Tag Archives: PublicPolicy

Did You Know? 

Did You Know?

CA Public Policy News By Amy Hom and Melissa Maceyko

Co-chairs, AAUW California Public Policy Committee

Please click <here> for the January issue of Public Policy News. It includes

  • Information on the next Branch Public Policy meeting
  • Information on Lobby Days
  • Key links to public policy resources
  • An article about Parents’ Rights

From the IBC Fund Luncheon

One of our AAUW Fund recipients, Krystal Lau, is a published author. She wrote a book for children, “My Elastical Fantastical Bubble” and  shared a link to her story here: https://literacycloud.org/stories/3093-my-elastical-fantastical- bubble/

April Program Quiz Answers

Banned Books and the Right to Read Anything!

Quiz answers

  1. c) Satanic Verses was banned in 14 countries = blasphemy against Islam. There are a lot of Islamic countries.
  2. b) China has banned 33; Singapore, 32; Indonesia, 24; Australia, 22, and the US, 20.
  3. d) All of the above.
  4. c) Spain

It’s AAUW’s Art Contest Time!

AAUW’s annual art contest is officially under way, and we invite members to submit a high-res image of their original painting, photography, sculpture, collage or other artwork. We will be accepting submissions through January 31, 2024. Your work could be among the winning entries!

Starting in February, AAUW members will select their favorite entries via ranked-choice voting. The winners will be featured on a collection of notecards sent to all members this spring. The back of each card will include the winning artist’s biography, a fact about AAUW and a highlight of the artist’s local branch affiliation when applicable.

For more information on submitting artwork, or to peruse last year’s art gallery, please visit the AAUW Art Contest page <here>.

Sunshine Chair

Pat Winkle is our Sunshine Chair and needs to hear from you if you know members who might appreciate a get well, sympathy or “thinking of you” card. As she doesn’t know everyone, she needs your help in remembering our friends. Her contact information is in the directory.

Printable Newsletter Articles

Click here for Printable Newsletter Articles.

The Latest ERA News

The latest in ERA News By Liz Jordan

National AAUW

On Dec. 13, 2023, AAUW participated in the ERA Coalition March in Washington DC.  Our CEO, Gloria Blackwell, spoke during the program, which was streamed on Facebook.  We were alerted to this event by email.  Did you tune in?

According to Meghan Kissel, AAUW senior director of policy and membership advocacy, AAUW’s strategy is as follows:


  • 2 Joint Resolutions: H.J. 25 to affirm that the deadline is arbitrary and, therefore, remove it. AND H.J. 82 to remove the deadline and ask the Archivist to publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment.
  • Discharge petition to get H.J. 25 out of the Judiciary Committee (Chaired by Rep. J. Jordan of Ohio) and force a vote.


  • Some states will be introducing resolutions of support for the ERA, serving to continue putting pressure on the Biden administration.

2024 Elections:

  • Polling shows favorable numbers for the ERA, and the November elections are critically important. Electing representatives, as well as senators, who believe in the necessity for an Equal Rights Amendment could produce the majority and, hopefully, the 60 percent needed in the Senate to pass the previously mentioned resolutions.

National urges us to use the Two-Minute Activist tool that comes with email messages from Washington.  It’s so easy to use; just click through, type in your name etc. and send!! On Dec. 18 we received an email from Meghan Kissell about supporting AAUW’s efforts to get the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) passed by using the Two Minute Activist.  It took me less than a minute to send email messages to both California senators and my House representative.  If you haven’t tried it, you really should.  It makes me feel like I can do something besides jump up and down!!

AAUW also recommends writing letters to the editor, which has two lives – first when letters are read in the publication, and again when they are posted on social media and tagged to the decision makers in question, i.e. Biden, your House representative, senator, etc.  We do have voices.  We just need to use them.

Local Letter Writing

As a follow-up to our joint Oct. 14 meeting about the Crises in Reproductive Healthcare and the ERA, the CHAR branch (Citrus Heights/American River) formed a new interest group called the Social Justice Power Hour.  They have been writing to the news media and politicians, and when we hear back, we will “shout it from the rooftops!”

A Novel Suggestion

Bonnie Penix, in Sacramento AAUW, sent me a suggestion for a good novel, “A Spark of Light” by Jodie Picoult on the topic of reproductive healthcare.  Bonnie writes: It is about a women’s reproductive health services center and those who come for birth control, abortions, etc.  It takes place in Mississippi. While fiction, it touches on so many of the stories in The Abortion Chronicles, the reader’s theater presentation we performed at the October meeting. Bonnie says book groups might want to put it on their lists for their future selection meetings and perhaps it could become an all-Sacramento-branch reads.  So, Book Groups, take notice!

Need an email message model?

One last item on the local list is a model email message that you can adopt or adapt, address it, sign it, and make it your own.  As I mentioned at the December branch meeting, I am including a model email message you might want to adopt and use.  National’s critique was that the tone of my model was “too confrontational” and, therefore, less effective.  I made some modifications to the model to lower the confrontational temperature.  However, every individual should modify it to her own voice and intention.  You may access here through this link <here>.

Could the ERA help the Reproductive Healthcare Crises?

Could the ERA help the Reproductive Healthcare Crises? By Liz Jordan

AAUW Position on the Equal Rights Amendment: To guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse and inclusive society, AAUW advocates the passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

When we look at the issues developing around the crises in reproductive healthcare, we must ask: Could the Equal Rights Amendment be important to finding solutions?

My thinking is “yes!” Why?

  • Because the simple language in Section 1. says “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. “

Specifically, the Dobbs decision in 2022 says that states can decide if their citizens have a “right to privacy in their personal decisions.”  So, a woman living in New York has a right to privacy in her personal decisions that she makes for herself, but a woman living in Idaho does not have that right to privacy.

Individual states would not be allowed to decide a woman’s rights.   The women in Texas, and in other restrictive states (see the Guttmacher Institute interactive map) have fewer rights than women living in California.

  • The equal protection of the 14th Amendment protects people from discrimination based on race, religion or nationality. Gender is not a protected class and therefore not entitled to “strict judicial scrutiny.”  This results in a lower success rate when bringing gender discrimination suits before the Supreme Court.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia said in 2011 that there is nothing in the US Constitution that protects women against gender-based discrimination.  For women to become a “protected class” under the Constitution, we must be added, specifically and clearly, to expect constitutional protection.

Yearly, thousands of women swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, but nowhere in the Constitution is a woman protected by the Constitution.  Gender should also be a protected class entitled to “strict judicial scrutiny.”

Women living in every state should have equal access to all reproductive healthcare, and their lives and liberty should be protected by the US Constitution.

Why should the Archivist publish, or be told to publish, the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution?

  • Because the only two requirements for an amendment, stated in the US Constitution, have been met for the 28th Amendment (ERA).
  • 2/3 of both houses passed in 1972.
  • Ratified by 3/4 of 50 states, 38 states, in 2020.
  • Because the issue of the seven-year deadline, or three-year extension to 1982, is without merit.

The deadline is arbitrary.  Deadlines for ratification have been applied only in the last 100 years.  The deadline for the ERA does not appear in the text.  It appears only in the Preamble to the Amendment.

The 27th Amendment became part of the US Constitution in 1992.   It was sent out for ratification in 1789, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, and was lost in the process.  The 27th Amendment governs how Congress may vote itself a raise in compensation but may not receive it in the same Congressional session.  This amendment was quite popular, when it was finally ratified 203 years after it started the ratification process, because Congress was very unpopular with the electorate in the 1980s.

There were questions raised about its legality, but Congressional leadership believed it was not politically smart to delay publication.  The 27th Amendment was published immediately, without ceremony but with certification, into the Constitution.

Why does an amendment that governs congressional pay compensation get swift treatment, while the amendment protecting equal treatment for more than half the population of the country must satisfy an arbitrary deadline that does not appear in the language of the amendment itself.

  • Because Congress is incapable of removing the deadline. For four years, over three successive Congressional sessions, they have attempted to remove the deadline by joint resolution.  Yet women wait.  And wait.  And wait.  For over 100 years we have waited.

President, Joe Biden, campaigned on a promise to get the ERA/28th Amendment into the US Constitution.  He has, also, publicly supported all congressional resolutions that nullify the arbitrary deadline. 

  • Because no state has ever successfully rescinded its ratification after it voted for an amendment.

More than one state attempted to rescind it’s vote for the 14th Amendment, the amendment that provided the rights of citizenship to “formerly enslaved persons.”  Some states were compelled to ratify the 14th Amendment as a requirement to be accepted back into the Union.

I propose that we ask some hard questions. 

  • Let us ask every politician holding federal office, from the President to your local senator and member of House of Representatives, what she or he has done, is doing, will do to secure equal protection for women in the Constitution?
  • Let us write to every woman working for a major television and/or radio news channel to ask when will they do programing about the conundrum of the Equal Rights Amendment, especially as it relates to the unequal access to healthcare?

Questions we could ask:

Why isn’t the 28th Amendment part of the US Constitution? 

  • Why doesn’t President Biden tell his new Archivist, Colleen Shogan, to publish the amendment?
  • Would we have the Dobbs decision with the Equal Rights Amendment as a part of our Constitution?
  • Why don’t national news reporters ask Biden about the ERA at news conferences?
  • If women political leaders and military members swear to protect the Constitution, why aren’t they protected by it?
  • Is there a political agenda preventing the certification and publication of the Equal Rights Amendment?

Write letters and/or emails to:          

Women in News Media

Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation, CBS, 2020 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 457-4481; facethenation@cbsnews.com

Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Rachel@msnbc.com; *Jen Psaki, Inside with Jen Psaki on MSNBC; *Joy Reid, The Reidout on MSNBC; *Nicole Wallace, Deadline Whitehouse on MSNBC; *Alex Wagner, Alex Wagner Tonight on MSNBC; *Stephanie Ruhle on 11th Hour on MSNBC.

The news women listed above may all be emailed at MSNBCTVinfo@nbcuni.com

Lindsay Davis, ABC News Live Prime, https://www.linseytdavis.com/contact/

Political leaders

For our California senators:

Alex Padilla                                                                 Laphonza R. Butler

112 Hart Senate Office Bldg.                                      G12 Dirksen Senate Bldg.
Washington DC 20510                                                 Washington DC 20510
501 I Street Ste 7-800                                                  https://www.butler.senate.go
Sacramento, CA 95814

For Your House of Representatives:

Find your representative: www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Presidents’ Message, AAUW Priorities and Public Policy

President’s Message By Nancy McCabe

By now we are hoping that a cool fall has arrived. It is time for moving on with holiday preparations and fall activities. I am also hoping that it brings a renewed interest in our branch’s event schedule. The upcoming plans are spoken to in other articles, which will give you reasons to join in.

An important reason that AAUW is able to continue to provide superior programming is the continuing contributions of a group of ladies who have served as president, often several times. The program vice-presidents are both former presidents, as are six in appointed positions. The list of all former branch presidents is in the back of your directory. The following ladies are all former presidents. Those with a * have served in terms separated by years, and those with a # served more than one term consecutively. Terms go back as far as 1974-75. Please acknowledge these ladies when you see them and offer a friendly hello and thank you: *Marilyn Orrick, Susan Whetstone, Linda Whitney, *#Gloria Yost, Linda Sparks, *#Hedda Smithson, Pat Morgan, Mary Williams, Jean Bonar, Jane Cooley, *Marty McKnew, #Molly Dugan, Cherril Peabody, *# Nancy McCabe, #Donna Holmes, #Elizabeth Jordan, *Charmen Goehring and #Angela Scarlett. Also, note that Charmen has been a president in five branches and state president once. Many other past presidents remained members until their death.

Our branch depends on our members doing what they can, so if you are able, please volunteer to be on a committee, be a greeter, bring refreshments to a monthly meeting, or help clean up after a meeting as we must use someone else’s space for our events. Volunteering is a great way to meet other members, which is a benefit to joining in.

See you soon! — Nancy

AAUW Priorities By Kathy Papst

Hello Members,

I am proud to be the new director of the AAUW Sacramento branch AAUW Priorities. AAUW advocates for “equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society”.

PRIORITIES include four areas of concentration: Public Policy, Civil Rights Advocacy, Title IX and AAUW Funds. Charmen Goehring is continuing as chairperson of Funds, and I am chairperson of Civil Rights Advocacy, Title IX is currently vacant, and we have a new, young member as chairperson of Public Policy, Marissa Floyd. Welcome Marissa!

We will report to our branch on what is happening with national, state and local legislation and policy updates. The reports will be uploaded to the Sacramento branch website. I hope that our members will read these reports, and keep abreast of important information about equity and rights.

I now want to make a plea for someone to take on the chair of Title IX. I feel that this issue is very much misunderstood, yet very important. If you want to get involved on the board, this would be a great place to start. Chairpersons do not have to attend the monthly board meetings. I look forward to working with such talented and involved members.

CA Public Policy

From Amy Hom and Melissa Maceyko, Co-chairs, AAUW California Public Policy Committee

Please click <here> for the latest issue of Public Policy News. This issue contains an article on the outcome of the Legislative Session , and other important updates and resources.

President’s Message

President’s Message By Nancy McCabe

As I write this, summer is hanging on, and we are anxious for cooler weather and fall
activities. Apple Hill, fall sports and sweaters are looking pretty good.

By now, our first monthly meeting is in the record books and we are looking forward to our Oct. 14 event. I hope to see you attending our events as the Smith and Smithson team is planning our second Lights, Camera, Action program. This will be our best program season in a while as they are creativity personified!

On another note, I would like to introduce you to pages 1-8 in the front of our directory. I think most of us use the directory only to locate other members, but we are overlooking some really good information. As we all are being encouraged to recruit friends and family to join our branch, page 1 describes who we are and what we stand for. Page 2 is the membership cost and board meeting schedule. Page 3 describes the standing programs that are an asset to the community. This is what I talk about when I am sharing what I am most proud of. (I know, don’t end a sentence with a preposition!) The following pages are interest groups, branch programs and branch leaders.

As an FYI, please add Marissa Floyd as the Public Policy chairperson. We are so
pleased that she has agreed to take this on to keep us informed about legislation.
Our voting board, those who attend board meetings, consists of the four elected
and five appointed members. Thus, meeting attendance is narrowed down to
attract leaders who are meeting-adverse. Keep this in mind when you are asked
to help out!

See you in October!

P.S. Also note our Tech Trek co-chairs for 2023-24 are Marlys Huez and Joyce Humphrey. At the Sept. 23rd kickoff we were introduced to our summer 2023 Tech Trek campers.

Public Policy: Advancing Gender Equity

Advancing Gender Equity is Advancing Environmental Sustainability (and vice versa)

By Missy Maceyko, Co-Chair, CA State Public Policy Committee

After a year of wild weather in California, many of us may be thinking more about climate, environment, and sustainability. How does our concern with the weather relate to AAUW California’s Public Policy Priorities? Advancing gender equity is directly related to environmental sustainability. The inverse is also true.

The United Nations sustainable development goals, adopted in 2015, seek to push all countries to act to protect the planet, ensure widespread prosperity, and promote peace. Achieving gender equality, goal number five, is a crucial element in this overall strategy.

We know that having greater gender diversity in leadership improves organizations. One of AAUW California’s public policy focus areas is increasing women in leadership positions. However, advancing this goal can also have positive climate impacts. The UN has found that having greater gender diversity in climate discussions leads to improved outcomes on climate-focused policies and projects. This is just one case in which we can see how sustainable development goal 5, promoting greater gender equality, alongside advancing AAUW California’s public policy priorities, can be important for achieving sustainable development goal 13, creating more impactful climate action.

Data also shows us that (un)sustainable production and consumption patterns, which harm the environment, tend to be gendered, with “green” choices being widely feminized. While this is a global trend, we see this in popular portrayals of more planet-friendly consumption choices in the United States, as well, such as veganism, which tends to be marked as more “feminine” and less “masculine.” This example shows us that sustainable development goal 5, promoting greater gender equality, alongside AAUW California’s overall public policy mission of advancing equity for women and girls, is also important for achieving sustainable development goal 12, which focuses on creating more planet-friendly and responsible production and consumption patterns.

Advancing gender equity is directly related to environmental sustainability, and vice versa. In advancing AAUW California’s public policy goals, and expanding the rights of all women and girls, we can help create the conditions for greater justice and inclusion, economic parity, and environmental viability, all at the same time.

Click <here> for the full CA State Public Policy Newsletter.

October Program Preview

Sacramento Branch of AAUW Presents (By Hedda Smithson)

Episode Two of “The Rights Stuff”:
                               The ERA and Reproductive Rights 

                             >>> Lights, Camera, Action!! <<<

Saturday, October 14, 10 AM in the Sacramento Fine Arts Center,
5330 Gibbons Drive, Carmichael

A joint meeting with *CHAR

                         Coming Attraction!!      Save the date!

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Do you know in which century this was first proposed? Do you know its current status? Are you aware of the repercussions of the Dobbs vs Jackson decision? For all this and more, join us! For this episode, would you like to be an actress, facilitator, or greeter? Please contact Liz Jordan; her contact information is in the membership directory. This episode is still holding auditions and rehearsals. We envision a lively presentation of a play, some geographical data and lots of small group discussions. We will be looking for ways to ACT!!

*Citrus Heights/American River Branch of AAUW

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards – and Printable Articles

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards Observation
Submitted by Liz Jordan

AAUW CA has approved a new project, the AAUW CA School Board Project, which is to enable monitoring school boards and how they may be affected by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials. This is happening in numerous other states and may also be underway in CA.

The AAUW California Public Policy Committee has been approached by an organization called Equality California, whose mission is to “… bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United Statesstriving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.”  Their current and most immediate concern is the country-wide wave to install extremely regressive members on school boards, by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups.

AAUW California shares this concern.  We recognize the intersectionality of the challenges faced by all women – be they straight, white women; women of color; or lesbian, bisexual or transgender women – and support the struggles of all our sisters.

As an organization that was founded on the principle of advancing educational opportunities for women and girls, we also share Equality California’s alarm at the speed and breadth of educational policies that are taking those efforts backwards.  We, like they, want to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen in California.

Equality California has called on us to join their efforts to assess the current climate in California, and to help them identify and support non-partisan school board candidates who can counter this trend.  Their organization is looking for qualified progressive candidates whom they will train and financially support to run in the most vulnerable districts.  The state Public Policy Committee has voted to engage, and the AAUW California Board of Directors has approved our decision.  Now it’s your turn – we need your help!  With over 9,000 members, we are in a unique position to provide “eyes and ears” on the ground to assist this project.  We are calling on each of you – the public policy leaders for your branches – to get us started by completing a brief survey – which you can find here https://forms.gle/fQj7JyBdiLLLwsTC6 – by the end of May. Once we have the results, we can determine additional ways in which you can each be of service.  Working together, we CAN make a difference!

Printable Newsletter Articles

Click here for Printable Newsletter Articles.

Public Policy

Public Policy News By Liz Jordan

AAUW CA Promotes its Priorities with the Legislature, Prepares for a Vote on New Ones

By Ginny Hatfield, Amy Hom and Kathi Harper, AAUW CA Public Policy Committee       

If you participated in this year’s Lobby Days on March 21 and 22, you know it was a whirlwind of activity.  Over two jam-packed days, 120 AAUW CA members from 50 branches met with 46 Assembly offices and 23 Senate offices.  Most of the meetings took place via Zoom and the majority took place without a hitch.  For the first time, some of our members met in person in Sacramento.

While most meetings were conducted with legislative staff, we were able this year to schedule 10 meetings with the members themselves — six Assemblymembers and four Senators.  In addition, Kathi Harper, AAUW CA Public Policy Chair, and Kathy Van Osten, our AAUW CA Legislative Advocate, met with the Governor’s staff and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.

We were happy to learn that our organization was known to many of the legislative staff and legislators with whom our members met.  Some had spoken to branches in their districts; others were familiar with our public policy priorities and expressed alignment and support for them; and a handful were appreciative of the background we provided about our mission and programs. A sterling endorsement came from none other than Alf Brandt, policy consultant for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, whose mother was an AAUW member in the 1940’s in Orange County.  He credits her involvement in AAUW “making me the man I am today.”

The reception of our “Top 3” bills — AB 1394, SB 287 and AB 549 – was generally favorable, especially the two social media bills.  Both staff and legislators could identify with the pervasive problem of having children who are or will be targeted by social media.  AB 549 needed a bit more explaining, as some were unfamiliar with CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  You can find more information on these and all the bills we are supporting here: https://www.aauw-ca.org/documents/2023/03/bill-tracking.pdf/.

During our Lobby Days event, we were able to get our message across to those who make our laws and to highlight AAUW, our mission, accomplishments and the benefits we bring to our communities throughout CA.  It was an empowering exercise in advocacy and for those of you who participated, AAUW CA thanks you!

Adding this reminder: it’s time to vote on the updates to the Public Policy Priorities for 2023-25.   In response to input from 466 members, the state Public Policy Committee has recommended and the Board has approved 11 changes, which can be viewed here: https://www.aauw-ca.org/2023-proposed-public-policy-priorities/.  Highlighted additions include support for: civics education, access to diverse staff and curriculum, safe infrastructure and access to technology in our schools, gun violence prevention, and a fourth pillar to support women in leadership roles. Voting opens April 22. Make sure you make your voice heard!

Focus on Women’s Health

Focus on Women’s Health By Lisa Howard

With the Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court in May 2022, access to women’s health care was put at risk across the country.  Many of us have granddaughters, daughters and friends of child-bearing age that live in states where pregnancy now holds greater risk than it has for previous generations. The choice of pushing the decision back to the states has left many women who live in jurisdictions with government leadership supportive of women’s health wringing our hands about how to help as the horror unfolds in other states.  For the Sacramento AAUW women that gathered to discuss the threat to women’s health (the Reproductive Choice Committee), our first task was to gather resources.

While we haven’t yet figured out how to take action on this knowledge, we recognize that a first step we can each take is to share information with others so that more people understand what and where restrictions are being built into the law. Perhaps a small step each of us can take is to share the legal actions being taken and the resulting stories of impact on women’s individual lives with friends and families who are constituents of the leaders seeking to remove their rights.

Resources for you:

AAUW National Position on Women’s Health Protection
The Rally for Abortion Justice — and Beyond

Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act!

  • Contact your elected officials.
  • Write a Letter to your Editor
  • Build Community

AAUW members have been participating in Planned Parenthood events – https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/rightfully-ours/bans-off-our-bodies#events

Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a dashboard of state actions against women’s health – https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/dashboard/abortion-in-the-u-s-dashboard/

There are at least two women who have dedicated themselves to investigating and surfacing human stories that really provide personal context to the issues – https://substack.com/profile/535611-jessica-valenti