Indiana AAUW
Last Updated March

Indiana Bulletin

~Spring 2001 Articles~

Judy Singleton to Keynote State Convention
Jean Amman
Indiana AAUW Director of Program 
Jacqueline Woods named Executive Director
Report Card on Federal Government Action for Women’s and Girls’ Rights and Empowerment
Phrases from Phyllis
AAUW Indiana President, 
Phyllis Thompson
Military Service: The New Equity Frontier?
Great Lakes Regional Director 
Barbara Bonsignore
National Partnership Program
Win up to $1000 for your disability action project
Gender Fairness Coalition 
of Indiana
Jean Amman
AAUW Brightens my Day
Treva May, Indiana AAUW Membership
Need Help with Diversity?
Carroll Parsons, Indiana AAUW Diversity Coordinator and Educational Equity Chair
Day at the Capitol
Educational Foundation
Beth LeRoy, Educational Foundation Chair

Judy Singleton to Keynote State Convention
Jean Amman, director of program
You will not want to miss Judy H. Singleton – businesswoman, writer, lecturer, and former editor of Indianapolis Woman magazine – who will be the keynoter for the April State Convention.

Judy, who has been studying women trailblazers since 1983, is a trailblazer in her own right. As president of the Network of Women in Business, she was invited to Kennedy Space Center to witness the historic launch of the space shuttle Challenger with astronaut Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. In 1994 she spent a weekend on the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, where she interviewed the first two women to be permanently assigned to a battleship in the history of the U.S. Navy.

In 1995 she traveled to Romania to help train national women leaders for key roles in their country’s emerging democracy after the fall of Communism. Then in 1999 she did a 10-day safari on horseback in Botswana with the only woman-owned and operated outfitter in Africa.

However, now she has chosen to focus on Indiana women for a calendar series that began in 2000. She explains, "I’m a seventh-generation Hoosier, and I wanted to do something for the women of Indiana who have been neglected in the written history of our state."

The calendar, entitled Indiana Trailblazing Women, has garnered much praise. To quote Sue Anne Gilroy, the first woman ever to serve as Indiana Secretary of State, "Only Judy Singleton…could bring together such a peerless selection of Indiana women who share the common experience of leading the way, breaking down barriers, and expanding the possibilities for every woman who follows on the path they have cut…In simple but moving stories, we find the essence of the trailblazing woman: preparation, hard work, and the courage to step out and meet new challenges."

Judy Singleton is a woman you will want to meet!

Phrases from Phyllis
Phyllis Thompson, Indiana President
Happy New Year! By the time you receive this letter, hopefully it will be warm in Indiana. However, in our hearts and plans for AAUW, things have been burning right along.

I am so excited about all the wonderful plans and programs that are being developed in our state and in our communities. As Eleanor Roosevelt stated, "Nobody really does anything alone." That is so true. For everything we do in life, it is essential we must reach out, touch and work member to member, branch to branch, branch to state, state to state, and community to community. We must learn to work together, to communicate and "reach out and touch."

Now for some specifics about how we can work together:

    1. Plan to attend and bring AAUW members and community leaders to our very first Women Come to the Capitol. Mitzi Witchger, our very own state board member and president of the Indianapolis branch, has been working on this event with the Indiana Commission for Women . Our Day at the Capitol will be March 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Indianapolis. Please let everyone know this will be happening and plan now to come. We can make a difference!
    2. April 21, 2001 will be our State Convention in Fort Wayne. The theme for convention is "Indiana Trailblazing Women." Indiana AAUW members certainly fit this category. What an exciting time to be on the cutting edge. Your state board knows you will want to come and participate. Each member is wanted and expected.
    3. Shaping our future is the theme for Association Convention June 22-25, 2001 in Austin, Texas You will be given an official invitation in April, but hopefully all branches now are planning to send one or more delegates. This is such a unique experience and is key to our moving forward together.
    4. August 10-17, 2001 is the IFUW Triennial Convention in Ottawa, Canada . Our own Mary Helen Barnes of Anderson is going to this event. We will have her share with us at our leadership event in July.
    5. July 27-28 will be Indiana’s leadership training event in Anderson. On the 27th will be a board of directors’ retreat. All branch presidents are encouraged to attend and participate in this retreat. On Saturday, program and membership vice presidents and committees are going to join our party. This will be a fantastic and learning time for all of us. As Mitzi Witchger says, "Wisdom is not how much you know, but how you use what you know." We are going to learn how to use our wisdom together.
I’m going to close with a quote from Transitions: Declarations for a Changing Life by Julia Cameron: "We alter our lives by the opinions we hold of them. If we see ourselves as daring, we will dare. We can change our lives by changing our perceptions. We can identify those plots and patterns we wish to alter. While it is important to have the faculty of self-scrutiny, it is equally important to have the gift of self-appreciation. We can identify and cherish those character traits, which are our strengths. I acknowledge and appreciate my own accomplishments and talents. I note what I do well and appreciate my own accomplishments and talents. I note when I do well and applaud myself for my merits. Such self-appraisal is not mere narcissism. It is the bedrock of solid self worth."
As we move forward together in Indiana, let us appreciate who we are and what we can do together.

Gender Fairness Coalition of Indiana
Jean Amman, director of program
The Gender Fairness Coalition of Indiana is asking for increased support from AAUW. Because there are so many important issues to be addressed in today’s political climate, it is imperative that women’s voices make themselves heard – and it takes women working in coalition to make that happen. It is particularly important that we continue to have competent representation during Indiana’s legislative sessions. Lobbyist Sandy Bickel has done a brilliant job of representing our interests at that level; however, the organizations of the Gender Fairness Coalition need sufficient funds to pay her.

Your Indiana AAUW Board of Directors has budgeted $300 for the Coalition for the current year. However, it is more likely that between $750 to $1000 is needed from AAUW if the Coalition is able to support Ms. Bickel adequately. Therefore, the Board encourages all members of Indiana AAUW to make a personal contribution.

Please mail your check to Mary Lou Thomas, state director of finance. For those of you attending our State Convention in April, you will find a place on the registration form to indicate your donation. Thank you from your Board of Directors and the Gender Fairness Coalition!

P.S. If you have questions, please contact past president Joan Kutlu , who has been active in the Coalition.

Day at the Capitol

This is a chance for us to participate with other women’s groups across the state by attending in the Indiana Commission for Women’s Women at the Capitol Day on Tuesday, March 27 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Call 317/232-6720 for the latest information or visit

The Indiana Commission for Women along with AAUW is organizing this gathering of Hoosier women. The day will include registration, a session on how a bill becomes law, workshops, lunch, and time to visit your own lawmaker’s office.

It will be up to us to share our own concerns with legislators. Focus topics will be on domestic violence, health care, education, and job training.

Jacqueline Woods named Executive Director

Jacqueline Woods was appointed executive director of the three corporations comprising AAUW – the Association, the Educational Foundation, and the Legal Advocacy Fund – effective December 11, 2000. She was formerly the director of the community Colleges Liaison Office at the Department of Education.

"We are fortunate to have someone of Jackie’s caliber take the helm at AAUW," said Sandy Bernard, president of AAUW. "She is coming on board at a critical time as AAUW grows and evolves to meet the changing needs of women and girls in the 21st century. Under her stewardship we will provide a voice for education and equity for the next generation of women."

"For more than 100 years AAUW has been advocating on behalf of women and girls," said Ms. Woods. "The advances for women during that time have been remarkable. I look forward to working with the AAUW staff and board to continue in this tradition to open doors and create new opportunities for all women and girls."

Military Service: The New Equity Frontier?
Barbara Bonsignore, Great Lakes Regional Director

In 1980 the following resolution was adopted: AAUW supports equity for women; therefore, women must be included in any proposal for military registration. (AAUW Historic Principles 1881-1989)

The words "equity" and "equitable treatment" take on new meaning when they are applied in a non-traditional context such as women in military service. Women have participated in the defense of this country since before the United States was formed. They have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. In her book Side-By-Side, Vickie Lewis has dedicated the work to the two million American heroines who have served our country in peacetime and war.

There is a Women In Military Service For America Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. Perhaps some of you visited it, as I did, during the 1999 AAUW Convention. At the opening ceremonies in 1997, Attorney General of the United States, Janet Reno, said this: "As we face a new century with weapons that stagger the imagination and convert vanity to prayer, as we look at a world whose borders have shrunk, and at technology that presents challenges and risks that are remarkable, let us draw strength and courage from the splendid women who have served this country with such gallantry, bravery, and grace."

Women’s role in military service is under constant examination and redefinition. For example, a 1990 Defense Department survey of 20,000 military women found that two out of three had experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in the previous year. When the U.S. went to war in the Persian Gulf in 1991, record numbers of women were included. Many were older, better educated, more highly trained and often skilled in a specialized field. Many were married with children.

Federal law mandated that the Navy and Air Force prohibit women from serving on an aircraft or ship engaged in combat, but no such law was in force in the Army. Thirteen military women died during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. One survivor, Major Rhonda Cornum, army flight surgeon on a rescue mission to aid a downed F-16 pilot was captured, suffered abuse at the hands of her captors, as well as two broken arms sustained in the crash. She was eventually released and returned to the United States.

Why am I raising this issue of women in military service, and what does it have to do with AAUW’s commitment to equity? In June 2000, the keynote speaker for the Great Lakes Regional Conference in Madison, Wisconsin was Major Vikki L. Getchell, a graduate of the University of North Dakota, who had flown 43 missions into northern Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Desert Storm, refueling planes in flight. Vikki described the cultural differences they were forced to accept, including extreme restrictions on female personnel serving in Saudi Arabia. She talked about overcoming discrimination in order to become the first female pilot in the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

She went on to talk about the importance of mentoring by challenging each of us to commit six hours a year to encouraging students, especially young girls, to become STARs ( S-tudy math, science, computer), (T-rain yourself by turning off the TV to exercise your mind and body), (A-lways "Say No to Drugs") and (R-emember to always "Do Your Best"). A mother of four small children, she and her husband manage to combine two careers with the responsibilities of parenthood. She was an inspiration to her audience.

There was, however, at least one member who expressed dismay and disapproval of Major Getchell as the keynote speaker of an AAUW conference because of the hardships suffered by the Iraqi people, primarily women and children, during and after the Gulf war. While the criticism had validity in terms of U.S. foreign policy, it is hard to understand how it could be ascribed to Major Getchell, personally. It does raise the question, however, of AAUW’s attitude to women in military service.

There is a long history of support for the United Nations, for human rights worldwide, for alternatives to war. At the same time, as the most powerful military force in the world, armed conflicts are expected to conclude with a U.S. victory. Presumably, that will be achieved by having a thoroughly trained, well-equipped combat force ready for deployment.

In December 2000, our daughter Joanna, graduated from the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command. She has recently begun her Avionics Electronics Technician training in Florida and will be sent on her first tour of duty during 2001. She is a 1999 graduate of Oakland University and had been a Student Affiliate AAUW member for several years. Her decision to enter the military has given me an appreciation for the sacrifices women have made in the service to their country throughout our history.

My husband and I experience a complicated mix of emotions as we observe her progress: pride at her accomplishments; concern about the discrimination and harassment she may encounter; apprehension about the direction of foreign policy under a new administration in Washington; and admiration for the pioneering spirit she has shown in pursuing this, still, uncharted frontier for women.

One of my favorite quotations is from Wilma L. Vaught, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force, who said: "What I wanted to be when I grew up was - in charge." I see that as a prophetic statement for women in leadership roles of all kinds. They, and we, must be ready to carpe diem.

AAUW Brightens My Day
Treva May, director of membership
I am sure sunshine would brighten my day. But that isn’t going to happen right now. So I will think of the members of AAUW for the state of Indiana to brighten my day.

First, here is a quote from Harrison Miller, a member of NARFE.

Ten Ways to Kill NARFE (read AAUW here)

  1. Don’t come to the meetings.
  2. If you do come, come late.
  3. If the weather doesn’t suit you, don’t think of coming.
  4. If you attend a meeting, find fault with the work of the officers and other members.
  5. Never accept an office, as it is easier to criticize than do things.
  6. Nevertheless, feel hurt if you are not appointed to a committee, but if you are, don’t attend committee meetings.
  7. If asked by the chairman to give your opinion on some matter, tell her/him you have nothing to say. After the meeting, tell everyone how things ought to have been done.
  8. Do nothing more than is absolutely necessary, but when some of the other members willingly, unselfishly use their abilities to move matters along, say that the group is run by a clique.
  9. Hold back your dues as long as possible – or don’t pay at all.
  10. Don’t bother about getting new members. Let someone else do that.
Surely we have no AAUW members who would do any of these things. But we need to think about what we are doing.

Second, how about honoring some members who are doing a good job for AAUW? Presidents, in fact any member, send me the name of at least one person from your branch who needs to be introduced to the total membership of the state. I will include their names in my next article for this newsletter.

Third, remember my gift to someone who recruits a new member still stands. Anderson branch members are the only ones who have collected on that offer. I am sending a little gift to all new members. Talking about gifts, as of January 6, 2001, only four people have told me they found their name in the Indiana Bulletin.

I hope to see you at the State Convention in April in Fort Wayne.

Educational Foundation
Beth LeRoy, educational foundation
We are well into 2001 but it still seems strange to write 2001. The new millennium is under way and I hope it will be a good one for Indiana’s giving. By now every branch EF chair should have received a packet of forms and directions. The forms have directions that should be easy to follow. If you are unsure, please call or e-mail me.

Many of the forms that came in for 2000 did not designate where funds were to be distributed. If you do not indicate Mary Helen Barnes, Eleanor Roosevelt, or wherever you want your contributions to go, they will be put into the general operating fund for the Foundation. While it is a good idea to place part of your donation into general operations, I’m sure your members would also like some of the money to help the education of women. Please check the area to which you wish your donations credited.

Mary Helen Barnes International Fellowship

Mary Helen’s fellowship is getting closer to completion. We have until 2007 to get the remaining $15,000 needed. Please consider giving part of your donation to this fund.

Direct appeals

If you are a member who responds to the direct appeals, please indicate your branch and state on your check so both entities will receive credit for your donation. Doing so will help your branch earn its EF star.

Grant applications

It’s too late for 2000-2001 but time to think about 2001-2002. Eleanor Roosevelt applications will be available about July 1, 2001. These fellowships are open to all K-12 teachers in the U.S. who have three years’ experience in teaching math, science, and/or technology. You may apply as an individual or a team. For examples of previous projects, visit There will be approximately 25 fellowships available.

Career Development applications will be available about August 1, 2001. These grants are for women holding B.S. degrees and preparing to advance or change their careers. Candidates must be U.S. citizens and earned their B.S. before 1997.

Community Action grants will be available about August 1, 2001. These are for one or two years and must have a direct public impact, be nonpartisan, and take place in the U.S. or its’ territories. One-year grants should promote education and equity for women and girls – topics are unrestricted.

Two-year grants are restricted to projects focused on K-12 girls achievement in math, science, and/or technology. Preference is given to AAUW members or branches that seek collaborative partners.

Report Card on Federal Government Action for 
Women’s and Girls’ Rights and Empowerment

An assessment of U.S. implementation of the UN Platform for Action
Twelve Critical Areas of Concern for the 5-year review of the
UN Fourth World Conference on Women June 5-9, 2000

Criteria for Grades:

A = fulfillment of Platform for Action objectives; sustained institutional/budgetary integration
B = considerable action; some institutional/budgetary integration
C = some positive action; needs continued improvement
D = very limited action; needs great improvement
F = total inaction or negative impact
Women and Poverty Grade F

Comments: While the national poverty rate has decreased, the rate of women in poverty has increased. Women-headed households comprise 72% of households receiving rental housing assistance and 2/3 are below the poverty line. The 1996 welfare reform act has actually reduced the average income of women-headed households by 35%. Under the 1998 Workforce Investment Act, education and training for welfare recipients, particularly those unemployed, has been curtailed. Overall, poor women have less access than before to housing, food security, childcare and child support. The increase in minimum wage to $5.15 is not sufficient for women minimum wage workers, 57% of the total, to move out of poverty. Homelessness among women appears to have increased and needs assessment.
Education and Training Grade C

Comments: Titles VII and IX changed the face of US education for women, girls and people of color, but recent assaults on affirmative action have eroded many of those gains. Despite federal programs, women and girls lag significantly in math, physical science, and technology. Limited progress made in mainstreaming women’s contributions, perspectives, and history, and in eliminating sex-stereotyping in school curricula. Widespread sexual harassment still exists in schools. The 1996 welfare law severely restricts the post-secondary education of women on welfare. The administration has made no attempt to establish benchmarks for achieving gender equality in education. Programs in selected developing countries to promote girls’ educational access and women’s literacy are commendable.
Women and Health Grade C-

Comments: Impressive investments in research/prevention of breast and cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, older women’s health. But health care access is the burning issue for millions of women and children, particularly low-income women and women of color. 21,000,000 women, 1in 5, are uninsured or were last year. Welfare reform in 1996 cut Medicaid benefits to many families. The 1997 State Children’s Health Insurance Program helps those with incomes above Medicaid eligibility but less than 200% of poverty. Title X funds family planning services, but Congress has not raised funding to meet the needs. Reproductive rights are in jeopardy, and overseas, the FY2000 "global gag rule" limits funding for family planning service organizations.
Violence Against Women Grade B-

Comments: Major gains include: the Violence Against Women Act; the International Trafficking of Women and Children Victim Protection Act; appropriation of more than $1.6 billion to implement new projects and initiatives; the establishment of the Justice Dept. Office on Violence Against Women; and positive steps to address domestic violence. However, no action has been taken to reauthorize VAWA, set to expire after FY2000. Violence against girls requires specific attention. Across the federal government, inadequate attention has been given to institutionalizing policies and programs to prevent all forms of violence against women.
Women and Armed Conflict Grade C+

Comments: Positive steps: increased recognition of women’s roles and perspectives; better interagency/departmental coordination on trafficking of women and children; strong focus on negative impact of Taliban in Afghanistan; increased gender-sensitive aid programs in conflict areas. Negative steps: US refusal to sign International Criminal Court statute which criminalizes sexual/gender violence; Senate failure to ratify Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; increased defense expenditures (almost half of FY2000 budget); maintenance of US primacy in arms sales. US should provide stronger international leadership to incorporate women’s voices at all levels of decision making and implementation of conflict prevention, management, resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction, peace building and peacekeeping.
Women and the Economy Grade C-

Comments: Globalization exacerbates gender inequalities. Gender perspectives are not adequately included in assessment and development of fair world trade policies. Women’s labor force participation has increased to 48%, but women occupy 70% of minimum wage and part-time positions. Proposed Social Security reforms threaten to increase the elderly women poverty rate. Despite the 1999 Equal Pay Initiative, on average women earn 76 cents on the dollar earned by men. Flexible and safe working conditions and benefits must be addressed. Women-owned businesses are rapidly increasing (now 38%), yet access to adequate financing and markets is limited. Rollbacks in affirmative action erode gains for women and people of color.
Women in Power and Decision-Making Grade B

Comments: A dramatic increase in the number of women appointed by the Clinton administration to positions of power – more women appointed than by any other president in our history – has heightened the aspirations of women and girls and shattered gender stereotypes held by the general population. Evident in both the executive and judicial branches of our government, such increases are sorely lacking in the legislative branch at every level of government. Neither government bodies nor political parties have made effective efforts to introduce election reforms, statutory measures or party rules such as public financing of campaigns or numerical targets that have been effective in more than 34 countries around the world.
Institutional Mechanisms Grade B

Comments: Giant step forward – Clinton created the President’s Interagency Council for Women in 1995, the first federal-wide women’s body since 1978. Council has effectively promoted and monitored women’s initiatives across departments and agencies. But no statutory basis exists for the Council’s continuation after the 2000 Presidential election. Nor has the Council adequately emphasized integrating a gender perspective in legislation, public policy, programs, and budgets. No overall policy for gender mainstreaming, collection of gender disaggregated data; timebound targets.
Human Rights of Women Grade C+

Comments: Positive steps: Administration promoted programs overseas to strengthen women’s human rights, spoke out frequently on international violations, including specific section in annual Human Rights Report; led effort to eliminate trafficking in women and girls; granted political asylum for some gender-based violations; within the US, created legal literacy information. Negative steps: Administration and the Senate failed to ratify CEDAW and hindered US participation in the International Criminal Court; ignored indigenous nations within the US; refugee and asylum laws and immigration policy implementation adversely affect women, particularly treatment in detention centers; the basic human rights of incarcerated women require more attention, including prevention of sexual assault and training of prison personnel.
Women and the Media Grade C-

Comments: Government supports some programs for women’s ownership and licensing of media outlets. Government’s loose regulation of public airwaves allows corporations to set standards for the depiction and employment of women in the media. Participation of women in TV/radio and print newsrooms is up but pay remains unequal and few serve at senior decision making levels or on corporate boards. Elimination of EEO requirements in 1998 for airwave licenses correlates with a drop in the percentage of women and people of color in radio/TV news. Limited depictions of women and girls as well as negative stereotypes are linked to decline in adolescent self-esteem and to teen eating disorders.
Women and the Environment Grade D

Comments: Despite appointment of the first female EPA director, neither the Administration nor Congress has effectively pursued sustainable development policies. The Federal Interagency Working Group on Women’s Health and the Environment could coordinate such efforts. Whether there are sufficient numbers of women employed in agencies responsible for environmental policy is unknown because that data is not available. Although women and girls are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards, studies on pesticides, toxins, and genetically engineered or irradiated food products have not reported gender-disaggregated data, and their impact on the female life cycle. Environmental racism continues to require policy development and implementation.
The Girl Child Grade D

Comments: The US has failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although some government initiatives strive to meet girls’ needs, these efforts are severely inadequate. For example, Girl Power!, a noteworthy federal program, does not address girls’ extreme lack of access to reproductive health care, which is greatly limited by parental consent laws and "abstinence-only" education. While the President’s Interagency Council on Women recently appointed a girls’ issues coordinator, girls still are not integrated into federal policies. Furthermore, government reports and programs usually do not differentiate girls from women and/or children. Government funding of NGO programs for girls is insufficient.

Source: US Women Connect (USWC)

The Year 2000 is designated by the United Nations as "Women 2000" or "Beijing +5," a time for governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to assess progress in implementing the Platform for Action adopted at the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. USWC issues this report card as an NGO assessment of Platform implementation by the Federal government.

USWC is a nonprofit organization that developed after the UN Fourth World Conference on Women out of a series of consultations with representatives of over 100 women’s organizations across the country. Objectives are: 1) to link US women and girls working for rights and empowerment with activists and advocates round the world, and 2) to enable US women and girls to use follow-up to the World Conference to strengthen their organizing and advocacy efforts in 2000 and beyond.

USWC is the US focal point for the "Global Communications Network for NGOs and WomenAction 2000," the prime online international NGO network for information-sharing and advocacy to follow up on the Conference. As the US focal point, USWC serves as the major NGO clearinghouse and Internet gateway for comprehensive Beijing +5 related information and outreach (

National Partnership Program
Win up to $1000 for your disability action project

AAUW is among a group of national non-disability organizations working with the National Organization Partnership Program (N.O.P.P.), sponsored by the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D. ), to further the goal of full participation of people with disabilities through their national, state, and local chapters.

N.O.D. sponsors an annual grant program, which awards up to $1000 to one or more local/state affiliates of our organization for outstanding disability programs or projects.

The cash award is to assist a branch/state in continuing its efforts in addressing and supporting members, community allies, or the general public with quality of life and inclusiveness issues affecting persons with disabilities.

Some general program ideas are:

Although this program is distinct from AAUW’s 5-Star Branch Recognition and State Recognition Programs, disability projects may also earn the community action star, public policy star, or social justice star if they meet the existing criteria for those stars. Please refer to AAUW’s website for 5-Star criteria.

Forward all submissions to: AAUW, Attn: Program Department, 1111 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. However, if your project meets the 5-Star requirements, you may include it with your 5-Star application. Make a special notation on your 5-Star application that you are also applying for the NOD award. Your application must be submitted and postmarked on or before April 20, 2001.

For more information, contact Erica Payne at 202/785-7703 or

Need Help with Diversity?
Carroll Parsons, diversity coordinator and educational equity
When I began to think about goals and what help I could give to the Indiana AAUW branches in the year 2001, I did some research and was very surprised to learn that of the 21 branches, only nine have a formal diversity program and only two have an educational equity program. Only the Elkhart branch has both.

In the smaller communities, it would be easy to combine the positions as we have done on the state level. They have many things in common and frequently one cannot be effectively addressed without consideration of the other.

It would be my pleasure to help any branch that wants to start (or even explore the possibility of starting) such an office. Letters have been sent to all branches and there will be more to follow. There are many tools to help us learn about the communities in which we live and work – some even look like fun. This will help members consider how they view their communities and also how others see them. As with witnesses to an accident, it is very likely that no two of us see our communities in the same way.

Some members will no doubt see educational equity and may have had excellent experiences to reinforce that opinion while others, especially if they have had an unpleasant experience, will not be able to find any equity in the education offered by the school systems. In the same way, there will be members who, because of where they live and/or work, will see much more diversity than those whose lives keep them more isolated.

Please do take a moment at a meeting to consider what your branch is doing and can do to encourage community diversity and educational equity in the schools and workplaces. Make use of the tools available from the national office and let me know how I can be of the most help to you. In future issues of this newsletter, I will let all of you know what I am learning about our state, your communities, you, and myself.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation and assistance.

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