AAUW Report Assesses President Obama's Second Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/24/2011

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AAUW Report Assesses President Obama's Second Year, AAUW Action Fund Measures 111th Congress' Support for Pay Equity

WASHINGTON - The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today released a report on the Obama administration's progress on AAUW issues, and the AAUW Action Fund issued a voting record that rates legislators on their support for pay equity in the 111th Congress.

Halfway through President Barack Obama's first term, there are plenty of reasons to applaud the administration's progress, as well as reminders of the work that remains. Today's report demonstrates why AAUW has been impressed with the administration's leadership on school bullying and harassment; its focus on promoting the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math; its dedication to equal pay efforts; and its reinstatement of federal Title IX guidelines that give women and girls better access to school sports. AAUW also applauded Obama's appointment of Justice Elena Kagan, whose addition to the U.S. Supreme Court means that three women are serving concurrently-a first for the court.

The AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record Equal Pay Supplement, also released today, documents Senate and House of Representatives votes on the two major equal pay bills to see action in the 111th Congress. Just two years ago, on January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his very first bill into law-the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. AAUW was pleased to play a major role in that historic victory. The Senate's derailment of the complementary Paycheck Fairness Act on a procedural vote was a serious disappointment, however, especially since the bill had majority support in both chambers. In November 2010, almost two years after the House passed the bill for a second time, the Senate voted 58-41 on the motion to proceed, narrowly missing the 60 votes needed to continue the debate on the merits of the bill. Every Republican member of the Senate, including the GOP women, voted against moving the bill forward.

"The sore point from the past two years is really the Paycheck Fairness Act," said AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Director Lisa Maatz. "AAUW commends President Obama's administration and Congress for getting down to business and passing many critical pieces of legislation, but we also want to hold lawmakers accountable for missing a prime opportunity to improve the economic well-being of women, their families, and the nation as a whole. Such opportunities don't come around very often."

AAUW has long been on the front line of the fight for pay equity. The organization released its first equal pay report in 1913, and AAUW members were in the Oval Office when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 into law. Today, AAUW leads a coalition for pay equity and continues to be a strong voice for women and their economic security.

"We've been in the thick of this fight since the beginning," said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. "For 130 years, AAUW has been a leading voice for positive social change affecting women and girls. The anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act reminds us of that progress, even in the face of obstacles to the Paycheck Fairness Act. Two votes stopped us short this time, but we're in this for the long haul. Sooner or later, policy makers will get on the right side of history again, and AAUW will be there."

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