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Posts Tagged ‘Campus Action Projects’

Warning: The content of this post might trigger unpleasant memories for anyone who has experienced sexual assault.

Last summer in Steubenville, Ohio, two 16-year-old high school football players allegedly raped a teenage girl at a party. The two young men have been charged, and the case made national headlines after the New York Times published a detailed article in December about what happened and after the activist hacker group Anonymous posted a video of teenagers making jokes about the alleged rape.

There have been many passionate, important articles and opinion pieces written in response to this horrific incident. Over the weekend, more than 800 people held a peaceful protest calling for justice for the survivor.

What I want to add — since the alleged assailants, the bystanders, the survivor, and the young men cracking jokes about rape were all high school students — is that this should be a wake-up call to school officials and communities to address sexual harassment and sexual assault in their schools!

Crossing the Line coverIn 2011, I co-authored Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, AAUW’s national study of students in grades 7–12 that showed that sexual harassment is still a widespread problem. Nearly 60 percent of girls and 40 percent of boys said they had experienced sexual harassment during the previous year. One-third of girls and one-fourth of boys said they had witnessed sexual harassment.

Physical harassment was not uncommon either. During the school year studied, 4 percent of girls and 0.2 percent of boys reported having been forced to do something sexual, and 13 percent of girls and 3 percent of boys had been touched in an unwelcome sexual way.

Many students saw these experiences as “no big deal,” and sexual harassment was understood as “part of school life.” Only 9 percent of the harassed students felt comfortable reporting their experiences to anyone at school.

It’s not a stretch to imagine that many of the students who harass and assault at school also do so outside of school, including at parties like the one the alleged Steubenville rapists attended, because sexual abuse is normalized in our society and perpetrators rarely see anyone punished for their actions.

It’s also not a stretch to say that schools should do more to address sexual harassment.

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools must inform students that sex discrimination — including sexual harassment — is prohibited, publicize a grievance policy, and have a trained Title IX coordinator available so students can easily report incidents.

After AAUW’s 2011 report was released, I gave numerous talks across the country. Many AAUW branches that invited me to speak tried to set up meetings with Title IX coordinators. But in location after location, they could not find a single Title IX coordinator, even in large cities with many school districts. In speaking with people who regularly work on Title IX issues, I learned that this scarcity is pretty common.

I spoke at several bullying conferences and events. I received mostly blank stares when I asked people — including teachers and school administrators — if they knew what Title IX was or if they knew the names of their Title IX coordinators. At each of these conferences, I was the only person who talked about sexual harassment.

It was worse when I worked with AAUW’s Campus Action Project (CAP) teams. Each year, AAUW grants up to $5,000 to fund grassroots projects that use the recommendations from AAUW’s latest research report. In 2011–12, seven CAP teams focused on the Crossing the Line recommendations. I was appalled when most of the teams faced roadblocks as they tried to carry out their very noncontroversial projects. The following is just one example.

When one team asked to have access to a few high school students to conduct a focus group and then work with them to create an informational poster campaign, the school at first agreed. Then, when it came time to set up the focus groups, the school cancelled, saying in an e-mail that the focus group was too “controversial in nature” and that the discussion of the students’ experiences might obligate the school to report or investigate the incident “as required by law.”

When school administrators have this kind of attitude and it is combined with a culture that trivializes sexual harassment and assault, is it any wonder that sexual harassment and assault are rampant in most schools? Is it any surprise that perpetrators at school may very well become perpetrators outside of school?

It is time for school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members to finally acknowledge that sexual harassment and sexual assault happen in our schools. It’s time to talk to students about it, follow Title IX guidance, and make preventing harassment and assault a priority!

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Do you work at or attend a college or university? Are you looking for leadership or funding opportunities? Yes? You are in luck! Applications are now available for three of our great leadership programs. Take action soon — the deadlines are coming up!

Elect Her–Campus Women Win

Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains young women to run for student government on their campuses. Any student, AAUW member, or campus faculty or staff member can apply on behalf of a campus to host the program during the 2013 spring semester.

In 2012, Elect Her was held at 28 sites for more than 600 participants, 99 percent of whom would recommend the training to a friend.

“I was able to meet some incredible women who had been in my position before and create connections with them to help me succeed.”—Boise State University participant

Visit the Elect Her web page to access the application and for more information about the program. Applications are due September 30, and selections will be announced by October 7. AAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process..

National Student Advisory Council

College students nationwide can apply to serve on the AAUW National Student Advisory Council for the 2012–13 academic year. The 10 selected SAC members will travel to Washington, D.C., in early November for a retreat and then again in June for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. They will have the unique opportunity to advise a national women’s group, hone their leadership skills, and network with student leaders and distinguished women.

“AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. … One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.” — Laura Corrigan, 2011–12 SAC member, St. Mary’s College

Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Applications are due September 30, and the new SAC will be announced by October 7. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

AAUW Campus Action Projects

This year’s CAP grant program focuses on the issues raised in AAUW’s upcoming research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation. The report explores the reasons behind the pay gap between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation as well as the relationship between the pay gap and student debt repayment.

Campus Action Project teams will have the opportunity to address these issues on their campuses and in their communities during the spring semester with projects like educational workshops, awareness campaigns, art or video contests, and other creative ideas. Teams will share their experiences at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June 2013.

Applications must be submitted by October 19, 2012, andAAUW college/university partner members receive preference in the selection process. Applicants will be contacted byNovember 9, and teams will be announced at the official report release event on November 15.

I hope you will apply for and spread the word about these amazing opportunities. Also, be sure to check out some of the other campus-based programs AAUW offers.

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As the youngest of four, my kitchen assignment was usually putting away the dishes. My cooking experience had been short-lived as I would forget to put the water in with whatever frozen vegetable I was supposed to cook and the smell of burning would ultimately spoil the entire meal.

It was at the hands of a volunteer that I was able to face my then ingrained cooking fears and actually made an edible meal.  A group of moms had volunteered to teach our Brownie troop how to make a meal from start to finish and this one act of kindness helped boost my self-confidence. We went on to help make meals for a homeless shelter and the sense of wellbeing that came from helping others became an addiction.

I consider myself lucky to have had the ability to work in non-profits my entire professional life. When I came to work at AAUW, I soon became awed to experience firsthand what I had only read about before – the power of 100,000+ volunteers in action. As I met our members, I often heard the stories of their considerable accomplishments in communities, on college campuses, in state capitals, in front of the Supreme Court, on the Hill and even in the West Wing with numerous presidents over the years. Wow!

January 16th is this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, part of the United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. I love the positive media coverage honoring volunteers around the country and give a special shout-out to our fabulous AAUW members who continue to carry out a 130 year tradition of helping others.

In case you are still looking for take action on behalf of others this Monday, January 16th, here are a few links to suggestions from the AAUW family.

I still think there is nothing better than giving of your time and resources for a good cause. However, in the fairness of full disclosure, I do have to mention that I have never totally overcome my dislike of cooking…so my service tends to be pitching in to help clean our environment or loving the fact I work at AAUW, who’s members and donors volunteer almost daily to help break through barriers on behalf of women and girls.

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This past spring, AAUW asked in a nationally recognized research report why women are still so underrepresented in science and math fields. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics found that environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — continue to block women’s participation and progress in STEM fields. The report also offered new ideas for what readers can do to more fully open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.

Through the AAUW Campus Action Project (CAP) grant, this spring semester 11 teams of students and faculty across the country will build on these ideas and implement projects to increase the number of women entering and staying in STEM fields. CAP grants provide up to $5,000 in funding for each of the 11 CAP teams, and the teams will have an opportunity to attend and present on their projects at the 2011 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June.

This year’s CAP teams will be planning and carrying out projects to help overcome existing barriers for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are just a few of the inspiring projects CAP teams will take on this spring.

  • Workshops for local high school counselors and teachers will explore the obstacles to attracting and retaining women in STEM education and careers. The workshops will also discuss how to encourage female high school students and nontraditional students to pursue STEM careers such as engineering.
  • The Connecting Women in Construction outreach program will respond to the severe underrepresentation and low retention rates of women in building construction and construction engineering major programs.
  • The STEM Careers for Planet Earth conference will educate 150 high school girls and college women about overcoming barriers and selecting courses and majors that lead to STEM careers, which pay well and can contribute to solving major challenges in the world.
  • One project will set up mentoring relationships between STEM professionals and college students and will also connect college women with middle school girls.
  • Women college students and faculty mentors will plan and host a science demonstration at a nearby middle school and conduct a series of round-table discussions about women in science and engineering.

Visit the AAUW website to find a list of selected teams and their project descriptions. Be sure to visit the CAP webpage throughout the spring to track each team’s progress and in June to read about their project outcomes.

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Did you know that men outnumber women 73 percent to 27 percent in all sectors of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) employment? AAUW’s latest report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math.

If you thought this was just a local issue, think again. Around the world, women and girls face similar obstacles in achieving access to education, training, and employment in lucrative, cutting-edge professions like technology and engineering. Although evidence suggests that putting technology in the hands of women benefits not only these individuals but also their communities, women are still less likely to have access to technology in many parts of the world.

So it’s a major step forward that the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women will consider participation of women and girls in education, training, science, and technology, including women’s equal access to full employment and decent work as the priority theme during its 55th session in March 2011.

Expert group meeting Sep. 28 to Oct. 1 2010To prepare for that meeting, the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization will convene an expert group meeting on gender, science, and technology from September 28–October 1, 2010 in Paris. AAUW will be an observer at this important meeting.

The meeting will explore the gender dimensions of science and technology and identify policies and programs that can accelerate progress toward internationally agreed upon goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The meeting will examine strategies for the following:

  • Increasing women’s access to and use of technology, including more gender-responsive products
  • Increasing women’s access to and participation in science and technology education and training
  • Eliminating barriers to women’s participation in science and technology employment

AAUW has prepared an excellent background paper in advance of the meeting, which outlines our key research, programs, and advocacy for increasing women and girls’ participation in STEM.

Through research, fellowships and grants, the National Girls Collaborative Project, AAUW Campus Action Projects, and community-based STEM programs, AAUW doesn’t just ask, “Why so few?” We provide active solutions to help women and girls bridge the gap in STEM.

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Each year the Women’s Information Network celebrates talented women leaders who are influential in their communities through its Young Women of Achievement award. The award acknowledges young, pro-choice, Democratic women who have made extraordinary contributions to their fields.

AAUW's Holly Kearl and Kate Farrar for WIN

Kate Farrar, director of leadership programs, and Holly Kearl, LAF program manager

As we celebrate the efforts of the outstanding and inspiring women in the Washington, D.C., area, AAUW is proud to announce that two women from our staff—Kate Farrar, director of leadership programs, and Holly Kearl, Legal Advocacy Fund program manager—are among those nominated this year for recognition as Young Women of Achievement.

As director of leadership programs for AAUW, Kate manages programs that help women and girls break through barriers to assuming leadership roles by acquiring the skills they need to succeed in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Examples of these programs include the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, Campaign College, and $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops.

Kate has volunteered locally as an academic mentor for College Summit and College Bound and was a founding member of the Younger Women’s Task Force. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She was also nominated for a Young Women of Achievement award in 2009.

In her role at AAUW, Holly manages the Legal Advocacy Fund, Campus Action Projects, and the Student Advisory Council. She also volunteers with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s online hotline and manages a website and blog about gender-based street harassment. Holly’s new book, Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, will be available in August. Holly holds bachelor’s degrees in both history and women’s and gender studies from Santa Clara University in California and a master’s degree in public policy and women’s studies from George Washington University.

WIN InviteThe theme of the 2010 Young Women of Achievement awards ceremony, which will take place on Thursday, February 18, at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, is “Celebrating a Woman’s Nation,” which refers to the compelling progress women have made as recently reported in The Shriver Report―A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. To purchase tickets for this event and to support Holly, Kate, and the other nominees, please visit the WIN website. AAUW is proud to have such phenomenal women on our staff and wishes them the best of luck!

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Thanks to the generous support of the Mary Ann Ahrens–Iowa Giving Circle, AAUW is funding a record 12 Campus Action Project (CAP) teams in the 2009–10 academic year.

CAP grants provide up to $5,000 in funding for each of the 12 teams CAP teams, which are made up of students and faculty at colleges and universities nationwide. This year’s projects will address some of the barriers faced by girls and women entering and staying in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Although women and girls have made significant progress in these fields, they are still underrepresented in certain areas, and barriers to their full participation remain. AAUW’s upcoming 2010 research report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, will highlight recent research on women and girls in these fields in three areas: middle and high school, college and university, and the workplace.

This year’s CAP teams will be planning and carrying out projects to help overcome existing barriers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Projects include

  • recruiting nontraditional students to study engineering,
  • producing a film for high school and college students about women professionals working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields,
  • tiered mentoring between professionals working in these fields and college students and between college students and middle school girls,
  • monthly roundtables and networking opportunities for women students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields,
  • workshops for engineering technology students to learn about networking and preparing for the workplace, including tours of local engineering facilities.

AAUW will also fund one member of each CAP team to attend the 2010 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June to present on their team’s project. (Early-bird registration for the conference begins February 15.)

Visit the AAUW website to learn more about CAP and to read about the inspiring CAP teams. Be sure to visit the CAP webpage throughout the spring to track each team’s progress and, in June, to read about their project outcomes.

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