Public Policy

 Public Policy priorities underscore AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

We support:
• A strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity and diversity
• Economic self-sufficiency for all women
• Equality, individual rights, and social justice

If you are interested in joining the Public Policy Team, contact chair Regina Ayars.

Political Action

Although we are nonpartisan and do not support candidates, AAUW supports issues. As part of our mission of voter education the Ashland Branch sponsored three candidate forums before the 2020 election for Ashland city council and mayor.

The Public Policy Team follows relevant bills while the Oregon legislature is in session, contacting legislators with support or disapproval. Updates on the current legislative action are available and State legislative priorities are available on the State website. Click below for more information.

State Public Policy Priorities 2020-2021

 Equal Pay Day

AAUW members are passionate about the continuing lack of equal pay for women in the United States. Unfortunately, the traditional recognition of Equal Pay Day 2020 and 2021 were virtual events. You can learn more about AAUW’s position on equal pay by clicking the link below.

The Simple Truth About the Wage Gap

Lobby Day 

The Public Policy Committee has traditionally participated in Lobby Day in Salem, an opportunity for our members to visit our state capitol, learn more about the legislative process, and lobby our state representatives.

Our Ashland Branch Public Policy Team coordinated Lobby Day 2020 in February 2020, which made it one of the last in-person lobbying events to take place in the capitol building before the COVID-19 quarantine was mandated. Lobby Day 2021 was a virtual event.

Public Policy Focus 2020-22

The Public Policy Team chose the topic of “Women on Boards” for study this year. The lack of women serving on the boards of publicly-traded corporations is just another glass ceiling for women in business.  A subcommittee of the Public Policy team, Ann Bard, Julie Benezet, Sonja Friedman, Mary Renaud, and Regina Ayars, started researching the topic and completed a substantive report on the status of women on boards in the United States, focusing on Oregon.

The report Final WOMEN ON BOARDS AAUW OREGON REPORT was submitted to the State of Oregon AAUW Public Policy Committee, chaired by Trish Garner. Trish determined that the legislation needed to include not only women but also underrepresented populations. Trish identified a sponsor, Karin Power, State Representative from District 41 (Milwaukie and SE Portland), who brought the topic before the legislature. Our own Rep. Pam Marsh, OR House District 5, signed on as a sponsor. 

A data sheet was created which summarizes the bill:

HB 3110 Fact Sheet

As the 2021 legislative session started in February, HB3110 joined the hundreds of submitted bills and began its long journey through the legislative session. HB 3110 was passed out of the House Rules Committee with a recommendation to PASS which it received from the full House. Sadly, it did not get out of the Senate Rules Committee and was not voted on by the full Senate.

We expect this to be a multiyear process with the hope that it will result in a bill addressing equity for women and underrepresented people on Oregon’s corporate boards. Ashland Public Policy will continue to work with the state Public Policy Committee to lobby legislators during the 2022 short session and then work to bring a bill forward during the longer 2023 legislative session.

Public Policy Branch Meeting

The Public Policy Committee makes a presentation to the Ashland Branch each January. In January 2021 we hosted newly-elected mayor Julie Akins. In January 2022 our program will be “Women Leaders Making the Hard Decisions:” Ashland city council members Gina DuQuenne, Tonya Graham, Paula Hyatt, and Stephanie Seffinger discuss the challenges of being an elected official and making policy decisions that impact citizens’ daily lives.