Monday, June 29, 2009



Convention Today
A A U W B r e a k i n g t h r o u g h B a r r i e r s
St. Louis, Missouri
Saturday, June 27--Sunday, June 28, 2009

The delegates to the 2009 AAUW National Convention on Saturday, June 27, forged through a three-hour business meeting to approve the AAUW Bylaws, with much of the discussion centered on membership requirements. With more than 1,400 ballots cast in a multiple-card vote, the delegates struck a proposal that would have opened membership to all who support AAUW’s mission and voted to insert passages from the 2007 Association Bylaws that extend membership to individuals based on their educational degrees.

In other business, the delegates passed motions to increase the number of directors-at-large from seven to 10, while the number of appointed officers and directors will drop from six to three.

The new bylaws will go into effect on July 1, 2009. The amended board composition will go into effect for the 2011–13 biennium.

The delegates also passed the “one member, one vote” proposal, which provides every member the right and opportunity to have a personal voice in directing the future of AAUW and our important work to break through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.

The delegates were so focused on their work that, when asked if they wanted to take a two-minute break, they opted to continue with the business at hand.

Next, they approved the bylaws of the AAUW Action Fund. The purpose of the fund is to support and advocate for legislation, policies, and procedures related to women’s equity and education.

The delegates also approved the related proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Charter of AAUW. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Bylaws Committee members received a rousing round of applause for their hard work for more than a year


AAUW Member-Get-a-Member campaign grand prizes are based on the number of members recruited by individuals, branches, and states from June 16, 2008, to June 15, 2009. All members who recruited at least one new paid member in year two of the campaign will be entered in a drawing to win $1,000. The drawing will be held on Sunday.

Laurie Pina, of the AAUW Rockland County (NY) Branch, is the individual who recruited the most new members, 19.

The AAUW Poughkeepsie (NY) Branch recruited the most new members for a
branch, 56.

The AAUW Bedford County (VA) Branch recruited the highest percentage
of new members for a branch, 48.5 percent.

California recruited the most new members for a state, 432.

Utah recruited the highest percentage of new members for a state, 10 percent.


E l e c t i o n R e s u l t s
AAUW President: Carolyn Garfein
AAUW Vice President: Gail Nordmoe
AAUW Directors-at-Large:
Kathleen Cha, Alicia Hetman, Connie M.
Hildebrand, Patricia Ho, Jackie Littleton,
Betsy McDowell, Linda Tozier


Women Warriors Ready to Break through Barriers

AAUW’s 2009 National Convention opening session started out on a high note on Friday with a video welcome message from White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett extended a special greeting from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and applauded AAUW’s commitment to gender equity, work-life balance, and education.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green welcomed AAUW delegates to the Gateway City, followed by warm messages from AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman and AAUW President Ruth Sweetser. After a brief introduction from AAUW Public Policy Director Lisa Maatz, Lilly Ledbetter took the stage to a standing ovation.

Ledbetter spoke about growing up in Alabama, working hard, raising a family, and playing by the rules. “I held up my end of the bargain, but my employer, Goodyear, did not,” she said. After 19 years at Goodyear, she found out that she had been underpaid for virtually her entire career. She filed suit with the EEOC, and her case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In January 2009, Ledbetter was vindicated when she stood in the East Room of the White House as President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Our work is not over, however, and AAUW is leading the charge on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has passed in the House but not yet in the Senate.

Ledbetter said, “I recently spoke to 130 fourth graders. During my presentation, a little girl raised her hand and asked me, ‘How did you feel when you found out the men were paid more?’ Now, if fourth graders get it, what is going on with the Senate?” The session ended with a call to action from Lisa Maatz, who urged all members to engage in an act of “polite civil disobedience” and flood senators’ e-mail and voice mail until they sign on to this landmark bill. Senators, beware!


She-E-O Forum
The energy and excitement continued on Saturday afternoon as the She-E-O Forum brought together speakers Erika Feinberg, CEO of ActiveForever, and Arlene Harris, chair of the board of GreatCall, provider of the Jitterbug phone and cellular service, to share their perspectives on the challenges women face while working in male-dominated industries.

AAUW Director of Corporate Partnerships and panel moderator Cordy Galligan began the session by noting that, in 2009, women make up more than half the U.S. labor force, but there are only 13 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. In Fortune 1,000 companies, only 25 women hold that position.

Harris began the session by crediting her upbringing and early exposure to the technology field as important influences in helping her become an entrepreneur. When asked why so few women are entering the STEM fields, Harris noted that “the fields are hard, a lot of work, and you must stay focused. Most of us don’t have time to do all the things we want to do.” She says her greatest challenge as a woman in the high tech industry is financing. An attitude she often faces is, “Who wants to finance a woman?”

Feinberg discussed the paradox of how few women there are in Internet merchandising despite our buying power and talked about the differences between store shopping (“emotional”) and online shopping (“less distracting”). Feinberg spoke of the hurdles that she has faced, especially in becoming a CEO at age 25 and learning to be successful in a maledominated field.


“Did you know…?” the 2009 AAUW National Convention delegates were asked, as they watched a Sony video about rapid global changes in education and technology. This video set the stage for AAUW President Ruth Sweetser’s opening remarks at Saturday morning’s Breaking through Barriers plenary before a crowd of nearly a thousand attendees. “The work we do is significant and powerful,” Sweetser said, as she outlined AAUW’s achievements of the past year.

Educational Foundation President Barbara O’Connor continued the theme, reporting that AAUW awarded $4.4 million in fellowships and grants in FY09.

Guest speaker Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) took the stage to a standing ovation and gave a rousing, motivational speech. “I am humbled to be here today,” she said. “I’m a true believer in the work of AAUW. You are the pioneers, and we (members of Congress) stand on your shoulders so that we do the right thing.”

DeLauro lauded AAUW members for their tireless advocacy in building support in Congress for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But, she declared, we must continue to urge the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. “Do not underestimate the power of big ideas,” she told the audience. “As I look around this AAUW convention, I feel we can do it.”

DeLauro also spoke about the power of constituent advocacy, noting that members of Congress think about their chances for reelection whenever they hear from their constituents. DeLauro closed her speech with a quote from her mother: “Come on girls; let’s make ourselves heard!”

After the speech, the business meeting resumed with the report of the credentials committee, which reported a total convention attendance of 973. Delegates then adopted the convention rules, the convention program, the minutes, and the nominating committee report before hearing speeches by the candidates for AAUW elected office. Gail Nordmoe was elected AAUW vice president by acclamation. The meeting ended with a reading of the election rules.


The AAUW National Convention banquet, held Saturday night, broughtmembers together to celebrate the generosity of the AAUW community and to be inspired by powerful women making a difference in the lives of others. The program began with an introduction by AAUW President Ruth Sweetser.

Jennifer Wilken, AAUW Educational Foundation vice president of development, honored the states and branches that raised the most money for AAUW in FY09 and recognized the many new fellowships and grants funds established this year.

Florine Swanson, chair of the Major Gifts Committee, announced the public phase of the Major Gifts Campaign. The committee has already raised more than $450,000 and hopes to raise $1 million by the end of 2010.

Wanda P. Hardy, founder and president of Credit Worthy, Inc., received the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award. Hardy has dedicated herself to making sure that all people have the knowledge they need to make sound financial choices. She encouraged attendees to continue reaching out to help other women, especially in these difficult economic times.

Keynote speaker and AAUW member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) closed out the evening with a message of determination in the face of adversity. A longtime advocate for women, Speier is well known for her California legislation protecting the rights of consumers from credit companies. After speaking, she signed copies of her book, This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down


The AAUW National Convention returns to Washington, D.C., in 2011. The event will be held at the Renaissance Washington, D.C., Hotel on June 16–19, 2011, and will feature a number of activities unique to the D.C. experience,including an AAUW Capitol Hill Lobby Day.

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