Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Has AAUW Accomplished?

Happy New Year from AAUW:
As 2012 begins, we take a moment to thank our AAUW Action Network members and donors for their extraordinary efforts to advance our shared mission. Your advocacy and financial support, along with the tens of thousands of others in our nationwide network of e-activists, has helped AAUW influence public policy and implement successful and exciting programming throughout 2011. In the current economic climate, when so many organizations are stalled or even shrinking, AAUW remains strongly positioned to be an effective voice for you in the halls of power. As educated women and men, we continue to be advocates and catalysts for sustainable social change, and your contribution today will supercharge our efforts to continue to break through barriers for women and girls in the new year.

Thanks to your efforts and generosity, we can be proud of some impressive advocacy and programmatic achievements. In 2011, AAUW:
  • Was recognized by Charity Navigator for our excellent financial management, transparency, and accountability, and was awarded their highest rating–4-stars! We were also recognized as a top-rated organization for our work in educationsocial justice, andwomen’s empowerment.
  • Awarded $3.7 million to outstanding women and nonprofit organizations to support 239fellowships and grants, thanks to the longstanding contributions of generous AAUW members. 
  • Developed and prepared to launch the AAUW Action Fund’s nationwide voter education and turnout campaign, “It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard,” targeted at millennial women. The campaign will feature strong social media and grassroots components to get women to the polls in 2012. From public service announcements to voter guides, there are plenty of ways to learn and get involved. In the upcoming election, this campaign will focus on fifteen target states: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. For more information on how to get your state or branch involved in the campaign, contact
  •  Released Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School in November 2011. Within a three-week period, our research had been covered in over 1,300 news outlets, including newspaper coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today and many others. Television and radio appearances included National Public Radio, CNNCBS NewsTo the Contrary (PBS), and ABC NewsTimeMagazine, U.S. News and World Reportand Education Week also featured stories on theAAUW report.
  • Conducted a lobby day at the 2011 National Convention, where AAUW members heard from Congressional leaders, allies, and AAUW staff about issues important to women. The Big Teal Machine, made up of more than 800 AAUW members, journeyed to Capitol Hill where they lobbied in support of the National Women’s History Museum and Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, and urged their senators and representatives to support Social Security. Since convention lobby day, the National Women's History Museum Act has gained 20 additional cosponsors to the already robust list of 68, and the Campus SaVE Act has added nearly 100 cosponsors. The Big Teal Machine reinforced the need to preserve the Social Security system, and to avoid any benefit cuts.
  • Sent over 7,000 messages to Congress about the Campus SaVE Act and almost 18,000 messages supporting Social Security through our Action Network. Thank you, Two-Minute Activists!
  • Continued to ride the wave of interest in Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and MathematicsAll of the 15,500 printed reports have been distributed and staff continues to make presentations at AAUW events and other meetings. Catherine Hill moderated a panel in December at the New York Academy of Sciences"Celebrating Women in Science"event with Paul Greengard, Nobel Laureate, along with other leaders in science. AAUW Senior Researcher Christianne Corbett presented findings from Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to over 2,000 scientists at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in November in Reno, NV. You can view Part 1 and Part 2 of Christianne’s talk on YouTube. Additionally, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz participated in MIT 150 Symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the plenary panel Shaping Policy in Academia and Across the Nation.
  • Joined women from around the world for the 55th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women(CSW). AAUW’s report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics was heavily cited in workshops and panels to support the theme of access and participation for women and girls’ education and training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • Played a critical role in ensuring that Title IX protections were added to the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218). In its original form, this legislation exempted charter schools from complying with Title IX, and AAUW took the lead in making sure the legislation was changed maintain this important protection. This legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in September 2011.
  •  Conducted extremely successful outreach efforts to college/university partner members from across the country that included re-engaging former partner members as well as establishing new relationships. Staff also collaborated to provide partner member campuses with new materials to engage students and are working to formalize relationships with student organizations on campuses to build relationships with the AAUW members of tomorrow.
  • Marked the successful completion of AAUW’s NSF-grant funded participation in the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). Over the past five years, the project served more than 4 million girls, registered more than 2,000 programs in the program directory, and reached more than 9,100 practitioners with research-based strategies. In addition, more than 17,000 girls benefited from mini-grant funding for programs to inspire participation in STEM careers.
  • Proudly joined coalition partners on stage during the ‘Stand Up for Women’s Health Rally’ on the National Mall. Members of Congress, activists, and cancer survivors spoke to the crowd of thousands about the direct threats funding cuts pose to women’s health programs.
  • Awarded eight Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) Campus Outreach Grants to AAUW branches across the country, who held programs on local campuses focused on issues like pay equity, dating violence, Title IX and athletics, and gender discrimination in the workplace.
  • Testified before the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding restrictions in reselling children’s books; most of AAUW’s recommendations were accepted, allowing AAUW branch book sales to continue without onerous restrictions.
  • Saw the dedicated members of the AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps make over 1,200 Congressional office visits on Social Security, job creation, fair pay, paid sick days, and campus sexual assault. The hard work of the Lobby Corps was critical in securing cosponsors on several important bills that further AAUW’s Public Policy Program.
  •  Published The Simple Truth on the Gender Pay Gap, which continues to be used in the field.Recently, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) and staff from the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee publicly praised the AAUW publication. A revised version of The Simple Truth will be released in April, so be sure to order or download the newest version for your Equal Pay Dayevents!
  •  Attracted over 100 attendees to our Capitol Hill Equal Pay Day briefing, New Voices in Pay Equity. Staff from over 30 congressional offices learned about the pay gap in various industries and how the Paycheck Fairness Act could help narrow that gap and help women achieve economic self-sufficiency. We also worked with the Center for American Progress Action Fund to create an Equal Pay Day flash mob video that has accumulated thousands of views and spread the word about the importance of pay equity.
  • Worked with Women’s Policy, Inc. and the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues on a series of equal pay briefings, including the October briefing, The Gender Wage Gap: What is the Impact on Women and their Families? featuring AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz as a speaker.
  •  Applauded the White House decision to recognize 12 community heroes, including AAUW member and former president of the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch Tamara Brown, as leaders in engaging women and girls in STEM fields. Tamara Brown founded Buffalo’s Tech Savvy, which provides information related to technological opportunities to young women and their parents.
  • Disbursed roughly $90,000 to support plaintiffs in seven key sex discrimination lawsuits, including the plaintiffs in the class action suit Dukes et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
  • Earned a perfect score on our audit thanks to the hard work of the AAUW Finance Department and all employees. Please see the annual report for specific numbers and a wonderful programmatic overview.
  • Presented another fabulous National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), with more than 500 women in attendance! Our successful partnership with NASPA continues.
  • Reached 17 campuses and over 400 participants with Elect Her-Campus Women Win, the only program in the country that trains college women to run for student government.
  • Saw 11 AAUW Campus Action Project grant teams implement programs on campus or in their community during the spring of 2011. The programs were aimed at increasing the number of women studying in the fields of STEM. Their programs raised awareness about these fields and careers, provided mentoring relationships for interested students, and improved the campus climate by offering female students opportunities to meet with faculty and each other in supportive, fun ways. 
  • Awarded seven Campus Action Project grants in December to fund projects focused on addressing sexual harassment in middle and high schools. Using recommendations from AAUW's new report, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at Schoolthe teams plan to conduct focus groups and surveys with students and then develop workshops, materials, and documentaries on the topic.
  • Reached over 100 campuses with our $tart $mart Salary Negotiation workshops that teach college women how to negotiate fair salaries and benefits.
  • Co-sponsored a summit on workplace sexual harassment at Hunter College in New York City in October. The summit commemorated 20 years since law professor Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings. Hill was the keynote speaker. LAF co-led a lunchtime discussion about sexual harassment teens face on the streets and in schools.
  • Received a new look for the office lobby. New lights were added to brighten our entryway and a new lobby desk was added to open and update the floor plan. In addition, AAUW now has a uniformed security officer at the front desk and our security system was enhanced for the safety of AAUW staff and tenants.
  • Celebrated 130 years of advancing equity for women and girls with over 800 members at ourNational Convention in Washington D.C.!
In the past year, AAUW and our advocates have made great strides in our nation’s capital, on college campuses, and in our branches and communities. We have made our voices heard, but we know that our work is far from over. Please make a contribution now, so that AAUW can intensify our crucial work to break through barriers for women and girls in the coming year. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful start to the new year!

AAUW’s Action Network makes it easy for advocates to influence Congress to act on issues critical for equity for women and girls. Help Action Network grow and be even more of a force in our nation’s capital. Urge your friends and family to join AAUW and AAUW’s Action Network today.

Washington Update is AAUW's free, members-only weekly e-bulletin offering an insider's view on the legislative process, the latest policy news, resources for advocates, programming ideas, and updates from the Public Policy and Government Relations Department. Subscribe today!

Read the 2011-2013 AAUW Public Policy Program.

Become part of the AAUW national community and break through barriers for women and girls. Join now.

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