From AAUW Medina Branch Public Policy Chair, Anne Gates:
Registration will open soon for the biennial state conference, scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at the Quest Polaris Conference Center on the north side of Columbus.
In addition to discussions on AAUW priorities, the keynote speaker is Lisa Maatz. Her expertise is summarized on the AAUW Ohio website as follows: “Lisa is a nationally sought-after speaker, writer and political analyst. As the former Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at AAUW, she is a frequent speaker at Capitol Hill events and has developed a reputation for her strategic approach to legislation and advocacy at all levels. We remember her being an invited witness at President Obama’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reset the statute of limitations to file pay discriminationlawsuits, allowing more workers to seek restitution.” (source: https://aauw-oh.aauw.net/). As a footnote: Maatz is a graduate of Highland schools and grew up in Hinckley. She is a NE Ohio resident.
At the local level, Medina AAUW’s Public Policy Committee (Anne Gates-chair; Susan Holbrook, Cate Hunko, and Cathy Posner) has been meeting monthly to plan opportunities for promoting AAUW’s priorities of education and economic security for women. Look for a brief survey on these issues in the coming weeks. If you are interested in joining the group or in knowing more about its activities, please contact Anne Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-464-4733.
In keeping with AAUW’s mission, members of the Medina AAUW Public Policy Committee (Anne Gates – chair, Susan Holbrook, Cate Hunko, and Cathy Posner) have been focusing their efforts on the theme of education for women and girls. In an effort to provide accessible and relevant training to college women in salary negotiation, the group is using the free, online Work Smart training as a framework to develop a curriculum geared towards the needs of this population.
In partnership with the Wooster AAUW branch and Ohio State University – ATI, committee members are currently designing a program for ATI students, with the intent of conducting an onsite salary negotia- tion training in March 2020. The committee’s long- term goal is to then offer this model in partnership with other northeast Ohio colleges to address the needs of their undergraduate students. Why is such training important? Ohio ranks 38th in the nation with respect to the gender pay gap, with average pay for women being 77 cents for every dollar that men earn.
At the state level, AAUW Ohio’s biennial conference is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Quest Polaris Conference Center on the north side of Columbus. In addition to electing new state officers, it is expected that, based on the planning session at last fall’s meeting, some number of policy issues will be discussed. Please mark your calendars and consider taking part in this gathering of AAUW members from across the state. A specific agenda of the day’s events will be available closer to the date.
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.