In Your Own Words: AAUW’s Impact on Real Lives in 2015
At the core of AAUW is the empowerment of women and girls. This is most evident in the feedback we get from the people affected by our programs. Whether it’s the girl inspired at Tech Trek to pursue engineering or the U.S. Treasurer envisioning her daughter’s future with the gender pay gap — these voices are striking testimonies to the importance of continuing the fight for gender equality.
Before we confront the challenges and triumphs of a new year, let’s reflect on the work AAUW members and supporters have done, through the words of people whose lives AAUW impacted.
1. “What really got me interested in this engineering internship [at KIGT, a green technology company] was my Tech Trek experience!”
“As a young preteen, Tech Trek inspired me to continue on with science and math. They [KIGT] loved my [application] essay, and a large part of it was about my experience with Tech Trek. Thank you so much!”
— Kathy Martinez, Tech Trek attendee
Together, we challenge gender stereotypes. In 2015, the AAUW National Tech Trek Program and AAUW National Tech Savvy Program have expanded to 43 campuses. These events inspire many, like Kathy, to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Ninety-two percent of Tech Trek attendees agree that they will take more science and math classes as a result of going to the camp.
2. “I applied [to facilitate the AAUW salary negotiation workshops] because I thought, here’s a way for me to do something.”
“Because it had kind of festered there for a long time. I wanted to have a positive impact instead of just being angry about it.”
— Kerri Sleeman, AAUW member
Together, we fight for fair pay. Women in the United States are paid just 79 percent of what men are paid. In 2015, AAUW acquired Work Smart and Start Smart in order to help women close the gender pay gap. Kerri, who faced salary discrimination herself, serves as a regional field manager for our Start Smart salary negotiation workshops.
3. “God I love your Two-Minute Activist!”
“Worth its weight in gold. It allows me to stay active on multiple fronts while focusing my attention on the few big projects I want to give more to. Thank you, AAUW!”
— Seth Kahan, Action Network subscriber
Together, our voices are powerful. Through the AAUW Action Network, members from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., reach their representatives on issues and policy that impact the lives of women and girls. This year, AAUW members took action on more than 100 messages to help end campus sexual assault, stand for voting rights, advocate for paid sick and family leave, stop funding for school vouchers, and more!
4. “Ms. Harris’ story is my story. I worked in the IT field for over 20 years and had similar experiences.”
“The workplace was so hostile at times that my health was adversely affected. As much as I loved what I did, I had to make a choice so that I could be around for my family. I am glad, however, that AAUW still allows me to have a voice when it comes to STEM. I think that having support and the efforts to prevent gender bias are key. I am so grateful that AAUW is making strides by keeping this issue in the forefront.”
— Commenter on AAUW blog post “The Logic for Leaving”\
Together, we take data-driven advocacy to the next level. In 2015, AAUW released the award-winning report Solving the Equation, which explores why there are so few women in engineering and computing fields and makes recommendations for what we can do to make these fields more accessible and welcoming. The research has been presented to policy makers, corporation executives, students, and researchers all over the country. In 2016, AAUW will issue another update to The Simple Truth on the Gender Pay Gap and release a new report on the status of women in leadership.
5. “This is not about me, it’s about my daughter. We have a lot of work to do.”
— U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, at a meeting with AAUW members
Together, we are making a difference for the women and girls of tomorrow. In October 2015, U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios invited AAUW members to a private roundtable to discuss the redesign of the $10 bill. Today more than ever, symbols like a woman on the $10 bill represent where we are going.
AAUW has more than 170,000 members and supporters, 1,000 branches, and 800 college/university partner members dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls.
Thanks to the Mooneen Lecce Giving Circle, all donations made to AAUW by December 31 will be doubled, up to $40,000.
This post was written by AAUW Web Production Intern Chelsea Burns.