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Posts Tagged ‘Its My Vote’

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.
  • (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Moon/Released)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!

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Never mind 1992 — 2012 is the “Year of the Woman.” Women turned out to vote in droves. We made up 53 percent of the electorate nationwide, and in many of the swing states, women were the majority of the electorate. Voters ages 18–29 made up 19 percent of the national turnout. And one report estimated that, of Americans in that age range, at least 49 percent (22–23 million people) voted. Lastly, women proved to be the difference for President Barack Obama, who won with an 18-point gender gap nationwide and the help of 68 percent of single women.

But women didn’t just shape this election — they broke new ground with many historic firsts:

  • Reps.-elect Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) will make New Hampshire the first state to have an all-female congressional delegation — with a female governor to boot (Democratic Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan). The state assembly also boasts more women members than men as of 2010.
  • Sens.-elect Deb Fischer (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), will break records in the Senate to bring the total to 20 female senators, the most ever. Six female Democratic senators were also re-elected.
  • Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.
  • Warren will become Massachusetts’ first female senator.
  • Hirono will become the first Asian woman in the U.S. Senate and the first female senator from Hawaii.
  • The Republicans retained their leadership in the House, though with a slightly smaller advantage than they had in the last Congress. At least 77 women will serve in the House, up from the current record high of 73.

New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan celebrates her victory.

We voted on more than candidates though. Also on ballots across the country were referenda on marriage equality, educational opportunity, affirmative action, and reproductive rights. AAUW took positions on initiatives in Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington.

  • Florida: AAUW opposed Amendment 3, which would have limited the state’s ability to collect tax revenues; Amendment 6, which would have imposed restrictions on abortion funding; and Amendment 8, which would have removed separation of church and state protections. All three measures were defeated.
  • Idaho: AAUW opposed propositions that would have constrained teachers’ rights. These propositions were defeated.
  • Maine: AAUW supported an initiative that would allow same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine supported the measure, and the state became one of the first to affirmatively vote in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • Maryland: AAUW supported measures that would allow same-sex marriage and enable certain illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Maryland public universities. Voters approved both measures.
  • Minnesota: AAUW opposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This amendment was defeated.
  • Montana: AAUW opposed a measure that would require doctors to give the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours’ notice before performing an abortion. This measure was approved by voters.
  • Ohio: AAUW supported an initiative to create a nonpartisan commission to draw maps for Ohio’s legislative and congressional districts. This measure was defeated.
  • Oklahoma: AAUW opposed a measure that would ban affirmative action programs in the state. The measure was approved.
  • Washington: AAUW supported an initiative that would allow same-sex marriage. Election results were still being compiled as of this writing.

Although our efforts to advance education and equity for women and girls are far from over, today we should celebrate all that we’ve accomplished. It was our vote that made the difference, and we were heard.

 

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The political ads have gone off the air, and the campaign signs are on their way to the recycling bin. After a long campaign, we’ve all voted, and we know who will take office in January. So what’s next? What do you want the new members of Congress and President Obama to do on their first days in office?

We want to hear from you! Today marks the kickoff of our #DayOne campaign. Tell us your ideas for what Congress and Obama should do on their first days of the new term by using the #DayOne hashtag on Twitter, leaving a comment on this blog post, or commenting on the It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard Facebook page.

AAUW already has ideas about what we want to happen — we outlined many of these in our September 2012 report on the Obama administration. We’ll continue to advocate for these policies no matter who’s in Congress or the Oval Office. Here’s some of what we’ll be saying on Twitter:

  • On #DayOne, Obama should issue an executive order outlawing fed contractors from retaliating against employees who ask about compensation.
  • On #DayOne, Obama should require federal agencies to conduct Title IX compliance reviews @ all institutions receiving federal funds.
  • On #DayOne, Congress should introduce a jobs plan that will create high-wage, high-skill jobs for all Americans, especially women & minorities.
  • On #DayOne, Obama should reverse the decision to restrict the purchase of Plan B emergency contraception to women 18 and over.

Tell us what you think should happen on #DayOne, and at the end of the week we’ll compile the suggestions and present them to the new Congress and the president’s transition team. You made your voice heard with your vote. Don’t stop there. Hold elected officials accountable!

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our weekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

The stakes in this election, especially for women and girls, are enormous. You might think your vote doesn’t count. But one vote made the difference for women’s suffrage in 1920 when Tennessee became the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. A handful of votes in key precincts made John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush president in 1960 and 2000, respectively.

The people elected today, on November 6, will vote on pay equity, Social Security, and reproductive choice. Economic issues are also of major concern to women. Pay inequity affects family income. Two-thirds of women in the workforce function as primary or co-bread winners. Working women still typically earn 77 percent of what men earn. According to 2011 census data, a Michigan woman working full time typically makes 74 cents to a man’s dollar. This affects every paycheck as well as lifetime earnings, retirement, and Social Security benefits. Yes, women are concerned about economic issues.

College affordability affects the economy. Higher education is a necessity to equip the workforce to handle decently paid jobs. Students graduating in 2010 owed an average of $25,250 in college loans. Loan repayment has a significant impact and leads many to defer marriage, graduate education, or major purchases.

Job creation and economic opportunity are critical issues. Women lost proportionately more jobs in this recession, particularly in the public sector. Programs that help the most vulnerable were cut and remain on the chopping block. Women lost 71.2 percent of the jobs cut between June 2009 and September 2011. When children live in poverty — as many as 1 in 4 in Michigan do — this is an economic issue.

The Affordable Care Act offers women’s preventive health care services without co-pays or cost sharing, including birth control. Some women are already receiving this benefit, and when most health insurance plans renew in January 2013, this coverage will expand to millions of women in this country. Contraception is a vital part of women’s preventive health care. The vast majority of women use contraception, but the costs for many are a burden. Every woman should have the ability to make her own informed choice regarding her reproductive life. The Affordable Care Act also includes maternity care and well-woman visits. This is an economic issue.

Elections matter. Michigan Sens. Carl Levin (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D) voted in support of 90 percent of AAUW’s legislative priorities in the 112th Congress (January 2011–December 2012). Rep. Dan Benishek (R), who represents my district, voted for zero. Check out the legislative record of your senators and representatives with the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record, and consult the AAUW Action Fund voter guides to see the positions of the presidential and select Senate and House candidates.

Vote as if your life depends on it — because, in many ways, it does.

Karlyn Rapport is the public policy chair for the AAUW Marquette (MI) Branch.

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Today, Election Day, the entire AAUW staff of almost 100 people made get-out-the-vote reminder calls to young women. By 2 p.m., we had made almost 1,500 calls. For some staffers, it was their first time phone banking, and some called more than 100 people each. Staffers also worked a table outside to distribute AAUW materials and Election Day swag to people passing by our national office, which is located just two blocks from the White House.

As AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman said, “Taking an entire day of staff time to join our membership in getting out the women’s vote is a significant investment of our resources, but it’s critical when we consider what’s at stake for women in this election. It’s time for all hands on deck.”

AAUW volunteers take a break from phone banking.

Shana takes a break from phone banking. She says voting is important to her because it’s important to set a good example for future generations — something she’s very concerned about!

Everyone at AAUW got involved! Executive Director Linda Hallman made calls to remind people in Ohio to vote.

We start them early at AAUW! Suzanne’s daughters had the day off from school, so they helped their mom make calls.

AAUW staff, including Executive Director Linda Hallman, chat with passersby about voting.

Today was Jennifer’s first time phone banking.

Today wasn’t just Latoya’s first time phone banking — it was her first day as an AAUW staffer!

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For the past eight months, our It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign has done everything possible to inspire young women to vote on November 6. With just one day left in the final countdown to Election Day, we want to share with you our favorite inspirational posts from our campaign’s Tumblr. Share them with someone who might need motivation to vote!

  1. Fair pay e-cards

    When we saw the latest wage gap numbers a few months ago, we knew young women would care that women still typically get paid 77 cents for every dollar a man gets paid. So we came up with some snarky e-cards to remind folks that the fight for fair pay isn’t done — and this November could make all the difference.
  2. Facebook cover photos

    If the young women of America are anything like us, we’d bet that they love Facebook and pictures of kittens. We merged the two with a virtual voting billboard that can be easily uploaded on Facebook. It’s easy to change your cover photo, which is a great way to tell your Facebook friends that you’re voting.
  3. Sandra Fluke’s pep talk for voters

    Personal stories are motivational. And when those stories come from people like Sandra Fluke — a NCCWSL Woman of Distinction and AAUW friend who became famous for being a strong advocate for birth control access — they’re even more powerful. So it was no surprise that Fluke’s It’s My Vote pep talk was our most popular. In the video, she tells the story of a poll worker who remembered her from the previous election. So few young people had voted that Fluke stuck out at the polls. There’s too much at stake in this election for young women to not show up, and Fluke’s video drives that point home.
  4. “Speak up, show up” graphic

    If you’re on Facebook, you may know a few wannabe pundits who are constantly on their soapboxes. We’re all for people speaking their minds. But if Election Day isn’t part of speaking out, what’s the point? That was the motivation behind this graphic — a visual reminder of who listens to those who don’t vote.
  5. Liza Donnelly’s pep talk for voters

    It’s no surprise that the second most popular pep talk we made was from another NCCWSL Woman of Distinction: Liza Donnelly. I have to agree with the crowd on this one. I’ve watched every single pep talk our campaign has, and Donnelly’s always stands out. Watch it yourself to see why.

Of course, no image, video, or graphic is as powerful as a personal phone call. Take the time today to make sure the young women in your life are voting. Lilly Ledbetter can tell you how. And make sure you have everything you need to vote. The AAUW Action Fund has voter resources that cover polling places, voter-ID laws, and anything else you’ll need for tomorrow.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our weekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

It’s not every day that Rosie the Riveter and Garth Algar from Wayne’s World get to hang out, but on the night of Trick or Vote, it’s the kind of thing you just expect. On Halloween, I had the opportunity to work alongside a team of energized volunteers at my local university as we reached out to an underrepresented cross-section of the voting population: college students.

As you probably know already, the AAUW Action Fund has led the high-energy, high-return, nonpartisan It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign to mobilize women voters, especially women of the millennial generation (ages 18–31). This year, the AAUW Action Fund partnered with Trick or Vote to combine civic engagement and democracy in a fun way for young voters.

I had the chance to partner with some downright fabulous volunteers, and together we reached out to 982 students on the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, campus. We were just one of many organizations working in 41 states to offer young voters a Halloween mix of costumes and community service. We handed out voter location information, It’s My Vote swag — buttons, temporary tattoos, and door hangers — pens, and bracelets, all to remind millennials about when and where to vote. A big shout out to Rachel Fleming of United Council for partnering with us on the event.

Brady Klein, an honors student and lead volunteer, said, “Voting isn’t scary — in fact, it’s a lot of fun. Trick or Vote saw amazing interest here in Eau Claire from young voters. We can tell from the energy that 2012 is going to be huge. With the costumes, candy, and voter outreach, we had a lot of fun. At the same time, we helped answer common voting questions about polling locations and encouraged citizens to vote in this election.”

True enough, we had a great time, but some of the feedback we got from the young voters we canvassed was that they still were not sure where to vote, let alone what day to vote. So guess what that means? Even though so many of us have worked endless hours and organized many outreach events, the work is not done!

Won’t you join me to give it your all, even if that’s just one more hour of your time invested in the lives of young women voters? Between now and Election Day, I’ll be leading three AAUW phone banking events, and there will be more AAUW events in my state. Contact your local AAUW branch leader to let her know that you’re on board to make a difference in young women’s lives in these last days before the election.

On behalf of my youngish, 32-year-old self and my daughter, who is in the second grade, thank you! Your investment in our lives will make a difference. One day, my daughter will read about Lilly Ledbetter in her history book, and I will be able to tell her that thanks to good policy decisions and devoted women’s groups like AAUW, women’s equity is more of a reality.

I’m excited to work with you for this last get-out-the-vote weekend!

This post was written by Catherine Emmanuelle, AAUW Eau Claire (WI) Branch member, It’s My Vote Wisconsin organizer, and appointed city council member.

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