AAUW empowers women everywhere

Rachel Jenks

The American Association of University Women is an organization that has been operating for over a hundred years across America to help empower women from the university level on.

The Marquette branch of the AAUW of Michigan, which was founded in 1943, works alongside NMU to hold multiple events throughout the year and begin teaching women from a young age.

Mary Snitgen and Kathy Davis, membership co-chairs of Marquette’s AAUW, emphasized how education is the key to women being successful.

“What the AAUW really focuses on is advocacy, education and leadership,” Davis said.

One of their most successful events is the STEM project held at the Seaborg Center for fifth and sixth grade girls. Held every other year in May, the event exposes the girls to various science, math and technology-related fields. The hope is that these girls will grow into women whom eventually enter into these male- dominated fields.

“We’re trying to concentrate more on computer science, engineering and math because in some of these areas, women represent less than 20 percent,” Davis said.

Davis also said one of the contributing factors to not many women in the science, math and technology fields is the treatment they receive.

Even in present times, misogynistic attitudes can prevail in workforces that are not traditionally female.

“The working environment is prejudicial, I would say, against women,” Snitgen added.

The AAUW works alongside the Seaborg Center to design the workshops and choose speakers to present to the girls. The Seaborg has the final say, but Davis said that the AAUW makes many recommendations on who they think would be good role models for the girls attending. In the past, Snitgen said, they had women who worked as meteorologist in computer science and engineers.

In addition to the STEM project, the AAUW held a Smart Start workshop at NMU during the fall semester. During the workshop, students learned how to negotiate salaries at potential jobs. It taught the students, specifically women, tools on how to be assertive in the workplace while still respecting their

Another popular program supported by the AAUW at NMU is Elect Her. This program encourages and trains women on how to engage themselves in campus governments. It prepares the participants to pursue political office later in life as well.

In addition to running various programs through the university, the AAUW of Marquette funds scholarships for women attending NMU. They fund the scholarships through a book drive at the Presbyterian Church, which is usually held in April.

For undergraduate students, it’s free to join the AAUW of Marquette. The group meets monthly at the Federation of Women’s Club in downtown Marquette.

For more information about joining the AAUW or any upcoming events, contact Mary Snitgen at [email protected] or (906) 202-0268 or Kathy Davis at [email protected] or (906) 228-4917.