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From the President …

As I embark upon the second year of my state presidency, I aim to empower our Colorado branches with the tools to advance gender equity through advocacy. education, philanthropy, and research. We have ripe opportunities for engaging women students at higher education institutions, and now is the time to become grounded in their realities: high student debt, near-full-time employment amid the gender pay gap, food insecurity, and rising homelessness — with substantial numbers of them actively parenting, many as single mothers. We must be mindful of these factors when planning on-campus programs and inviting students to attend our branch meetings. Further, we must apprise students, educators, and community members about the detrimental rollback of Title IX protections and the negative impacts of the gender pay gap and rising student debt on the economy.

We must also learn to be more engaging and welcoming to diversify our membership and make it more inclusive. As an advocacy organization, AAUW must embrace the support of all people — no matter their gender identity — who seek to advance gender equity. Our current branch member demographics: predominately white, female, and 72 years of age on average.  This must change, and AAUW provides pertinent tools on its website. At our 2017 Fall Leadership Conference, we learned to stop wringing our hands and how to take the first steps toward diversity and inclusion. Let’s not forget those lessons and actively implement them.

The Colorado delegation to AAUW Capitol Hill Lobby Day on June 15, 2017. Front (left to right): AAUW Colorado President Amy Blackwell, Boulder President Marilyn Leist, Colorado Springs President Paula Munger, National Member Paula Noonan, Lakewood Co-president Margene Stroup. Middle (left to right): Aurora President Pam Jones, AAUW Colorado Interbranch Council Chair and Littleton South-Metro President Jill Smith, Lakewood Co-president Donna Connolly, AAUW Colorado President-elect Stormy McDonald. Back: AAUW Director Melissa Cooke Johnsen