Title IX Celebrates 45 Years Impacting Educational Equity
Today marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. It covers people of all gender identities, ages, and roles in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds. AAUW has long supported the vigorous enforcement of Title IX to ensure that our schools are free from discrimination. The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE), chaired by AAUW, released a report this week, Title IX at 45: Advancing Opportunity through Equality in Education, which discusses the progress made under Title IX and barriers to its full implementation. Marking the anniversary, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) today introduced the Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act of 2017 (GEEA). If passed, GEEA would provide critical technical assistance to schools to ensure they are efficiently and effectively complying with Title IX.
Senate Healthcare Bill Proposes Damaging Cuts to Medicaid
After weeks of closed-door meetings, Senate Republicans revealed a health care bill on Thursday that threatens critical protections established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while also cutting funding for Medicaid. This new bill is largely similar to the House version passed in May, and will remove health coverage for an estimated 11 million people currently covered by Medicaid, eliminate protections for one in two people with pre-existing conditions, and increase out-of-pocket costs for older individuals and millions of families. Republicans also included a provision to defund Planned Parenthood and jeopardized coverage for such things as maternity care and mental health services. As of Friday, several Republican Senators released statements vowing to oppose the legislation for a variety of reasons, threatening the 50 votes needed to pass the bill next week. AAUW believes that everyone deserves high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care. It is clear that the Senate bill would weaken that access, particularly for women.
Career and Technical Education Legislation Passes the House
On Thursday, the House of Representative passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353). This bill reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which funds career and technical education (CTE) programs at secondary and postsecondary institutions across the country and includes critical gender equity provisions intended to increase the number of women in nontraditional careers. Individually and in coalition with other advocacy groups, AAUW expressed our deep concerns with the bill’s reduction of accountability. Without robust program accountability for students’ opportunities and outcomes, the Perkins program will have limited effect. AAUW will continue to advocate for these and other important measures as the bill moves to the Senate.
Advances in the fight for equal pay are sweeping the nation! Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) approved two equal pay bills supported by AAUW of Nevada. One protects employees who discuss or disclose their salaries, while the other creates a voluntary certification system for government contractors to ensure they are paying workers equally. Despite these important wins, AAUW of Nevada members were disappointed that the governor vetoed a third stronger, equal pay bill. Meanwhile, Gov. John Carney (D-DE) signed a pay equity bill advanced by AAUW of Delaware. Delaware members were busy attending the AAUW National Convention during the bill signing but were there in spirit. Hats off to AAUW members for their hard work!
On June 6, Delaware’s legislature passed a bill ensuring the legality and accessibility of abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were to ever be overturned.The legislation also removed prior restrictions that limited abortion access in the state. Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island are all considering similar legislation.
The Prince George’s County Department of the Environment in Maryland paid civil engineer Joanna Smith less than her male counterparts, despite her greater experience and education. The discrimination ultimately resulted in approximately $139,633 in lost wages. Although Smith recently won her discrimination lawsuit, this is yet another example of pay inequity for women.
- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that will decide whether political gerrymandering is constitutional. The justices will consider whether a Wisconsin court ruling, which found that Republican redistricting in 2011 violated the First Amendment, will remain in effect. The Supreme Court’s decision may have a dramatic impact on the future of electoral district mapping.
- The U.S. Department of Education is facing a lawsuit after denying a request to release data on pending sexual harassment cases. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the nonprofit filing the suit, requested Title IX data in January under the Freedom of Information Act, but their petition was denied by the Department.
- Tennessee is now the first state to offer tuition free community college to almost any adult looking for a degree. Previously, community college was free for any graduating high school student. Now, any resident of Tennessee without a degree will have the opportunity to pursue a college degree or certificate free of charge.
- Colorado passed a law allowing survivors of sexual assault and stalking to break their residential leases in order to protect themselves. The law previously allowed for those experiencing domestic abuse to do so and now protections will be extended to additional survivors.
- In Texas, abortion providers will face new requirements on which procedures they can use and be forced to dispose of fetal tissue through burial or cremation, imposing higher costs and unnecessary regulation.
- The U.S. Department of Education recently told its employees to continue investigating cases of discrimination against transgender students, despite the administration scaling back protections for transgender students in February. AAUW believes the memo raises more questions than it answers and we have serious concerns that it puts students’ rights to a discrimination-free education at risk.
Last week, over 700 AAUW members had the opportunity to storm Capitol Hill for the 2017 AAUW Lobby Day. Participants told their senators and representatives to protect and strengthen Title IX and advocated for ways to lower student debt, which disproportionately impacts women. From Alaska to Arkansas, California to Connecticut, and Nebraska to New York, AAUW members were pumped and ready to take the fight for gender equity directly to Congress.
Urge your senators to reject efforts to gut health care! The U.S. Senate is barreling toward a vote on a health care bill that would strip coverage for millions of Americans. We need all hands on deck to stop this dangerous effort from advancing. Click here to contact your senators and ask them to protect Americans’ health care.
Today we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Title IX. How has this groundbreaking law impacted your life? Tell us your story by tweeting@AAUWPolicy using#TitleIXat45 or submit your story here.
MenCare published the second edition of their State of the World’s Fathers report, which examines men’s involvement as caregivers worldwide. The report found that women contribute more to unpaid child care than men in every country in the world.
The National Partnership for Women and Families released Our Aging, Caring Nation this month, which discusses the state of paid family leave in the U.S. The report recommends more comprehensive policy covering a wider range of family and medical needs.
The AARP Public Policy Institute recently published their annual Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard. The report provides a state-by-state comparative look at how states are meeting the needs of older adults, people with physical disabilities, and family caregivers.
What Does the Voucher School Landscape Look Like in My State?
School choice issues are increasingly in the news and state legislatures, with proposals ranging from charter school authorization to voucher schemes. The Education Commission of the States recently released a short overview of school voucher programs in the states with important background and analysis. Currently 14 states and Washington, D.C. are home to 25 different voucher programs. These programs have varying eligibility requirements, accountability standards, and funding mechanisms. Check out their 50-state comparison to see how vouchers operate in your state.
Prioritizing Caregiver Leave
Paid, and even unpaid, leave from work to care for a newborn, a sick child, or personal illness is garnering more attention across the country. But too often, these policies focus solely on parental leave for an infant and do not provide support for individuals who are caring for other family members. What’s more, many people do not consider themselves caregivers, even if they are providing care for parents, siblings, or other adults. A new report from the National Partnership for Women and Families looks at proposed leave policies and makes recommendations to address the needs of the nation’s workers. While focused on a federal bill, the report includes important information about the components necessary for a good law that can be replicated at the state level. A comprehensive leave program should be available to all working people, apply equally to both men and women, cover the common reasons people require leave, offer at least 12 weeks of leave and replace a substantial portion of wages, be funded in a sustainable way that does not cut other essential programs, and protect workers from retaliation if they choose to take leave.
Announcing Two Minute Activist Mobile
Many of you are already committed members of AAUW’s Action Network. You receive urgent e-mail notices when your advocacy is needed most, then take necessary action. Last year, members of AAUW’s Action Network sent over 200,000 email messages. Now, we are thrilled to announce the next step in AAUW’s grassroots advocacy program: Two-Minute Activist Mobile. This exciting new tool will allow AAUW to send more timely and targeted communication straight to your cell phone via SMS text messaging. That means we’ll be able to expand and enhance our advocacy for gender equity by providing you with more strategic opportunities to take action when we know doing so will make the difference. The Two Minute Activist Mobile program also includes some important new features, like the ability to call and connect you by phone directly with your legislators’ office. To subscribe to Two Minute Activist Mobile now, text the message “AAUW” to phone number 21333. We’ll be in touch – via text message – with urgent opportunities for you to make your voice heard to advance AAUW’s mission of gender equity.
Paid Sick Days Bills Fail in Maryland and Nevada
In April, the General Assembly of Maryland passed a bill that would have allowed over half a million Marylanders to earn paid sick days for the first time. But Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) vetoed the measure. Earlier this year, the General Assembly rejected Gov. Hogan’s version of the bill. Proponents of the bill hope to override the veto in January. Similarly, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed a bill that would have required some private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Seven states, Washington, D.C., and 31 other jurisdictions have, or soon will have, paid sick days laws in place. States Take On Redistricting Reform
With the 2020 census looming, many states are taking a hard look at the way they draw electoral district boundaries. In fact, three-quarters of states introduced some sort of redistricting reform bill during the 2017 legislation session. These bills cover a range of proposals:
- Establish a commission to draw districts.
- Prohibit district lines from being drawn to favor or impede a political party or incumbent.
- Prohibit the use of political data to draw districts.
- Create or clarify the criteria for drawing maps.
- Require public engagement in the redistricting process.
AAUW of Pennsylvania members are working hard on this issue and have developed excellent resources to advance redistricting reform in their state. Check them out and revise the tools for your own state advocacy.
Localities Leading the Way on Addressing Fair Scheduling for Workers
For many low-wage workers, an unpredictable schedule is part of the job. But a fluctuating schedule can make life difficult for workers, hampering their ability to provide care for family members, attend school, or take on a second job. Moreover, inconsistent hours lead to inconsistent paychecks. Research suggests that 2.78 million people work in on-call jobs or as day laborers. Many states and localities are looking to address these issues through legislation mandating more advance notice of schedules, compensation for on-call hours or last minute changes, adequate rest between shirts, and opportunities for full-time hours. New York City is the latest jurisdiction to pass such legislation, joining Seattle and several California cities in offering protections. In conjunction with equal pay, minimum wage, and paid leave laws, fair scheduling practices can improve the economic well-being of low-income women and their families.Idaho Staves Off Call for Constitutional Convention
Earlier this year, AAUW of Idaho provided strong advocacy and testimony to ensure that the state legislature voted down a call for a constitutional convention. The last, and only, constitutional convention was held in 1787, but a recent push in the states could mean a revisit to history. A constitutional convention is the lesser known, and less commonly used, way to amend the U.S. Constitution, but there is little guidance as to how this procedure is intended to work. In a 1979 resolution, AAUW stated its opposition to the calling of a constitutional convention. More recently, we’ve seen efforts to use a constitutional convention to force a balanced budget on the federal level, something AAUW opposes. There are also concerns that there is no legal way to limit the issues considered, potentially making a constitutional convention a free-for-all for special interests and a threat to civil rights. To order a constitutional convention, 34 state legislatures must vote in favor of it. Many have already done so, with Arizona and Wyoming joining the list in 2017. However, some states rescinded their previous calls to convention, such as Maryland and Nevada. The Wisconsin legislature is currently considering a proposal.
June Means Victory for State Equal Pay Bills
June has been a good month for state equal pay bills, with advocates notching several impressive wins. Puerto Rico led the 2017 charge by enacting a strong bill in March, but four other states recently added new laws to their books. To start the month, Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) signed a comprehensive bill into law in Oregon. AAUW of Oregon members were instrumental in passing this bill, even earning a shout out from state Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) on the senate floor. In Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) approved two equal pay bills, one protects employees who discuss or disclose their salaries, while the other bill creates a voluntary certification system for government contractors to ensure they are paying workers equally. Despite these important wins, AAUW of Nevada members were disappointed that the governor vetoed a third, stronger, equal pay bill. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed a bill that extends pay transparency protections to more workers, allowing additional individuals to openly discuss their wages without fear of retaliation. And just last week, Gov. John Carney (D-DE) gave the green light to a pay equity bill advanced by AAUW of Delaware. Hopefully more states join the party, especially Illinois, whose legislature passed state Rep. Anna Moeller’s (D-Elgin) bill through both chambers and now awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R-IL) signature.This Friday, June 23 marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education. The law has opened classroom doors, laboratories, and playing fields to millions of women and girls since its passing.
AAUW will be marking the occasion with a Tweet Chat on #TitleIXat45 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST this Friday. We encourage you to join us by following @AAUWPolicy and chiming in using the hashtag on your personal or branch and state organization accounts. A few sample tweets are included below.
As chair of the National Coalition for Woman and Girls in Education, AAUW will also highlight the findings of the new NCWGE report Title IX: Advancing Opportunity through Equity in Education at a Capitol Hill briefing tomorrow.
Act Now: Urge Your Senators to Reject Efforts to Gut Health Care
Have you heard the news? The U.S. Senate is barreling toward a vote on a health care bill that would strip coverage for millions of Americans. What’s worse, this legislation has been drafted in secret, without adequate time for analysis, public debate, or even the opportunity for all lawmakers to read the bill.
AAUW believes that everyone deserves high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would eradicate years of progress in expanding health care access for women, including increasing out-of-pocket costs, causing premiums to skyrocket, eliminating coverage for Essential Health Benefits like maternity care, and gutting Medicaid.
We need all hands on deck to stop this dangerous effort from advancing. Call your senators now and ask them to protect Americans’ health care!
To reach your senators, dial (202) 224-3121 now and ask the switchboard operator to connect you. The message is simple:
My name is NAME and I am calling from CITY, STATE. As your constituent, I urge you to reject the American Health Care Act and any other effort that reduces access or does not provide the same level and quality of health care coverage for women and families.
Today, hundreds of AAUW advocates from across the country storm Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress in support of policies that advance AAUW’s mission of gender equity.
At this year’s Lobby Day, AAUW advocates will urge Congress to support women as they pursue their educations. Our focus is two-fold: recently released AAUW research shows that women in particular struggle with their student debt; and we also know that women and girls continue to face discrimination in schools.
It is imperative that Congress strengthen and protect federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant program, and fully support the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in their work to implement and enforce Title IX.
By participating in AAUW’s Virtual Lobby Day, you’ll give AAUW a strong showing at the Capitol and help to advance legislation that makes a difference for women and girls. Take part now and be sure to follow along on social media using #AAUWLobbyDay.
Add your voice to the #AAUWLobbyDay Thunderclap now!
On Thursday, June 15, hundreds of AAUW advocates will storm Capitol Hill to urge their members of Congress to support policies that advance AAUW’s mission of gender equity. Whether you plan to participate in person or join the Virtual Lobby Day online, this is a powerful opportunity to raise awareness and take action.
We’ve made it easier than ever for you to lend your voice to our social media storm for gender equity.
Then, follow and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #AAUWLobbyDay throughout the day on June 15. The bigger our audience, the greater our impact. That’s why we need you to join the campaign today.
You provide the voice, let AAUW provide the megaphone. Together, we’ll send a powerful message to our nation’s capital.
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), released a press statement regarding the Department of Education’s new hire, Adam Kissel. Kissel previously expressed sentiments that undermine Title IX guidance and regulations.
- Sources inside and outside the White House revealed that Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told federal agencies to ignore Congressional Democrats’ oversight requests. As such, the vast majority of oversight letters that Democratic legislators have sent to the new administration since January have not been answered.
- A SurveyMonkey poll recently found that the majority of women ages 18-64 fear that they could be worse off if the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law, while men are less likely to share that view. AAUW opposes the AHCA, which would severely limit access to health care for millions of women, putting their health, well-being, and economic security in jeopardy
- A lawsuit against Philadelphia’s new wage equity law, the first to be passed by a U.S. city, was thrown out by a federal judge. This bill is a huge step forward in seeking to improve the wage gap for women and minorities in Philadelphia.
- Last week, President Trump called for the U.S. Senate to end the practice of the filibuster so that legislation can pass with a simple majority. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to the president, stating, “that will not happen.”
- In a unanimous decision, a federal appeals court sided with Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy from Wisconsin, upholding his right to use the boys’ bathroom in school. Under Title IX, schools are prohibited from discriminating against students based on sex.
- Planned Parenthood issued a statement of concern after a draft regulation regarding birth control coverage leaked last week. If issued in the same format, this rule would dramatically expand the number of employers and schools eligible to opt-out of providing contraceptive coverage to women based on moral or religious convictions.
Cheer of the Week
In response to a sexist email calling women the “second rate gender,” Austin, TX Mayor Steve Adler wrote a powerful rebuke and commended the accomplishments of women. The writer of the email threatened to boycott Austin after a local theater hosted a women-only screening of the movie Wonder Woman.
Faribault Renames Its Airport in Honor of WASP, Elizabeth Wall Strohfus
The AAUW Faribault (MN) Branch successfully advocated for the renaming of their local airport after Elizabeth Wall Strohfus, who served in World War II as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). Strohfus, like other WASP, failed to receive any recognition for her years of service to the United States. In the 1980s she began to lobby for WASP to be recognized as active military duty and for burial honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and she was successful. Strohfus’ legacy will be memorialized in her hometown airport, now officially named the Faribault Municipal Airport—Liz Wall Strohfus Field.
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Rebuffs Department of Education Budget Proposal
This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appeared before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to defend the Administration’s proposed FY18 education budget. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were quick to push back on comments from the secretary, with the most poignant interactions questioning whether private schools that receive federal funds would not discriminate against students. AAUW opposes the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education, which may not be required to adhere to civil rights and accountability standards. Senators were quick to highlight that significant spending cuts to the Department of Education budget will have negative effects on students.
Urge your Representative to Co-Sponsor the Pay Equity for All Act
It’s commonplace in the working world for employers to ask about previous wages, and to use that information to set wages in a new job. But this seemingly innocuous practice can actually have major repercussions. Why? Because it can contribute to the perpetuation of the pay gap many women and people of color face in their careers.
Relying on an individual’s salary history to set her future wage assumes that those prior salaries were fairly established. But if a worker faced a pay gap (and thus lost wages) at one job – perhaps because of bias or even outright discrimination – basing her next job’s salary on the one prior only continues that pay gap.
The Pay Equity for All Act (H.R. 2418) would ban the use of salary history in the hiring process. That’s because salary history questions can introduce bias and discrimination into the recruitment process of a company earnestly trying to avoid it. What does prior pay have to do with a worker’s ability to perform in this new position? And shouldn’t a worker be compensated based on what her skills (and the job in question) are worth to the new company, rather than based on a different job she did in the past?
Use of salary histories ensures bias and discrimination follow workers wherever they go, whatever their job, no matter their abilities. Curtailing this practice will go a long way in our fight for pay equity.
Urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Pay Equity for All Act (H.R. 2418) and help to close the wage gap!
Bits and Pieces
- AAUW joined nearly 20 advocacy groups in filing an amicus brief calling on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its ruling that employers can pay men and women unequally based on differences in their prior salaries. The amicus brief contends that the decision undermines the intention of the Equal Pay Act. AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund plaintiff and AAUW member Aileen Rizo brought the original case after learning that a less-experienced male colleague received a higher salary.
- After a 60-day delay, an Obama-era fiduciary rule requiring financial advisors to act in the best interests of their clients when giving retirement advice will take effect June 9. The U.S. Department of Labor will seek public comments on revisions to this AAUW-supported rule.
- New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, for the first time, women aged 30 to 34 have the highest birthrate of any age group in the U.S. Access to birth control and fertility treatments, as well as the lack of workplace policies to accommodate new mothers, are cited as reasons many women are delaying motherhood.
- A study by economist Sari Kerr cites marriage and motherhood as key contributors to the widening pay gap throughout women’s twenties and thirties. The negative effects of marriage and children on salary are especially profound for college-educated women.
- In an advisory opinion, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court indicated that the state’s ranked-choice voting system, which was approved by voters in a referendum last November, violates the state constitution. It is now up to the state’s legislature to act by either repealing the measure or starting the process of amending the state constitution to allow for ranked-choice voting.
- Penn State University will begin issuing fraternity and sorority “report cards” that will list each organization’s status and conduct history. A response to several hazing incidents, these report cards will allow students and parents to utilize previously unavailable disciplinary data to inform their decision about Greek life at Penn State.
Jeer of the Week
On Monday, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would require transgender students to use school bathrooms that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. AAUW opposed a similar law passed in North Carolina in 2016, because all students should have equal access to education, regardless of gender.
The Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 is headed to Gov. Kate Brown’s (D-OR) desk after unanimous passage in the Senate. The House also unanimously re-passed the final version of the bill. AAUW of Oregon members worked tirelessly to ensure that a strong bill made it through the legislative process, even earning a shout-out on the Senate floor from Republican Deputy Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who referencedAAUW’s decades of work on the issue along with the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (AAUW’s predecessor) and its 1896 report on pay equity.
CBO Report Finds House-passed Health Care Bill Would Leave 23 Million More People Uninsured
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and members of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released a report estimating that the House-passed health care bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion, but would cause 23 million more people to lose coverage in 2026. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would allow states to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and to change their requirements for covering essential health benefits including prevention screenings and emergency room visits. CBO projected that these changes would lower premiums for healthy people, but increase costs for the nation’s most vulnerable populations. The AHCA also threatens coverage of key services for women, such as maternity care and birth control coverage, and defunds Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides access to important preventative care for people of all genders. Republican senators voiced concerns over passage of the bill, citing major changes needed to gain a 50-member majority vote (Vice President Mike Pence is the tie breaking vote in such circumstances). AAUW opposes the House-passed version of the AHCA because it would weaken women’s access to affordable, quality health coverage and put the health, well-being, and economic security of millions of families in jeopardy.
President Trump’s Budget Proposes Massive Cuts to Education, Medicaid, and More
President Donald Trump’s newly released $4.1 trillion federal budget seeks massive cuts to many executive departments and agencies, including the U.S. Departments of State, Labor, and Education. To offset increases to the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the president’s proposed budget cuts Medicaid by $800 billion over ten years and eliminates 66 programs. This includes the proposed elimination of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP, which enforces civil rights with federal contractors) as well as the cutting of all Women’s Bureau regional offices, both of which would undermine equal employment opportunities. Although Pell grants are included in the president’s budget, the U.S. Department of Education, facing a 13.6 percent funding cut, would see staff reductions in the Office of Civil Rights; the elimination of subsidized student loans, campus-based childcare funding, and public service loan forgiveness; and a $1.2 billion cut for after-school programs, many of which serve low-income students. Congress controls the purse strings, however, and will ultimately decide which budget proposals will become law.
It is possible for someone who works full time, 52-weeks a year, to make only $15,080 annually – a salary below the federal poverty line for a family of two. With women making up two-thirds of those working minimum wage jobs,increasing the federal minimum wage is a women’s issue. Women, particularly women of color, are disproportionately impacted by low pay.Urge your senators and representative to fight for working women and raise the federal minimum wage!
Urge your members of Congress to reject President Donald Trump’s budget proposal. If enacted, the recently released Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal would have a severe and detrimental impact on women’s economic security, access to education, and civil rights for all. Congress must reject the president’s budget and pass one that supports women and families, instead of harming them.
Tell Congress: Protect Women and Families in the Federal Budget
AAUW believes the federal budget should be an expression of our values and a signal of where women and girls stand in the government’s priorities.
Yet, yesterday President Donald Trump released a budget proposal that, if enacted, would have a severe and detrimental impact on women and families’ economic security, access to education, and civil rights. The president’s budget proposal does not have the power of law, because Congress controls the power of the purse. However, it does reflect the priorities of the administration, and what we’ve seen is troubling.
It is up to Congress to reject President Trump’s budget and instead pass one that supports women and families, not harms them.
The Trump Administration’s budget includes harmful proposals such as:
- Slashing key programs that make it possible for women to go to college. The budget would eliminate subsidized student loans and public service loan forgiveness, cut the Pell grant program, and zero-out funding for on-campus childcare.
- Investing in further research on private school vouchers, even though the most recent studies demonstrate that vouchers have not improved student achievement.
- Cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicaid program, putting health care out of reach of those most in need. In addition, and for the first time in history, the budget proposal would prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in federal programs including providing cancer screenings funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping with Zika virus prevention, providing HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, using Violence Against Women Act grants to prevent sexual assault, and engaging in maternal and child health programs.
- Reducing staff in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the office that enforces Title IX. The President’s proposal eliminates about 40 crucial positions.
- Eliminating the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor, which enforces protections against discrimination – including pay discrimination – for employees of federal contractors. Reassigning this office’s functions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would be a grave mistake that undermines equal employment opportunities.
While AAUW is pleased to see the year-round Pell program included in the president’s budget and appreciate the Administration’s commitment to paid parental leave, both proposals have flaws that must be addressed. The administration’s budget proposal cuts Pell grants overall, creating a tradeoff that is unacceptable. And the optional, state-based paid parental leave program falls short of the type of paid family and medical leave program working families need by leaving out many workers.
Congress needs to know this proposal simply won’t do. Tell your members of Congress to protect women and families in the federal budget and reject the president’s proposal.
Tell Your Senators to Oppose Faux Flexibility Legislation
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the deceptively named Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180/S. 801), a faux flex-time proposal that would result in a loss of overtime pay for millions of working people.
The Working Families Flexibility Act claims to offer flexibility to employees by allowing them to convert overtime work into paid time off (“comp time”) for family responsibilities. What it really does is erode longstanding overtime protections and create a law that would offer hardworking people a false choice between time off and money earned.
AAUW is committed to greater availability of and access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, which are critical to achieving economic self-sufficiency for all women. The Working Families Flexibility Act would provide the exact opposite – cutting overtime pay and limiting flexibility for working families and women.
Take action to stop this harmful legislation from advancing. Urge your Senators to oppose the Working Families Flexibility Act now.
89 Percent of Colleges Reported Zero Incidents of Rape in 2015: What You Can Do About It
Newly updated data required by the Clery Act indicate that the annual statistics collected by colleges and universities still do not tell the full story of sexual violence on campus. AAUW’s analysis of the 2015 Clery data revealed the following:
- Eighty-nine percent of college campuses disclosed zero reported incidences of rape in 2015. With about 11,000 campuses providing annual crime data, an overwhelming majority of schools certified that in 2015 they did not receive a single report of rape.
- For 2015 about 9 percent of campuses disclosed a reported incident of domestic violence, around 10 percent disclosed a reported incident of dating violence, and about 13 percent of campuses disclosed a reported incident of stalking. So in each of these categories as well, most campuses did not disclose any reported incidents in 2015.
- Among the main or primary campuses of colleges and universities with enrollment of at least 250 students, 73 percent disclosed zero rape reports in 2015.
- The 2015 numbers show that campuses that reported one type of sexual violence often disclosed reports of other types. This suggests that some schools have built the necessary systems to welcome and handle reports, support survivors, and disclose accurate statistics — and others have not.
Though our analysis shows that disclosures are lacking, colleges and universities are required to report this data—you can check up on your college or university here. However, elementary and secondary schools are not required. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia do track student sexual assaults, but that information is also often incomplete. If you are concerned about these issues, make sure that Title IX coordinators in your area understand their critical role in making schools more equitable and safe. Our interactive maps help you find your local Title IX coordinators at both K-12 schools and colleges and universities, and this tool explains how your branch can participate in AAUW’s Title IX delivery project. Branches have taken on this project throughout the past year, and made over 700 deliveries in 28 states nationwide. Let’s make it happen at every school in all 50 states!
Battles Over Voting Access Continue in the States
From redistricting to new ways to cast ballots to requirements that limit access to the polls, who gets to vote and how they do it is a continual hot topic at the state level. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in a case regarding a restrictive North Carolina voting law. The lower court previously struck down the law, finding that it attempted to restrict and “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” Similarly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Texas lawmakers intentionally diluted the political power of minority voters in drawing legislative districts. Both rulings are major wins for voting rights advocates, but other threats persist across the country. North Dakota recently passed a bill addressing voter identification in an attempt to respond to a previous court ruling on the matter. Those who oppose the bill argue that it still will not pass constitutional muster. In New Hampshire, the Senate cleared a bill that would put new restrictions in place that would make it harder for low-income individuals and students to vote. It is under consideration in the House. On the other hand, a Same Day Registration bill has passed the Alaska House and is under consideration in the Senate.
Making Child Care Affordable and Accessible
For women to achieve economic and social equity, there must be greater availability and access to child care and related supports. Not only would these reforms benefit women, but children need good care and early learning opportunities to set them up for the rest of their lives. As it stands, most families cannot afford adequate care, particularly low-wage families. Families in Washington, D.C. are hit the hardest, with less than 10 percent of families able to afford infant care and less than a quarter able to afford care for four-year olds. South Dakota families fare the best, with nearly 60 percent able to afford infant care, and over 65 percent affording care for four-year olds. But that still leaves a significant gap. A new report points to the lack of uniform paid leave, high child care costs, inadequate reach of subsidies for low-income families, and poor and uneven quality of early child care and education as factors that must be addressed. In order to assess possible remedies, policymakers should ask the following questions:
- Do all parents have the option to stay home with their infants, newly adopted children, or new foster children?
- Is the cost burden of early child care and education eased for low- and middle-income families?
- Are there investments in the early child care and education workforce?
Bringing these considerations to the forefront during policy discussions will help to create systems that produce the results we need for all families.
YWTFJ Jax Public Policy Updates by Charlotte Cudd
AAUW Jacksonville Public Policy By Carolyn Smith
CALL YOUR US HOUSE AND/OR SENATE REPRESENTATIVES FOR THESE ACTIONS
- PROTEST THE WORKPLACE ADVANCEMENT ACT (S345).
- Submitted by Sen. Deb Fisher, this bill is to AAUW “a do-nothing, disingenuous bill that does not strengthen
existing pay equity protections and could harm women by giving a false sense of security.” b. AAUW advocates, instead, for legislation that would offer, promote, regulate, and enforce pay equity,
protect employees, and guide employers in procedures for salary negotiations.
- PROTEST THE WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT (H. R. 1180)
- This bill has moved through the House Committee on Education and the Workplace. b. AAUW protests because “flexibility” means that employers can cut overtime pay and limit flexibility in
paternal and sick leaves, thus harming working women in particular.
- PROTEST THE GOP’S CURRENT VERSION OF THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE.
- AAUW’s Public Policy 2015-17 advocates for “increased access to quality and affordable health care” and
expansion of “patients’ rights and choices.” b. AAUW protests the current US House’s AHC because it limits access to quality and affordable health care for
many more people than allowed under the Affordable Care Act of 2011. Also, unlike the ACA, the American Health Care limits choices and rights.
- AAUW will continue advocating for its Public Policy Program, 2015-17, especially during its ongoing lobby days
and especially during its National Convention, June 14-17. 2. AAUW recommends Reconnecting Justice.
This study of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success shows connections between education, jobs, and the criminal justice system. This offers material that helps AAUW in its advocacy in its public policy 2015-17 to ensure full access to civil and constitutional rights and freedom not only from violence but also freedom from fear of violence. 3. AAUW cheers Astronaut Peggy Winston.
In late April, she broke the record for longest consecutive days in space, surpassing the 534-day record. By the time she returns to Earth this fall, she will have spent 666 days in space. 4. AAUW jeers male justices and advocates at the Supreme Court.
A study of the Harvard Business Week shows that males interrupt Supreme Court female justices three times more than they interrupt each other during oral arguments. 5. AAUW accepts the US Dept. of Education’s study of SOAR (D. C.’s voucher program, called Scholarships for
Opportunity and Results). The voucher students scored much lower on standardized math and reading tests than public students without vouchers.