Posts Tagged ‘social media’

This month, AAUW was recognized as a top-rated women’s empowerment organization by GreatNonprofits, which catalogs and shares reviews of nonprofit organizations from around the world. The website allows the public to post stories about and rate their experiences with nonprofits and to find out more about organizations they are interested in supporting.

Here are a few of the wonderful reviews of AAUW.

“So proud to be a member — in the past year of buildup of attacks on what we thought were long-established rights and freedoms for women, AAUW is taking [the] lead in coordinating women’s voting projects, media campaigns, legal challenges, support for organizations providing health care, and other social services to women. Lobbying for equal pay and other issues on Capitol Hill and at the White House has focused attention on AAUW. AAUW staff have also modeled campaigns against street harassment and [have] use[d] social media to educate people on women’s issues. The scholarship program practices what AAUW preaches about educational opportunity for women. International outreach is also on the rise. Such a dynamic organization, so committed, so well-managed!”

— Marti S.

“As a volunteer AAUW leader on the national, state, and branch levels, I have many opportunities to raise a powerful voice — individually and collectively, in person and electronically — to make lasting changes that advance gender equality  … AAUW’s means of achieving equity (advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research) are effective, influential, and resonant with multiple generations of equality-minded individuals. I give this organization my highest rating.”

— Amy B.

“I was selected as one of 10 university students from across the country to be an AAUW Student Advisory Council member for the academic year 2011–12. Through my association with AAUW, I have met amazing and incredible women. … I have garnered lots of support and mentoring to enable me to start an AAUW [student organization at my university]. I also will have the opportunity to mentor the next group of SAC members. AAUW has enriched my life and given me opportunities I otherwise would not have had.”
— Maria M.

“I love their research reports — important issues, timely, and actually readable — unlike so many policy papers. It’s nice to know that gender inequality is not a forgotten cause, because we are far from done.”

— shcollina

The GreatNonprofits 2012 women’s empowerment campaign extends through June 15. With so many women’s organizations to choose from, find out why AAUW received a top rating. And share your own AAUW story!

This post was written by AAUW Development Intern Sarah Spencer.

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Have you ever looked at the plans and proposals put forth by your elected officials and said, “I could do better”? (If you’re an AAUW member, I bet you have!) Well, it seems Congress and the White House might agree with you, and they’re trying to make it easier for you to contribute to overcoming America’s challenges.

Welcome to our crowdsourced government, where every single American can help govern from the comfort of her couch. You may have heard about crowdsourcing though social media — it means asking a large group of people to participate in something online. Whether it’s the Republicans’ YouCut tool, where you can vote on which government programs to slash, or the Obama administration’s new We the People petition website, in which White House officials will review and respond to popular ideas and proposals, government wants your input. Sure, you’re one voice of many, but that’s the advantage of crowdsourcing — if an idea can surface above the background noise of the Internet, it may have merit.

Now, government has been soliciting public input for a long time. Sometimes overshadowed by its big sister, free speech, the right to petition government is among the five freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment. We petition government and seek to influence elected officials when we send AAUW Action Network messages or when we rally outside the Supreme Court; we provide feedback to Congress in opinion polls and on Election Day.

But the beauty of We the People, YouCut, or the new commenting tool for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (which we affectionately refer to as the debt “super committee”) is that government is now welcoming the public’s proactive participation in creating policy. If voting is reactive, in that we punish or reward officials for their beliefs and voting behavior, these tools allow us to take the initiative. You could suggest, for example, that the debt super committee stay the heck away from Social Security because it’s an off-budget item; it did not contribute to the deficit; and it is critical to the economic security of elderly women, more than 50 percent of whom would live in poverty without it. Oh, and it pays more benefits to children than any other federal program, including welfare.

But that’s just an example.

The point is that it’s getting easier and easier to add your two cents. And if you’re like me and think you’ve a got a few ideas that would change this country for the better, then assert your right to petition — jump in to the crowd.

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All eyes have been on Egypt as millions of Egyptians marched on Cairo this week. They met at Tahrir Square, which is Arabic for Liberation Square, an ideal location for a gathering of millions of Egyptian citizens seeking to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign. Until Wednesday, the protests were considered peaceful. The situation took a violent turn as Mubarak supporters took to the square to counter the protests.

photo via Facebook - Leil-Zahra MortadaSources from around the world are proclaiming that women are marching as equals alongside men in the demonstrations in Egypt. Men, women, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds — they have all united for a common cause to oust Mubarak’s regime. So what makes this uprising different from others throughout the history of the Middle East that are more exclusive to men? Women were getting involved because the protests were deemed as peaceful and safe. For some, this was their first protest, and it has been a unique experience because of the respectful way men were treating them. But with escalating violence, the atmosphere has changed for women.

Human rights activist, writer, and celebrated feminist Nawal El Saadawi was a political prisoner who was forced to live in exile. She is one of the many voices speaking out about the unity in the Egyptian protests. El Saadawi says, “We are calling for justice, freedom, and equality and real democracy and a new constitution, no discrimination between men and women, no discrimination between Muslims and Christians, to change the system … and to have a real democracy.”

Even though most of Egypt is without Internet access, support for the protests has been spreading rapidly online through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Twitter is ablaze with the #Egypt and #jan25 hashtags, and users are sharing Twitpics. The Facebook group Women of Egypt, created by Leil-Zahra Mortada in Barcelona, Spain, has five photo albums dedicated to pictures of women protesting. Journalists are using their Facebook pages to report the opinions and sentiments of the women involved. Some are afraid that women aren’t being documented in the protests and that they will be written out of the history of this event. Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born writer, has been educating the media on how to correctly talk about what is happening in Egypt. She called on CNN to use the terms “revolt” or “uprising” instead of “chaos” and “crisis” when referring to the situation.

At this point, it is unclear what the result will be from this uprising amidst the current violence, but it is clear that the Egyptian women will be remembered for their courage and willingness to stand up for their rights.

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We here at AAUW know that you’re all looking for fun and exciting (and delicious!) ways to make the president’s State of the Union address tomorrow more interactive. Well, our wonderful Public Policy fellows and I have brainstormed a few great ways to enjoy the annual speech as well as the Republican rebuttal, which will be delivered after the president’s remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the new chair of the House Budget Committee.

  • Invite some friends over for a viewing party.
  • Make some delicious, themed treats.
  • Bipartisan cookies — think classic black-and-white cookies but frosted red and blue (or if you like Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-CO) suggestion that the parties mingle during the address, maybe frost them red or blue with sprinkles).
  • Root beer policy floats — to be enjoyed while the president “floats” some new policy idea.
  • Obama’s favorite chili — the president loves his chili. This is his (not at all secret) family recipe.
  • Deficit-reduction punch — ginger ale and raspberry soda with a little scoop of sherbet to enjoy whenever the president or Ryan mentions the deficit.
  • Use social media to share your thoughts about the speeches.
  • Make a word cloud of the transcript of the speeches, which can be posted online at major news websites almost immediately. Word clouds are weighted lists of words that are arranged in a randomized but visually appealing way, with the words used most frequently larger than others. I like to use Wordle; just cut and paste the text into the box!

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At least that’s what I thought last week when I listened to Finnish artist Atheene Dodonpa sing songs from the medieval era. What was amazing about this? She was singing live onstage from Finland while I, in Maryland, sat in the audience listening. We were both attending a virtual AAUW event in Second Life, the AAUW International Festival of Women’s Music.

I asked the event organizer, Ellie Brewster (also known as Sharon Collingwood of the Ohio State University Department of Women’s Studies), why she decided to hold the event:

I chose this event because I wanted to make the point that Second Life (SL) is an international community — we had people participating from many countries. A music event is also a very social occasion, people relax and enjoy it, and it seemed appropriate just before Thanksgiving in America.

This concert is part of an AAUW Community Action Grant. The intention is to use a virtual world as a gathering place for people who would have great difficulty meeting [in] the actual world. I think it gave the women’s community a great deal of visibility — it was ranked very high in SL search, and we had many new people attend.

I first met Ellie at a women’s event when I was a raw “newbie” in SL. Her excitement and stories of using SL to reach out to the women’s community globally ultimately inspired me to convince AAUW to build an office in SL. Ellie tells some of her story in the Spring/Summer 2010 AAUW Outlook article “Creating New Learning Spaces in Social Media.”

Back to the concert, the artists ranged from Dodonpa from Finland, Haruno Watanabe showcasing Japanese traditional music, Cindy Ecksol singing examples of American roots music, and Izabela Jaworower of Poland ending the concert with a beautiful violin performance. To get a flavor of the concert, here is a YouTube snapshot. Listen to the whole clip, and you’ll get a great taste of the different women musicians.

If you have not experienced a virtual world such as Second Life, you will probably wonder what on earth it is and why “cartoons” are a “cutting edge” method of meeting others. What you may not realize is that every individual (and I think there were about 75 who attended throughout this event) represents a unique person whom you can meet, talk with, learn from, or even mentor. I chatted with several attendees and even got a potential new member — a woman from Texas who came to the event to meet other women with similar interests — and who, as our conversation continued, got excited to hear about an organization like AAUW and what we stand for and do. Sound familiar? I thought so.

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Over the past 25 years of the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, more than 8,000 women have been empowered by this signature leadership event. Presenting the workshop From Cover Girl to Campus Girl: A Discussion of Body Image and the Media last year with my colleagues was an amazing experience. I was able to connect with phenomenal college women who are committed to being change agents on their respective campuses.

They passionately spoke to us about their commitment to implementing programming that teaches women to love their bodies and increases self-esteem. I look forward to presenting this session again this year with renewed resources to another group of women who will “learn and apply everything [they] learn when [they] get home,” as Kiauna Hemsley, a 2010 NCCWSL attendee said she plans to do.

As AAUW’s leadership programs fellow, I have been afforded the opportunity to be involved in planning the conference. With all the exciting things happening to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the conference — the Women of Distinction Awards, the Secrets of Powerful Women panel, Laurie Westley’s keynote speech, and the variety of ways to engage and share through social media — this is going to be one conference to remember.

There will be 490 attendees this year, and I look forward to meeting and connecting with them, sharing stories, and, most important, learning from one another to continue the strong cycle of women’s leadership across the nation. There is nothing like the feeling of being surrounding by supportive, strong, and inspirational women. I remember last year when each corner I turned I met a new woman who had amazing insight to share.

As Aimee Barrett-Battle, a 2010 NCCWSL attendee said, “My goal for NCCWSL is to absorb the greatness that will surround me.” I couldn’t agree more. Having just finished my graduate work in higher education administration and student affairs, I look forward to continued opportunities to engage with college women and empower them to pursue their full potential as leaders and citizens.

Stay tuned throughout the conference for student testimonials on all of the exciting events posted to YouTube; for blog posts, Facebook, and Twitter updates; and for a showcase of photos on our Flickr account. Stay engaged and share your thoughts; we look forward to hearing from you!

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On March 11, at 10:00am, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.182). As AAUW members are aware, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a much needed update of the 46-year-old Equal Pay Act. This comprehensive bill – with 37 Senate cosponsors – would create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach, education and enforcement efforts. The bill would also deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages.  In short, the bill updates the law to reflect the practices and processes under more recent civil rights laws. Following the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last year, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act is a logical next step forward in the fight for pay equity.

As part of our efforts to draw attention to this critical legislation, AAUW will live-blog the hearing, providing a minute-by-minute account of the proceedings.  AAUW members and other interested persons may access the live-blog page on our website to sign up for an email reminder, and on the day of the hearing, ask questions and offer comments as part of a community conversation. With millions of Americans still out of work, an unprecedented number of women are now the family breadwinners – making fair pay even more critical, not simply to family economic security but also to the nation’s economic recovery.  The Paycheck Fairness Act can help to create a climate where wage discrimination is not tolerated, and give the administration the enforcement tools it needs to make real progress on pay equity.

AAUW’s top public policy adviser, Lisa Maatz, will be available for comment on the Senate’s Paycheck Fairness Act hearing. To set up an interview, please contact Katherine Broendel at 202/728-7607 or broendelk@aauw.org.

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