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Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

“How many states do you think have 100 percent equal pay between women and men?”

This is one of three questions I asked while I tabled for six hours at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, for Equal Pay Day last week. Equipped with posters, pamphlets, and a variety of information on pay equity, I educated students — one chocolate coin at a time — about the pay gap.

I had a strategy to reel in students. I yelled, “Free chocolate!” and heads turned. Once students approached my table and started reaching for the shiny chocolate coins, I asked them, “Do you know what the pay gap is in Washington?”

They looked puzzled. Some asked for clarification, and everyone had a guess as to how much women make compared to men.

“Sixty cents?”

“Eighty-one cents?”

“Forty-seven cents?”

“Seventy-five cents?”

“Ninety cents?”

“It’s actually 77 cents!” I would reply. Some students were disappointed because their guesses were so close, and others were disappointed because they thought Washington women’s average wages would be higher. I gave them all chocolate.

“Do you want more chocolate?” I asked. Everyone did.

“How many states do not have a pay gap at all?” This stumped everyone. I heard answers anywhere between one and 10. Some replied with specific states: Oregon, Colorado, Idaho. When I told them that the answer was zero, they all looked shocked.

More chocolate.

“OK, final question: Why is Equal Pay Day today?” No one responded. Some thought for a little while, but no one could come up with an answer. “This is the date the average women would have to work until to make the same amount of money men made in 2011. So when men work for 12 months, women have to work 16 to make the same amount.” That was probably the most shocking to the passing students.

“Wow, that really sucks.”

“Are you serious?”

“No way!”

To improve their spirits, I gave them more chocolate.

This was my routine: question, answer, chocolate. I was surprised by the varying opinions. While some thought that women made less than half what men do, others felt that the pay gap was a thing of the past. My generation seems confused about equal pay for equal work, at least the people whom I informally surveyed with chocolate incentives.

Pay equity is an issue that I feel all college students should be concerned about. We are not far from a time when we will need to find jobs and be financially independent. We should be concerned that half of the population is still not making the same amount in wages as the other half.

On Equal Pay Day, April 17, we succeeded in making the issue of equal pay move from a national public policy issue to something personal to the students. Awareness is the first step toward change.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Katie Donahoe.

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“If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”

If you’ve never seen The Vagina Monologues, you may be wondering what exactly it is you are getting into when you buy your ticket. They talk about vaginas, but how much? Is it sad? Is it funny? What is The Vagina Monologues?

I thought the exact same things when I first saw the play during my freshman year of college. I was skeptical initially, but after seeing the show I practically vowed never to miss another performance. The Vagina Monologues talks about real concerns that real women have about their vaginas, their relationships, their attitudes, violence, homelessness, birth, sexual assault, femininity, disaster, life, and everything in between. The stories you hear have a very strong impact, and it makes for one hell of a show.

Now I get to experience the show from behind the scenes — I am producing this year’s performance along with two other amazing women at my school, Pacific Lutheran University. I also have the opportunity to perform in a monologue with them. Having this kind of leadership position allows me to be a part of something I love and to see how being a part of the show can be extremely valuable to those involved. Some of the issues addressed in monologues are emotionally heavy, and some cast members may have dealt with some of the same problems. Being on stage and performing is a way to tell a story that may not necessarily be yours, but it could be very close. It is therapeutic in a unique way.

Not only does this show benefit those who get to see it and the women performing, it also benefits one local and one international organization that address violence against women. The Vagina Monologues is a nonprofit production, and all proceeds from tickets and merchandise go toward beneficiaries picked by the performers as well as the V-Day campaign. This year’s production will benefit the women and girls in Haiti who were affected by the rise in sexual assault and violence since the earthquake in 2010 (picked by the V-Day campaign) and the YWCA in Tacoma, Washington (picked by me and my wonderful directors).

There is endless value in attending, participating in, and supporting a production of The Vagina Monologues, whether it is on a college campus or in a local theater. I encourage everyone to see a local performance of The Vagina Monologues this February to support the women in the show and those who benefit from the proceeds. Check out events.vday.org/ to find a performance near you.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Kaitlyn Donahoe.

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AAUW is in the middle of a fantastic semester of campus events. Keep reading to learn about this week’s Elect Her–Campus Women Win events and see this program’s on-the-ground influence on the next generation of woman politicians.


Julie Daniels, political programs manager for the Women’s Campaign Forum, spoke to University of North Carolina, Wilmington, students about their training. Michelle Fuller, a sociology major, said, “I’ve never really thought about politics before, and this training pushed me out of my comfort zone.” Even though public speaking is not her favorite thing to do, the Elect Her–Campus Women Win elevator speech exercise gave Fuller an opportunity to practice public speaking with her peers.

Read Daniels’ full blog.

At Idaho State University, Nancy Bocskor, president of the Nancy Bocskor Company, wrote about American Falls, Idaho, Mayor Amy Woodworth-Wynn kicking off the day with an engaging presentation about her path to public service — from high school activities to her current gig as mayor. She offered insight into the intricate balancing act that many women in politics deal with when she spoke about her three sons, whom she described as “smart, interesting, funny, and very patient and understanding when they have to wait while people stop mom to talk about city issues.”

Read Bocskor’s full blog.

Allison Dunatchik, program director at Running Start, reports on the inspiring and practical encouragement that the speakers at Pacific Lutheran University gave to students. They encouraged the women to blaze their own paths to leadership and not feel constrained to follow the traditional political pipeline that can often dampen women’s political ambitions. They addressed several of the unique challenges women face in the public area, including how to deal with sexist attacks in campaigning and holding office and how to maintain a work-life balance. They encouraged young women to get involved and find the courage to run for office.

Read Dunatchik’s full blog.

The Elect Her event at the University of Texas, Arlington trained women to set big goals when running for office, according to Running Start board member Marjorie Clifton. Reace Alvarenga-Smith, public relations manager for Texas Health Resources, gave an amazing talk about how to give a presentation and market your campaign. The UT alumna held political office at the school when she was a student and gave a great example of how to make your name memorable — during her school campaign, she gave out Reese’s Pieces as a way to get her name into voters’ heads.

Read Clifton’s full blog.

Congratulations to the winners of the Elect Her–Campus Women Win campaign simulations: Jasmyn Ferbis, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Cody Taylor, Idaho State University; and Katie Johnson, Bethany Peter, and Mackenzie Landies, Pacific Lutheran University.

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Elect Her–Campus Women Win encourages and trains young women to run for student government. Here are some highlights from recent events at the the University of Alabama, Coastal Carolina University, Western Washington University, and the University of Wyoming.

Pamela O’Leary, executive director of the Public Leadership Education Network, facilitated the training at the University of Wyoming, which featured Wyoming Democratic Party Communications Director Brianna Jones, who served as a school senator in her time at UW. Jones shared great insight into how her student government experience led her to a professional career in politics.

Read O’Leary’s full blog.

Kate Farrar, director of Leadership Programs at AAUW, reports that one of the most inspiring moments during the University of Alabama training was hearing from Mountain Brook Councilwoman Amy Carter, who never thought of herself as a public official, having been a stay-at-home mom for years. It took several friends asking her to run to really make her think about being a candidate.

Read Farrar’s full blog.

Julie Daniels, political programs director for the Women’s Campaign Forum, writes that the Coastal Carolina University training started with a great introduction from Natasha Hanna, a university board of trustee member and CCU alumna. She encouraged students to run for office “not only because they are women but because they are smart, intelligent, and dedicated women.”

Read Daniels’ full blog.

Danielle Howard, assistant director of educational programs and foundation coordinator at NASPA, reports that communications professional Anne Martens joined the Western Washington University group to lead a discussion about campaign speeches. She told the women, “Having a catchy tagline isn’t everything.” Martens described why your 15-second speech should make a statement about what you stand for, not just want sounds catchy.

Read Howard’s full blog.

And congratulations to the winners of the campaign simulations: Maria del Rosario Corona Horta (Western Washington University), Crystalline Jones (University of Alabama), Meghan Kolf (University of Wyoming), and Chesley Wiseman (Coastal Carolina University).

This post was written by Leadership Programs Fellow Donnae Wahl.


2011 Season: part 1 | part 2

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Considering all the confusion and commercialism surrounding the presidents we honor on Presidents Day, I propose we also think about another February-born figure who played an important role in American history. So as we honor our past presidents, paying special tribute to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, let’s also tip our hats to Susan B. Anthony — the women’s rights campaigner, suffragist, labor activist, education reformer, and abolitionist — as we work together to break through the barriers that prevent women’s full participation in the political landscape.

More than 100 years have gone by since Anthony passed away, and although we’re used to women having the right to vote, we still don’t see many women on the ballot. But AAUW is trying to change that. Our Elect Her initiative works to build a pipeline of women candidates to diminish the long-standing political leadership gender gap. The initiative includes a full continuum of programming to empower women from high school onward to view themselves as political candidates.

Together, we’re working toward a Presidents Day when we’ll be celebrating women commanders in chief along with all of your old favorites.

Here’s to you Susan B., George, Abe, and all the rest of you great Americans. Happy Presidents Day.

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As I began my career in national advertising management for several of the major brands of corporate America, one woman stood out as a brand giant herself within that world — the barrier-breaking Ann Fudge. I had few, if any, true mentors or role models in the business, and oh, did I need one! Fresh out of college, the ad agency and brand marketing business I entered was only a couple of generations away from the ad men the acclaimed Mad Men television series is based upon, and the male-dominated and definitely not diverse Madison Avenue world they ruled. I finally met Ann Fudge at a women’s event a few years ago, but as a black American woman who has broken through barriers in the upper echelons and CEO suites of the corporate world, Fudge had been my hero for many years.

Fudge graduated from Simmons College with honors (she married her husband and had their first child while still an undergraduate) and from Harvard Business School. She then quickly rose through the ranks of powerhouse American food manufacturers General Mills and Kraft General Foods, becoming one of the youngest leaders named to the Fortune list of the 50 most powerful women in American business.

Fudge started her career as a marketing assistant at General Mills in 1977 and by 1983 she was a marketing director there. In 1986, she joined Kraft General Foods, where she built a strong reputation for successfully breathing new life into older brands. She set an aggressive timetable of goals early in her career, including becoming general manager of a brand division by the age of 40; she actually achieved that goal in 1991, one year ahead of her schedule. Fudge then rose to presidency of the company’s $5 billion beverages, desserts and post division by 2001. All this before she turned 50!

In 2003, Fudge became CEO of the giant Young & Rubicam Brands, a global group of advertising, communications, public relations, branding, and marketing companies. She also became chair and CEO of Young & Rubicam Advertising, making her the first black woman to head a major American advertising firm.

As a child growing up in Washington, D.C. Fudge witnessed the urban riots after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. “They made me incredibly determined,” Fudge said of the riots. She told the New York Times that “I wanted to do something that black people hadn’t done before. When I hit roadblocks, that was what kept me going.”

In addition to her groundbreaking achievements in the corporate world, she is known for her commitment to her family and personal life. Fudge’s management style is also marked by her philosophy of service to others, within and outside of a corporation. In a leadership profile a few years ago on Fudge in True North, a bestseller on the lives of 125 authentic leaders, Fudge stated,

“Any of us can figure out ways to drive a business for two years and make a boatload of money and move on. That’s not leadership. That’s playing a game. Leadership is leaving something lasting, whether it is how you treat people or how you deal with a problem.” Those words seem especially timely for American business leaders today.

For one of Ann Fudge’s favorite books, Cracking the Corporate Code, chosen for Oprah’s Bookshelf, visit AAUW’s online bookstore at BN.com/aauw.

Ann Fudge bio

Interactive map of Ann Fudge’s relationships/contacts

This post is part of a special Women’s History Month series. It was written by Ashley Carr, director of Marketing and Communications at AAUW.

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