Thursday, February 10, 2011

This Sat., 2/12/11: The Story Behind "Music in Desperate Times" Ars Choralis

February AAUW Branch Meeting
Saturday Morning, February 12, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
Kingston Library

Tom and Cecelia Keehn will present the story and slides of the renowned singing group, Ars Choralis, when they performed the unique "Music In Desperate Times" locally, in Germany and at St. John the Devine in Manhattan. Cecelia was the soprano soloist and Tom was a member of the chorus. Both are music educators and outstanding musicians.

If you're unfamiliar with "Music in Desperate Times, a friend of [Barbara] Pickhardt urged her to read a book about women who saved their lives by playing in an orchestra while prisoners in Auschwitz/Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland during World War II. Barbara was deeply moved by the story of these women.
She eventually researched the music the women played. Ars Choralis' member, Gregory Dinger, and accompanist, Kristen Tuttman, arranged the music. The spoken word was derived from texts written by survivors.

Survivors of the Ravensbrueck concentration camp in Furstenberg, Germany invited Ars Choralis to perform at their annual Liberation Day ceremonies in 2009 at the former Birkenau concentration camp, The Ars Choralis performance was   intensely emotional not only for the audience, but also for the performers.

Please note, this is not a presentation of the concert although there will be music in the background at times. This is the story of the performers' journey back through history and across the ocean in memory of those musicians saving their lives through music.

I hope that we will have a very good audience for this program.
Pat Stedge

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Class Action Suit Leads to Award for AAUW to Continue Pay Equity Work

AAUW to Receive Cy Pres Award for Work to Fight Gender Discrimination
Award Follows Groundbreaking Gender Discrimination Case Settlement
WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been awarded $23,500 as part of a cy pres award from the judgment in the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial.
The class action lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation included approximately 5,600 women sales force employees who claimed gender discrimination based on pay, promotion, and pregnancy. A jury found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in May 2010, and the subsequent settlement was filed in federal court in New York in July 2010. Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for Eastern New York approved the final settlement agreement in November, and AAUW learned of its selection to receive a cy pres award in December.
Cy pres awards are the result of class action lawsuit funds and are typically distributed to charitable organizations. AAUW will receive this award to support its mission to advance equity for women and girls.
“We commend the brave plaintiffs and their extraordinary legal team in the Novartis case,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “They have broken through barriers for women employees of Novartis and for women employees around the world. We hope this case will inspire more women to stand up for their rights as workers and teach a lesson to those who would discriminate on gender or any other basis. AAUW is proud to be associated with this case and honored to be the recipient of an award that affirms our work against all forms of gender discrimination.”
The award from the Novartis settlement will help fund AAUW’s continuing advancement of women and girls through our programs, research, and advocacy, especially on the issue of fair pay. As this case demonstrates, wage discrimination remains a critical problem, and women's pay still lags behind that of men. On average, women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, and they represent only a small percentage of those who hold top positions in business and academia. By some estimates, women may lose between $500,000 and $1 million because of wage discrimination over a 40-year career.
“We were so pleased to be able to recommend AAUW for a cy pres award,” said Katherine Kimpel, a partner at the firm Sanford, Wittels, and Heisler, LLP, who successfully represented the class of more than 6,000 current and former women sales employees at Novartis. “Having an ally like AAUW in the fight for gender equity is so important, and we trust that the cy pres award will help AAUW continue to make a difference in the lives of girls and women across the United States.  The victory in Novartis, although gratifying, is just one step in the right direction, as far too many employers continue to deny women workers their fair share of the American dream.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

AAUW ED responds to NYT article

Linda Hallman, AAUW E.D.
To the [NYT] Editor:
According to “Man or Male?” (Education Life, Jan. 9), which compares men’s studies and male studies, both fields agree on something that is, fortunately, not true — that “academically at least, young men are in trouble.”
As our report “Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education” explains, there is no “boys’ crisis.” Boys continue to outscore girls, on average, on many standardized tests, including the SAT math and critical reading tests. And according to the United States Department of Education, 41 percent of both girls and boys who graduated from high school in 2007-08 were attending a four-year college in the fall of 2008.
Certainly, some young men are in trouble, as are some young women. But whether we measure by test scores in elementary school, high school graduation rates or college enrollment, the differences in educational achievement are much greater between students from different income levels and different racial/ethnic backgrounds than between girls and boys.
Linda D. Hallman
Executive Director
American Association of University Women
Washington, Jan. 12, 2011