September 2015 AAUW President’s letter: from Beth Nienow

We are excited to have Adrienne Sweeney of the Commonweal Theatre kick off our program year!  Every time I have attended a production at the Commonweal, I have looked around and felt like I was at an AAUW meeting with so many familiar faces in the audience.  It will be interesting to learn more about a familiar face on the stage and a favorite theater.

Once again we will feature our special interest groups at our September general meeting, but in a different way than we have before. Instead of tables with representatives from the various groups and individual drawings for each group, Interest Group coordinator Joyce Wenz has prepared an informational sheet with descriptions of each group which she will make available at the meeting.  Thank you, Joyce, for preparing this resource for us.

One of the best perks of being a branch president has been the opportunity to attend 3 AAUW national conventions in Washington D. C. , New Orleans, and this summer in San Diego.  While we note that our local membership numbers are decreasing and sometimes feel interest in our mission is weakening, let me assure you that on the national level there are many energetic and committed people of both genders, all ages, and from diverse backgrounds actively fighting for our causes.  Speakers and panelists included the “face of pay equity” Lilly Ledbetter; former NFL player, Don McPherson; and writer and founder of Feminist.com, Marianne Schnall.  Some of you will remember Lisa Maatz and Kate Farrar who attended the Minnesota convention. The future of our organization is in good hands with these young women.  College president Maria Klawe and artist and social activist Faith Ringgold received awards.  I also attended useful sessions on record keeping and governance, some of which raised questions for me that may change the way we do a few things.

Significantly, the proposed amendment to drop the degree requirement did not pass.  Little was made of this decision at least within the official convention sessions.  National representatives stressed that the proposal came from the general membership, not the national office.  AAUW President Patricia Ho advised us to continue to value diversity and work on behalf of all women and girls.  The four Public Policy topics passed.  Please see the AAUW website for more information.

“There is a better world for women and girls on the horizon and AAUW will lead the way as we always have” — AAUW President Patricia Fae Ho

We will see you September 16.

Beth Nienow, President

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