Explore our website and learn about the impact of AAUW in Colorado. Through coalition building we increase our influence, and through lobbying and grassroots advocacy we make our voices heard. There are exciting things happening in our 15 branches among our 1,000 members!
Our society has traditionally discriminated against women connected with STEM. Some discrimination was subtle. Creative problem solving was geared to boys in toys such as Legos and computer games. Even AAUW restricted membership only to women with liberal arts degrees until 1963.
It has been a complicated process to increase the number of women in STEM careers, but it now is happening. More women than men are entering college and many are focused on STEM. AAUW has played a vital role.
- It has been a long time since AAUW forced Mattel to reprogram its Barbie dolls. AAUW National refused to accept Barbie’s recorded voice stating that math was tough. By direct association, girls were learning to fear that subject. Ken dolls never had a similar message. An apology certainly was not enough. The media took the story and magnified it until Mattel had to capitulate. This was just one of the subtle ways that girls were manipulated.
- Research funded by our Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation provided an eye-opening report that showed girls in elementary schools were treated differently than boys. For example, because girls tended to sit quietly, they were not called on as much and therefore not encouraged and praised as often for knowing correct answers. Our published report was used by teachers to improve their teaching strategies.
- At our conventions for many years we have strategized about ways to expose girls to the wonders of STEM and to mentor interested young students. It was a natural pairing for many AAUW former teachers. At the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair at Colorado State University, AAUW Colorado began awarding $100 to a middle school girl with a project in mathematics or computer science. At Golden High School the “Accept No Boundaries” project helped enhance girls’ self-esteem and broaden their career awareness.
- Many branches held “Expanding Your Horizons” conferences to help young women with career choices.
Brenda Wolfe, our immediate past president, is an engineer and could speak from experience. One of her main goals during her term was to focus on STEM opportunities for girls and young women. Several branches, such as Boulder, have provided STEM workshops with hands-on experiences. Other branches have had programs with speakers and encouraged members to bring their daughters and other young women to attend.
While AAUW is energized by these victories, we are very aware that we lack pay equity for many women. Because so many single-family households are headed by women, pay inequities affect children as well, and this inequity is perpetuated with fewer raises.
- Our LAF (Legal Advocacy Foundation) supports women across the country in their fights. We have helped support many legal cases.
- AAUW Colorado participates in the annual rally at the State Capitol to protest against the pay gap between men and women doing the same work.
- AAUW Colorado has trained some members and provided 3 years of $mart $tart classes for students to teach them how to benchmark and negotiate fair pay for their first jobs graduation.
The pay gap has narrowed, but our goal is to eliminate it through participation in many coalitions.
Since its inception, AAUW has been focused on funding for education, and it is still an issue. Adequate funding is necessary because education plays such a critical role in advancing women’s and girls’ economic and career opportunities.
AAUW has dedicated more than 120 years to the advancement of education through research, publications, leadership programs, and funding of education in areas that ensure that women and girls have access and opportunities to higher education.
In addition, AAUW has endorsed legislation that provides for career and technical training at the state and national level. Their research programs: “Where the Girls Are, Gender Equity in Education,” “Hostile Hallways” and “Crossing the Line” have been hailed as ground breakers for developing programs in the nation’s schools and colleges to deal with barriers that stand in the way of preparing women and girls for the education needed in a global economy.
AAUW Colorado monitors legislative issues that affect the funding for education and lobbies for policies that promote better opportunities for women and girls. We award scholarships to outstanding high school women and women returning to school to complete their education or change careers. Awards and recognitions are given to young women who complete outstanding Science projects.
Schools have evolved over the decades, but our dedication to their support is needed more than ever.