AAUW promotes gender equality and other values

Judy Tyson, Independence branch of the American Association of University Women

To the editor:

The American Association of University Women advances gender equality for women and girls through research, education and advocacy. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United State, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members.

The AAUW outlines the organization's top priorities for advancing the economic security of women and their families. Women make up the majority of American voters, and we have the power to ensure that all the candidates pay close attention to the policies that directly affect our lives and the lives of our families. While we are a fiercely non-partisan organization, we are not values neutral: Throughout our 140-year history, we have advocated for laws that improve the lives of women and girls, and we'll continue to do so.

We urge all candidates for state and federal office – regardless of party – to commit to these priorities. We also ask every American to stand with women.

Highlights of the AAUW Gender Policy Agenda include:

• Supporting new laws to close the gender pay gap. Despite their advances in the workplace, women still are paid on average just 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man.

• Implementing paid sick and caregiving leave. The U.S. does not guarantee paid time off for illness or caregiving leave. Enacting such policies would benefit not only individuals but employers and the economy as well.

• Reducing student debt. Women hold two-thirds of the nation's $1.46 trillion educational debt and need more programs and policies to alleviate the burden.

• Instituting robust protections against harassment. Sexual, racial and other forms of harassment in the workplace and academic institutions impede the ability of women to fully access education and achieve economic security.

• Expanding opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). These are the most rapidly growing fields, yet women and girls continue to face bias and discrimination that hinder their success.

• Protecting and expanding the right to vote. Voting discrimination is a threat to the very foundation of our democracy. Ensuring the right to vote is an essential first step toward establishing all the other policies AAUW advocates.

When will we be delivered from COVID?

Kenneth Burnett Jr., Independence

To the editor:

It was the night after COVID and all through the world, not a creature was stirring, not even a squirrel.

What to my wondering eyes should appear? A jolly man with lots of big hair. The president said with a smile on his face, “We will get through this with luck and God’s grace” as he shut down the country to shelter in place.

You could hear a great noise as people ran to their windows and said, “We want to be free to do what we want,” but it was not to be. So we settled in our homes with little work and not much food, but with liquor stores open we have lots and lots of booze. We don’t have much hope when we hear the bad news about how many have died. It makes me wonder if somebody lied.

And so, as our fears grow, we wonder when it will end so we can once again see our family and friends. We don’t know what to do with ourselves so we make things up as we go. When things will get better, well, we just don’t know.

We all wish it would end so things will get back to normal. But we all fear that this will be our new normal. So we all hope that one day soon that the president will say, “It’s all over so go back to work or have fun and have a great day” and the country cheered. The people all said that this day will be known as “Victory over COVID Day” will be the happiest day of the year. So, to all a good life with lots of cheer.