Posts Tagged ‘WI’

On June 27, AAUW staff rallied on Capitol Hill in support of an inclusive reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) that will protect all victims of domestic and sexual violence. At the rally, Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Judy Biggert (R-IL) spoke passionately in favor of a version of the bill that explicitly protects Native Americans; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals; and immigrants. The version of VAWA that passed the House excludes these protections. Moore and Biggert denounced the House version and expressed their outrage that partisan politics are dictating which victims of violence deserve protection.

The House bill also lacks campus safety provisions that are addressed by the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, a bill that AAUW has supported for more than a year. The Campus SaVE Act helps protect women on college campuses by improving three key areas of sexual assault campus policy: transparency of information, response and victim assistance, and prevention efforts.

The Campus SaVE Act, which is in the version of VAWA passed by the Senate, requires colleges to establish sexual assault policies and judicial response, including publishing domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents in annual security reports. The requirement for publishing clear explanations of university sexual assault policies is long overdue — inadequacy and lack of clarity in sexual assault policies are the primary barriers to victims reporting crimes.

Now is the time for Congress to step up and move the Violence against Women Act reauthorization forward. AAUW strongly supports sending the Senate-passed reauthorization to President Obama’s desk. Use the AAUW Action Network to reach out to your senators and representatives about their votes on the bill. You can also join AAUW in helping to stop sexual assault on college campuses, and you can read more about AAUW’s advocacy on this issue.

This post was written by AAUW Public Policy Intern Laura Dietrich as part of the July 18 HERVotes blog carnival on the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act. AAUW belongs to the multi-organization HERVotes effort, which seeks to counter attacks on women’s health and economic security (HER).

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Today, we are raising awareness about the need for fair pay and hoping for a future when Equal Pay Day happens on December 31 instead of April 17.

But our hope must be built on action. As we get closer to November, it’s important to consider how we can use the 2012 election to close the wage gap.

It was with this in mind that we asked you why fair pay matters in the upcoming election. To help inspire you, we promised a signed copy of Lilly Ledbetter’s new book to the person with the best response. Without further ado, here are our favorites!

Five: One word, “Wisconsin” — Renee Kelling Barr, via Facebook

Four: Equal pay is an important election issue for multiple reasons. One, it raises tax revenue. Two, if you want to improve graduation rates for Americans, fair pay is a great incentive. Three, equal pay is necessary for healthy families that have women as the bread winners. — Heather Mattioli, via Facebook

Three: Because the next generation of voters already thinks we’ve achieved equal pay, and awakening to the reality of equal rights in the job market is a terrible, disheartening, demoralizing process — one that I’d rather spare our future generation of women. If “the 99 percent” is 52 percent women, 77 percent of the pay leaves all of us — men and women — struggling even more to support ourselves and our families. — Brandini Brandle Brandretti, via Facebook

Two: There seem to be more negative side issues being exploited in this election cycle, which clouds fair pay. Pay equity should be one issue that could be the common ground for all sides. The nation needs to create a culture of respect, and pay equity would smooth the road for the creative minds of both genders to work on other issues that confront the world. — Connie Dunkelberger, via AAUW Dialog

Winner: Because women hold up half the sky. If women do not have parity in compensation for our skills, half of the United States’ opportunity for economic growth is lost, generation after generation. Marti J. Sladek, via Facebook

Congratulations to Marti, and thanks to everyone who participated for your great answers. From all of us at AAUW Dialog and from Ledbetter herself — who recorded the message below especially for our blog readers — have a hopeful Equal Pay Day.

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Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the 2012 AAUW Art Contest. From the artists who submitted their work to the members who took the time to vote for their favorite pieces to the judges who helped select the winners, your participation made this year’s contest a tremendous success. Final selection was no easy task, given all of the fantastic entries from AAUW members.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Their entries will be featured on a collection of note cards that will be sent this spring to all AAUW members. If you’re not a member yet, now is a great time to join.

Now, without further ado, here are the winners of our 2012 Art Contest (in no particular order):

We would also like to congratulate the winner of our first-ever AAUW Thumbs-up Award, whose entry in the 2012 AAUW Art Contest received the most “likes” on our Facebook page:

My Mother’s Roses by Leslie King, AAUW Wytheville (VA) Branch

My Mother’s Roses by Leslie King, AAUW Wytheville (VA) Branch

And finally, a special congratulations goes to Julia Kwon, who won another inaugural contest. Kwon’s beautiful oil painting Shattering the Glass Ceiling was selected as the winning entry for the AAUW Student Poster Contest and was featured at our National Museum of Women in the Arts event earlier this month.

Kwon, a senior studying studio art at Georgetown University, said of her entry, “This painting was directly inspired by the sociological concept called the glass ceiling, an unacknowledged barrier that most women encounter when it comes to upward mobility within an organization. The multiple lines and marks symbolize the cracking of the glass ceiling as well as the consistent efforts of women in politics and art to shatter the glass ceiling.”

A 24-by-36-inch poster of Kwon’s painting is available for $12. Call 800/326-2289 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. EDT) to order yours. Quantities are limited.

Shattering the Glass Ceiling by Julia Kwon

Congratulations to all of our artists on their amazing work.

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As a young woman about to acquire a master’s degree and head out into a workforce beleaguered by recession and high unemployment, the gender wage gap weighs heavily on my mind. Why, after obtaining an equal education and entering the same job markets, should I make less money than my male friends? The answer is, of course, that I shouldn’t.

But 48 years after the Equal Pay Act became law and two years after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed, women entering the exact same jobs with the exact same education as men are still paid 5 percent less, a gap that only increases across sectors and throughout our lifetimes.

Luckily for me and other women in the workforce, the current economic situation has turned the spotlight onto the critical need for fair pay more than ever before. Last week, Women’s Policy Inc., in cooperation with Reps. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) and the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, sponsored an event aimed at highlighting the impact of the gender wage gap on women and families and proposing possible solutions for achieving equal pay.

Lisa Maatz, AAUW’s director of public policy and government relations, spoke at the event. An expert on fair pay, Maatz expressed her confidence that the United States is on the cusp of major breakthroughs for women and their paychecks. Defining fair pay as a bipartisan issue, she emphasized that both legislative and extra-legislative steps are needed to close the wage gap between men and women. Maatz stated that in addition to passing legislation, federal and state agencies can actively support equal pay in the private sector by using existing resources to provide technical assistance, collect data on best practices, and properly fund equal pay enforcement organizations. She also said that increasing women’s and girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields is a critical step toward closing the gender wage gap.

Warning that the so-called “man-cession” is too quickly becoming a “he-covery” focused on finding jobs for men, Maatz declared that now more than ever is the critical time to ensure women have equal access and equal pay to support their careers, their families, their households, and the entire economy.

As a young woman who would prefer to start her career without an automatic encumbrance based solely on gender, I couldn’t agree more.

If you want to take action on closing the wage gap and other issues important to women, sign up for the AAUW Action Network.

This post was written by Public Policy Intern Katie Donlevie.

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photo: blog.reidreport.com

Assaults on women’s health have dominated the politics of national budget cuts lately. Women in Wisconsin, however, have an additional financial concern — Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) new budget proposal.

Walker frames his budget as a reasonable attempt to balance a $3.6 billion state deficit. He says that the proposed increases to employee contributions to state pension and health care funds are below the national average.

However, Walker’s budget boils down to an attempt to eliminate public workers’ collective bargaining rights as a part of budget reform. Wisconsin was the first state to provide these rights to government workers back in 1959. Law enforcement, state trooper, and firefighter unions are notably excluded from the proposed changes for now, although members of these unions have joined the demonstrations in Madison.

The proposal comes at a time when Wisconsin public workers are already undercompensated relative to the private sector, according to a report released this month by the Economic Policy Institute. Women in the state’s public sector face a double bind due to the continuing pay gap. Women who work full time in Wisconsin earn on average only 74 percent of what their male counterparts earn, worse than the national average. Women in the state are also 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men. But over and over, research shows that union women make better wages than nonunion women.

Opponents of the governor’s budget bill from across the state — men and women alike — began gathering at the Wisconsin Capitol last week, filling the rotunda atrium with signs and speeches to express their discontent with this blow to the rights of public workers. Wisconsin’s 14 state senate Democrats have left the state in protest, denying the upper chamber a quorum (enough senators to make the vote legally valid). For as long as the senators remain outside Wisconsin, the bill — which passed the state Assembly only late Thursday night — cannot be sent to Walker for signature. However, with Walker’s supporters holding the majority in the state Senate, Wisconsin workers’ rights to collective bargaining hangs in precarious balance.

Given that Wisconsin’s public workers have already said they would agree to benefit cuts in exchange for maintaining their collective bargaining rights — a position 75 percent of the public endorses — it’s time for cooler heads to prevail and for Walker to come back to the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, though Wisconsin is the epicenter, states across the nation are proposing similar remedies to budget woes, and workers are gearing up with similar opposition. MoveOn.org is organizing 50 rallies in 50 states this weekend. AAUW members in several states have become involved in some of these activities, which are in keeping with AAUW’s member-adopted Public Policy Program.

This post was written by Public Policy Fellow Emily Pfefer.

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