Convention Headlines

June 27, 2009

Ledbetter, women politicians headline AAUW convention
St. Louis is the host city for the AAUW national convention, which is featuring Lilly Ledbetter, the nationally-known pay equity advocate. Additionally, the convention’s opening session will feature the local St. Louis Comptroller, Darlene Green.

900 AAUW members attend St. Louis convention
 Over 900 AAUW members are meeting this weekend for the organization’s national convention. Featured speakers include Lilly Ledbetter, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). Marsha Koch currently serves as the AAUW state president for Missouri, the host state for this St. Louis convention.

Jackie Speier Speaking at AAUW National Convention This Weekend
Nearly a thousand women are meeting in St. Louis this weekend for the AAUW national convention. Rep. Jackie Speier from California is one of the featured speakers, as well as Lilly Ledbetter and Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut.

Equal Pay is not only about fairness – it’s about survival
The current state of the economy has led some women to become the breadwinners in their households. When subjected to wage discrimination, the loss in income affects more than women, it affects the families they support, too.

Money for Grad School
When the economy isn’t doing well, many people go back to school. While grad school can be an expensive way to boost your career, there are tips to shopping around at different schools and finding funding through scholarships and even fellowships from AAUW.

Paycheck Fairness
President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law in January 2009, but it did not include the paycheck fairness bill. This bill would combat gender discrimination in pay by requiring employers to prove differences in wages are based on the jobs themselves rather than gender. Obama supported the bill when he was a Senator, and his support could help move it along now.

By:   |   June 27, 2009

12 Comments

  1. Clare Dyer says:

    Am very interested in the results of the bylaw voting. These changes are most welcome and necessary.
    When will the results be available?
    Please reply ASAP !
    Thanks,
    Clare Dyer , Florida: Mid-Pinellas Branch

    • The vote is occuring now. There should be results by the end of the afternoon. Stay tuned…

      • Sandy Ogden says:

        Bylaws PASSED with amendments to keep membership requirements as they are now and adjustment to board makeup to add 3 more elected positions [7 --> 10] and reduce the number of appointed positions [6 --> 3].

        • Linnea High says:

          What were the results of the rest of the votes? Have state organizations remained the same? Is the AAUW name staying the same? Where can I find all these answers?

          • Linnea, the AAUW Bylaws and AAUW Action Fund Bylaws documents are being proofed and revised by the bylaws committee and staff right now. Once approved, the documents will be downloadable from AAUW.org. We will alert members as to its availability as soon as possible.

  2. anita taylor says:

    I am very disappointed to learn that the membership requirement change was not approved. This kind of elitism epitomizes one reason AAUW is losing membership. Sadly, we are still too rooted in the past.

  3. Clare Dyer says:

    Anita Taylor expressed it so well – my sentiments exactly !

    On most every AAUW publication , the following is usually printed at the bottom of the page(could that be because it really isn’t one of our main objectives?)

    In principle and in practice AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

    I was so pleased with the proposed membership change and am unwilling to be a part of an organization that discriminates.
    Can’t believe there aren’t enough of our members who don’t understand that not finally opening up the membership to
    anyone who supports our mission and goals is tantamount to huge problems on the basis of the last two words in that lovely, inclusive sounding statement.
    I am very sad and disappointed. If by chance , and someday it might happen, a woman up for confirmation to a high level judgeship and a member of AAUW , might consider
    relinquishing her membership to better her chances of being confirmed due to belonging to an elite organization.
    Why couldn’t convention delegates take the advice of the bylaw committee who has obviously done the research on this issue and passed it , even unanimously ? How can they live with their consciences ?

  4. Marilyn Forsstrom says:

    This is a view “from the other side of the fence”. The membership did vote “no” on open membership, and “no” again on being forced once more to think it over. I hope someone is listening to us.

    There seemed to be surprise and happiness over the large turnout at this convention. Being a “first timer”, I have no experience to go on about that, but maybe it was because, like for myself being there, other branches were upset (if not hopping mad) about some of the proposed changes and sent their delegates so their voices would be heard.

    I talked with a number of women representing branches of all sizes from Washington, DC area to Minnesota to Arizona to Florida. Each one was there representing her own very upset branch membership. Another treasurer said 60 members, more than half the branch, were withholding dues until they saw if their AAUW was going to be changed away from the organization that they had supported and joined. She was happy to tell them the vote had preserved their preference.

    I feel that it’s neither a closed-minded nor an uninformed preference. It’s not discrimination, our membership should reflect those things we are concerned most with–education and the women who work in academia. In many respected organizations, there are clear distinctions of experience and training between the governing board of members and the people that they serve and goals they have. They just don’t invite everybody they could serve to be also making the decisions as well. That’s not a good practice.

    We have a reputation to uphold for the scholarly research we do and the level of the people who do it and publish. That level could drop and the trust in us erode. Logical or not, it’s all in the perception of those we are trying to persuade.

    On another point, even if open membership should someday come to pass, no one I spoke to even considered it a remote possibility of having droves of non-university people joining their branch or even anyone at all joining from it. Not one of them had gotten any new members in the Associate degree category yet, even those branches like my own, who work closely with a local Community College. They simply aren’t interested.

    So I hope this issue rests for a while. It was a good fight, a lot of views were aired, but the majority has prevailed. We still fail to see its justification or advantages. None of the arguments presented persuaded my branch.

  5. Marilyn Forsstrom says:

    This is a view “from the other side of the fence”. The membership did vote “no” on open membership, and “no” again on being forced once more to think it over. I hope someone is listening to us.

    There seemed to be surprise and happiness over the large turnout at this convention. Being a “first timer”, I have no experience to go on about that, but maybe it was because, like for myself being there, other branches were upset (if not hopping mad) about some of the proposed changes and sent their delegates so their voices would be heard.

    I talked with a number of women representing branches of all sizes from Washington, DC area to Minnesota to Arizona to Florida. Each one was there representing her own very upset branch membership. Another treasurer said 60 members, more than half the branch, were withholding dues until they saw if their AAUW was going to be changed away from the organization that they had supported and joined. She was happy to tell them the vote had preserved their preference.

    I feel that it’s neither a closed-minded nor an uninformed preference. It’s not discrimination, our membership should reflect those things we are concerned most with–education and the women who work in academia. In many respected organizations, there are clear distinctions of experience and training between the governing board of members and the people that they serve and goals they have. They just don’t invite everybody they could serve to be also making the decisions as well. That’s not a good practice.

    We have a reputation to uphold for the scholarly research we do and the level of the people who do it and publish. That level could drop and the trust in us erode. Logical or not, it’s all in the perception of those we are trying to persuade.

    On another point, even if open membership should someday come to pass, no one I spoke to even considered it a remote possibility of having droves of non-university people joining their branch or even anyone at all joining from it. Not one of them had gotten any new members in the Associate degree category yet, even those branches like my own, who work closely with a local Community College. They simply aren’t interested.

    So I hope this issue rests for a while. It was a good fight, a lot of views were aired, but the majority has prevailed. We still fail to see its justification or advantages. None of the arguments presented persuaded my branch.

  6. Kristi Hastings says:

    As president of a local chapter I couldn’t be more disappointed in AAUW right now. This was an opportunity for our organization to GROW and impact more women and girls.

  7. Marilyn Forsstrom says:

    I tend to get very “wordy” on issues I care about, and do not usually post my thoughts online for this reason. But there are two points on membership I think should be made here. Some speakers at convention have characterized those of us who were against “open membership” as being rooted in the past and against change (which was deemed to always be progressive and for the better). We were even accused of perpetuating discrimination and being contrary to the AAUW mission, if the membership requirements were not opened to all. This is the way I see the difference between the two positions on membership. With “open” or “mission based membership”, our mission and membership are being equated. Some people think this is the way it should be. I really disagree here and others seemed to also. Mission and membership are two distinct things each with their own set of standards.

    Secondly, there’s also a big difference between being discriminatory in membership and having some set of membership standards. Discrimination occurs when there are membership restrictions about personal attributes that one cannot change–sexual preference, skin color, etc. However, membership standards set the level of what is required or preferred in membership in an organization for it to work well. They are abilities or skills one can aspire to, learn or achieve. Instances of these situations occur at all levels of life. Every child cannot join the local swim team; you have to learn to swim first. Every high school student cannot take AP courses; you have to be academically qualified for them. Everyone cannot be a city firefighter; you have to meet minimum strength standards. You have to live in the subdivision to be in the homeowners group. To let everyone join without meeting the standard would not do the group any good or benefit the person in any way. AAUW has set a minimum educational standard for membership; it gives us a unity in membership and credibility in our national standing. Skills, strength and educational level are all things one can work on to upgrade and achieve. These standards are not discrimination in my definition. I am a very open minded person and being accused of being discriminatory makes me angry. So, I had to say something. I speak for myself, and maybe for others, as well. I don’t want to see this group split over this issue. Maybe some understanding of positions and definitions would help bridge the gap.

Join the Conversation

You must be logged in to post a comment.