Public Policy

The Public Policy section of the website is designed with the intent of providing the resources and tools needed to implement public policy events and activities across Pennsylvania.  Make the pages under Public Policy menu the first place to look for information on the AAUW-PA Public Policy initiatives and resources. AAUW-PA Public Policy is managed by Public Policy Co-Chairs Barbara Price ( and Ann Pehle (  The role of AAUW-PA Public Policy Co-Chairs is to:  Represent AAUW Pennsylvania in coalitions; Manage state-wide public policy initiatives; Assist Branch Public Policy Chairs (BPPC).

Lobby Day in Washington D.C. during AAUW National Convention

AAUW-PA Public Policy Co-Chairs

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, the Pennsylvania delegation of twenty-three members from across the state met with legislative aides of Senators Toomey and Casey.  In the afternoon, every member met with her Congressman.  We visited nine–Boyle, Cartwright, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Meehan, Perry, Rothfus, Smucker,Thompson.

On Wednesday afternoon we attended a briefing to learn about the lobbying topics and plan our strategy for the next day.

Waiting to go to the Hill

Dressed in our AAUW Lobby Day t-shirts and Liberty Bell pins (so everyone would know we were from Pennsylvania) we boarded buses Thursday morning for a long day of talking about the issues, laughing with each other, and walking.

Line into Russell Senate building

Best stories from the day.  1) At the (almost) conclusion of our meeting with an aide in a conference room, Senator Toomey walked in from a connecting office and was surprised to see the room occupied.

Senator Toomey’s office

Surprised the conference room wasn’t empty!

2) While talking a photo of the plaque outside Congressman Rothfus’ office, 40 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting,he walked out of the office on his way to the floor for a vote, recognized Janine was from AAUW (t-shirt said it all) and asked what she wanted to speak with him about–so she told him.  3) Seeing so many people in AAUW white t-shirts everywhere you went.

Senator Casey’s office

4) Being stopped by passersby to talk about AAUW.  A young woman stopped Betty and Ann in front of the Cannon building–she is a student member from Minnesota in D.C. for a summer internship and was thrilled to see all the AAUW members on the Hill.

Briefing Senator Casey aide

The issues we discussed:

  • Title IX is turning 45 on June 23rd, yet more work remains.  We asked for the Senator’s support for increased funding for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to continue their vital work to ensure schools comply with our civil rights statues, including Title IX and its current regulations and guidance.

    Walking the Hill

  • AAUW is known for groundbreaking research and our just released research, Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans is no exception.  We asked for support protecting and strengthening federal financial aid programs such as Pell Grants, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and Income-Driven Repayment.  These programs are critical to the success of women in higher education and can help to curb the student debt burden they experience.

The first AAUW Lobby Day was in 1989 at the 35th AAUW National Convention, where the theme that yearwas “Choices, Changes, and Connections.”  Read more.


Public Policy Activities/Events July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

Total of 115 Public Policy activities or events were held across Pennsylvania.  25 of 40 (63%) branches held at least one activity or event.  A summary report and detail of all the activities or events reported are available for review.  Use the detail report to get ideas for your branch.


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Tools and Resources for Advocacy

Should I Work on a Bill that Won’t Pass?
The majority of states are dominated by one political party. If you are not a member of that party, it can feel futile to push your legislative priorities. But even if you know your bill will not pass, there are still important reasons to try:

  • Educate legislators about an existing problem and your proposed solutions; perhaps find common ground.
  • Get media coverage to cost-effectively communicate with the public.
  • Frame the issue in your terms and make the opposition play defense.
  • Force policymakers to take a position and reveal their stance on an issue (then use it in your state legislative voting record).
  • Build grassroots support by giving advocates a task and target.
  • Compel lawmakers to show voters what they actually believe.

It often takes a long time to put the pieces into place, and it can take years to pass a bill, but laying the groundwork improves your chances of success later.

search on talking points and sift through to find the topic you need

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