal pay law into the 21st century.

    We are so proud that AAUW-PA President Dot McLane will represent us in Harrisburg when the House Labor and Industry Committee considers HB 1890. If we can get this bill passed, it would make a real difference in the lives of women in Pennsylvania.

    Simply put, it’s time to end the gender pay gap – contact your state representative today and ask for her/his support of HB 1890!

  • On Equal Pay, It's Déjà vu All Over Again!‎

    The Senate is giving us a bad case of whiplash.

    On September 10, for the first time ever, 73 senators from both parties voted to have a debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a much-needed bill that would help close the gender pay gap.

    And then, five days later, some of them turned right around and blocked the bill from moving out of the debate phase and onto a final up-or down vote.

    This was no last-minute change of heart: It's the same partisan bickering and abuse of procedural rules that we've seen time and time again. This time, the gridlock stings even more than usual because it came just one day before the U.S. Census Bureau released new data about the gender pay gap.

    And guess what the data said? No significant change in the gender wage gap. Again.

    Honestly, we weren't holding our breath that the new data would show a huge decrease in the gender pay gap. While that would have been terrific, the pay gap between men and women has held steady for the last decade and shows little sign of going away without some serious changes in both federal law and social attitudes.

    What really gets me is that we've got a gender pay gap that has barely budged in more than 10 years, and a Senate that refuses to vote on legislation that could make a real difference in finally shrinking that number.

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

    Find out how your senators voted and send them a message by entering your zip code below!
     
    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.

    The latest Census data says what it always says: Today 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; it's math. And the wage gap isn't just a number. It represents real dollars and cents that translates 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.

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

  • Did Your Senator Vote to Continue Money in Politics as Usual?

    More than four years ago, five justices on the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, which made a mockery of the First Amendment by allowing the voices and policy preferences of billionaires and corporations to overwhelm those of everyday Americans.

    Yet on September 11, 2014, 48 senators voted against the Democracy for All Constitutional Amendment, which would have restored the ability of Congress and state legislatures to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections. It is outrageous that a minority of senators voted against this common-sense amendment and blocked it from moving forward.

    How did your senators vote on this amendment? Enter your zip code below to see how they voted, and then tell them how you feel about their votes.
     
    Polls show that Americans across the country and across party lines overwhelmingly support – to the tune of 73 percent in the most recent poll – a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  Sixteen states, more than 550 cities and towns, and millions of Americans have called for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics.

    The 48 senators who voted no are out of touch with everyday Americans, and they need to hear from us.


    This amendment is particularly important for women. Women are the majority of registered voters and are more likely to vote then men; however, they lag behind men in donating to campaigns and in running for elected office. If money is the most respected form of speech, women become even more marginalized.

    Take action! Tell your senators that you support a constitutional amendment to restore common sense to campaign financing and to elevate the voices of everyday Americans over special interests.

  • Urge Senate to Act on Equal Pay

    On September 10, for the first time ever, 73 senators from both parties voted to have a debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a much-needed bill that would help close the gender pay gap.

    And then, five days later, some of them turned right around and blocked the bill from moving out of the debate phase and onto a final up-or down vote.

    This was no last-minute change of heart: It's the same partisan bickering and abuse of procedural rules that we've seen time and time again.

    Tell your senators to stop playing games with women's paychecks: Send them a message today urging to co-sponsor and support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

    AAUW members have been leading this fight since our first equal pay research in 1894, and we would like to remind Congress that equal pay has typically been bipartisan. We remember when thoughtful policy makers from both parties used to come together to develop solutions.

    That’s how it worked back in 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was passed. But that well-meaning law has clearly not been sufficient, nor has it been updated despite the persistent, well-documented gender pay gap that exists even between those with the same qualifications doing the same work.

    The Senate needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to give employees the tools they need to uncover and challenge unlawful pay discrimination. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84/S. 2199) 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.

    Your senators need to hear from you TODAY – please take two minutes to send a message urging them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

  • Tell Your Senators to Support Fair Student Loans!

    Millions of students are on campus for the 2014-15 school year, and classes and textbooks aren’t the only things on their minds: Many are also thinking about the weight of their student loans, which often carry high interest rates.

    Your senators could consider legislation that would allow certain borrowers to refinance their student loans and lower their interest rates - contact your senators today and urge them to support the legislation!

    The Senate legislation would treat student loans just like other loans, allowing borrowers to refinance and lower their interest rates. It is estimated that as many as 25 million people would be eligible for this refinancing, which would help ease their heavy loan burden. The costs of refinancing would be offset by changing the tax code so that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share of taxes (the so-called “Buffett Rule”).

    Women need this legislation – a woman working full time typically makes less than a man just one year after college graduation, even after controlling for college major, occupation, hours worked, geographic region, and all other factors known to affect earnings. And that wage gap only grows over time!

    Yet while she makes less than him, their loan repayments are exactly the same because men and women tend to take out the same amount of student loans.

    Bottom line: The gender wage gap means student loan debt is an even bigger burden for women. That's why this legislation is so important – it will allow all eligible graduates to refinance their loans in a way that makes sense for them and their financial situation.

    Take action today: Tell your senators to support fair student loan refinancing!

  • Empower College Assault Survivors - Ask Governor Brown to sign SB 967

    With 1 in 5 women (20%) sexually assaulted during their college years, it is time to take action with Senate Bill 967, authored by Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León. This legislation is about our daughters, sisters, nieces, and friends who should not live in fear of becoming victims of sexually violent crime while pursuing their academic goals.

    These shocking and unacceptable numbers are the factors motivating thousands of students to pursue the swift passage of SB 967.

    This legislation can make a difference by creating uniform standards by which California college campuses can remedy this epidemic of sexual assault through prevention, training, and justice. The centerpiece of this legislation is to prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place. Preventative measures rooted in education of affirmative consent should be a part of student orientation, just like education on alcohol and drug abuse. Rather than focusing on whether the victims of sexual assault said "no," let us affirm that they gave consent in the first place. Only "yes" means "yes."

    SB 967 will require training campus disciplinary panels and school administrators; adjudication panels need extensive training so that these investigations of "he said, she said" are handled justly. Survivors must be provided a fair shot at a fair hearing. In addition, schools must provide access to resources to provide both physical and psychological healing for assault survivors. Schools must treat every sexual assault case seriously in order to end the cycle of violence so that victims are not re-victimized by a system that stigmatizes survivors.

    Support SB 967 by signing this petition and end the epidemic of sexual assault on California college campuses today!

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask Governor Brown to Sign SB 477

    Slavery has been illegal in the United States for 149 years. Despite this, illegal forced labor and human trafficking still persists, with over 2,400,000 victims of human trafficking worldwide.

    Traffickers prey on those who suffer most from macro factors like gender discrimination, family violence, and a lack of access to education and economic opportunity. Although some are forcibly taken into the United States, many are lured here with the promise of a well-paying job and a chance at improving their lives and those of their families. They arrive, only to find that the promised job does not exist and they are now subject to the control of the human trafficker.

    SB 477 takes a three-pronged approach to this problem: Contractors using foreign labor must register with the state, cannot change the terms of a contract without enough notice to workers, and cannot charge them various "visa" or "processing" fees, and cannot claim that a job is available without actually employing the foreign worker brought in for that job.

    TAKE ACTION NOW: Ask Governor Brown to sign SB 477.

  • Sign the Petition for Campaign Finance Reform!

    The 2014 midterm elections were the most expensive midterms in history. All across the country, wealthy special interests tried to drown out the voices of everyday Americans by spending huge sums of money to rig the political process.

    That is why we need a "Democracy for All" constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment rights of everyday Americans and reject the idea that a corporation has the same political rights as citizens.

    This trend has been decades in the making, and the Supreme Court has made the problem much worse through recent decisions which further dismantled what’s left of our country’s campaign finance laws. With more than $6 billion spent on the 2012 federal elections alone, wealthy special interests have more political power now than at any time in recent American history.

    This means that in today’s elections, the voices of a small minority of wealthy special interests threaten to overpower the voices of everyday Americans.

    Take action: Sign the petition for the Democracy for All Amendment today!

    AAUW members were right on when they voted in 2013 to add a simple yet powerful line to the AAUW Public Policy Program: "We see an urgent need for meaningful campaign finance reform." A constitutional amendment is the best way to meet this urgent need and address the root problem created by the Supreme Court's decisions.

    Add your name to the millions of others who are signing this petition to show Congress that the voices of everyday Americans matter.


    When we show up on Capitol Hill with this petition, Congress won't be able to ignore our voices any longer. Take action today!

  • Take Two Minutes: Ask Governor Brown to Sign SB 1053

    Both California and federal law require contraceptive coverage, but health plans and insurers have a right to impose “medical management” for all care and pharmaceuticals. Just one example of “medical management” is to require a woman to “fail first” on other insurer-approved contraceptives before having access to the most effective reversible method, an IUD. SB 1053 (Mitchell) says that instead of the insurer, the woman and her physician will determine the most appropriate contraceptive.  

    Take Action Now! Ask Governor Brown to sign SB 1053 to ensure that all California women with a public or private health plan have access to their birth control method of choice without restrictions or cost-sharing.

  • Preserve Graduate Students' Rights - Ask Governor Brown to sign AB 2350

    The success of pregnant graduate students should not depend on the institution they attend or on their advisors. Every pregnant graduate student should feel supported and encouraged to continue with their graduate studies. AB 2350 will be one step towards that success.

    AB 2350 prohibits postsecondary educational institutions that receive federal funds from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program, or limit his or her graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues. This timely measure would also ensure that pregnant graduate students have reasonable accommodations to complete their program, be allowed additional time for exams when the student has taken a leave of absence due to pregnancy or recent birth, and be allowed to return to the program in good academic standing.

    TAKE ACTION NOW: Request Governor Brown to sign AB 2350 by Assemblywoman Bonilla, which requires universities to adopt policies to implement Title IX and protect the rights of pregnant graduate students.

  • Stand Up for Voting Rights

    In November, voters in nearly half the country are expected to face new voting restrictions at the polls that weren't there during the last midterm election four years ago.

    The exact number of voters who will be impacted depends on the outcomes of pending court challenges, but one thing is clear: These voting restrictions will hurt women, minorities, young voters, and the elderly the most.

    Why is this happening? The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was supposed to stop states from passing these kinds of voting restrictions. But a 2013 Supreme Court decision weakened the law, gutting the spirit but leaving the name.

    That's why Congress needs to pass H.R. 3899/S. 1945, a bipartisan 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.

    Take action below: Urge your members of Congress to support H.R. 3899/S. 1945 today!


    Look at North Carolina, which has 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, as compared to 33 percent of their male counterparts. This means these women and many others may have problems voting when the photo ID provision of the law goes into effect in 2016. Our members of Congress can and should do something about these nonsensical and unnecessary state voting restrictions.

    The right to vote is exactly that – a right. And the Supreme Court’s decision could make it harder for millions of women, college students, minorities, the poor, and the elderly to vote, if Congress doesn’t act.

    Take action: Urge your elected officials to co-sponsor H.R. 3899/S. 1945 to protect voting rights across the country!

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Assemblymembers to vote AYE on SB 477

    Slavery has been illegal in the United States for 149 years. Despite this, illegal forced labor and human trafficking still persists, with over 2,400,000 victims of human trafficking worldwide.

    Traffickers prey on those who suffer most from macro factors like gender discrimination, family violence, and a lack of access to education and economic opportunity. Although some are forcibly taken into the United States, many are lured here with the promise of a well-paying job and a chance at improving their lives and those of their families. They arrive, only to find that the promised job does not exist and they are now subject to the control of the human trafficker.

    SB 477 takes a three-pronged approach to this problem: Contractors using foreign labor must register with the state, cannot change the terms of a contract without enough notice to workers, and cannot charge them various "visa" or "processing" fees, and cannot claim that a job is available without actually employing the foreign worker brought in for that job.

    TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your Assemblymember you want them to vote AYE on SB 477.

  • Petition: Protect Voting!

    Almost a century ago, the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, recognizing a woman's right to vote.

    Yet today – in 2014 – our right to vote is under attack by North Carolina's elected officials.

    The NC General Assembly recently passed a law that cuts the early voting period, prohibits same-day registration, and ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds in advance of the November 2014 elections – and beginning in 2016, the law will require you to show one of certain government-issued photo IDs to vote. AAUW NC opposed this law as it will make it more difficult for the elderly, minorities, young people, and low-income individuals to vote.

    North Carolina's new restrictions are the toughest in the nation, but we aren't the only ones dealing with new requirements that make it harder to vote. Across the country, state lawmakers are trying to see who can enact tougher and tougher restrictions, supposedly to protect against voter fraud - an issue that most experts say is an almost nonexistent problem.

    Take action: Sign the petition below urging elected officials to protect voting, not destroy it!

    There's a reason that opponents have filed lawsuits against the NC legislation in both the federal and the state court system – it's a bad law that will make it harder for people to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

    AAUW is teaming up with Rock the Vote, the League of Women Voters, Democracy NC, and dozens of other organizations to stand up for voting and ask our elected officials to do the same. Add your name to this petition today!

  • Take Two Minutes: Ask Assemblymember Gatto to move SB 1053

    The Assembly Appropriations Committee has until Friday, August 15, to move SB 1053 - the Contraceptive Coverage Equity Act -  to the Assembly Floor for a full vote. Both California and federal law require contraceptive coverage, but health plans and insurers have a right to impose “medical management” for all care and pharmaceuticals. Just one example of “medical management” is to require a woman to “fail first” on other insurer-approved contraceptives before having access to the most effective reversible method, an IUD. SB 1053 (Mitchell) says that instead of the insurer, the woman and her physician will determine the most appropriate contraceptive.  

    Take Action Now! The bill has been moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee “suspense” file where bills with state costs are sent to be considered as a whole, even though a state-mandated study found there could actually be cost savings. What bills are passed off of the “suspense” file will be ultimately determined by the Committee Chair, Assemblymember Mike Gatto, and announced THIS FRIDAY.

    URGE Assemblymember Mike Gatto, to vote to move SB 1053 off of suspense to ensure that all California women with a public or private health plan have access to their birth control method of choice without restrictions or cost-sharing.

  • Thank Your Representatives for Voting Yes on Workforce Training Package

    Thanks to your advocacy, American workers will be able to access improved workforce training and pursue better jobs. Before they left for recess, both the House and Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R.803), and the act was signed into law by President Obama. The training and career services under WIOA will help women enter nontraditional careers and find high-wage, high-skill jobs.

    This deserves celebration! Thank your representatives for voting for this important legislation.


    AAUW members have long worked for passage of this bill, and it’s great to see it finally become law in such a bipartisan fashion. Especially in a time of economic challenges, job training and higher education can make all the difference for people who find themselves unemployed and in need of skills to move into a more viable career.

    Tell your representatives that their vote for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was the right call.

  • Would You Like a Side of the Flu with Your Meal?

    Chances are, you've been served food by someone who's sick and should be at home.

    It's not just food workers - it can be anyone. In New Jersey, 1.2 million workers don't earn paid sick days. These workers often come to work sick because they cannot afford to lose a day’s pay. This status quo hurts them, hurts their co-workers and office productivity, and can spread illness further.

    New Jerseyans deserve the opportunity to earn paid sick days. Tell your elected officials to support paid sick leave.

    This legislation (A-2354/S-785) would allow workers to earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. They could use this leave to take care of themselves or family during an illness.

    Life doesn't stop just because you're sick - tell your elected officials to support earned paid sick days.

  • Tell the Senate to Fix the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision!

    You probably frowned when you heard about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision a few months ago. You remember – the one that strips many women of access to fully-covered contraception if they work for “closely held” employers with religious objections to contraception. You wondered what you could do to protest this decision.

    It’s time to act. The U.S. Senate is considering legislation to protect women’s access to all forms of contraception without cost, and your senators need to hear from you immediately.

    The majority in the Hobby Lobby case claims that its decision is narrow because Hobby Lobby challenged four of the 20 FDA-approved forms of contraception. However, Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion did not limit the court’s ruling to only those four types of contraception. Thus, companies can refuse to cover ALL forms of birth control if they choose to do so.

    Since the court’s ruling, over 82 companies have stepped forward to say they will embrace the decision, but they have not confirmed how far they will take it. This decision is expected to have the heaviest impact on lower-wage workers. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissent, “The cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage” (two of the forms of contraception Hobby Lobby objected to are intrauterine devices).
     
    The Supreme Court’s decision singles out women for discrimination. It’s up to Congress to act so that preventive health care is covered without co-pay, regardless of sex. The Senate bill has majority support – 56 senators voted to consider the legislation on July 16 – but we need 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle and actually hold a full up-or-down vote on protecting women's access to all forms of contraception.

    Tell Congress that there’s no room for bosses when it comes to women’s health care decisions. A woman and her doctor should be able to choose the most appropriate method for her without worrying about her boss’s religious beliefs.

    Take action today: Congress needs to feel the pressure to protect women’s health!

  • 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 acted in June 2013 (that's right, more than one year ago), so it is long past 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; provide a long-term solution for growing our domestic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce; promote policies against human trafficking; and honor an earlier deal with Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) authors to include battered immigrant provisions. The Senate bill would

    • Create a STEM education fund to help move women and girls into STEM fields;
    • 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; and
    • Improve the visa process to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence.

    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!

  • Support Paid Family and Medical Leave

    "I believe we can do better as a society, and I do think that we are not delivering on our promise" to families in this country.

    - Dia, AAUW member in Tennessee

    In June, hundreds of advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., for the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families – including Dia, an AAUW member in Tennessee, who was invited to attend this important discussion.

    Dia comes at these issues not only as a policy expert and AAUW state public policy chair, but also as a working mom who has personally struggled with one of the challenges facing working families across the country: how to balance a career with the needs of your children.

    Dia is lucky. When her daughter was born seven years ago, she was working for a small employer who understood the importance of providing paid maternity leave to her workforce of only three employees. Those six weeks of paid leave "made a huge difference," Dia says.

    But only 11 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employers – meaning that most people have to confront the impossible choice of whether to leave their jobs or care for their families.

    That's why we need the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), which would create a national family leave insurance program funded by employee and employer contributions. Urge your members of Congress to support the FAMILY Act!


    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. The program created by the FAMILY Act 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.

    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.

    That's the reason Dia's boss felt compelled to offer her employees paid family leave. "I think the way she would see it was that it was her obligation to do so to retain me as an employee, and it also represented her values as an individual and as an organization," Dia recalls.

    "It's all of these personal experiences and my professional commitment that really come together around this summit, where I definitely believe we can be doing more and better," she adds.

    Dia, we couldn't agree more – we can do better for our nation's working families, and it's time for Congress to step up to the plate. Urge your members of Congress to support the FAMILY Act today!

  • Tell Governor Christie: New Jersey Workers Deserve Equal Pay!

    Right now, sitting on Governor Chris Christie's desk, are two bills that would give New Jersey workers new tools to fight unequal pay practices. The first bill, the Unfair Wage Recovery Act, says that every act of pay discrimination - every unequal paycheck - is a separate act of discrimination, giving victims of discrimination additional time to challenge their treatment in state court. The second bill would provide greater transparency by collecting data on the gender, job title, and compensation of their workers. This resource would empower employees to discover possible unfair treatment.

    Don't these sound like laws that New Jersey needs? Then tell Governor Christie to sign these bills!

    The wage gap in New Jersey is real. Governor Christie needs to give New Jersey women the tools to close the gap.

  • ERA is Moving in Illinois House: Take Action Today!

    After two straight days of persistent advocacy from AAUW and other advocates, the Illinois Senate passed a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution!

    Now we need to turn our attention to the Illinois House, before the legislature adjourns at the end of the week.

    The House resolution would do the exact same thing as the Senate resolution – allow for Illinois to become the 36th state to ratify the ERA, bringing us within two states of reaching the number of states required to fully ratify the amendment.

    All eyes are on Illinois – that's what we're hearing from our allies across the country. They are looking to our state to lead on the ERA and build momentum for other states to ratify the ERA and finally guarantee full constitutional equality for women.

    Take action today: Contact your state representative and urge her/him to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment!


    The text of the ERA is simple yet powerful: "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.

    The ERA was 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. Illinois is one of the states that did not ratify the amendment, but now we have a chance to fix that. Contact your state representative today!

    The lack of constitutional equality for women reaches every aspect of women’s lives. The ERA would clarify, once and for all, that sex discrimination in employment, health insurance, Social Security, education, and more is a violation of our constitutional rights as Americans. 

    We need to act fast – if the Illinois House doesn't pass the ERA resolution in the next few days, then we may have to start all over again in the next legislative session. Please contact your state representative today!

  • Protect Women's Rights

    On many fronts, the rights of women are under attack - and the newest attack on women’s rights is here in Florida. A state bill which would narrow the situations in which a woman can obtain a late-term abortion to protect her health and could set the ban on abortions as early as the 20th week of pregnancy is sitting on Governor Rick Scott's desk right now.

    We cannot stand silent. We must speak up and tell Gov. Scott that signing this anti-choice legislation is unacceptable. Enter your zip code below to take action!

    If this bill becomes law, a Florida woman will have fewer protections for her physical and mental health, and more hoops to jump through before she can get the care she needs. The Supreme Court already determined that a woman's right to make her own health care decisions about abortion is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Florida women do not need this legislation to limit their right to choose.

    We need to let Governor Scott know that we are watching and will remember what he does about this bill. Take action now!

    It’s incredible that Florida's Republican-controlled House and Senate refused to consider a bill that would guarantee equal pay for women, but managed to find the time to pass a law that infringes on our bodies and our right to choose. Clearly, their priorities are not only harmful to women but also out of touch with the Florida voters they are supposed to represent.

    We must let our governor know that we will not tolerate these acts on women's rights. Take action now: Tell Governor Scott to stand up for women and veto this anti- choice legislation.

  • Ask for an AYE vote on SB 1349

    Since Title IX was passed in 1972, the number of girls participating in high school sports has nationally risen from 295,000 to over 3 million today. While this is spectacular progress, consider that girls make up half of the high school population but there are still 1.3 million fewer competitive sports opportunities for female students than their male counterparts. The first step to creating change is to first have better measurement and reporting. SB 1349 requires that each public school and secondary school that have students who participate in competitive athletics to report its data to the school district governing board, which will then be posted to the district’s website.

    Contact your Senator today and tell them to vote in support of SB 1349. SB 1349 will enable students, parents, and community members to obtain data on athletic opportunities and participation that is necessary to determine how schools and communities can ensure that girls are getting the equal access to athletic opportunities to which they are entitled under Title IX.

    Let your Senator know today you want him or her to vote AYE on SB 1349.

    Thank you for standing with AAUW and supporting Title IX.

  • Missouri Women Shouldn't Have to Wait for Health Care

    Women's health isn't like buying a car - yet that's exactly what it has been compared to by Missouri state legislators trying to justify a three-day waiting period for women seeking abortions. Missouri already requires women to wait one day after a consultation with a doctor before obtaining this procedure, yet the Missouri state legislature has sent a bill to the Governor that would triple this waiting time.

    This bill is a threat to women's health, and Governor Nixon must veto it. Enter your zip code below to contact the governor today!


    This bill would force all women to wait 72 hours after their initial doctor visit before having an abortion, with no exemption for victims of rape and incest. There's a reason only two other states have a similar three-day waiting period: It's a bad policy - and one that does not belong in Missouri.

    What's worse: There is currently only one abortion clinic in Missouri, meaning that women would have to be away from their home, family, and job for three days just to exercise their right to make health care decisions and obtain a legal procedure. For low-income women, single moms, women caring for an aging parent, or a woman without earned sick time, that just isn't an option.

    This bill is ridiculous, and it's dangerous. Tell Governor Nixon to veto the three-day waiting period.

  • Oppose HB 956, the Worst Thing to Happen to Equal Pay!

    HB 956 masquerades as an equal pay bill when it is anything but. HB 956 promises to support equal pay for women, when in fact, it would make it harder for employees to challenge pay discrimination by requiring them to prove that their bosses intended to discriminate against them.

    Intent in any situation is incredibly difficult to prove - especially when employees have no protection to ask about salary information without the fear of being fired. Moreover, this bill fails to define what "intent" means.

    HB 956 pretends to solve the problem of unequal pay when in reality it would make the problem worse. The passage of this bill is poised to undo all of our hard work thus far to ensure fair pay for the women and families of Louisiana.

    The Louisiana State Legislative Session is due to end on June 2. This means we are running out of time to stop this bill! To avoid passage of this bill, follow the steps below:

    To stop this bill from being passed into law, join our opposition storm now. Use the holiday weekend to write your senator. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to light up the phone lines in opposition of HB 956. Please call, text, e-mail and use social media channels to oppose this bill. By whatever means necessary, take the time now and this upcoming Tuesday to tell our legislature to "stop HB 956."

    • Enter your zip code below to send a pre-written e-mail to your state senator.
    • When you see your senator's information listed, write down the senator's phone number so you can call the office on Tuesday and ask her/him to vote "no" on HB 956. In your call, ask your senator to delay the passage of the bill to allow the Louisiana Fair Pay Task Force to contribute their research to the language of the bill. Pay discrimination needs to end, whether it is intentional or not.
    • Find your senator via social media and use hashtag #stopHB956 when asking them to vote "no" on HB 956.

    The pay gap in Louisiana is among the worst in the nation. This is not what we should be known for. The pay gap is real, and it hurts Louisiana women and their families. We must stop this bill from becoming law, and we must let our legislators know that Louisiana women and their families deserve better. We deserve equal pay.

    Let's show our Senate what Louisiana women are made of. Help us #stopHB356 today.

    For any questions, please contact: Melodía Gutiérrez | 801.918.6832 | gutierrezm@aauw.org

  • Ask Your State Senator to Vote Yes on SB 899

    California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Children program, or CalWORKS, is designed to help low-income families provide for their children by providing basic needs cash grants to parents for an average of two years while they obtain education and experience needed to become economically self-sufficient. However an archaic rule is embedded in the CalWORKS program – the Maximum Family Grant Rule (MFG). California is only one of 16 states still retaining the "family cap."

    SB 899 (Mitchell) will repeal California’s MFG policy of denying financial support to babies born while their families are receiving CalWORKs basic needs grants. The only exceptions to this policy are for rape and the failure of certain long-acting contraceptives specified in the law.

    The Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule endangers the health and wellbeing of infants born into poverty and intentionally limits the reproductive decisions of poor women. The $122 per month per additional child is critical income for that family. 

    Please ask your Senator invest in California families by voting “AYE” when SB 899 comes before her or him for a vote.

  • Help End Violence Against Women Worldwide

    Twenty years ago, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a landmark piece of legislation that continues to make major strides toward ending domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking against women and men.

    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!

  • Action Needed! Equal Pay Legislative Alert!

    Please take five minutes to contact Louisiana legislators in support of two state equal pay bills! We are expecting SB 322 and SB 443 to be reviewed in the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee sometime this week. We need you to contact the committee members today!

    Please enter your information below to send an e-mail to committee members, or find the phone numbers of House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee members and call them to ask that they support equal pay. Please call, e-mail, or both!

    If you are interested in attending the committee hearing, please contact Camille Moran for more information.

    The two bills that are coming up for a committee hearing are:

    SB 322 -- Last year, the state legislature passed an amended version of Sen. Murray’s Equal Pay for Women bill that made unequal pay for state government employees illegal, whether intentional or unintentional, and prohibited retaliation for actions taken to assure pay equality. That bill also set up a process with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights to handle allegations of pay discrimination in order to achieve enforcement without litigation when possible. This bill corrects minor technical problems with the final version of the bill that became Act 374 in 2013.

    SB 443 -- This bill would expand last year’s equal pay law to make it apply to all public employees, including municipal and parochial (parish) workers. The pay gap between women’s and men’s earnings in public employment is smaller than in private employment, but it is still significant. Other public employees should be afforded the same protections as state employees.

    Your action is needed! Please ask House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee members for their support of SB 322 and SB 443. Calling is the most effective way to make your voices heard!

    If you are unable to call, please enter your information below to send an e-mail to the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, or use social media channels to ask for their support.

    Feel free to contact Camille Moran or Melodía Gutiérrez for more information. Together we can make the change we so desperately need for Louisiana women and families!

  • Help End Human Trafficking in Wisconsin!

    Human trafficking is a growing problem in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, more than 200 survivors of human trafficking have been identified in over half of Wisconsin's counties. 

    The state legislature recently passed a bill that strengthens Wisconsin’s human trafficking laws. This legislation allows survivors to void crimes they may have committed and ask a judge to vacate or expunge prostitution convictions.

    We need to keep the momentum going by showing our support for continued federal and state legislation to address human trafficking in Wisconsin.

    Enter your zip code below to sign AAUW Wisconsin's petition on human trafficking!

  • Urge Governor Mead to Appoint an Equal Pay Task Force

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman working full time, year-round still typically takes home 77 cents for every dollar a man takes home. The earnings ratio for women working in Wyoming however, is even lower at 64 cents on the dollar - the worst in the nation.

    Sign this petition urging Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to establish an Equal Pay Task Force to address the gender wage gap in Wyoming. The Equal Pay Task Force would research the gender wage gap in Wyoming and make recommendations to the state government to help ensure women in our state receive equal pay for equal work. Findings by a state task force could have a positive impact for Wyoming women and working families.

    It's about time Wyoming lives up to its name, the "Equality State!" Sign the petition today!

  • 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 – twice since that commitee hearing, a minority of senators have 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 April 1 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 78 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 has passed legislation that would begin the process to change that. This bill would establish a commission to follow the recognized process for instituting a national museum.

    Tell your senators to support and pass 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 senators 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 June, 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 June 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 Vance v. Ball State University has been in effect for one year now, so it's long past time to fix this Supreme Court wrong: 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!

  • Keep the Momentum Going for Ohio's End Demand Act: Sign the Petition Today!

    HB 130 increases protection for Ohio’s trafficking survivors, particularly minors and survivors with developmental disabilities. It also improves services for survivors, eases the burden of proof for prosecutors, and increases the punishment for traffickers and men who pay for sex with children. 

    Ohio’s End Demand Act (HB 130) had its second hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It is up to us to keep the momentum going for this bill to become law. 

    Enter your zip code below to sign AAUW Ohio's petition in support of HB 130 to end the demand!

  • 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!

  • 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

    “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” - Susan B. Anthony

    This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a momentous act by Congress prohibiting discrimination on the basis of color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment, education (except for sex discrimination in education, which would have to wait until Title IX in 1972), and access to public facilities, including restaurants, transportation and hotels. Title I of the Act took aim at the discriminatory effect of state voting laws which had been used to suppress minority voting rights.

    Yet today, states are enacting new voting laws which have a discriminatory effect on women, students, and minority populations. It’s time for Congress to take a stance once again to clarify that voter suppression and voting discrimination will not be tolerated!

    Look at North Carolina, which has 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, as compared to 33 percent of their male counterparts. This means they may have problems voting when the law goes in to effect in 2016. Our members of Congress can and should do something about these nonsensical and unnecessary state voting restrictions.

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 – passed just one year after the Civil Rights Act to guarantee the right to vote – was supposed to stop states from passing these kinds of voting restrictions. But a recent Supreme Court decision has weakened 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.

    The Voting Rights Act has a long history of bipartisan support, and this bill should be no different. We must urge Congress to act today to ensure that every voter is treated equally and fairly.

    The 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is historic. Thousands of people took a stance for civil 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

    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, will take home less than $20,000 annually, meaning they and their family would live below the poverty line.

    It wasn't always this way, and it doesn't have to be. Legislation pending in Congress would gradually increase the minimum wage until it reaches $10.10. Urge your senators and representative to support an increase in the federal minimum wage!

    The minimum wage is a working woman’s issue – nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women – and it is especially important for women of color. President Barack Obama has already signed 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.

    Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward increasing the economic security of working women and their families, and it's a step we need our members of Congress to take. Urge your members of Congress to support legislation to increase the federal minimum wage today!

  • 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 2013, 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 113/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 113/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).

AAA
print