Top 10 Ways AAUW Made the World Better for Women in 2019
As 2019 draws to a close, I’m proud of our accomplishments this year: Whether it’s through our training programs, respected research, fellowships and grants, or advocacy efforts around the country, we’re making steady strides toward achieving economic security for all women.
Something else I’m proud of: The high level of involvement of our members and supporters, who give us the insights, inspiration and resources to move forward. I am honored to work alongside them and pleased to share some of our top successes in 2019.
With our members’ help, this year AAUW has:
1. Trained women everywhere to “Work Smart.”
Thanks to a $500,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the largest corporate gift in AAUW history, we trained more than 102,000 women in salary-negotiation skills in 2019 through our Work Smart and Start Smart programs.
2. Empowered women leaders.
The grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation also enabled us to implement Empower, our new leadership development and networking event. This year, we hosted programs in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Empower is designed to help women explore their own leadership journeys.
3. Raised funds to advance our mission.
AAUW is thankful for our members across the country who gave their time and treasure to the organization, particularly AAUW Champions – individuals who give $5,000 or more to support our efforts – and branches that have given $5,000 or more. These gifts support our Greatest Needs Fund, which gives us the flexibility to respond to the most pressing gender-equity challenges. In addition, AAUW is proud to partner with many organizations, including alliantgroup, Arconic Foundation, BAE Systems, The Coca-Cola Foundation, GEICO, IE University, Junior League of Wichita, LinkedIn, Mooneen Lecce Giving Circle, Morgan Stanley, PPG Industries, Starbucks and the U.S. Secret Service.
4. Advocated for equity on Capitol Hill.
AAUW led the effort to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act in the House of Representatives last spring. And we delivered testimony to Congressional committees on the Equal Rights Amendment, LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections, and paid family leave, as well as sending letters to Congress in support of the Building Blocks of STEM ACT for women and girls and on ending workplace harassment.
5. Shifted the state legal landscape toward fair pay.
We also helped 11 states to pass equity legislation in 2019, nearly double the six states that passed such laws in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. Nearly every state now has some form of equal-pay legislation in place.
6. Championed the next generation of women.
More than 800 young women from 307 colleges and universities gathered to learn and be inspired at the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), the country’s premier leadership event for college students. Speakers included Dr. Tererai Trent, an AAUW 2001–02 International Fellow who is now a world-renowned scholar, humanitarian and educator recognized as Oprah Winfrey’s favorite guest. The keynote was delivered by best-selling author and feminist Roxane Gay.
7. Produced groundbreaking research.
This year, we updated our hallmark study, The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, with new census data showing that women still only get about 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. In the latest version of our report Deeper in Debt, we showed that women now hold almost two-thirds of the country’s $1.4-trillion student debt. And, in November, we released a new report, Limiting Our Livelihoods, indicating that sexual harassment can have long-term repercussions on women’s health, economic security and access to leadership positions.
8. Provided millions in fellowships and grants.
For the 2019-20 academic year, AAUW awarded more than $4.3 million in fellowships and grants to 270 recipients to advance educational and professional opportunities for women around the globe. AAUW members have been so generous over the years that the organization now has sufficient funding to support fellows and grantees for the next 50 years!
9. Spread our message far and wide.
AAUW’s work in 2019 was covered by more than 140 media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, MSNBC, Time, Newsweek, Money, Fortune, The Oprah Magazine and more. We also raised our profile on social media platforms, garnering over 5 million impressions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
10. Prepared for 2020—a pivotal year for women.
Next year, we’ll commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by launching a project called “Every Voice. Every Vote.” In keeping with its mission to advance equity, AAUW is committed to recognizing voting rights for women over the past century–including the fact that when the 19th Amendment was adopted, not all women earned the right to cast their ballots. It wasn’t until 45 years later, when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, that women of color were granted the right to vote. Yet there are still challenges with voter access and voting suppression, which is why AAUW is focused on ensuring that everyone’s vote counts.
For more details on each of these accomplishments, check out our complete review of AAUW’s 2019 accomplishments. I look forward to continuing the fight for equity in 2020.