So Much to Be Thankful ForNovember 24, 2011
AAUW would like to pause this Thanksgiving to give thanks for the many opportunities and advancements for women and girls during 2011. Although there is no way for us to list all of the progress that we have seen this year, here are just a few things to reflect upon and give thanks for:
We’re thankful for AAUW’s new research report, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, the most comprehensive, nationally representative report conducted on sexual harassment in middle and high schools in a decade. The report has been featured by the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Education Week, Capitol Hill Blue, and more than a thousand other press outlets.
We’re thankful for a successful Capitol Hill Lobby Day during the 2011 AAUW National Convention. More than 600 AAUW members lobbied Congress in one day. Their efforts and those of the AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps and AAUW Action Network e-advocates resulted in 50 additional co-sponsors for the Campus SaVE Act (House 38, Senate 12) and 26 more co-sponsors for the National Women’s History Museum Act (House 25, Senate 1).
We’re thankful for Marcia Anderson, who was the first African American woman to be appointed as an Army two-star general.
We’re thankful for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned lesbian and gay Americans from openly serving in the armed forces.
We’re thankful that the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Labor announced a new Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative to streamline the investigations and prosecutions of federal human trafficking offenses.
We’re thankful for the AAUW representatives who joined more than 250 women from around the world for the 55th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. The CSW’s theme of access and participation for women and girls’ education and training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics was greatly informed by AAUW’s recent report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
We’re thankful that the U.S. Agency for International Development established a new Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
We’re thankful for Lauren Hodge, Naomi Shah, and Shree Bose, who won the top awards in all three age groups at Google’s inaugural science fair.
We’re thankful that the Department of Health and Human Services adopted Institute of Medicine recommendations that preventive care coverage for women under the new health care law include birth control without patient co-pays or deductibles.
We’re thankful that President Obama told the U.N. General Assembly to make sure that the safety, economic security, and civil rights of women and girls are not overlooked.
We’re thankful that new federal regulations went into effect ensuring hospital visitation rights for patients’ partners or spouses and prohibiting hospitals from denying visitors’ entry based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, or disability.
We’re thankful for enthusiastic recognition of Equal Pay Day 2011, including the reintroduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); the success of AAUW’s Capitol Hill event New Voices for Pay Equity; the publication of AAUW’s new guide, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, and of more than 20 AAUW Voices Project op-eds on fair pay; the publication of AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman’s op-ed in the Huffington Post; and the fun execution of AAUW’s first-ever fair pay flash mob on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
We’re thankful for Mississippi voters, more than 58 percent of whom rejected Issue 26, a measure that effectively would have banned all abortions and severely limited access to in-vitro fertilization, birth control, and other medical procedures and care.
We’re thankful for our stalwart allies on Capitol Hill, including Mikulski and DeLauro, who are working together to develop legislation that would address the Supreme Court’s problematic decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes.
We’re thankful for our Lobby Corps, whose persistent and thoughtful volunteer advocacy efforts every year help to educate lawmakers and hold them accountable. This year, Lobby Corps members made more than 1,400 visits to Senate and House offices, reinforcing AAUW’s message and garnering many co-sponsors on key legislation.
We’re thankful for AAUW members and supporters who generously give of their time, talent, and treasures to help women advance their education and develop their leadership skills.
And of course, we’re thankful for our AAUW Action Network for their enthusiastic advocacy to break through educational and economic barriers to ensure that all women have a fair chance. Your thousands of letters and phone calls to members of Congress constitute a clarion call for the rights of women and girls everywhere.
From all of us at AAUW, best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and a joyful beginning to your holiday season.