Public Policy Issues

Public Policy Chair: Kathleen Stein

"Because Equity is Still an Issue."

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AAUW is tracking the status of federal and state legislation which affects a number of areas of Public Policy. For more information about the status of selected pieces of legislation, click on any of the following items:

Updated February 7, 2015


‘It’s My Vote’ Campaign Aims to Engage Millennials

Next week, the AAUW Action Fund will launch the “It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard” campaign. The nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort will mobilize women voters for the 2012 election, with a focus on millennial voters. The campaign targets this group of women – ages 18 to 31 – because the group is as numerous as the baby boomers, but has not established a consistent pattern of voting. The campaign will include voter education trainings across the United States, public service announcements, and more to deliver the message that elections matter for women and girls. All of the information about the campaign is anchored on the new AAUW Action Fund website. Stay tuned, and get excited!

- from AAUW's Washington Update for February 10, 2012.

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AAUW Launches "Elect Her" Initiative

AAUW's Elect Her initiative acknowledges the necessity to build the pipeline of women running for office to diminish the long-standing political leadership gender gap. This initiative consists of a full continuum of programming to empower women from high school onward to view themselves as political candidates. Learn more by reading the Elect Her FAQ.

- from AAUW's Washington Update for May 14, 2010.

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Women's Pathways to Public Office

The Center for American Women and Politics recently released Poised to Run, a report on the factors bringing women to public office. According to the report, the majority of women who run for public office do so due to recruitment from an outside source, typically from a political party. Research also suggests that while no prior public office experience is required for a woman to run, campaign resources are essential for any woman looking to win a seat in public office.

- from AAUW's Washington Update for February 19, 2010.

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Women Make More Effective Lawmakers

According to a study from Stanford University and the University of Chicago researchers, women are more effective lawmakers than men. According to Politico, the study, which focused on the performance of House members from 1984 to 2004, found that on average, women representatives introduced more bills, attracted more cosponsors, and brought more money to their districts than their male peers did. The researchers accounted for things like representatives' seniority, party affiliation, majority/minority status, and priorities when making their comparisons. Women currently hold just 17 percent of the seats in the House and the Senate.

- from AAUW's Washington Update for September 18, 2009.

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Congress Approves Congressional Gold Medal for WASPs

On Tuesday, the House passed (voice vote) a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). S. 614, which unanimously passed the Senate in May, was authored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and would authorize the creation of a gold medal to commemorate the service of the first women to fly planes for the United States Military. Women who chose to fly airplanes for the United States, beginning in World War II, were denied military status, often killed in the line of duty, and flown back to their families without funeral expense payments, gold stars, or American flags on their coffins. Their service has been commemorated in the Smithsonian and in national, state, and local flight and Air Force museums, and has now been officially recognized by U.S. Congress.

- from AAUW's Washington Update for June 19, 2009.

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The Politics and Ideology of the Millennial Generation

The Center for American Progress released a report this week that highlighted the large generational rift in cultural values between "millennials" aged 18-29 and the American population over the age of 30. Those surveyed were asked a variety of questions concerning their social, political, cultural, and issue-specific values, beliefs, and ideologies. While Americans over 30 rate "liberty" and "justice" as the two most important political values, 48 percent of young people said "opportunity" and 41 percent picked "equality." The report also concluded that millennials take race and gender equality as givens and generally display little interest in fighting over the divisive social issues of the past.

The most important millennial issues, the report found, are socio-cultural ones, excellent news for women's and civil rights organizations like AAUW looking to attract new members and effect positive social change for women and underrepresented minorities. To find out more about how millennial ideology matches up to AAUW policy, read our 2009-2010 Federal Policy Agenda.

- from AAUW's Washington Update for May 22, 2009.

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