In the spirit of Thanksgiving, AAUW would like to pause to give thanks for the many opportunities and advancements for women and girls in 2012. The full list is available on AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist, but here’s a sampling of what we are thankful for this year:
- We are thankful for the AAUW states, branches, and coalition partners that made voter education and mobilization a priority as part of the AAUW Action Fund It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. With your work and commitment, we challenged millennial women to make their voices heard — and they were.
- We are thankful for the first responders who placed themselves in harm’s way to help during superstorm Sandy. Our hearts continue to go out to those affected by the storm, especially those still suffering weeks later and the communities looking at years of rebuilding and recovery.
- We are thankful for the record number of women who will serve in the 113th Congress: 20 in the Senate and 78 representatives and three delegates in the House. We are particularly grateful for the states that elected their first female senators — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin — and the other “firsts” in the 2012 elections, which broke representation barriers for religion, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
- We are thankful for the implementation of the requirement that all new health insurance plans must cover — without copays — eight additional women’s preventive care services, including contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and breastfeeding support.
- We are thankful that the U.S. Olympic Team had more female athletes than male athletes for the first time in history, and we are thankful that women won 29 of the U.S. teams’ 46 gold medals. We are also thankful that 16-year-old Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics competition.
- We are thankful for AAUW’s new research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, which uses the latest nationally representative data to explore the earnings difference between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation. It also examines one immediate effect that the pay gap has on many women: the heavy burden of student loan debt. The report has been featured by Reuters, U.S. News and World Report, and the Washington Post.
- We are thankful for the Senate-passed, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which builds on the success of previous reauthorizations, addresses the needs of all victims nationwide, and includes important campus safety provisions. AAUW will continue to pressure the House to agree to this vital reauthorization.
- We are thankful for the 40th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the landmark legislation that ensures equal opportunity in education for all students. We are also thankful for the release of a report, published by a coalition that AAUW chaired, recognizing this milestone.
- We are thankful for our stalwart allies on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who introduced legislation to fix the Supreme Court’s problematic decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes.
- We are thankful that Congress prevented student loan interest rates from doubling over the summer.
- We are thankful that Connecticut’s paid sick days law went into effect on January 1 and that a similar Seattle law went into effect on September 1.
- We are thankful for AAUW members and supporters who generously give of their time, talents, and treasures to empower all women and girls to advance their education, increase their economic security, and develop their leadership skills.
Please visit AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist to read the full list of what we are thankful for this year and to sign up for the AAUW Action Network so you can help us advocate for AAUW priority issues and add to this list of advancements next year.
From all of us at AAUW to our more than 150,000 members, donors, and supporters nationwide: Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and a safe and joyful start to your holiday season!