Public Policy, Nov., 2019
From AAUW Medina Branch Public Policy Chair, Anne Gates:
At last month’s statewide AAUW meeting, Kendra Davis, senior vice president for advancement and partnerships at the national AAUW office, offered a motivational talk on the positive work being done to meet AAUW’s strategic plan priorities. She reported that the Building Block STEM bill, the focus of which is supporting women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, has passed the U.S. Senate and is expected to do the same in the House of Representatives. Strides are being made as well with respect to salary negotiations and leadership training through the Start Smart/Work Smart and Empower programs, respectively. Ms. Davis shared the striking statistic that 2.5 million children will be released from poverty once pay equity is achieved in the United States.
At the state level, several pieces of legislation are currently in progress of significance to AAUW. Among these are the Equal Pay Act (HB 304), introduced on June 26, and Senate Bill 91, which is intended to establish family and medical leave benefits. Also introduced this past summer was a plan for school funding reform (HB 305), which is just starting to make its way through the General Assembly. Finally, AAUW is watching a number of gun control bills originating in both the House and the Senate; the focus of AAUW’s interest in this arena is with respect to violence against women.
Locally, the Public Policy Committee is working on initiatives related to education for both college and high school students. Plans are underway to blend the online Work Smart training with a facilitated workshop format for college students; the initial outreach has been to OSU-ATI in tandem with the Wooster AAUW chapter. There is also a possible partnership with the Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst chapter for this training, perhaps through Cuyahoga Community College. The Committee is further interested in adapting some of the key principles from Start Smart/Work Smart to a high school audience and is exploring ways to partner with local organizations for this purpose. All interested members are invited to join the Committee; please contact Anne Gates for more information.
AAUW is committed to reaching 10 million women to negotiate fair and equitable salaries and benefits by 2022, and end the gender pay gap by 2030. AAUW is working nationally and locally on enhancing policies and laws, working with employers to improve practices, and training women in effective salary negotiation.
While we wait for policies and employer culture to change, we are working to empower women nation-wide with our Start Smart/Work Smart program to teach skills to effectively negotiate their salary and benefits and become agents of change in their communities.