California Online Branch programs have evolved since the branch was established in 2001. We started with chat rooms, then changed to the schedule-free convenience of email list discussions. We use an opt-in program mail list for branch members to discuss AAUW issues in more depth.
We reviewed the initiatives on the California ballot for the November 6 election. Nancy Mahr, AAUW CA Public Policy Committee Chair, explained AAUW CA’s position on several of the initiatives.
The Intersection of Racism and Sexism: How Feminism Fails Women of Color. Full list of guest speakers, sub-topics, and resources shared during the discussion can be found HERE.
May 21 – June 5, 2018
In May, we hosted an online discussion called “Student Loan Debt is a Women’s Issue”. At a staggering $1.4 trillion, outstanding student loan debt is casting a financial pall on millions of Americans. A new report published by AAUW finds that about two-thirds of all student loan debt belongs to women, that women borrow more than men, and that it takes women longer to pay off their debt.
During this program, we discussed the facts published in the report. We explored why the weight of student loan debt is heavier for women, and we also talked about why addressing this issue is our best hope in closing the gender wealth gap. Three terrific guest speakers shared their first hand experiences with accumulating student loan debt and their hopes of one day achieving a professional career that will grant them a return on investment. Many branch participants shared how they funded their education, what they gained from college beyond the classroom, and how their educations opened doors that would not have otherwise been opened. Through this sharing, we also discovered how the cost of education has risen significantly in a relatively short period of time. We discussed our ideas for how AAUW can assist women in achieving their educational goals and helping them to understand the importance of investing in an education that they can afford, and one that will provide a return on investment (ROI).
February 6 – March 16, 2018
On February 26th, we began an online discussion called, “Embracing the new AAUW Strategic Plan and Achieving Organizational Success”. Participants were provided the opportunity to watch a recording of a conference call (with slides) that CEO Kim Churches held with the state presidents last November. Participants also reviewed an updated AAUW organizational chart along with the last published AAUW Strategic Plan (adopted by the Board of Directors in 2014). Next, Claudia Richards, National Branch Manager and AAUW Strategic Plan Task Force Committee Member, joined the discussion as a virtual guest speaker. Ms. Richards answered questions from participants and shared her personal experiences as a staff member and task force committee member. Then, on March 4th, we provided a platform for open discussion about the bylaws amendments. Like the strategic plan, the proposed bylaws amendments will directly affect the future of AAUW. The proposed amendments address creating three-year staggered board terms, opening board service to those outside of AAUW membership, and eliminating the degree requirement for membership. Participants were provided with rationale for each proposed amendment. We reviewed each proposed amendment one by one and shared our input.
You can read more about the 2018 AAUW National Bylaw Amendments Vote by clicking here. Voting will open April 25th and close June 9th. Be on the lookout for your voter PIN in April. The results of the vote will be released in June.
January 8 – 12, 2018
Our January Program was an online discussion titled “Why Does Sexual Harassment Still Exist? A Guide for the Perplexed”. It focused on sexual harassment in education and the workplace. We invited a group of subject matter experts to participate in a virtual panel discussion. The discussion ran for five consecutive days. Each panel member was responsible for one day of the discussion. On Day 1, the program began with the discussion participants serving as the subject matter experts—all participants were invited to share their “Me Too” story. Participants bravely shared a broad range of personal experiences with sexual harassment in education and the workplace. On Day 2, Holly Kearl shared her expertise on the topic of gender-based violence, street harassment, and sexual harassment in schools. She discussed Title IX and how it correlates to sexual harassment in schools. On Day 3, Scott A. Lewis, an employment law attorney, discussed his professional experiences as a litigator for sexual harassment cases. He defined sexual harassment under the law and discussed the anatomy of a sexual harassment lawsuit. He shared some very hard, candid truths about the legal system and the risks and benefits associated with bringing a sexual harassment case before the court. He was highly acclaimed by those who participated. On Day 4, our very own Tobi Balma represented the Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF). She shared her personal reflections about serving on the LAF Committee, and she answered questions about her role in LAF and her responsibilities as a committee member. On Day 5, we closed our discussion by sharing our ideas for eradicating sexual harassment from the workplace and education. It was a lively, riveting, and at times, unapologetically raw discussion about a very timely and critical topic. This summary will be posted on our website Program page. Also – be sure to check it for the summary of our November AAUW 101 program. Our next Program (online discussion) is currently scheduled for May.
We used the motto, “AAUW supports women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.” During each day of the week of our AAUW 101 with questions program, we examined the four topics above to see what the National Organization and the State Organization provided for members and branches. Our discussion was full of questions and answers. Many topics emerged including Fall Luncheons for grant winners, Tech Trek, Speech Trek, Legal Advocacy, how members can join a state or national committee, educational opportunities, the need for support for the many activities supported by national and many more. We had numerous members contributing
to the discussion. We appreciate all who contributed.
August 14 – September 7, 2017
“Getting to Know You”. The first California Online branch program “Getting to Know You” began August 14th and for almost three weeks (ended Sept. 7th) members shared information about where they live, their land branch or branches, and their volunteer activities with AAUW. It is amazing how active and involved our members are in the AAUW organization. Each member also shared a book they were reading or have just finished. It was truly a joy to read about each book and our members’ comments. Comments were so varied and beautifully written.
April 17 – May 22, 2017
“How Will You Vote” The purpose of this program was to examine the AAUW National Election public policy program, proposals and resolutions before the voting closed on June 15th. Jo Harberson and Cheryl Sorokin, Online members and on the National’s Governance Committee, were so helpful in explaining the pros and cons. See April-May Program Summary.
April – May 2017 Program SummaryFebruary 27 – April 3, 2017
The February California Online program discussed many aspects of and changes in AAUW CA’s project “Tech Trek”. The special guest was Linda Stinebaugh, Project Coordinator for the California Tech Trek Camps. We began the program by sharing Linda’s song of “Best Week of My Life” and asking her how and when she became involved in Tech Trek. See February 2017 Program Summary.
For several years our branch has recruited competitors for the annual Eleanor Stem Allen Speech Trek competition run by AAUW of California. Our competitor this year was Tiffany Lai, who did her presentation before the Alhambra-San Gabriel branch on Feb. 28. Judges reviewed the videos and Lai came in 7th place in the state-wide competition, so will not be in the finals. View her video on our branch YouTube channel.
January 2017 (Jan. 16 – Feb. 2)
“Surviving the New Administration” – The January program garnered some very lively discussions, fraught with despair, frustration, anger, hope, and positive ways to combat what we, as AAUW members, will face in the next four years. See January 2017 Program Summary.
October 2016 (Oct. 17 – Nov. 9)
“Betwisted, Bothered & Befuddled”. We began our October program discussing the 17 propositions that were on the November 8th Presidential General Election. There was so much to consider so we enlisted the help and expertise of Nancy Mahr, AAUW CA Public Policy Chair and Charmen Goehring, who is on the AAUW CA board working on Lobbying & Advocacy. See October 2016 Program Summary
September 2016 (Sept. 14 – Oct. 2)
“Getting to Know You”. The first California Online branch program “Getting To Know You” began September 14th and for almost three weeks (ended Oct. 2nd) members shared amazing bios and awesome photos. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting to know such outstanding women in our branch. It was truly a treat!
Our special guest was Sabrina Fleming, the winner of our branch Speech Trek competition and entrant in the Speech Trek semi-finals. She received 5th place among all competitors in the state. She responded to questions about the experience. See June 2016 Program Summary. View the speech on YouTube.
February 2016 (Feb. 8-16)
We were pleased to have Alicia Hetman, current National AAUW Vice President share with us lots of good information about Title IX. Hetman spent a good amount of her working career promoting gender equity and Title IX compliance in California schools. This leads to AAUW’s current charge to branches to ensure that local schools are aware of the new resources for educational institutions from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR): a tool-kit for Title IX implementation. See February 2016 Program Summary.
November 2015 (Nov. 19-Dec. 2)
Program on the AAUW Fund, featuring guest Sharon Westafer, AAUW-CA AAUW Fund Chair. Tremayne Parquet, of the AAUW Fund staff also participated and checked with other staff for answers to questions as they were presented. We learned a LOT! There was a good discussion of the many aspects of the AAUW Fund. This was followed in December with a short program on Giving Tuesday. See November 2015 Program Summary.
September 2015 (Sept. 15-21)
Program on AAUW’s latest research: Solving the Equation, with guest Christianne Corbett, AAUW Senior Researcher for the report. In preparation, participants were encouraged to read the Executive Summary and view other material on the research report page, including a video of both Christianne and Catherine Hill talking about the study. We were also encouraged to take the “gender bias” test at implicit.harvard.edu. See September 2015 Program Summary
A little follow-up: The report has earned the Groundbreaking Research Award from STEMconnector. AAUW and STEMconnector held a virtual town hall this past April to discuss the report. The archived video is about 74 minutes long, and covers some of the same ground as the summary Christianne shared with us. But if want to hear/see Christianne speak, she appears at the 9:40 minute mark of the video. It’s actually great to hear her speak about it and see the applicable charts shown as she speaks about them.
Program on violence against women. Our organizers prepared a list of 6 videos to view and two websites to review as we prepared to discuss issues. We had a lively discussion. Due to technical difficulties, a follow-up summary was not produced, but the resource list can inspire further discussion. See Program Backgrounder: Violence Against Women
Program on pay equity. We shared comments about equal pay issues, including personal experiences after reading some of the material on AAUW’s resources in this area. See April 2015 Program Summary
February-March 2015 Program on NCCWSL (National Conference for College Women Student Leaders), a program supported by the AAUW Fund Guest: Shannon Cholakian, a CSU Long Beach student and member of AAUW’s Student Advisory Council (See February 2015 Program Summary
April 2014 Speech Trek
March 2014 Child Marriage discussion, starting with the film “Silk”
(See March 2014 Program Summary.)
January 2014 Women’s Policy Summit discussion
October 2013 Discussion of “Girl Rising” documentary
(no program summary was done)
July-August 2013 Discussion of ESPN’s “Nine for IX” series on female athletes and Title IX
Discussion of the documentary “The Invisible War,” concerning sexual assault in the military, combined with raising funds for LAF.
Program Summary: Invisible War
What Can Women and Families Expect in the New Congress?
(guest speakers from AAUW staff: Lisa Maatz and Kimberly Fountain)
Program Summary: Lisa Maatz on Women’s Issues in Congress
Charitable Giving Choices
(guest speaker: Carol Rognrud, Director of Transformational Giving for AAUW)
Review of the state convention held April 13-15 — the speakers, workshops, state business, and presentations.
Bullying, starting with a discussion of the Cyberbullying PowerPoint presentation created by the Napa branch of AAUW. See the Napa branch website for more information and resources.
The California Online Branch participated in the 2011-2012 AAUW CA Study of the California Initiative Process. The Online Branch’s study group’s Online Branch Study of CA-Initiative Process will be combined with other branches’ reports for a statewide report of reform recommendations.
AAUW Advocacy with AAUW CA Legislative Advocate Shannon Smith-Crowley
Facebook Privacy Issues with Birgit Pauli-Haack. This summary is in our Members Only area.
2010-2011 Program Highlights
Review of AAUW election materials (first one member-one vote national election)
Online Branch social gathering at the AAUW CA Convention
Women in Film – Discussion About Strong Role Models in Films
Black Women who have Shaped History
What’s New in AAUW, with Kate Farrar, Director of Leadership, AAUW
2009-2010 Program Highlights
While a variety of topics were posted to the branch blog, we had four major discussions in the 2009-2010 year, continuing the opt-in format.
In November 2009, we discussed the recently released “A Woman’s Nation: The Shriver Report”, which was available online at http://awomansnation.com/. We focused on the executive Summary, though some of us read the entire report.
In March 2010, we had a follow-up discussion to the film, “Half the Sky”, which was shown in many theatres as an International Women’s Day event. The film was based on the book of the same title by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wundunn. Some of us unable to see the film read the book. More information about the film and project are at: http://www.halftheskymovement.org/
On April 27, we co-sponsored a teleconference on Pay Equity Day, partnering with the San Carlos and Concord branches.
Following the AAUW-CA Convention (April 30- May 2), we discussed some of the business and workshops of the convention to share highlights with those who were not able to attend. Discussion focused on three areas: The CEDAW resolution adopted by the convention, the $mart $tart workshops, and our state budget dilemma (as of August, not yet resolved), as highlighted at the AAUW-CA Public Policy luncheon.
2008-2009 Program Highlights
We experimented with doing our programming entirely on the branch blog, but after surveying our members, in Spring 2009 we switched to an opt-in program mail list.
August 2008-blog topic highlights:
- AAUW at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions
- Advertising AAUW Dialog’s series on AAUW fellows
September 2008-blog topic highlights
- 34 Million Friends
- AAUW Gains Special Consultative Status in U.N. Council
- “Iron Jawed Angels’ film – part of get-out-the-vote campaign
- Personal finance for at-risk girls and women
October 2008-blog topic highlights
- Breast Cancer Awareness month
- AAUW’s support of lawsuits in Title IX and Title VII cases
- Educational Foundation luncheons and fundraising campaign
- AAUW CA’s opposition to Prop 8 and Prop 4 on California ballot
November 2008-blog topic highlights
- EF luncheons report
- LAF news
- AAUW’s post-election analysis
- Definition of feminism
December 2008-blog topic highlights
- Reproductive Rights Quiz
- Seeking nominations for 2009 National Women’s History Project Honorees
- AAUW’s Action Network
- 60h Anniversary of U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights
January 2009-blog topic highlights
- Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
- President Obama’s Citizen Briefing Book
- National Conference for College Women Student Leaders
- Supreme Court Ruling in Sexual Harassment Case
February 2009-blog topic highlights
- AAUW proposed new bylaws
- “A Powerful Noise” to Celebrate International Women’s Day
- Hilda Solis nomination for US Secretary of Labor
March 2009-blog topic highlights
- Emergency Contraception
- US Supreme Court decision upholding Title IX
April 2009-blog topic highlights
- Series on Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund
- Equal Pay Day
May 2009-blog topic highlights
- State convention report
- AAUW CA public policy priorities
- Supreme Court rulings
June 2009-blog topic highlights
- Women Bridging Gap in Science Opportunities
- AAUW Convention in St. Louis
- Legal Advocacy Fund news
April-June 2009-program mail list discussion: detailed analysis of AAUW restructuring and new proposed bylaws
May 2009-program mail list discussion: CA ballot propositions and AAUW CA’s position on them.
2007-2008 Programs (mail list and blog)
- May 2008 – Empowering Women Globally (blog)
- April 2008 – AAUW-CA convention report (blog)
- Jan-Mar 2008 – Pay Equity (mail list and blog)
- Reported and discussed: Results of Association convention, including approval to restructure the national organization. Discussion via mail list and blog.
- Introduced 17 new members, many dual from CA and 5 other states.
- Prepared for first board meeting of new program year. 18 off-board members accepted invitation to attend.
- Introduced Public Policy topics for discussion:
- No Child Left Behind act
- Summary of 2006 Laws Affecting Women from the CA Commission on the Status of Women.
- The issue of women’s health as found in the Kaiser Weekly Women’s Health Policy report. A source for on-going awareness and discussion.
- Introduced Public Policy topics for discussion:
2006-2007 Program Highlights*:
- Sample letter to protest gender discrimination and harassment on college campuses, supporting AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund.
- Prepared a PowerPoint presentation about CA Online branch for the Taste of Success display at Association convention in Phoenix June 18-July 2.
- Book group made recommendations and developed a reading list for July through December 2007.
- Women’s equity issue in academia
- Continued discussion of AAUW bylaws proposals
- Supreme Court decision to uphold the national ban “partial birth” abortions
- Continued discussion of HPV vaccine—health debate and politics of issue
- Comparing various health care proposals by California governor and legislators, with emphasis on the plan endorsed by AAUW: SB 840
- Review of AAUW’s achievements in women’s rights (honoring Women’s History Month
- R.J. Reynolds Tobacco’s new cigarette brand aimed at female smokers
- US Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit ruling that health insurance coverage is not required to cover contraception because “it is not related to pregnancy.”
- Comprehensive, step-by-step analysis of AAUW bylaws changes proposed for the state (April) and national (June) conventions – discussions on listserv and blog
- Gardasil vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) for girls; pros and cons of mandating the vaccination (Texas debate).
- Bio-ethics report on the impact to women’s health in harvesting eggs for stem cell research
- 12-step program to tell good science from bad (Guttmacher Institute)
- CA Gov. Schwarzenegger’s new health care proposals
- Public opinions and policies concerning abortion (on 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade)
- Breast cancer research
- Teenagers’ reproductive rights
- Genocide in Darfur
- President Bush’s appointment of an anti-abortion doctor to head federal family planning programs
- California Prop 85 (Parental notification of teenage abortions) – AAUW is opposed
- PBS documentary “Maquilapolis” on women in sweatshops
- Report on lobbyists influence peddling in Congress
- South Dakota voters defeat the anti-abortion law passed by state legislature
- Universal Health Care
- South Dakota abortion law referendum
- Updates on Plan B, access to emergency contraceptives
- Call for proposals to get girls interested in science
2005-2006 Program Highlights*:
- The ins and outs of communicating effectively with state legislators
- Public Policy 101 – understanding AAUW’s “use of name” policy
- Change in AAUW membership requirements
- Supreme Court nominations (both Bush appointments)
- Roe v. Wade and how states are chipping away at this right
- “Plan B” contraceptives and whether it really is available to all women in California
- Calls to action, when needed
- Update on Plan B, August 2006
New topics are always welcome. . . please Contact Us! Better yet, send a message about something that concerns you, is relevant to AAUW’s mission, or something you simply want to share with like-minded women.
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*The AAUW membership year runs from July 1 to June 30, but new members may join at any time.