The Public Policy Program of the AAUW Howard County Branch contributes to and supports women’s issues consistent with the priorities and strategies identified by AAUW at the national and state level, advocating for policies that advance equity for women and girls of Maryland. We work with the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) and our MD General Assembly to identify and develop legislation on issues important to women and girls with the goal of getting bills passed and made into Maryland law. Through an annual MLAW conference, members learn about current legislation and decide on the most important ones to be supported and presented to Maryland legislators.
Once each year, we take part in the annual AAUW Lobby Day in Annapolis urging legislators to vote their support for our bills. We also coordinate with the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the League of Women Voters (LWV) on common priorities such as voter registration. Branch members support national priorities and take part in the national AAUW Lobby Corps by going to Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress on issues identified by AAUW nationally.
At the county level, we work with our state and local representatives to ensure women’s issues are represented and screen the County Council agenda for issues important to AAUW members. We anticipate expanding this program to include actual attendance at some of the major Council and Howard Council delegation meetings. Our group keeps Branch members apprised of pending legislation and coordinates communication with Maryland officials and representatives in support of legislation that complies with AAUW national, state and local policies.
- Pay equity is one of the legal issues of greatest interest to us. Because of discriminatory pay differences that currently exist between men and women, we not only suffer from inadequate salaries which result in less savings but also experience less adequate retirement income. As such, the Branch supports the Legal Advocacy Fund program which addresses these barriers to work place equality by informing people of their rights and using the legal system to seek justice and change. .
- Another priority topic is Title IX which states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- Our latest Branch effort involves working on legislation to extend child support to age 23 for Maryland students enrolled in college or technical training.