Monthly Archives: November 2020

Branch Holiday Party – Online Edition

Branch Holiday Party – Online Edition by Kim Rutledge

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our lives, the AAUW Sacramento Branch Program Committee continues to find new, creative ways of upholding our branch’s time-honored traditions. The pandemic will keep us from celebrating the holiday season with a luncheon at the Northridge Country Club this year, but it will not keep us from gathering online for a festive celebration.

On Dec. 12 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., grab a mug of cider, put on your favorite ugly holiday sweater and join us on Zoom for the AAUW Sacramento Branch Holiday Party – Online Edition. Our guest speakers will be three local women artists – visual artist Franceska Gamez (, jewelry designer and metalworker Omonivie Okhade  (, and abstract painter Caiti Chan ( The women will each give a brief presentation on their work and experiences in the Sacramento art scene. We will also enjoy holiday music by the California State University, Sacramento, Clarinet Quartet.

To keep things fun, festive, and interactive, we will hold an ugly holiday sweater contest – judged by our artist guests. Prizes will be awarded to the three branch members with the tackiest sweaters. There will also be time for virtual socializing at the end of the program.

To join in the holiday fun, please sign up at Eventbrite by clicking here. We look forward to celebrating this unusual holiday season with you all.

President’s Message

President’s Message By Angela Scarlett

As I write this, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. For many of us, this holiday conjures strong memories of food and family. In my case, I think of my mother’s hot German potato salad, my oldest sister’s slow-cooked beans, and my father taking one of many post-dinner naps in a recliner. When I’m not with family, I’ve been able to spend this holiday with good friends over the years, often with friends I’ve made in AAUW or my meditation group.

I will spend this Thanksgiving alone, calling family to check in with them. My hopes for all our members are that they are safe, healthy, and able to connect with family, whether that’s digital, in small groups, or via the phone.

I also want to express gratitude to my fellow AAUW board members. Kim Rutledge and Gloria Yost are preparing a Holiday meeting to inform and provide a sense of celebration and fun on December 12. I hope you all can join us.

Be well. Know that you can email or call me if you have any questions or concerns.

Branch Position Available

Membership-Treasurer Position Available By Sharon Anderson

After 12 years in the Membership-Treasurer position, I am finally ready to relinquish it to someone else!  I’ve stayed so long because I enjoy it so much, but it’s finally time to pass it on to someone else.  So if you might be interested, notify our finance director, Liz Jordan, by email.

Here’s what I like about it:  I get to 1) play around with a database (currently, Excel), 2) keep membership data and membership dues and donations sorted out and accurate, 3) work with the finance and membership directors on matters of mutual involvement, 4) keep our National membership records accurate by way of our roster with the National organization, 5) produce (accurately, hopefully) our yearly Directory, 6) have a little envelope-stuffing party for membership renewals in April, 6) hand off our renewal letters and Directories to the bulk-mail post office in West Sac, 7) use the Intelligent Mail Small Business tool to produce the mailing labels for our mail-outs, 8) answer members’ questions within my area of information, 9) process new member applications, 10) attend board meetings once a month to provide any relevant information or advice and keep abreast of what’s happening in the branch.  And in case you’re worried about it, only simple arithmetic is required!

This job might be for you if you enjoy working on a computer, are good with attention to detail, have some experience with a database, especially Excel, and enjoy responding to questions within your area of expertise.  If you like these things, I’m pretty sure you’ll really enjoy this job.  I sure do, thus the 12 years that have inexplicably rolled by so fast.

Anyone who’s interested can request from me an emailed copy of the job duties, and I’ll send it right out. Contact information for Sharon can be found in the Sacramento Branch Membership Directory & Handbook.

Women Still Face Persistent Barriers to Well Being – November Program Recap

Women Still Face Persistent Barriers to Well Being By Gloria Yost

At our November Branch meeting Kristen Schumacher and Sarah Jimenez, from the California Budget & Policy Center, guided us through the California Women’s Well Being Index as they shared data about the status of women’s health care, personal safety, employment opportunities, economic security, and political involvement.

In general women in the northern half of the state were better off than those to the south.  The Bay area and Placer county were better off overall, while the San Joaquin Valley, Inland Empire and California’s rural northern counties struggle more than other parts of the state.  It was interesting to learn that Sacramento county is right in the middle of index rankings overall, but lacking in some areas, especially personal safety (in local neighborhoods) and economic security (poverty, childcare and commute times).  Sacramento County also ranked 39th among the state’s 58 counties in terms of women’s political representation.  Our highest ranking was in employment – our unemployment rate was low compared to most other counties.

Our own Arlene Cullum showed us how our AAAUW’s public policy priorities aligned with the Well-Being Index.  It was a most interesting and informative morning.

Membership Matters

AAUW Membership Matters By Jan Stuter


The holiday season has started!  A warm welcome to two of our newest members: Lori Gualco and Ronni Riemer.

Lori graduated from UC Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in political science. She went on to garner a JD in law from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Now retired from her life as an attorney, she has a keen interest in public policy and plans to participate in the Art and Architecture interest group, Film Fans and a book group.

Ronni received her bachelor of science degree from the University of Rhode Island in resource economics. She followed that with an MBA from New York’s Pace University. She worked in hospital administration before retiring from being a medical practices administrator. She co-owns Physician Case Management, Inc. (PCM), a small medicine consulting firm. Ronni is looking forward to enjoying Film Fans.

Both accomplished women are joining AAUW for the first time. Current Sacramento branch members recruited them. Who do you know who might be interested? Just ask!


Have you ever wondered why female virginity is so highly prized, even demanded, in many human cultures and religions? Is it a matter of health, a property issue or something else? Through the centuries women have prospered or languished according to whether or not they could “demonstrate” their virginity to the people in the communities where they lived. Listen to

Janice Stuter

a short Ted Talk presentation, “The Virginity Fraud” on YouTube presented by two female Norwegian physicians, Nina Dolvik Brochmann and Ellen Stokken Dahl, to discover the real biological facts about human female virginity. They co-authored a best-selling book, “The Wonder Down Under: The Insider’s Guide to the Anatomy, Biology and Reality of the Vagina” in 2018. This book is a funny, frank tribute to the vagina that dispels many of the myths still common in our times.


Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first female Prime Minister in the world. She rose to that position in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1960, shortly after entering politics after the assassination of her husband, who himself had been Prime Minister before her. She was not a “one-shot wonder,” however. She served as Prime Minister for three terms over 40 years until her death in 2000 at 84.

She was born into a wealthy Sri Lankan family in April 1916. The oldest of six children, she was educated in Sri Lanka’s Catholic school system, becoming fluent in English and Sinhala, though she remained a Buddhist. She became involved in social work, distributing food and medicine in jungle villages, organizing clinics and helping to develop rural industry to improve the living standards of village women. In 1940, she entered an arranged marriage to a prominent politician in which she birthed 3 children. Throughout her marriage she continued her active involvement in improving the situation of rural and impoverished women as well as accompanying her husband in his political career. As a widow, she survived independently politically for many years due to her capabilities. She was a remarkably talented woman. Google her!

Living Our Mission of Equity

Living Our Mission of Equity By Charmen Goehring

We invite you to join us in a monthly equity conversation looking at our own biases and what

Charmen Goehring

actions we can take to attract diversity to our branch and become better people in the process. We are reading the book  “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo and discussing what we have read along with exploring other issues related to race and equity. We meet the second Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8 p.m. on Zoom.

The Zoom meeting code is 737 420 3780 or you can join using this link, which you can find here.

We will discuss the chapters 8, 9, and 10 on Dec. 9 at 7pm. If you have questions and to RSVP, please email Charmen. Contact information can be found in the AAUW Sacramento Branch Membership Directory & Handbook.

AAUW Funds Update

AAUW Sacramento Funds Update December 2020 by Charmen Goehring

As we near the end of the AAUW fiscal year, I want to thank our branch members for their

Charmen Goehring

generosity in giving to AAUW Funds. As a branch, we have given over $8000 towards the mission of equity for women and girls. We all know we are in troubling times and our support is needed more urgently than ever. Please consider a gift to AAUW, especially the Greatest Needs Fund, as you plan your year end giving (see the accompanying article “Top 10 Ways to Give Smarter at the End of 2020”).  We also have seen a few new members to the Legacy Circle this year- welcome to Hedda Smithson and Shari Beck! The Legacy Circle is the ultimate commitment to AAUW and involves naming AAUW in your estate. There are many easy ways this can be done. Please contact me for more information!! My contact information can be found in the AAUW Sacramento Branch Membership Directory & Handbook.

Click here for “Top 10 ways to give smarter at the end of 2020″.

If You’ve Made a Donation… By Karen Burley

If you’ve made a donation to the AAUW Sacramento Branch this year, thank you! Instead of sending out multiple acknowledgments and thank you letters throughout the year, the Board has decided to send one acknowledgment letter from the branch for all donations this year. The Board plans to send the letters in January,  which can be used for tax records.

For year-end donations, it is appreciated if the donations can be sent early in December to allow for the branch processing time needed in creating our summary.

Speech Trek Update

Speech Trek Update by Ann Arneill

Speech Trek Topic Discussion:
Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10:30-11:30am

Topic: Has social media helped or hindered the breaking down of barriers for women and girls?” 

  • Can you name 5 ways in which social media has helped?
  • How about 5 ways in which social media has hindered?
  • What do you think the students will say?

Join the Zoom discussion on January 16th at 10:30am! Meeting information coming soon.

Speech Trek is working with all nine campuses in the Elk Grove Unified High School District participating in our public speaking contest.  We are holding workshops, led by Shari Beck, Kathleen Deaver, and Ann Arneill.  At these workshops, we inform students about the contest rules, present the topic, give them resources for researching the topic, and provide public speaking tips.  Once the students have completed their speech drafts, we give them feedback on their speeches.  The topic this year is “Has social media helped or hindered the breaking down of barriers for women and girls?”  The contest will be held on February 20, 2021 on Zoom.

Tech Trek Camp Goes Virtual!

Tech Trek Camp Goes Virtual! By Charmen Goehring

Overview: 2021 Virtual Camp Model

Core Education Components

  • Morning project-based robotics Core Class led by trained AAUW members.
  • After-lunch Inspiration Hour featuring speakers chosen for excellence.
  • Interactive afternoon hands-on or interactive Workshops chosen for excellence.
  • Additional resources and nighttime events for social activities, college/financial aid information, STEM speakers, etc.

Camp Delivery Program

  • Three to four 2021 Virtual Camps scheduled between mid-June and early August based on camper enrollment (likely dates 6/21-25, 7/12-16, 7/26-30, and/or 8/2-6).
  • Robotics kits to be distributed from several California locations.
  •  Zoom platform with registration, passwords and breakout rooms.

Camp Staff & Volunteer Opportunities

  •  A combination of interested branch members, camp directors and teachers, dorm moms, counselors and other volunteers.
  •  High staff to camper ratio – 1:3.
  • Several roles will be available – both in the virtual environment and on the ground; members can serve in one or more camps and training will be provided.

Currently, AAUW CA is working on building capacity for more than 1,000 girls to attend over the three to four camps. We will still need volunteers from our branch as well as others to make Tech Trek 2021 as successful as possible. More information will be shared as we receive it. The nominations process for campers will begin in January.

We would also like to thank each one of our members who made a contribution to our Tech Trek program this past year! With your support, we can show girls what a career in STEM looks like and encourage her along the way!

Branch Birthdays, Book Groups, Printable Articles, and Branch Zoom Account; Reflections About Women

Branch Birthdays, Book Groups, and Printable Newsletter Articles
  • Click here for Branch Birthdays
  • Click here for Book Group books for December
  • Click here for Printable Newsletter Articles

Branch Zoom Account Access Available to Interest Groups
If you are leading an Interest Group, you can use the branch Zoom account so your group can meet virtually. You will not have the time restrictions of the free Zoom account, plus have access to more advanced Zoom features if you so desire. For more information, contact Karen Burley, whose contact information can be found in the AAUW Branch Membership Directory & Handbook. Happy Zooming!

Reflections about Women — Stories to Inspire and Educate — By Lisa Howard

With all that has happened in the past few months I find myself even more inclined to feel inspired by strong women.  I have watched and listened to a number of different stories that I have found inspirational and informative that I wanted to share.

First, I can’t seem to get enough of Hilary Clinton. I admire her ability and drive to get things done.  Hulu has put out a four-part series titled “Hillary” that is like a visual memoir of this trailblazer who has lifted up so many women.  The trailer is here Watch TV and movies via Xbox, PS3, Wii and more | Hulu.  If that’s not enough Hillary, she has also started her own podcast titled “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” where she continues to impart wisdom and lift women.  Her interview with our new Vice President Elect, Kamala Harris, is delightful.  Listen Free to You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton on iHeartRadio Podcasts | iHeartRadio.

While I am inspired by what strong women have accomplished, I am also reminded that there is more work to be done.  Another story that has been very impactful to me lately is the “NPR’s Throughline” episode on The Shadows of the Constitution, which explains in clear terms why we must continue to advocate for women’s rights and needs. It explains how the Constitution and Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution do not actually protect things that we might consider basic rights, such as the right to have the police enforce a restraining order on an abuser.  The series The Shadows of the Constitution : Throughline also does a wonderful job of investigating the history of many different institutions, groups and systems that impact the shape of our world today.

I hope you enjoy as much as I have,
Lisa Howard