Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

All Eyes on Madeleine Albright � AAUW Dialog

“But grandma, I don’t get what the big deal is with you being Secretary of State — aren’t all women secretaries?”
—Madeline Albright’s four-year-old granddaughter

AAUW Leadership Programs Fellow Zabie Khorakiwala recently had two opportunities to hear Madeleine Albright talk about women in politics. She shared her impressions on the AAUW Dialog blog.
All Eyes on Madeleine Albright � AAUW Dialog: "Albright shared some of her own insight on why so few women hold political office:

* Self-doubt
* Struggles regarding self-promotion
* Fundraising challenges
* Difficulty navigating family-work responsibilities

Albright’s thoughts correspond closely with the research of Jennifer Lawless. While women who run for office are as likely to win and raise the same amount of money as men, they are far less likely to have a spouse or partner who is responsible for most household tasks or childcare. Women are less likely to be encouraged to run for office and feel less confident about their overall qualifications.

Through Campaign College, AAUW and our partners at the American University Women & Politics Institute (directed by Jennifer Lawless) and Running Start hope to combat some of these issues early on and provide young women with the knowledge and skills they need to run effective campaigns on campus. The program encourages women to run for student government and, eventually, for political office."
Just an aside -- during the ice breaker at our branch holiday party we identified four members present who had run for public office -- two for Ulster County Legislature -- Anne Gordon and Irwin Rosenthal -- and two for their library boards (Kingston and Woodstock) -- Jane Riley and Doris Goldberg. Anne ran three times and won once. Irwin lost his race. Jane and Doris currently serve on their library boards.

When we reminded folks that AAUW has initiated Campaign College to support and encourage young women to run for campus and public office, the group broke into spontaneous applause. Our membership knows how important that support is.

Thanks for putting Campaign College in place, AAUW. Now we need to ensure that some of our local college students attend.
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Like being in on the ground floor?

Logo of the American Association of University...Image via Wikipedia
AAUW and AARP are researching the best ways to educate women about planning for their long-term needs. Want to be a leader or participant in a focus group? Here are the early details:

Goal: The long range goal of this research is to implement a new education and awareness campaign for women in the Baby Boomer age group (ages 45-64) on the need to plan for future long-term care needs, and to create materials that will effectively educate and support individual women’s personal planning.

Study Design: AARP and AAUW will collaborate to assess long-term care resources and messaging by fielding a baseline study that involves a minimum of 250 AAUW members (there is no cap to the number of participants).

Expectation: This partnership to establish a truly accessible model for women’s long-term care planning represents a unique opportunity for AAUW to break through both educational and economic barriers for women in a health care arena—long-term care—that has been in the shadows for decades. AAUW’s selection as a partner by AARP attests to the position of stature and respect AAUW holds as a nationwide community working on behalf of women.
Leaders’ Role:
Please help us identify AAUW members/branches that may want to participate in this baseline study—which is primarily a willingness to participate in four webinars and answer four sets of questions over the next year. (All this can be done from the comfort of their own homes.) We are also looking for half a dozen women who would like to be facilitators in this endeavor, and would like to be trained to provide support to members as they go through the baseline study process.

More details on this partnership with AARP, a webinar and a Program-in-a-Box will be forthcoming in early 2010.

Fortunately, there is no cap on the numbers who can contribute to this extremely important initiative. Please contact Cordy Galligan at 
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12/10/09: CEMAC meeting

Important! Come to the:

Citizens' Election Modernization Advisory
Committee Meeting
Thursday, December 10, noon
NYS Board of Elections
40 Steuben Street

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thoughts about playing bridge

I'm not a bridge player. In fact, I have some negative feelings about bridge players. You see, when I was very young, living in a small town on Crete, among the ex-pats there were three avid bridge players -- one of them my now ex-husband. They were desperate for a fourth and I was pressured into learning the game.

For love, peace, and to please my friends I worked hard at learning the game. Everyday they cajoled, coached, and took turns suffering as my partner. Until the day it happened. Yes, the doors to the once-daily bus opened and, wonder of wonders, a bridge player emerged.

I'll never know how they recognized him as a bridge player within five minutes, although I suspect they took turns meeting the bus and interviewing any likely candidate..."Excuse me, but do you, by any chance play bridge?"

My brief life as a bridge player was over. I was summarily dismissed, never to have a seat at the table again. I felt... well, a strange combination of relief and rejection.

But this article in the Wall Street Journal started me thinking about it again. Our AAUW branch has both a morning and evening bridge group.

I wonder if they'd offer an opportunity for beginners?

in reference to:
"My ideal bridge four? W.H. Auden, me, Woody Allen and Barack Obama, who strikes me as being the sort of person who is considerate—and a listener. I'm not sure whether the current president plays bridge; he has other things to do, I suppose. And my least ideal bridge four? Saddam Hussein (an unforgiving partner), me, Marilyn Monroe (bad memory for cards), and Gandhi (not competitive enough).
— Alexander McCall Smith is the author of more than 60 books, including the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series."
- Alexander McCall Smith on Bridge - (view on Google Sidewiki)

The WSJ article offers some links for new and experienced bridge players and some interesting observations on the game, its history, and it's players. It's good reading.

Photo: Associated Press  Warren Buffett and Bill Gates play bridge at the Nebraska bridge regional in Omaha in August 2005.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let the Conversation begin -- What does the Shriver Report mean to us?

The Shriver Report has received a lot of media coverage, but now it's up to us to move the conversations forward.

Next steps?

in reference to:
"Among the findings, is what often happens in the face of sweeping change: Some of our institutions lag behind and don’t yet reflect this new dynamic. Government, business, the media and our faith communities, in many cases, still cling to outdated models of who works and who cares for our families.
For example, men now agree with women that government and business need to provide flexible work schedules, better childcare, family and medical leave and equal pay.
And over 80 percent of men and women agree businesses that fail to adapt to the needs of modern families risk losing good workers.
Only by examining this fundamental shift in how Americans live and do business -- and acknowledging the profound changes it has wrought -- can we grow and flourish.

Let the conversation begin."
- The Shriver Report || A Study by Maria Shriver and the Center For American Progress on How We Work and Live Today (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AAUW Member Wins Nobel Prize

AAUW Member Wins Nobel Prize

Carol Greider Shares Prestigious Award for Physiology or Medicine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AAUW celebrates Carol Greider, AAUW member-at-large and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with her two colleagues, Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak. Greider has been a member of AAUW since 2002.

Greider, Blackburn, and Szostak “discovered that telomeres are made up of simple, repeating blocks of DNA building blocks and are found in all organisms,” according to a Johns Hopkins University announcement. Understanding this biological process has paved the way to deeper knowledge of cancer and cellular aging.

“AAUW has a long history of supporting women in the sciences, and we are thrilled to count another Nobel Prize winner among our ranks,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. In 1920, AAUW awarded two-time Nobel Prize recipient Marie Curie a grant to assist with her groundbreaking research on radium. AAUW member Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, was nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his work supporting education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Greider, who holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley, currently works as the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. She, Blackburn, and Szostak will attend the Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10.

“Greider and Blackburn have shown that women can break through barriers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said AAUW President Carolyn H. Garfein. “Their accomplishment serves as an excellent example of women making valuable contributions and the need that exists for supporting and encouraging great female minds, as AAUW does with our fellowships, grants, and community of successful women.”

In 2009 a record five women were awarded Nobel Prizes. Prior to this year, only 35 women had ever received the honor. Greider and Blackburn were the first two women to simultaneously win the prize in medicine.

The three other 2009 female laureates include Ada Yonath, who is sharing the Nobel Prize in chemistry; Herta Mueller, who won the prize in literature; and Elinor Ostrom, who is sharing the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Ostrom is the first woman to win the economics prize.

To read what AAUW said on our blog about this year’s Nobel Prize winning women, please visit

To view Marie Curie’s page in AAUW’s online museum, please visit

Sunday, October 11, 2009

NYTimes Mag Special Issue on Women

This issue, Saving the World's Women, August 23, 2009, keeps coming up in discussions at our AAUW meetings. For those who missed the issue, here's a gateway to the articles and resources on-line.

There's plenty of discussion material here.

in reference to: The Women’s Crusade - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

AAUW ED Attends VAWA Event with Vice President

Joe Biden, United States Senator.Image via Wikipedia

AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman attended an event at Number One Observatory Circle, the residence of the vice president, on Tuesday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act.

Vice President Biden wrote the act, which provides funding for victim services and stronger enforcement efforts, while serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1994, and AAUW's advocacy was instrumental in the enactment of the law. Although much progress has been made, AAUW and our coalition partners are working to support the International Violence Against Women Act, as well as the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2011.
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President Nominates Head of Women's Bureau

This week, President Obama announced Sara Manzano-Diaz as his nominee for director of the Women's Bureau in the Department of Labor.

Manzano-Diaz has served as Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs at the Pennsylvania Department of State and as Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights and Litigation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Latifa Lyles, who recently ran for president of the National Organization of Women, is expected to become the deputy director of the bureau.

For those unfamiliar with the Women's Bureau, it was created by law in 1920 to formulate standards and policies to promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

AAUW looks forward to working with Ms. Manzano-Diaz and the Women's Bureau to continue to break through barriers for women and girls.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Woman Who Made a Difference: Wilma Cozart Fine

I'm always interested in reading about women who have made a contribution in a field dominated by men. Wilma Cozart Fine had an extraordinary talent.

This NYTimes obituary provides a good overview of her contribution to classical recordings.

in reference to:

"Mrs. Fine was one of the first women to excel at record production, a field that is still dominated by men. She brought sensitivity and taste to her work, which included notable recordings by the conductors Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati and John Barbirolli; the composer and conductor Howard Hanson; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony; the pianists Byron Janis, Gina Bachauer and Sviatoslav Richter; and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

With Mr. Fine, an ingenious recording engineer whom she married in 1957, she developed recording techniques that, even in their early monaural recordings, seemed to capture not only the performance but also a sense of the space in which it took place. The Fines were among the first to make mass-market stereo recordings, and in the early 1960s they experimented with recording on 35-millimeter film instead of on magnetic recording tape. Among their productions were sonic spectaculars like a 1954 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” by Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, with bells recorded at Yale University and a cannon recorded at West Point, and a 1958 remake, with different bells and cannon.

Mrs. Fine also had a brilliant marketing sense. One of the first things she did when she joined Mercury, in 1950, was persuade the label’s president, Irving Green, to sign the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then floundering. Mercury’s first recording with that orchestra, overseen by the Fines, was Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” with Kubelik conducting, in April 1951. When the recording was released that fall, along with another recording of works by Bartok and Bloch, Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times that “unless this recording has flattered the ensemble’s competence out of all recognition, one must welcome the Chicagoans back to the top rank of American orchestras.”"
- Wilma Cozart Fine, Classical Music Record Producer, Dies at 82 - Obituary (Obit) - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Modern Social Security card.Image via Wikipedia

We tend to think that gender inequity is an issue for the young. Wrong again.

Job counselors report growth in their "older women" clients category. Who makes up that category?

They're finding women in their 60's, 70's, and even 80's looking for work these days. Here are some of the reasons.

The Institute on Women: GRANDMA GOES TO WORK: "The economic challenges women face as they age are well documented; when compared to similarly aged men:
  • older women workers are less likely to be living with a partner or spouse (62% vs. 80% for men), and are more likely to be on their own when it comes to household resources. (1)
  • older women are less likely to have had continuous employment throughout their adult lives, affecting both their record of work experience and their contribution to Social Security or pension funds. (1)
  • older women are more likely to be working part-time (25% vs. 8% for men), and not necessarily by choice: 16.9% of women age 60-64 report being underemployed, vs. 12.1% of men the same age. (2)
  • older women (age 55 to 59) workers are more likely to have no expectation of retirement benefits (40% of women vs. 27% of men) and are more likely (43% of women vs. 30% of men) to report that they are working because they need the income to pay day to day living expenses. (3)
  • older women employees generally live in households with lower family incomes than their male counterparts ($64,444 vs. $80,839). (1)
  • for older female workers, the wage gap in hourly rates is 69 cents for every dollar earned by a man. (1)"
Hat tip to Christy Jones who posted this link.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

A Million Here, A Million There. It starts to add up.

Purse (巾着; Kinchaku) : Good businessImage via Wikipedia

Here's an interesting NYTimes article about women and philanthropy. We're talking big money here. And, it's about time!

The Power of the Purse by Lisa Belkin
In general, women give differently than men. They are less likely to want their names on things and more likely to give as part of drives (large ones, like Women Moving Millions, and smaller ones, like living-room “giving circles”) that include other women. And they tend to spotlight different causes (women’s health, microfinancing of businesses owned by women) and for different reasons. A study of more than 10,000 large donors by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University suggests that while men describe their giving as practical — filling in the gaps that government can’t or won’t — women describe theirs as emotional, an obligation to help those with less.

Behind all this giving lies the theory that helping women and children is the way to change the planet. “Seventy percent of people living in poverty around the world are women and children,” says Christine Grumm, president and C.E.O. of the Women’s Funding Network. “If women have a roof over their heads and a home free of violence, and good and affordable health care, then so do children. In the larger picture, it’s not just about women, but entire communities. Women are the conduits through which change is made.”
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Jean Semilof, Serving Our Community

Jean Semilof is gregarious, upbeat, and full of energy -- exactly what a membership co-chair needs to be.

A realtor by profession for over 3o years, Jean says she is currently devoting a great deal of energy to the Ulster County Board of Realtors' community service projects.

She says, "I believe strongly that realtors should give back to the community. Last year, I spearheaded a very successful coin drive to benefit the Helping Hands Soup Kitchen at the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church and I am currently involved in planning an upscale yard sale to benefit the STARS mentoring program at the Everette Hodge Center, which the AAUW Kingston Branch is also particpating in."

Jean is a past President of the Ulster County Board of Realtors and a REALTOR of the YEAR.

  • Membership Committee co-chair with Suki Kerr, 2009-2010

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Meet Doris Licht, now practicing the art of managing our money

Doris is a ceramic artist and photographer who moved to West Hurley full time in 2002 to build the studio where she now works and offers small groups of students wheel throwing and hand building pottery classes.

She spent much of her career teaching ceramics, drawing, and photography at Hunter College and CCNY, and then on the Graduate Ceramics faculty at the Pratt Institute.

Doris grew up in Los Angeles where she attended Dorsey High School, which was famous for having the largest football field and the tiniest school building in the city of L.A. She attended Los Angeles City College where she majored in art and spent many afternoons lying on the lawn in front of the art building listening to Lord Buckley perform his monologues.

Doris also attended the Chouinard Art Institute and the Otis Art Institute where she studied Fine Art and developed her lifelong love of clay.

In addition to her work for AAUW, Doris serves as a member of the Hurley Conservation Advisory Council and as a trustee for the Maverick Concerts.

She writes memoir, provides Macintosh computer support, and is a new bridge player.

She was recently asked to become the treasurer of our Kingston AAUW branch for 2009-2010. She says she doesn’t know why, but we do.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

AAUW Takes a Position on Health Care

An MRI scan of a human head, an example of a  ...Image via Wikipedia

AAUW's emphasis is not on pushing one proposal over another, but instead ensuring that whichever program ultimately emerges provides access to quality and affordable health care for all Americans.

We believe there are three key elements that must be included in any final health care reform legislation:
  1. An end to the practice of "gender rating"
  2. Coverage of women's reproductive health services
  3. Access to and coverage of preventative services and care.
Join us in urging our members of Congress to make these three critical pieces a part of the final health care reform bill.

[You can use the Two-Minute Activist system to send your message]

"Gender rating," the process by which insurance companies charge men and women different premiums for individually-purchased health care plans, is a discriminatory practice that can result in women's monthly premiums ranging from four percent to 48 percent higher than men's. Reproductive health services are a basic element of women's overall health care, and coverage of such services should be required. Preventative care services such as screenings, immunizations, and educational material will not only improve women's health, but also reduce the financial strain on our health care system and improve the overall economy as a result.

Health care is intrinsically tied to economic security; this is particularly true for women, who earn less than men on average and use more health care services than men do. These two factors--less income, more costs--mean women face a high level of health care insecurity. Health care reform is necessary now more than ever, and it must focus on the need for access and affordability-in a way that is equitable to women.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Capitol Briefing - More Forgeries Emerge in Climate Lobbying Effort

Wet Blanket Policy, directed by Dick Lundy, in...Image via Wikipedia

Today it came to light that those forged lobbying letters supporting changes to the climate change bill touched us directly. One of the fraudulent letters purported to be from an AAUW branch.

Capitol Briefing - More Forgeries Emerge in Climate Lobbying Effort: "'We've worked a long time to build up a reputation, and keep our name untarnished, and the notion that someone would come along and take that name ..... it's deceit. It's outright deceit,' said Lisa Maatz, the group's director of public policy and government relations.
In all, 12 fraudulent letters were sent to three Representatives -- all relatively new Democrats from coal-producing states. Three went to Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), who is a first-termer like Perriello, and one went to Rep. Chris Carney (Pa.), in his second term."

You can read the press release from AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman here.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Do you remember when the want-ads were segregated?

When I graduated from college and looked for my first job in 1969, the want-ads were segregated by gender -- Help Wanted Men and Help Wanted Women. It was the beginning of "Women's Lib."

I had forgotten how outraged I was over the innumerable inequities we faced as young women. Today, I focus on issues yet to be resolved -- pay equity, sexual harassment, comparable worth, education for women in developing countries... There's still so much to be done. But, I read this obituary today and remembered the battles of the past.
Gerald Gardner, 83, Dies; Bolstered Sex Bias Suit - Obituary (Obit) - "In 1969, First Pittsburgh, led by Wilma Scott Heide, who would become president of the national organization a few years later, filed a complaint with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations against The Pittsburgh Press, then the leading local daily. The complaint contended that the division by sex of the paper’s employment ads — “Male Help Wanted” and “Female Help Wanted” — amounted to discrimination against women.

“What Gerry did was calculate the statistical chance that a woman could get a job in one of the male categories,” said Eleanor Smeal, the president of the Feminist Majority and a former president of NOW. “He calculated pay differentials. The disparities just flabbergasted him. He contributed the hard intellectual theory based on the math, and he made it understandable, powerfully so.”

When the commission upheld the complaint, The Pittsburgh Press took the commission to court, saying that the ruling violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. The case went to the Supreme Court, whose ruling, in 1973, effectively forbade newspapers to carry sex-designated advertising columns for most job opportunities."
This quiet man was an effective activist for the feminist movement. According to the Washington Post's obituary:

"He produced a lot of change for the equality of women," said Evansgardner [his wife]. "He was shy, gentle and quiet but very active in women's rights."

Dr. Gardner organized a picket line at the 1973 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., because the league had a boys-only policy. His efforts there, and a series of lawsuits filed by NOW and women's rights advocates, pushed the organization to integrate girls for the first time the next season.

In 1975, Dr. Gardner provided more of his methodical research toward a federal lawsuit filed by NOW and the Pittsburgh NAACP, alleging that the Pittsburgh police department's hiring practices discriminated against women and minorities.

The lawsuit led to a citywide consent decree that impelled police to hire in groups of four: one white man, one white woman, one black man and one black woman. The decree remained in effect for 15 years but was later dropped after a lawsuit alleged reverse discrimination. The decree had helped Pittsburgh lead the nation in the number of female and black police officers, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Here's a hat tip and thank you to Gerald Gardner. Your life made a difference in our lives.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Educating Girls - Our Responsibility in Afghanistan?

From Marjorie Regan:
I am sending a link to this column (excerpt below) by Thomas Friedman from the NY Times since its about the book, Three Cups of Tea, which we will be reading for October.

Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No. - Op-Ed - "I watched Greg Mortenson, the famed author of "Three Cups of Tea," open one of his schools for girls in this remote Afghan village in the Hindu Kush mountains. I must say, after witnessing the delight in the faces of those little Afghan girls crowded three to a desk waiting to learn, I found it very hard to write, "Let's just get out of here.""
"It is no accident, Mortenson noted, that since 2007, the Taliban and its allies have bombed, burned or shut down more than 640 schools in Afghanistan and 350 schools in Pakistan, of which about 80 percent are schools for girls. This valley, controlled by Tajik fighters, is secure, but down south in Helmand Province, where the worst fighting is today, the deputy minister of education said that Taliban extremists have shut 75 of the 228 schools in the last year. This is the real war of ideas. The Taliban want public mosques, not public schools. The Muslim militants recruit among the illiterate and impoverished in society, so the more of them the better, said Mortenson."
Read the whole column to learn Friedman's rationale for why our work isn't finished in Afghanistan.

What do you think? Add your comments to this post.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 -2010 Kingston Branch Officers Elected

Congratulations to our new 2009-2010 AAUW Kingston Branch Officers and many thanks to those of you who completed your terms -- Garnette Arledge, Denise Springer, Liz Rosen

2009 -2010 Officers
- Bette Nitzky
VP, Programming - ViVi Hlavsa
Asst. VP, Programming - Beverly Sloane
VP Membership - Suki Kerr & Jean Semilof
Treasurer - Doris Licht
Recording Secretary - Susan Holland (June-Jan), Carole Leib (Jan.-June 10)
Corresponding Secretary - Joan Reis
Bus Trips - Vivi Hlavsa and Pat Whelan
Communications - Ruth Wahtera
Directory - Sheila Beall
Diversity - Arlene Bruck
Educational Foundation - Doris Goldberg & Irwin Rosenthal
Historian - Bernie Carpino
Hospitality - Pat Stedge and Ginger Yaples
Legal Advocacy Fund - Dolores LaChance
Publicity - Carole Leib, June - Jan.
Public Policy - Irene Miller
Telephone Tree - Virginia Kohli

Note: Thanks to Doris Goldberg and Susan Holland who co-chaired the board while Bette Nitzky was on-leave.

See your directory for phone numbers and email addresses. We'll be adding links as we complete more profiles.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Women have equal rights, right?

The Equal Rights AmendmentImage by dbking via Flickr

Think again.

The last time around (1972-82) we couldn't even get the 38 states required to pass the Equal Rights amendment. Will we be more successful this time?

Check out the World Economic Forum's rankings below regarding our status as women if you think this is an overblown and unnecessary issue.

Equal Rights Amendment Reintroduced Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and more than 50 co-sponsors reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment today in the House of Representatives. The amendment would add the following sentence to the US Constitution: "Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex".

Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, "Although women in the United States have made considerable gains in the last 40 years, we are now lagging behind the rest of the world in closing the gender gap. According to the World Economic Forum, the US ranks 31st of 128 countries overall, but 76th in educational attainment, 36th in health and survival, 69th in political empowerment, and 70th for wage equality for similar work. In the representation of women in our Congress, we rank 71st. Clearly, the US needs an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to help women overcome systemic sex discrimination in our nation".

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Read with the AAUW Kingston Branch

Reading List for Sept. 2009 to June 2010

The daytime book group meets at 1 pm, usually on the third Tuesday of the month, at the Kingston Library. Contact Marjorie Regan with any questions.

Cover of "The Amazing Adventures of Kaval...Cover via Amazon

September 15, 2009 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

A young Jewish youth escapes Nazi ruled Czechoslovakia to become a cartoon artist in New York City.

October 20, 2009 Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Mortenson tells the story of his time in Afghanistan winning over tribesmen and building schools for girls despite the dangers.This is a book in a bag selection. Don’t buy the book. You will get it Sept. 15th.

November 17, 2009 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Commentary from the Web: The Bundren family makes a perilous journey to Jefferson to bury their matriarch, Addie, among her people. This novel explores grieving, community and family.

December 15th, 2009 Japanese Inn by Oliver Statler .Five hundred years of Japanese history, from 1500 to 2000 is told by a series of Innkeepers. James Michener called it a minor classic.

January 19th, 2010 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Vicente Blasco Ibanez. This story follows the members of one French family and their different experiences in World War 1.

February 16, 2010 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines. The main character is a child at the time of the Civil War and lives to be over 100. She reflects on the events she has lived through and makes intelligent and hopeful interpretations.

Cover of "First Mothers: The Women Who Sh...Cover via Amazon

March 16, 2010
. First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo. Interesting stories of our Presidents’ mothers and how they raised their sons.

April 20, 2010. Vivi Hlvasa will select a book to be read by the whole community

May 18, 2010. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Cover of "The Guernsey Literary and Potat...Cover via Amazon

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This fictional story is told through letters. It begins in January 1946 when English writer Julie Ashton receives a letter from a member of the GLPPPS. She learns of the World War 2 German occupation of the island of Guersey and how the book club helped the British on Guersey to psychologically survive the War.

June 15, 2010. Peony In Love by Lisa See. This is a Chinese Romeo and Juliet story with a wealthy Chinese cultural background. It explains how religion affected daily life. This is the 2nd book by the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

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Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No. - Op-Ed -

From Marjorie Regan:
I am sending a link to this column by Thomas Friedman from the NY Times since its about the book, Three Cups of Tea, we will be reading for October.

Also, since we read Lolita a few years ago, you may want to catch the movie. It's on PBS this Sat. July 25th at 9pm. It's 2 1/2 hours long.

Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No. - Op-Ed - "I watched Greg Mortenson, the famed author of “Three Cups of Tea,” open one of his schools for girls in this remote Afghan village in the Hindu Kush mountains. I must say, after witnessing the delight in the faces of those little Afghan girls crowded three to a desk waiting to learn, I found it very hard to write, “Let’s just get out of here.”"
"It is no accident, Mortenson noted, that since 2007, the Taliban and its allies have bombed, burned or shut down more than 640 schools in Afghanistan and 350 schools in Pakistan, of which about 80 percent are schools for girls. This valley, controlled by Tajik fighters, is secure, but down south in Helmand Province, where the worst fighting is today, the deputy minister of education said that Taliban extremists have shut 75 of the 228 schools in the last year. This is the real war of ideas. The Taliban want public mosques, not public schools. The Muslim militants recruit among the illiterate and impoverished in society, so the more of them the better, said Mortenson."

Read the whole column to learn Friedman's rationale for why our work isn't finished in Afghanistan.

What do you think?
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Meet Carolyn Garfein, new president of AAUW

One of the great things about the internet is the growing ease with which we can see and hear the people who used to be so far away. Here's the first message from AAUW's new national president. It's just under two minutes -- a fast way to get to know Carolyn Garfein.

Carolyn H. Garfein, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was recently elected to a two-year term as president of the AAUW Board of Directors. The election was held at the 2009 AAUW National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, which was attended by more than 1,000 members representing more than 1,300 AAUW states and branches.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weight discrimination -- we always knew it!

Silhouettes representing healthy, overweight, ...Image via Wikipedia

Here's a form of discrimination against women that is pretty hard to fight. But, I guess it's a bit like the research about tall men versus short men, only we're supposed to have some control over our weight.

Weight discrimination could contribute to the glass ceiling effect for women, study finds | MSU News | Michigan State University: "The different results for women and men suggest weight bias may contribute to the glass ceiling on the advancement of women to the top levels of management, said Mark Roehling, MSU associate professor of human resource management.

“The results suggest that while being obese limits the career opportunities of both women and men, being ‘merely overweight’ harms only female executives – and may actually benefit male executives,” he said. “This pattern of findings is consistent with previous research indicating that, at least among white Americans, there is a tendency to hold women to harsher weight standards.”"
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yes, Times Do Change, Check out this picture.

White House Photo by Pete Souza
Hat tip to Nancy Shoemaker

It took 67 years to be recognized, but yesterday President Obama signed the Gold Medal Bill, S. 614, to honor Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). From the Political Hotsheet, CBS News

WASP was established during World War II for the primary purpose of flying non-combat military missions for the U.S. in order to free the male military servants for combat. Between 1942 and 1943, more than a thousand women joined, flying sixty million miles of non-combat missions. An estimated 300 are still living today, the White House says.

WASP were the first female pilots to fly almost every type of military aircraft operated by the United States Army at the time. Although 38 of them lost their lives for the missions, their efforts went largely unrecognized. The pilots were not acknowledged with veteran status until 1977.
These women broke through barriers. Congratulations and thank you.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt's leadership, part 2

Sign up now for the 6/25 leadership workshop at Val-Kill — see our Unofficial Passions blog for more info!

6/16/09: Red Badge of Courage

AAUW Kingston
Book Group
Tuesday, June 16

1 PM
Community Room (upstairs)
Kingston Library
55 Franklin Street

We'll discuss The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Come join us, whether you've read the book or not.

Henry Fleming is a teenager who joins the Union Army during the Civil War. He is fearful of killing and dying, and friends betray his fears. His wound is "the red badge of courage". This is a coming-of-age story that does not glorify war. It has been called the first modern American novel.

cover illustration by Jamel Akib

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Building a Monument to Truth: May 26th

WASHINGTON - APRIL 28:  First lady Michelle Ob...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This month Anne Gordon, Ulster County historian and Branch member, will discuss the work underway to raise a monument to Sojourner Truth in the new park on the former site of the Port Ewen Town Hall.

Truth was born into slavery in 1797 and lived the first 30 years of her life in an area that now is part of the town of Esopus, some of it working in a tavern on the very site of the park. Last month Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others unveiled a bronze bust of Truth, which will be permanently displayed in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol.

Anne chairs the Sojourner Truth Monument Committee.

Kingston Library, May 26th, 7-9 pm
Bring a friend
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What does pay equity mean for us, our daughters, and our granddaughters?

April 28th is Pay Equity Day -- not a day to celebrate because we haven't achieved equity yet. Rather, it's a day to remind ourselves of the facts and reflect on the impact of those facts on the lives of those we care about. In 1963, when John Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, baby boomers were just beginning to think seriously about careers. At that time woman earned 59 cents for each dollar earned by a man. Nationally, today, it's 78 cents for every dollar, and in New York, it's 81 cents/dollar.

Over the course of a lifetime, that can mean more than a million dollars. It impacts our Social Security payments, our pensions, and our savings. It's the reason so many older women live in poverty after their partners die. It impacts all those children supported by single mothers and all those families where the wife is now the sole breadwinner because her husband has lost his job.

The strange thing is many of us are unaware that the pay gap has an impact on us. Young women graduating from college today don't realize that their male peers with the same qualifications are starting out at higher rates and that the difference compounds every year. Women working in organizations that publish their pay scales don't realize that men are hired at the top of the scale more frequently, while women think it's only natural to start at the bottom.

And, women tend to abide by the rules, "Don't discuss your salary with anyone." That's how Lilly Ledbetter worked her whole career supervising a plant of 4000 on the night shift, garnering more awards, and better evaluations than her male peer, while earning thousands of dollars less than even the most recent hire. It was an anonymous note stuck in her locker that brought the discrepancy to her attention.

How does the pay gap affect you, your daughter, your granddaughter, your wife, your mother, your girlfriend?

Join us tonight at 7 pm, Kingston Library, to discuss the pay gap and its impact on us all.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

OK, I'm paid less. Now what? - Equal Pay for Women - Redbook

Redbook in 1913Image via Wikipedia

Redbook Magazine featured an article on the pay gap this month. I liked their suggestions about what to do if you find out you are getting paid less than your male counterparts.

Why Women Are Worth Less Than Men - Equal Pay for Women - Redbook: "How to Earn What You're Worth

1. Do your research. To find out how much you'd earn in your job position if you were a man, go to and punch your info into the 'Getting Even Calculator.'

2. Schedule a meeting with your boss, and then prepare. Outline a presentation about why you feel your current pay is unfair to you as a woman. Include facts and/or numbers that you found in your research, and be clear about your requests. Anticipate issues your boss might raise, and plan your responses. To bolster your confidence, go to and read stories from women who faced wage discrimination and stood up against it.

3. Gain strength in numbers. Talk to other women at your office who also believe they're not being paid equitably. Work together to recommend how the wage gap can be closed at your company. It is often most powerful to go to your boss as a group to present complaints and recommendations for change."

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