Thursday, January 27, 2011

AAUW supporting professor fighting gender and race discrimination

AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Supports Promotion Suit against University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

UMass,Dartmouth Commencement
WASHINGTON – The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund announced today that it is awarding monetary support to the case Sun v. University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Plaintiff Lulu Sun, an English professor, has alleged sex and race discrimination in the promotion process at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Sun filed two charges of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD), the first in 2005 and the second in 2006.

For the first charge, MCAD found probable cause of discrimination based on gender, race, and national origin. In the second charge, MCAD found probable cause of retaliation and of discrimination based on gender, race, and national origin.

Sun will seek not only a promotion and damages for the alleged discrimination but also an order from MCAD requiring the university administration to undertake diversity and anti-discrimination training and to actively recruit and promote women faculty, especially women of color.

A public hearing began in December 2010 and will conclude on Monday, January 31, 2011.

"By supporting Dr. Sun's case, we are sending employers the message that discrimination will not be tolerated," said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. "The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund seeks out cases that can bring about equitable treatment for all women in all workplaces."

AAUW support has been instrumental in the success of many promotion and tenure cases of faculty and staff at universities across the country during the 30-year history of the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.

"At my university, there has been a pattern of discrimination against women and people of color for over a dozen years," said Sun. "There are almost no female faculty of color at the full professor rank. I am grateful that AAUW is supporting my case as I work to change this reality."

Today, AAUW provides financial and organizational support for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from generous AAUW members who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.

For additional information: 

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doing good work gets AAUW recognition!

Logo of the American Association of University...Image via 
AAUW Recognized as Top Nonprofit for Education, Women’s Empowerment

WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been named a top-rated nonprofit in two categories through GreatNonprofits’ reviews of charitable organizations. AAUW is listed as a top women’s empowerment organization and a top education organization.

GreatNonprofits, which is itself a nonprofit organization, provides an online forum for user reviews of nonprofits. The reviews by AAUW members and others who have benefited from AAUW’s research, publications, fellowships and grants, and leadership programs led to AAUW’s inclusion as a top nonprofit in the areas of education and women’s empowerment.

“AAUW is honored to have received this high rating from such a distinguished organization,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “The rating is a fantastic validation of our organization’s strong mission, values, and financial transparency.” 

In their reviews, supporters of AAUW shared some of their individual accomplishments and AAUW’s important role in their lives. These stories, featured on the website, highlight examples of AAUW’s work to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
GreatNonprofits was started in 2007 as a site to provide reviews and ratings of U.S. nonprofits. Users can rate more than 1.2 million nonprofits through the site and partner sites.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Before Roe Women Died

This weekend we observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Abortion is still a lightning rod for bitter public debate, legislative battles, and polarization. This blog post from the National Women's Law Center reminds us of the reality both then and now: before Roe women died.

Before Roe | National Women's Law Center: "Let’s start with what I know to be true—Roe v. Wade saved women’s lives. Before Roe, women died. They died because they were desperate. They died because they were forced into back-alleys to have abortions in unsanitary conditions, sometimes without any anesthesia. And yet here we are today in 2011, on the 38th anniversary of Roe, learning about another back-alley and a purported “clinic” that preyed on vulnerable, desperate women."

I encourage you to read the whole post by Kelli Garcia, Counsel, on the National Women's Law Center Blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fighting It Out In Court: Dukes v. Wal-Mart

A protest in Utah against Wal-MartImage via Wikipedia
AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Supports Gender Discrimination Suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

WASHINGTON – The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund announced today that it is awarding monetary support to the case Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Lead plaintiff Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee, has alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion policies and practices in Wal-Mart retail stores. Plaintiffs for the case comprise a class of approximately 1.6 million female Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employees.

Case History
In 2001, Dukes and other lead plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in order to further pursue the case as a class action. Wal-Mart appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then to a three-judge panel of the same court, and then to the full en banc court. The class certification was affirmed after all three appeals, and now Wal-Mart is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the court affirms the class certification, the case will become the largest civil rights class action suit in the nation’s history.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on December 6, 2010, and oral arguments on the class certification have been set for March 29, 2011.

Why AAUW Supports This Case
“AAUW is proud to lend our support to the lead plaintiffs of this groundbreaking case,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “There is no chance that each of the 1.6 million female employees has the financial resources, time, and patience to pursue her own case against Wal-Mart. AAUW strongly believes that these women’s voices should be heard and that they should be able to stand together to fight for their families’ economic well-being. Class action cases also have a much stronger deterrent effect, showing the business community that discrimination is not good for the bottom line.”

AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund support has been instrumental to the success of many gender discrimination cases during LAF’s 30-year history. Other LAF initiatives include community and campus outreach programs, a resource library and online advocacy tools, a Legal Referral Network, and various research reports.

"Wal-Mart claims this case is too big to bring as a class action, but there is no big company exception to the civil rights laws,” said Equal Rights Advocates Executive Director Arcelia Hurtado. “The reality is that without a class action, the women working at Wal-Mart will never have their day in court. The women have been treated unequally as a class, and they should be able to assert their rights as a class."

AAUW’s strategic case support program provides financial and organizational backing for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from the generous contributions of AAUW members who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.


This blog is published by the AAUW Kingston, NY Branch. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation's leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institutional partners. Since AAUW's founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW's commitment to educational equity is reflected in its public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections. 
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AAUW Public Policy Films and Conferences for January

Four films and a CTAUN conference of interest to folks concerned about public policy issues. Please note, our meeting this month will be held at the Rosendale Theater on Tues., January 25th at 7pm. We'll watch "Journeyman" (one hour) and adjourn to a nearby spot to talk about it. Details below.

January 2011
Fri., 1/7 to Thurs., 1/13, 7:30 PM, (also 5 PM on Sun., 1/9)
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Upstate Films, 132 Tinker Street, Woodstock
An in-depth look by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney at the rise and fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer, once nicknamed “The Sheriff of Wall Street”. While serving as NY’s Attorney General, Spitzer “took no prisoners” as he tangled with and prosecuted some of the most powerful Wall St. executives in the country. After his election as Governor, with the largest margin in the state’s history, he seemed White House-bound. Then, shockingly, Spitzer – the paragon of proper – was caught with prostitutes. Interviewing friends, colleagues, enemies, Albany powers like Joe Bruno, and employees of the Emperor’s Club, including “Angelina”, the film explores and reveals the hidden contours of this tale of power, sex, and hubris. And it makes one wonder about a deeper connection between the fall of a Governor and the free fall of the economy.
Fri., 1/14, 9:30 AM to 4 PM, $65
Committee on Teaching About the UN (CTAUN) Conference at the United Nations HQ in NYC
Nicholas Kristof will be the keynote speaker. In 2000, all 192 member states of the UN agreed on a time-bound set of goals – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- to work toward eradicating extreme poverty, primary education for all, promote gender equity, improve maternal and child health, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability – all by 2015! To register or learn more:
Sat., 1/22, Sun., 1/23, Mon., 1/24, & Wed., 1/26, 7:15 PM
Inside Job, $6
Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale
Inside Job provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia.

Tues., 1/25, 7 PM
Journeyman, Our Public Policy Film/Discussion this month
Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale
Journeyman is a one-hour documentary about rites of passage, mentoring, and male culture in America. The film follows Joe and Mike, two teenage boys dying for healthy adult mentors. After their struggles with depression and violence, they join a mentoring program. As they work with male mentors they face challenging rites of passage, discover their inner strength, and learn to engage with a community of supportive men. The film features Michael Gurian (The Good Son, The Wonder of Boys), Dr. Michael Obsatz (Raising Nonviolent Children in a Violent World), Dr. Barbara Coloroso, (Kids Are Worth It), Dr. David Walsh (The Selling Out of America's Children, Why Do They Act that Way?). Journeyman studies the phenomena of "at risk" boys, plus issues in American male culture. The film discovers experiments to reinvent male communities by giving boys what they need to grow into mature manhood. Finally, Journeyman follows its’ characters into an authentic "Rites of Passage" where mentoring from a community of men and boys create a transformation experience for young boys entering adolescence. Cost: By donation. For more information, see:
Sat., 1/29, 5 PM
War Made Easy, 4th of 4 films in the Youth and War series
Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale, Admission: $7 (free for ages 18 and under)
War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.
War Made Easy gives special attention to parallels between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq. Guided by media critic Norman Solomon’s meticulous research and tough-minded analysis, the film presents disturbing examples of propaganda and media complicity from the present alongside rare footage of political leaders and leading journalists from the past, including Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, dissident Senator Wayne Morse, and news correspondents Walter Cronkite and Morley Safer.
Norman Solomon’s work has been praised by the Los Angeles Times as “brutally persuasive” and essential “for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee.” This film now offers a chance to see that context on the screen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And they wonder why we need laws...Scalia's take on sex discrimination

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
In December, the Senate refused to allow debate on pay equity legislation. Here's why it's important to pass legislation regarding women's rights. Scalia's comments in a newly published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer are truly disturbing.

Scalia: Women Don't Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination: "You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box."

Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center, called the justice's comments "shocking."

"In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that's up to them," she said. "But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then he says that there's nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them. And that's a pretty shocking position to take in 2011." (My emphasis)

The barriers just got higher and it's time to pass the Equal Rights Ammendment.