Virginia DiGiuseppe and Sandy Stanley spoke to the Club as members and leaders of the Grosse Pointe Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
The AAUW is a national organization that has been in existence for 140 years. The GP Branch was formed 78 years ago and consists of members with 12 board members and 4 executive officers. Its mission is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Its vision: diversity is their strength, equity is their commitment, inclusion is their destination, with the result being empowerment.
The focus is on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for girls at the elementary and middle school levels. A 10-girl Legos robotics team has been formed at Defer Elementary that competes in a league. Another team, of 11 girls, at Pierce Middle School won an award in a Legos robotics competition. The emphasis on STEM led to STEAM, with the inclusion of art. This program has 45 students, from ages 13-19, at local schools participating. The organization also awards scholarships at the national and local levels, with four awarded in Grosse Pointe last year.
Through public policy, it is looking to change legislation, with the Equal Rights Amendment and the Fair Pay Act as the primary areas of focus. Nationally, it has a program in place called Two-Minute Activist to encourage legislators to fight for equal pay, family leave, and to stop sexual harassment.