Category Archives: Public Policy

Vote in the AAUW Elections

“SUFFRAGE noun “ a vote given in deciding a controverted question or electing a person for an office or trust”   Merriam-Webster

We, members of AAUW, have a vote in determining AAUW’s tomorrows. As Mark Hopkins, interim AAUW CEO (New one will start June 1) says “Every two years AAUW members have a unique opportunity to shape the future of this storied organization. What will be our focus? Who will be our leaders? These questions are too important to let someone else answer for you”.

On April 17 and again on May 8th those of you with an AAUW up-to-date email address received an email with instructions on voting online in AAUW’s 2017 National Election. The email address containing the information and your personal voting code number is  Voting will end June 15.  You will be voting o members of the Board of Directors and proposed By-Laws  changes, such as the membership requirement, and the Public Policy Platform. Be an informed voter.

You can find out more about these proposed By-laws changes and their rationale, by going to They are also presented in the latest issue of the OUTLOOK.

Of particular interest to you might be:

PROPOSAL 1. Shall Article IV of the AAUW Bylaws be amended to create an “advocate” category of membership?*

*Voting on this bylaw amendment should be made without consideration of proposal 2, the amendment that eliminates the degree requirement. If this proposal is adopted, it will be implemented only if proposal 2 is not adopted.

PROPOSAL 2. Shall Article IV of the AAUW Bylaws be amended to eliminate the degree requirements for individual members?

PROPOSAL 8. Shall the bylaws be amended by changing the number of members required to establish quorum and make a vote countable from 5 percent to 3 percent.

Exercise your franchise (Merriam-Webster definition-“ the right to vote”). Be a part of deciding the course AAUW will take in empowering women.

Nancy Mion
AAUW Empire State Virtual Branch Public Policy Director

Public Policy



  • 1st Female and African-American becomes the Chief Librarian of the Library of Congress
  • 1st Native American woman, a Hopi Tribe member, is confirmed a US District Court Judge
  • 1st Woman elected Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives


  • Provision for paid sick days was passed in Vermont, the fifth state to do so.
  • Sexual Assault Survivors Act became law of the land. Among other things it gives the, 25 million and growing, survivors the right to have a rape kit kept for the case’s statute of limitations.
  • WW II Women’s Airforce Service Piolets right to inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery was restored by Act of Congress. An AAUW member was actively involved.


  • The US Supreme Court upheld affirmative action.


  • Department of Justice plans to train 28,000 of its employees on implicit bias.


  • The Sewell-Belmont House in Washington, DC, home of the Suffragist National Women’s Party, is now a National Monument called the Belmont-Paul House, giving it more protection and money


  • Automatic online voter registration in 4 states. States vary in how it is done. In CA it is done when registering for state college; In CT & OR when renewing or getting a license; a person can opt out in these three states; In CO they can register with a text message.

It is great to see these strides taken toward gender equity in the United States. Let us each help further this movement by resolving to write, email or call a legislator about an AAUW issue in 2017.


Nancy Mion, ESVB Public Policy Director

Public Policy

Cases Settled!

by Nancy Mion, Public Policy Director
Empire State Virtual NY Branch

It is exciting to know that three cases supported by LAF have been recently settled. The cases are: Moshak, Mason, Schlosser vs University of Tennessee which was successfully settled for over a million dollar in January 2016 found; Jaureguito and Wartluff finally settled with Feather River Community College after ten years. Check the LAF Webpage at and the Spring 2016 Focus.

Thank you to the following members of the Empire State Virtual NY Branch for their generous contribution to LAF Fund: Dorothy McLane; Heide Parreno, Chigurupati Rani & Maria Ellis.


UN Announces First-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

 by Donna Seymour
AAUW NYS Public Policy VP

The United Nations announced the first High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The panel will give recommendations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women globally and improve women’s leadership in sustainable economic growth.

“The empowerment of the world’s women is a global imperative,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Yet despite important progress in promoting gender equality, there remains an urgent need to address structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment and full inclusion in economic activity. If the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.”


More Complaints Than Findings!

by Donna Seymour
AAUW NYS Public Policy VP

Education Department has received more than 1,000 filings on racial harassment in higher ed in last seven years. But only a fraction result in any findings.

In an op-ed this month on rising racial tensions on campus, Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that in his seven years in office, the department’s Office for Civil Rights has received more than 1,000 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. He said this statistic was an indication that the current concerns about race on campus are “no small issue.”

Duncan didn’t note how small a proportion of those complaints have resulted in findings of discrimination. Most of the complaints, in fact, never result in a complete investigation by OCR, let alone a finding. That isn’t necessarily a sign of weak complaints or of poor enforcement by OCR. A review of more information provided by the Education Department, however, may illustrate why students are turning to campus protests and not to Washington with their grievances.

During the Obama administration, the Education Department has received 1,073 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. Generally, the number of complaints a year is up, compared to prior years. Since 2010, the smallest number of complaints in a fiscal year is 137 (in 2010). In the five years prior to the Obama administration, the number of complaints never exceeded 95 and was generally smaller than that (in the 50s). An increase in complaints does not necessarily mean that the situation on campus is worse, since a variety of factors (such as outreach to encourage complaints, or the government signaling interest in enforcement) can be a factor in the number of complaints.



This is how AAUW was involved in educating our New Yorkers, citizens and lawmakers, about the policies needed to advance our mission in fiscal 2014. These efforts were supported by your generous donations.

  • AAUW Action Fund Lobby Corps made 43 visits to members of Congress from NYS.
  • AAUW public policy staff provided materials for 36 events in NYS, including 26 Equal Pay Day events.
  • AAUW staff, NYS members & members of Congress held a Women’s Economic Agenda event with Leader Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney
  • New Yorkers sent 20,744 messages to Congress and the president through the Two-Minute Activist.
  • AAUW Action Network provided free access in NY for alerts on NYS issues and events.
  • An AAUW Impact Grant of $1,000 plus Public Policy staff resources was awarded to NYS for action on behalf of safer campus climates and paid sick days in NYS.

Use your voice, your hand and your heart; utilize your phone, your computer and your money to Make a Difference.

Nancy Mion AAUW ESVB Public Policy Chair



The NYS Assembly unanimously passed NYS Equal Pay Bills on April 27, 2015. The NYS Senate  had approved them earlier this Session. AAUW and others have lobbied for Equal Pay Bills for well over a decade. When the Governor signs the Bills, he has said he will, in 90 days they will be law.

The Women’s Equality Coalition, of which we are a member, reports that A.6075 updates New York Equal Pay Law by creating robust wage secrecy protections, so that employees cannot be fired or retaliated against for sharing their wage information as well as allow for increased damages up to triple the amount of unpaid wages when an employee successfully proves that an employer has willfully violated the law.

These are essential components in achieving pay equity.  A person must know how much others who are doing equal/comparable work are being paid to institute a legal action. Having access to proof that wage discrimination on the basis of gender exists means cases can be won, thus forcing employers to face paying severe damages when they pay employees inequitably. The passage of this law means a reduction in the 86% gender wage gap in NYS.


 Thank your NYS Assembly Member for voting for A6075. Contact info at fill in you zip & address, click and email your message.

  1. Ask your member of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act. How? Go to; click on Take Action; enter your zip code then complete the Tow Minute Activist. AAUW Action Network members were asked to respond on April 17 to the e-mail titled “Ride the Equal Pay Day Wave”.
  2. It is certainly acceptable to contact your federal legislator more than once about an issue. To paraphrase the Tammany Hall quote ”Write Early and Write Often”

Congratulations on the passage of the NY Equal Pay Bills. It would not have happened without your support.

Nancy Mion, ESVB Public Policy Director

Start Smart Workshop: Learning to Negotiate the Wage Gap

Wage Gap

Learning to Negotiate the Wage Start Smart Workshop Sponsored by

AAUW’s Westchester and Empire State Virtual Branch!
Place:  College of Mount Saint VincentFall 2015

Suzanne DeChillo/photographer, The New York Times Annie Houle of the WAGE Project uses
$1 bills and play money to show men’s pay advantage over different groups of women. Her program teaches women how to negotiate for better salaries.

Did you see the article on the wage gap on the front page of the business section of the New York Times?  If you haven’t read the article, click on the link below for details:

The Women’s Equality Agenda Once Again Has Governor Cuomo’s Support

NY Women’s Equality Coalition is in
Full Swing to work for its passage

Good News-We have another opportunity to achieve the passage of the Women’s Equality Agenda. The Governor in his State of the State Address committed himself to advancing women’s equality. Did you know that 89% of NY Voters agreed that equal pay for women should be a high priority for state leaders and 80% support updating New York’s abortion laws

The Women’s Equality Coalition, which includes the support of 860 women’s groups, one of which is the Empire State Virtual Branch, businesses, religious organizations, medical groups, and advocacy organizations from across the state, is united in its efforts to mobilize New Yorkers and push legislators to get the job done in 2014. AAUW-NYS is on the Steering Committee. The measures of the Women’s Equality Agenda reflect the complexity of women’s lives–securing equal pay, access to reproductive health care, and freedom from discrimination and violence are all essential to women’s equality. New York State needs to update and strengthen its laws to reflect the reality of women’s lives today.

The coalition formed last year almost succeeded in having the WEA passed in 2013. They have continued to be very active. This fall they developed a grassroots campaign utilizing social media to spread the word each week about various issues in the 10 point WEA, calling for an upgrade in NYS’s outmoded laws. They created a satiric two-minute video Illegal or Just Sleazy that everyone must see. View the video and share it with others

NYWEC plans to build on the fall campaign and throw its full weight behind advancing women’s rights and making the Women’s Equality Agenda law.  Please do all you can to raise awareness among those you know. Encourage all to contact their NYS Legislators asking them to pass this needed legislation that will make a difference for so many.

Nancy Mion, Empire State Virtual Branch Public Policy Chair

CTAUN on Friday, January 31, 2014, 9:30am—4:30pm, UN, NY

Committee on Teaching About the United Nations 2014 Conference

Promoting Peace Through Education

UN Logo

It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies.
~~ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 12 June 2013

The Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) is proud to announce their 15th Annual Conference at the UN, Friday, January 31, 2014. The theme is “Promoting Peace Through Education.” Educators, students, and concerned citizens are invited to join with distinguished speakers as we explore how the UN and the international community promote disarmament and confront threats to peace. By teaching about the power and potential of global peace, we can empower people to navigate the twenty first century world.
Our conference is a day-long event involving a welcome from UN representative Virginia Gamba, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; keynote speakers Cora Weiss, President of Hague Appeal for Peace; Tony Jenkins, VP for Academic Affairs at National Peace Academy; Dr. George Lopez, VP of the Academy for Conflict Management and Peacebuilding; morning and afternoon panels of experts (including a former girl-child soldier from Uganda); a Best Practices award presentation; an info-fair; and a college level Poster Contest. Our morning session will concentrate on Threats to Peace, while the afternoon panel will contemplate Solutions. Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame will close our day.
To learn more abut CTAUN and register for the conference,
go to: Registration deadline is 17 January 2014
For group rates of 10 or more contact

Learning to Negotiate the Wage Gap

Suzanne DeChillo/photographer, The New York Times
Annie Houle of AAUW uses $1 bills and play money to show men’s pay advantage over different groups of women. Her program teaches women how to negotiate for better salaries.

Did you see the article on the wage gap on the the front page of the business section of the NYTimes yesterday? Empire offered our first workshop; more will follow. If you haven’t read the article, take a look; the article, read it here.

You can also read AAUW’s recent research on Graduating to a Pay Gap published this fall. View the webinar or download the Powerpoint

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