The Santa Clarita Branch of AAUW Turns 50!
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. The Santa Clarita Valley branch turns 50 this year, and will hold a luncheon celebration at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on May 19.
The Santa Clarita branch was established by 40 vibrant women almost 20 years earlier than the founding of our city, in 1968. Our world was a bit different then. Just imagine, 1968 was before cell phones, Sesame Street, and the Apollo 11 moon landing. It was before landmark legislation passed that positively impacts our lives today. Do women today struggle against being told they cannot be a doctor or engineer or take a shop class? Can anyone imagine not being allowed at least six weeks off from work to have a baby? In 1968 these experiences were common. Title IX of the Education Amendment, which prohibits discrimination in educational programs on the basis of sex, was passed in 1972. The Pregnancy Disability Act, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and allowed women time off for childbirth and recovery, was passed in 1978. These pieces of landmark legislation were supported by AAUW.
The Santa Clarita branch of AAUW has contributed to national as well as community efforts over the years, including
• Partnering with the College of the Canyons (COC) to initiate the Women’s Conference, College Night, and Career Day
• Contributing to the establishment of the local Food Pantry
• Nurturing the docent program at the Placerita Nature Center
Today, the SCV branch has three local community focuses:
• For 20 years, we have been sending seventh grade girls to week-long Tech Trek math/science camps. Held on California college campuses, the camps provide hands-on learning designed to help young women find their passions in STEM subjects. The AAUW SCV branch raises funds all year long to send girls to this free camp. Since 1998,175 girls have been sponsored by the SCV branch.
• Scholarships are awarded each year to deserving women attending the College of the Canyons, including two for Humanities majors, a Book Scholarship, a MESA Women in STEM award, and a legacy award, the Dorinda Barnes Scholarship. The difference that these awards make for the students is heartwarming to hear.
• Many students in SCV will recall Women in History week at their schools. This annual AAUW program travels to schools throughout the SCV from March to June to share personal dramatizations of influential women in history.
Want to learn more? Membership in AAUW is open to women and men. For more information, to contribute funds to these worthwhile efforts, or to attend the 50th anniversary celebration, please visit santaclaritavalley-ca.aauw.net or contact [email protected].
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