The NORTH COUNTRY CONNECTION

ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY BRANCH

New York State AAUW

April 2012

Editor: Donna Seymour


CONTENTS

AAUW - SLC Branch: AAUW - State and National:


Spring Has Sprung and AAUW is on the Move! Join us.

The pages of this issue are filled with many wonderful opportunities to join in the work (and fun) of AAUW as we close out the 2011-12 year. From the 5-K Run for Congo Women to the Clothing Fair to another exciting $tart $mart workshop to funding new Open Windows for Girls camperships, you can play a part in the work of AAUW. Check out the many choices and join us when and where you can.

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An Open Call for Leaders

As we prepare for our annual meeting, which will be a pot luck on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 pm in the Parish Hall at Trinity Church in Potsdam on Fall Island, we also look toward filling the slate for elected office for 2012-14. There are several positions open for election and the branch invites you to consider joining our winning leadership team!

The 2012 Nominating Committee is Donna Seymour, Jennifer Ball and Kathleen Stein. We invite anyone interested to contact one of us for more detail. We are always open to creative leadership solutions for busy people than can include a co-leader for a position to meet your needs. The Board meets several times during the year on a flexible schedule, and much of your work can be accomplished electronically, which helps us all fill the responsibilities in our busy lives. AAUW is doing important work both locally and around the country. You have the skills, the vision and commitment to move us forward!

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AAUW-SUNY Canton Again Team Up To Sponsor
The 11th Professional Clothing Fair - April 18 & 19

Despite the recent news about unemployment easing slightly in the nation, here in the North Country job seekers are still competing hard for openings. And the cost of new clothing makes dressing for success an expensive proposition. But thanks to SUNY Canton and the St. Lawrence County Branch of AAUW, help is at hand with the 11th annual Professional Clothing Fair.

College students and other "shoppers" will have a chance to look over the selection of "gently used" clothing at the annual Professional Clothing Fair. The 2012 Fair will be held on April 18 and 19 at the SUNY Canton Miller Campus Center's Multipurpose Gym. You can shop from 10 am to 6 pm on April 18 and 10 am to 3 pm on April 19. "Gently used" or new clothing and accessories will be available, thanks to the generous donations of many North Country organizations and people.

You can drop off your donations of clean, ready to hang clothing from April 12-16 from 7 am to 7 pm at the ground floor of the Miller Center. (Park in Lot 13.) Charitable donation tax receipts using standard valuation charts are available upon request. The Fair is open to anyone looking to get a few items of clothing suitable for a job interview, student teaching, or the office.

For more information, to donate clothing or your time, contact AAUW member Betty Connolly. In 2003 AAUW earned a Make a Difference Day Award from USA Weekend magazine for the Clothing Fair in recognition of the spirit of community the event engendered.

Economic studies have shown that a period of un- or under-employment follows a worker for years. A low starting wage for women translates into a lifetime of lost wages for her and her family thanks to the pay gap, not to mention the loss of retirement savings and Social Security down the road. The Clothing Fair is our way of helping North Country families make ends meet!

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Student Action on Campus: Students Combat Human Trafficking

Kudos to a group of four students who have launched a St. Lawrence University Human Wrong Campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking and child slavery and to give a voice to the victims of this human rights violation. The final activity planned for this spring is a Human Trafficking Panel Discussion on April 6 at 4 pm in Room 218 of Hepburn Hall, SLU.

A truly cross-campus event, the panelists will include Dr. Sabel Bong from SUNY Canton discussing Sex Tourism and Child Sex Slavery in South East Asia (mainly Cambodia); Dr. David Bugg from SUNY Potsdam discussing Human Trafficking as part of the greater global organized, criminal activity; and Dr. Isaac Joslin from St. Lawrence discussing the issue of child soldiering as a form of human trafficking. In addition, a student researcher from SUNY Potsdam will contribute, as will three St. Lawrence students. To learn more, visit the Human Wrong Campaign website.

The very worthy goal of these student organizers is to create a permanent Human Wrong Campaign group on the campus starting next fall.

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An AAUW-NYS's My Sister's Keeper 2.0 Project:

St. Lawrence County 2nd annual
5-K Run For Congo Women

Running for the Human Rights of Women in the Congo
10 am on Sat., April 14 at the Partridge Run Trail in Canton

Have you signed up to run/walk for the 2nd annual St. Lawrence County Run For Congo Women on April 14? You can be involved by participating in the run, sponsoring a runner, or making a contribution.

The 2011 Run attracted 100 runners and raised $3,000. The goal this year is $10,000 and 30% of that total has already been raised, via the secure on-line donation site.

The Run for Congo Women raises funds to benefit Women for Women International's programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Women for Women International supports women in war and post-war regions with financial assistance, job skills training, rights awareness education, trauma counseling, and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.

Run organizer and AAUW student member Shawn Austin says, "Helping Congolese women is particularly important because they were targets of violence during the country's prolonged civil war. More people died in that war than any war since the Holocaust."

The St. Lawrence University Women's Resource Center, a community of young women at SLU, are working in partnership with AAUW-St. Lawrence County on this year's Run. These exciting young women are also working on creating an AAUW Campus student organization!

Join this effort! Sign up on Race Day.

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2012 $tart $mart Workshop

Co-sponsored by the School of Education, Women & Gender Studies & AAUW

The $tart $mart Negotiation Workshop will provide you with the knowledge and skills to prepare you for negotiating for your professional salary and benefit package. Don't settle for less.

The 3-hour workshop covers topics such as the gender earnings gap and strategies and techniques in negotiation, including how to estimate how much salary individuals should earn, given their qualifications and locations. Since 2009, AAUW and the WAGE Project have partnered to ensure that women graduating from college start their careers knowing how to negotiate for fair and equal pay. This partnership has offered $tart $mart Campus Negotiation Workshops to 500 college campuses over the last three years.

Encourage students to attend; it will make a real difference. The Pay Gap starts your first day on the job, so get off to an equal start with equal pay by getting the skills you need. Contact Lily Trevizan at to register or for more information!

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Report: 60% of Older Women Can't Afford Basics

If you think Pay Equity doesn't matter, consider this:

The annual income of the typical older woman was $14,000 in 2010, compared with the older man's $24,300, finds a March 29 report from Wider Opportunities for Women, a Washington-based organization that works to improve the economic security for women and families.

About 60 percent of American women over age 65 lack sufficient income to cover basic living expenses, compared with 41percent of men. Using the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, which defines the basic expenses facing retired adults over the age of 65, the organization's researchers found that an older adult required from $19,100 to $29,000 a year, depending on the individual's housing situation. Forty-nine percent of white women and 61 percent of older Asian women were unable to meet their monthly expenses for housing, food, health care and other necessities. Three out of four African-American and Hispanic women had insufficient funds. And more elderly women live alone, which contributes to their financial insecurity.

Women's care-giving also took a toll. Because they took time off to raise families and care for parents and other relatives, their lifetime earnings are lower. In addition, women were less likely to have income from pensions. Only 36 percent of older women had income from a retirement plan or pension, compared with 52 percent of older men. The pension of the typical man exceeded the typical women's by $5,700 a year.

The study indicated that women were more reliant on Social Security. Among those living alone, Social Security payments constituted 59 percent of older men's total income, on average, compared with 77 percent of women's income. And typically women receive smaller annual payments: median women's payments lagged behind men's by $4,500 per year.

The Elder Index takes into account local differences in the cost of living, providing the most accurate picture of what adults in every part of the country need to have economic security. Older adults with inadequate incomes are often forced to choose among basic needs, including medications, nutritious food and adequate heating and cooling.

Each year, the NYS Assembly passes a raft of Pay Equity bills. And each year, the NYS Senate does not. That lack of attention matters to older women in New York State. On Pay Equity Day - April 17 - contact your NYS Senator and demand they do a better job of representing all New Yorkers!

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AAUW Analysis: Data on Bullying,
Harassment in Schools Lacks Credibility

In an analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Education, AAUW found remarkable gaps in reporting of incidences of sexual harassment and bullying in our nation's schools. AAUW applauds the Department of Education's release of the expanded data from the 2009-2010 school year, which for the first time includes statistics on bullying and harassment, disciplinary actions, and students with disabilities, among other items.

However, according to AAUW's analysis, 14 of the 20 largest school districts in the nation reported no incidents of bullying or harassment based on gender. These numbers fly in the face of reputable research and common sense. The AAUW report Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School (2011) found that nearly half of all surveyed students in grades seven through 12 reported they had been harassed in school year 2010-11. About a third of all girls and a quarter of boys said they had witnessed sexual harassment at school.

"These reports of no sexual harassment and bullying happening in a school district are impossible to believe," said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. "It just does not sync with what we know to be the unfortunate reality for many school children in this nation."

District 7's terrific Bully Culture Conference on March 3 looked at this issue of bullying in schools closely.

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AAUW's Named Scholarship

Begun in 1932 as an Emergency Loan Fund for college students, the St. Lawrence County AAUW Named Scholarship evolved into an award to a graduating student of SUNY Canton who is planning to continue her education at a four-year institution of higher education. Since 1991 the scholarship has been named in honor of or in memory of a local AAUW member.

The 2012 AAUW Scholarship application is available on the branch website with the final date for submission is May 8 to Mary Bucher. As many of you know, we fund our yearly scholarship from the interest earned from our $10,000 AAUW endowment managed by the Canton College Foundation. This year's amount is just under $500, "thanks" to the poor interest rates.

However, through the generosity of one member, an additional $250 is being donated to the scholarship via the Foundation. If you would like to make a tax-deductable contribution toward this year's scholarship to help increase the amount before May 8, simply write a check to Canton College Foundation and note "AAUW Scholarship enhancement" in the memo. That amount will be credited toward this year's award. Send the check to: Julie Parkman, Associate Director for Advancement, SUNY Canton, 34 Cornell Drive, Canton, NY 13617. The costs of higher education continue to outpace inflation, so any help we can give a student is deeply appreciated.

This year we are honoring AAUW member Faye W. White. Faye enjoyed a long and distinguished career at SUNY Canton in the Math Department. And she has been an indefatigable AAUW member. Her love for and commitment to our Open Windows for Girls project is legendary. We are honored to honor her work with this year's Named Scholarship Award.

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Ruth Colvin, Literacy Pioneer, at SLU on April 10

If there is one thing all AAUW members share, it is a love of reading. You have a wonderful opportunity to meet the woman who founded the Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. this month.

Ruth Colvin will be presenting a lecture on April 10 at 7pm in Griffiths 123 on the St. Lawrence University campus. Ruth is a literacy teacher, author, and the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. LVA merged to become ProLiteracy, a national, volunteer, educational organization with nearly 1000 affiliates across the USA. LVA provides both ESL (English as a Second Language) and basic literacy education.

Ruth, who lives in Syracuse, has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993, has nine Honorary Degrees, Doctor of Humane Letters and was President Reagan's Volunteer Action Award in 1987. Ruth is the author of five books on literacy and English Second Language, one on travel, five on native language literacy and many newspaper and magazine articles. Ruth has worked in 26 developing countries in training and consulting. She has visited 62 countries. Ruth's newest book, Off The Beaten Path, will be for sale the evening of the lecture.

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Equal Pay Day: April 17
The Pay Gap Isn't Closed by More Education

Talk about being between a rock (the pay gap) and hard place (the cost of more education); the average American woman can not catch a break. And in today's tough economy that has more and more families in trouble, this situation is putting women and their families in an even more precarious position.

Nearly 50 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women continue to earn only 77 cents on the dollar. In this recession, with women now making up half of the workforce and more and more families relying on a women's paycheck to make ends meet, ensuring that women are paid fairly is more important than ever.

The American Association of University Women's (AAUW) Behind the Pay Gap research shows that just one year out of college, a woman working full time already earn less than her male colleague, even when they work in the same field. Ten years out, the wage gap is even larger.

Even more unfairly, a 2009 U.S. Census Bureau report has found that in every field, at every level of education, women earn less than men. This is the case even in professions typically dominated by women, such as education and the liberal arts. Furthermore, as men and women achieve higher levels of education, the pay gap widens.

According to that report, women are required to seek increasingly higher degrees if they hope to equal the pay of their less-educated male peers. And we know that the cost of education has skyrocketed in recent years, far beyond the pace of inflation. And this is even truer for higher education degrees.

By some accounts, the student loan debt is a ticking time bomb set to go off in a variety of ways. The 3.4% interest rates on federal student loans for the current school year are set to double this summer unless Congress acts soon. Given that extending the 3.4% rate will cost $5.6 billion a year, getting this Congress to act may be problematical.

Two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2010 had student loan debt, and the average balance was more than $25,000, according to the Project on Student Debt. They find the average debt for students at public universities is about $20,000, but grows to between $27,650 and $33,050 for students at private schools.

And new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans. More than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent. As a result, consumer advocates say, it is not uncommon for Social Security checks to be garnished or for debt collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student loans that are decades old. Imagine the scenario down the road after years of under- or unemployment!

A woman pays exactly the same for her college education that a man does. That debt load is especially hard on women. They make less at work, they have just as much, if not more, in student loan debt for the extra degrees they need to keep up, and they will probably have to work longer in order to meet their financial obligations and save for retirement.

Equal pay for equal work is not only an issue of fairness, but would go along way toward helping women - and their families - break even.

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Open Windows for Girls

Faye White reminds all branch members that the summer camp season is just around the corner for many young girls in our county. Requests for camperships for summer educational activities are coming in. Faye will be mailing out letters soon asking for your support as she tries to fill all the requests. Please be as generous as you can.

2012 is our 23rd year for Open Windows, which started in 1989 with a bake sale to send two girls to dance camp. Hundreds of girls ages 10-15 have attended 4-H Camp, Girl Scout Day Camp, sports camps at local colleges, math, science and invention camps, school trips to Washington, DC, the state and county fairs to compete in 4-H competitions, technology and computer camps, the DEC Environmental camp, and to music camps, among many other opportunities.

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Mission Statements:

The American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. AAUW will be a powerful advocate and visible leader in equity and education through research, philanthropy, and measurable change in critical areas impacting the lives of women and girls.

In principle and practice AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

The AAUW Educational Opportuntities Fund provides funds to advance education, research, and self-development for women and to foster equity and positive societal change.

The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund provides funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination.

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AAUW Book Group and
AAUW's Diversity Book of the Month Club for 2011-12


Branch Calendar of Events


North County Connection - St. Lawrence County Branch Home - Site Map