Busy, busy, busy, aptly describes April 4 (Equal Pay Day) for many AAUW members! Public Policy Committee Co-Chair Carol Cowles organized a bus load of members from AAUW-Kansas City and -Independence, as well as members of the League of Women Voters and serveral other interested activists to travel to the Capitol in Jefferson City for Equity Action Day, organized by the Missouri Women’s Network. They joined over a hundred women (and a few men) from St. Louis, Columbia and throughout the state to dialogue with, learn from, and lobby legislators. Topics included pay equity, reproductive justice, human trafficking, and the victims’ employment safety and security act. In addition to members of AAUW and LWV, those in attendance included members of Planned Parenthood, National Council of Jewish Women, National Organization of Women, Vision 2020, and Coalition of Labor Union Women.
Following an introduction to Issues of the Day, the group lobbied their senators and representatives. During lunch, legislative briefings by Sen. Lauren Arthur, Sen. Gina Walsh, Sen. Scott Sifton, and Rep. Jean Evans provided opportunities for questions and answers. An afternoon lobbying session and meeting with State Auditor Nicole Galloway concluded the day.
Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Public Policy Co-Chair Riva Capellari and College/University Partnership Chair Patti Jachowicz joined the UMKC Women’s Center, UMKC Career Services and Department of Labor Women’s Bureau to present information on the gender pay gap to UMKC students. Students received an equal pay button (=$) for their participation. Also, female students were given a large cookie and men a small cookie, with the opportunity to earn more cookies by answering questions about gender pay equity.
In addition to handing out AAUW’s Spring 2017 national report, The Simple Truth About The Gender Pay Gap, AAUW gave out PayDay candy bars. A total of 68 students took part. AAUW-KC signed up 33 enthusiastic new student members including quite a few men! In coordination with the event, the UMKC Bloch School of Business presented a workshop on salary negotiation. Riva and Patti enjoyed many rich and fulfilling conversations with the students who attended.
As the daily political news hits, remember that a personal AAUW response is only a “click” away. A“Two-Minute Activist” tab on the national AAUW website (www.aauw.org) is an easy and efficient way to stay in constant contact with your Senators and Representatives.
The 2016–2017 100 High School Girls scholarship committee met on March 23, 2017, to read essays submitted by 34 Kansas City high school student applicants. Although there were 37 fewer applicants than last year, the quality of the essays was outstanding. (We had two fewer schools to select from due to the closing of the Southwest Early College Campus and Van Horn moving to the Independence school district.)
The final three 100 High School Girls scholarship recipients are: Rapuluchukwu Okolo from Paseo Academy, Sylvia Joerke from Paseo Academy, and Rae Nia Hill from Northeast High School. This year we added a book scholarship in lieu of holding an awards event at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. The winner of the book scholarship is Chebet Bucker from Lincoln Academy. Congratulations to all the applicants!
Many thanks to Paula Coyote Schaaf who arranged a meeting space at Penn Valley Community College for the committee to read and select our winners. Special thanks to committee members: Earlene Bentley, Kathleen Brandt, Mollie Caldwell, Riva Capellari, Cynthia Ginn, Stefanie Hatfield, Ellen Johnson, Dodie Murphy and Jane Vincent for their hard work and dedication.
A joyful time was had by all at the annual Wagy Awards & Holiday Luncheon at MissionHills Country Club on December 3. Guests convened for delicious cuisine, good conversation, and to hear from representatives from three wonderful organizations receiving Wagy grants and how they plan to use the funds to help local women and girls.
Congratulations to the 2016 Wagy Award recipients:
• Journey to New Life received $4,000 to provide help for women returning to society from prison. (www.journeytonewlife.org)
• Rightfully Sewn received $4,000 to provide seamstress training for at-risk women. (www.rightfullysewn.org)
• Metropolitan Community College Foundation received $1,000 toward scholarships for disadvantaged women who are attending college to earn a Liscensed Practical Nursing and associated degrees. (www.mcckc.edu/foundation/)