Posts Tagged ‘Maatz’

Every year around Mother’s Day, especially in election years, we hear politicians talk about honoring and cherishing the role of motherhood in our society. But pregnant women in the workforce are often confronted with employment practices that force them to choose between following doctors’ orders for a healthy pregnancy and losing their jobs. We need to change that.

This morning, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz  joined several members of Congress at a press conference announcing the introduction of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to protect the health of pregnant workers, such as letting them carry bottles of water or take restroom breaks.

The economic health of most American families is dependent on working mothers. Seventy million women work outside the home, and three-quarters of them already have or will have children. These women will work through their pregnancies; in fact, most of them must keep working to make ends meet. The last thing an expecting mom should have to worry about is job security, but far too many women face discrimination directly because of their pregnancies.

Since 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act has been the best defense for pregnant women who face discrimination on the job based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. But more than 30 years later, courts have ruled that, in certain circumstances, women who are pregnant still risk being forced out of the workplace simply for following doctors’ orders. That’s why this legislation is so important — it makes it unlawful to discriminate against pregnant workers by forcing them out of their jobs unnecessarily or by denying reasonable accommodations that would allow them to keep working.

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend — don’t forget to get a card! — AAUW believes that we must recognize the role that working moms play in our nation’s economy and do all that we can to support them. Passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is another important step toward ending employer discrimination against women.

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On Tuesday, April 17, AAUW marked Equal Pay Day — the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to what men made last year — with a patio-style Unhappy Hour outside our national office.

Featuring a “secret salary” garden (see below) and a pep talk from AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz, the event — which drew more than 150 guests — was a great success. See for yourself!

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At this year’s AAUW National Convention, I heard members in the hallways mentioning two themes over and over again: the joys of reuniting after two years apart and the exciting — and befuddling — potential of the oft-emphasized social media. In browsing AAUW’s lists on Twitter, I’ve been struck by not only how active AAUW members are in the social media sphere but also how drastically those tiny tweets can affect our connectedness in the time between conventions.

Just a sampling of recent tweets shows that we’re active all over the country:

On one day alone, we got inspirational quotations from AAUW of Pennsylvania, news dispatches from AAUW of Arkansas, updates on the state legislature and new leadership development opportunities from AAUW of Ohio, and invitations to a Cocktails and Convos happy hour from the AAUW Fayetteville (AR) Branch (yum!).

None of us can read 50 newspapers in a day or stay abreast of all legislative issues at the state and federal levels, but we’re certainly capable of reading tweets from 50 states. Twitter allows AAUW state offices, branches, and individual members to communicate on a much wider spectrum with much greater speed than ever before. Need proof? Just take another look at AAUW’s Spring 2010 edition of Outlook, in which AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz recounts the day she tweeted about an issue and then received a phone call from a congressional staffer complaining that too many people were calling his office. That’s lobbying in action, and that’s because of an active AAUW community online.

In just the few tweets above, I get a feeling for the good vibes being spread throughout Pennsylvania; the latest out of Arkansas; the disastrous legislation in Ohio; and, on the lighter side, the benefits of meeting up with old and new acquaintances to talk face-to-face. Why wait two years before the next convention to catch up when every two hours there’s a whole new set of updates right on Twitter? Keep the enthusiastic momentum alive in the virtual world, and keep us posted through social media.

And remember, if you need help setting up or utilizing social media for your branch or state, you can get in touch with the AAUW Social Media Task Force.

This post was written by AAUW Communications Intern Laura Webb.

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Lisa Maatz, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations on ABC's Good Morning America

The media has turned to AAUW’s top public policy adviser, Lisa Maatz, for perspective into a sexual misconduct complaint at Yale University, a story that has dominated the news cycle in these first days of April. The allegations portray the Ivy League school as having a “hostile sexual environment.” The complaint filed by both men and women says the university violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by failing to respond promptly or effectively to incidents of harassment.

On a Good Morning America segment yesterday Maatz said, “Do these women feel safe? Do they feel like they can take advantage of the educational opportunities on their campus? Right now, according to the complainants, the answer is no.”

Maatz spoke with the Associated Press when the news first broke last week, saying, “There’s a real climate problem,” and that “it’s a good wake-up call for all schools.” That article has appeared in nearly 200 news sites, including the New York Times, MSNBC, the Today show, the Boston Globe, and Salon.com. AAUW has been the go-to source and continues to provide guidance and help.

As AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill points out, sexual harassment is a problem that tends to go unreported. “Unfortunately, if you don’t hear anything from your students, that doesn’t mean that everything is fine.  Students we surveyed said they preferred online resources for this sensitive topic,” Hill said.

The AAUW website offers excellent tools for students, administrators, parents, or anyone interested in making campuses safer for women. Stay tuned, as AAUW will have more on the topic of sexual harassment in schools later this year. For now, check out our online resources:

This post was written by AAUW Communications Fellow Elizabeth Owens.

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