AAUW Nov President’s Letter from Beth Nienow

At the time I’m writing this, we are well into the first federal shutdown in 17 years, and the effects on women and children are being felt.  Low income women and children are worrying about where their next meals will come from, since the shutdown affects the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).  Hundreds of children are no longer able to attend Head Start preschool programs.  The Equal Opportunity  Commission has stopped investigating charges, delaying justice for those who have experienced discrimination.  Domestic violence programs cannot draw funds from the Department of Justice.  These effects will not improve unless the shutdown ends soon.  For information about how to urge legislators to shut down the shutdown, please consult the national AAUW web site http://www.aauw.org.

Recent figures from the Census Bureau regarding the gender wage gap aren’t any more encouraging.  The wage gap still stands at 23 cents.  That means a woman working full time, year-round typically takes home 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

On a more positive note, perhaps you know a young woman who has exceptional leadership skills and is using them in making life more equitable for women and girls?  If so, AAUW MN would like to hear about her and recognize her efforts. Nominations for the Young Woman for Equity award will be open in January.  If you would like to nominate someone, please contact me or another board member.  The award is based on the quality, leadership and creativity a young woman has demonstrated in working on advocacy, educational, research or philanthropy projects that specifically target equity issues for women and girls.  The honorees will be awarded a monetary contribution toward the education and a framed certificate.  The recipients will be announced at the State Convention and will be invited to attend and speak briefly at the convention banquet.

Locally, coupon booklet sales for the Herberger’s Community Days Sales which will take place on November 15 and 16th are underway.  Proceeds from our coupon sales benefit our branch’s community projects, including the RCTC Foundation’s Beat the Odds scolarship program which awards four deserving young individuals who have overcome personal or family hardships a $2,500 scholarship to the accredited college for their choice.  Our board has voted to continue in our role as a sponsor of this program at the bronze level ($800)  which allows us to have a table of eight at the awards banquet on Thursday Jan 16, 2014.  Each attendee will be asked to pay $70 and our branch will contribute the rest of the amount.  More information will be announced at upcoming general meetings or you can feel free to contact Beth Nienow or Ione Schloegel for details.

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