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Meet Starz deadline: Donate by Jan. 1

2016 December 22
by admin

Reminder: The fund giving per the STARZ deadline is due by Jan. 1. Ohio’s Philanthropy Fund is #4411. This fund will be used to benefit Ohio’s AAUW programs.

Get the news about AAUW of Ohio in Fall issue of Orbit

2016 December 20
AAUW of Ohio has the jump on Equity Day & Convention 2017 so that you can plan ahead and make sure your branch is well-represented at our main event of the year. You can read all about it in the late Fall issue of Orbit. Here’s what you’ll find:
  • Highlights, rates, dates, deadlines and awards. Get the news about AAUW of Ohio in the Fall issue of Orbit, along with special offers for AAUW Ohio Equity Day & Convention 2017. See Pages 1, 2, and 4.
  • A message from President Christine Siebeneck: We have more work to do than ever. See Pg. 2.
  • Abortion: The hot-button issue by our public policy chair Karen Rainey. See Pg. 3.
  • News about bylaws and district meetings that are coming your way. See Pg. 4.
  • What are our branches up to? What resources can you access from National AAUW? See Pg. 5.

You can also download earlier issues of AAUW of Ohio Orbit.

Meanwhile, happy reading and Happy Holidays!

Action Needed Now: Ask Governor to Veto Abortion Bans

2016 December 6

Please call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555 and urge him to veto any abortion bans.

The Ohio Senate has taken the “Heartbeat bill,” the worst of the proposed abortion bans, and added it as an amendment to HB 493, a bill to address child abuse and neglect reporting. By a floor vote of 21-10 late Tuesday, the added amendment bans abortions from the time a heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks and before a woman may even realize that she is pregnant.

AAUW has opposed the “Heartbeat bill” (HB 69) on the grounds that it unconstitutionally restricts abortion access during the first trimester and allows no exceptions for rape, incest, severe mental illness or fetal anomalies that could endanger life or health. These are conditions that should evoke our compassion, not a one-size-fits-all legalistic imperative.

The amended bill must still be returned to the House for concurrence, but the House passed the “Heartbeat bill” previously and is expected to concur with the Senate action. And in this rush to end the session, it’s possible that the 20-week abortion ban will be added to another bill and passed as well. Please, in your request to the governor, urge him to veto any abortion bans.

Public Policy News – December 2016

2016 December 4
By Karen Rainey, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Chair,

In this issue

  • Issue of the Month: Advocacy
  • Congressional Redistricting
  • Lame Duck: Concealed Carry on Campuses and Day Care Centers: Other Bills
  • January March on Washington


Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. A vintage quote, often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, it sums up our need to be politically aware—on guard to protect our rights and “promote the general welfare.” Given the unpredictability of our president-elect and the majorities in both the state legislature and Congress that are hostile to several of AAUW’s positions, our members will need to step up to protect our gains and prevent their erosion.

What can you do? At a minimum, be sure that branch members are “Two-minute activists.” It’s easy to sign up—just go to, insert an email address and you are now a part of AAUW’s Action Network for congressional alerts.

While we don’t have anything quite comparable at the state level, we can issue action alerts and need member response. With a new state budget coming up soon, we will have major challenges in public school funding and in other programs we support.

Congressional Redistricting

In the absence of any action by the Constitutional Modernization Commission, the Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition is pressuring the General Assembly to place congressional redistricting reform on the November 2017 ballot. Please go to to see how you can help make this happen. There’s a petition to House Speaker Rosenberger to move this legislation—it’s easy to sign. Did you know that in Ohio, every incumbent member of Congress was reelected? We need to provide a more competitive environment to encourage fairer representation.

Update on Lame Duck

HB 48, Concealed Carry. This bill passed the House a year ago by a vote of 68-29; it is now being heard in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. It would allow hidden, loaded guns to be carried into day care centers, airports, some local government buildings, and open the door for guns on college and university campuses. AAUW’s position on gun violence prevention focuses primarily on changing the climate to prevent bullying and harassment. However, many members have strong feelings about gun control and public safety and may be moved to act.   It’s likely to be on the Senate floor very soon; tell your senator if you oppose this bill.

SB 127, 20-Week Abortion Ban. House hearings have not yet been scheduled although passage in lame duck is a high priority for Ohio Right to Life. AAUW opposes the bill because it does not make any exceptions for rape or incest, and does not recognize the difficult medical situations a woman may face in seeking to end a pregnancy at this stage, including the discovery of fetal or genetic anomalies. As noted last month, the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society and the American Medical Association oppose the bill because it places limitations on treatment for serious conditions. Please call your representative www. to request a vote against this bill.

January March on Washington

You may have seen a recent email from Lisa Maatz saying that AAUW has not yet endorsed the January 21 March on Washington, which will coincide with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. She is waiting for more details about the event. I do know that several buses will be going from around the state—if you plan to go, it may under the auspices of another organization. We’ll keep you posted.

As always, your questions and comments are welcomed.


Rally at Ohio Statehouse for reproductive rights today!

2016 November 16
by admin
Today, from 5 – 7 p.m., join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Preterm, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Women Have Options – Ohio, and New Voices Cleveland for a rally at the Ohio Statehouse to take a stand against the bans!
Check out the Facebook Event page

Today’s the day: Make your voice heard

2016 November 8
by admin
 It’s Election Day! Make your voice heard.

From the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ballot, your vote matters and will have a critical impact on the outcome of this election. Be sure to:

– Verify your registration status is up to date.

– Confirm your polling location, even if it has been in the same place for years.

– Bring required ID and know your rights regarding providing identification.

Be informed. Check out this information about candidates and issues.

– Encourage others to vote. Copy and paste this message and click to share on Facebook or post on Twitter.You can also share a photo of your “I Voted” sticker with AAUW on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram using #ItsMyVote. Another great idea is to forward this email to a friend!

All voters should have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) if you experience any problems casting your ballot, or witness problems at the polls. Non-english speaking voters can receive assistance from partner hotlines 888-Ve-Y-Vota (Spanish), 888-API-VOTE (Asian languages), and 844-418-1682 (Arabic).

To create real change, women must be part of the conversation, and the most powerful way for us to chime in is at the polls. Make your voice heard today — VOTE!

Get ready for Election Day with this info!

2016 November 2

votebannerIn an email from Ohio’s own Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy, comes the information below.

Research shows voters are more likely to participate if you make it easy. They’re also more likely to vote if someone personally asks them to do so. Here’s everything voters need to turn out on Election Day. Encourage friends, family, neighbors, and contacts to speak their minds at the polls!

  • Logistics. From where to go to what to bring, here’s everything you need to know about Election Day. Voting laws have changed across the country — don’t let your friends and family be caught flatfooted, and worse, disenfranchised. If you need a ride to the polls or want to offer one, visit CarpoolVote.
  • Candidates. Who’s on your ballot and where do they stand on the issues affecting women and their families? The AAUW Action Fund’s 2016 Voter Guides offer head-to-head candidate comparisons on a wide range of issues for many Gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, while our Congressional Voting Record documents incumbents’ records on priority issues.
  • Issues. Ballot measures can advance or undermine policies that help working families. We’ve put together this handy guide to ballot initiatives in select states.
  • Help. Have questions about the voting process and your rights? Experience or see problems at the polls? The Election Protection website and hotline (866.OUR.VOTE) are available to assist voters across the country. Use it!

There’s too much at stake for women to let others make decisions for us — and when we don’t vote, that’s exactly what we do. Help make sure our voices are heard AAUW of Ohio Voting Record 2016November 8 and beyond — it’s time to GET OUT THE VOTE!

More on Ohio voting


In addition to what Lisa says, remember to share the latest AAUW of Ohio Voting Record. The AAUW Voting Record scores the votes of our state legislators on bills important to AAUW of Ohio members.  Please print copies, email the link to your lists and make copies available to branch members and a wider audience as well.

Ohio U.S. Senate Race

Find out where Portman and Strickland stand on the issues.

Ohio State Board of Education and your Local Boards

Did you know that AAUW Ohio and its branches are free to endorse candidates in all nonpartisan electoral races such as the Ohio State Board of Education and your local boards of education? In doing so, you will help advance AAUW’s public policy position on public education and help inform the public.

In fact, three Northeast Ohio branches—Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst, Cleveland and Northeast— recently endorsed Meryl Johnson, a retired Cleveland public school teacher, union activist, and member of the Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst Branch, for the District 11 seat on the Ohio State Board of Education. Parts of all three branch territories fall within District 11. They then asked AAUW Ohio to support their decision and endorse Meryl during the convention business meeting on April 9 in Worthington. The resolution, which also encouraged branches to replicate the action, passed.

Your Ohio Public Policy Committee encourages you to investigate those running for both the Ohio State Board of Education and the local boards of education that fall within your branch territory. About half the elected state board members are on the ballot every two years. There are 11 elected members, who represent districts that are comprised of three Senate districts, and eight appointed members. Since the terms run for four years, this allows for overlap and continuity. You can read about the current board members. To help you determine which member(s) serve your branch territory, refer to the state board map.

The seats that will be elected in 2016 include:

  • District 1, currently held by Ann Jacobs of Lima.
  • District 6, currently held by Michael Collins of Westerville (not running again)
  • District 8, currently open (runs from Mahoning to Meigs County along the eastern Ohio border)
  • District 9, currently held by Stephanie Dodd of Granville
  • District 11, currently held by Mary Rose Oakar of Cleveland


Joint program takes on issue of sexual assault

2016 October 15

ACTION OHIO Coalition For Battered Women presents “Confronting the Issues of Sexual Assault” on Oct. 26, 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Clintonville Woman’ssexual assault Club, 3951 North High St. in Columbus. AAUW Ohio is a co-sponsor.

Is it still “He said,” vs. “She said?” What is consent? Is justice attainable? And how do we take action? These questions and more will be discussed during a panel presentation and the conversation that follows.

Panelists include:

  • Lynn Bilal, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
  • Elizabeth Joy, Survivors To Alivers, Inc
  • Krystal Martin, Mt Carmel Crime & Trauma Assistance Program
  • Jennifer Rausch, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  • Susan Wismar, Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio

This event is presented in partnership with the following organizations:

  • AAUW of Ohio
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio
  • Business & Professional Women of Ohio
  • Columbus NOW
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation
  • National Association of Social Workers –Ohio Chapter
  • Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
  • Women Have Options
  • The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
  • Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University
  • Zonta Club of Columbus

RSVP: by Oct. 20, 2016, by completing the registration form and making payment.
Cost: $35 per person

For more information: 614 825-0551 or to

All are welcome.



Get the Starz Award application form and instructions

2016 October 12

Make sure your branch qualifies for the AAUW of Ohio Starz Award for the 2016-2017 year. Download the Starz Award Application Form 2017 and explanation.

JoAnn Benseler recognizes branches who won Starz Awards.

JoAnn Benseler recognizes branches who won Starz Awards.

Starz applications should be completed and mailed to JoAnn Benseler, 147 Sandstone Loop East, Westerville OH 43081, by March 16, 2017.

Awards will be distributed at AAUW of Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2017, which will be held May 5-6 at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Columbus/Worthington.

Purpose of the Starz Award

  • To increase communication between branches and between branches and the State Board.
  • To help branch members become aware of their responsibilities to achieve the goals of AAUW.
  • To acknowledge the efforts of branches in achieving these goals.

Key dates to remember

  • April 8 or 9, 2016 – Branch represented at State convention.
  • July l, 2016 – Branch Officer List sent to Administrative Coordinator.
  • Sept. 1, 2016 – Branch dues collected and sent to AAUWOhio Administrative Coordinator or to National Office in Washington, DC.
  • December 31, 2016 – Contribution Report Form for Fundraising sent in.
  • March 16, 2017 – STARZ application finished and mailed to JoAnn Benseler.


Updated edition of pay gap report is out

2016 September 27

AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap is here, and the fall edition of the report has more truth in it than ever.big-win_email

How do we explain the 20-cent gender pay gap (a statistically insignificant change from last year), and what do race, location, and career choice have to do with it?

See how the gap in Ohio stacks up to the national number, and learn more about what states are doing to promote (or hinder) equal pay. Plus, new for this edition, AAUW discusses how the gender pay gap is connected to disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. You can also download a PowerPoint on the report.

Read it and share with your social media networks.