North Peninsula Branch of AAUW - California - 2015-2016 Meetings

60 Years Celebration

Date: Friday, January 29, 12 PM to 2 PM
Place: Poplar Creek Restaurant, San Mateo
Topic: Diamond Jubilee
Speaker: Carolyn Garfein, Past President AAUW
Guest of Honor: Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Guests: California State AAUW President and other state directors, presidents of the IBC (San Francisco, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo and San Carlos), city council members
Master of Ceremonies: Catherine Wilkinson
Chair: Ami Seebode, Meg Finones, Carolyn Mason

January Meeting Photos

Welcoming Committee


Barbara Serling, Membership Vice President

Ami Seebode, Meg Finones, Valerie Lambertson

Meg Finones, Ami Seebode, Co-presidents


Margaret Ellis, 95, member of AAUW-NP for 37 years

Ami Seebode, Lada Denisova, Gaetane Andrews, Meg Finones, Barbara Serling

Meg Finones, Laraine Legg

Eduardo Finones, Frank Seebode

Guest Speaker
Carolyn Garfein, Immediate Past President, National AAUW

Carolyn Garfein, Past President, AAUW USA

Ms. Garfein, a former marketing research executive, infused us with renewed appreciation for the exceptional acheivements AAUW has accomplished over the years regarding the empowerment of women and girls.

"AAUW has been empowering women since 1881. Empowering is giving power to, and Webster defines power as the ability to influence others. Does AAUW have power? You bet we do.

Power is when AAUW testifies in congress on preventing and responding to sexual assault on college campuses.

Power is when AAUW is called to the White House along with fewer than a dozen women’s organizations the week following President Obama’s re-election to address priorities for women. The President himself participated in the meeting. Our priorities were the Violence Against Women Act – which has since passed – and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is still in limbo.

Power is when the AAUW volunteer Lobby Corps visits offices of Senators and Representatives every Thursday to advocate for legislation affecting women and girls. And in the folder that staff prepares about each legislator is a note about how many AAUW members are in his or her district. That’s the power that you bring to AAUW.

Power is when your branch sponsors a young woman to NCCWSL or a Start Smart workshop and helps to change the direction of her life in the future. Or when your contribution to AAUW funds supports a plaintiff in a discrimination case or provides a fellowship for an international student to study here and return to her home country to work to improve the lives of her countrymen and women.

(Sad to say, we are still and have been advocating for some issues since 1898.)

If you look at 131 years of history, it is clear that AAUW is and always has been working for women’s equality, empowering women, and breaking through the many barriers that have prevented us from achieving equity.

In the next 30 years, say by 2046 or so, here’s what I want to see:

1) The pay gap is narrowed.
2) Women Chief Executive Officers of Fortune 500 companies.
3) In 30 years there will be a totally gender-balanced Congress.
4) Graduate from college without being in debt.
5) Women will earn 50% of the doctoral degrees in computer science, engineering and physics.
6) There will be five female Supreme Court Justices.
7) Girls and boys will no longer suffer from bullying or sexual harassment that goes ignored or unpunished by responsible institutions.
8) AAUW will be cited in the press more often than any other organization on stories about gender equity.
9) AAUW membership will triple.
10) A quarter of a million donors."

Guest of Honor
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County

Jacqueline Speier, Congresswoman, San Mateo County

In addition to advocating for Title IX, quality of life issues, defense and the economy, Congresswoman Speier also spoke of a new system for combating the crime of human trafficking, including sex slavery, in San Mateo County.

The Human Trafficking Protocol for Law Enforcement in San Mateo County is designed to help police officers and others detect instances of human trafficking, spur more prosecutions, and provide better support for victims.

We're sending a very strong message. This county is not a place that welcomes sex traffickers. In fact, it is going to be the most inhospitable place to come if you are sex trafficking.

The protocol is the result of more than two years of planning initiated by Jacqueline Speier and led by South San Francisco Police and Fire Chief Mike Massoni. It lays out the guidelines for a new countywide task force dedicated to human trafficking investigations and includes specialized training for both.

“What is human trafficking?

The State Department defines it as “the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud or coercion.” In plain English - it’s slavery. The United States abolished slavery in 1865 with the 13th Amendment, but tragically a modern version of it exists today in the form of sex and labor trafficking.

The numbers are staggering: worldwide, some 30 million people are held in bondage. In the United States, between 100,000 and 300,000 children, I repeat children, are sold for sex every year. The average age of victims getting forced into prostitution is 12-14 years. It’s a hugely profitable business for the traffickers. In fact, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing and most profitable criminal industries in the world. A trafficker selling three minors can easily make $600,000 a year, and unlike with drugs, he can sell them over and over again.

It’s much harder to put numbers on the toll human trafficking takes on its victims. They aren’t statistics; they are individuals with horrifying stories. It’s those stories that got me involved in the fight against human trafficking several years ago. I met with a young girl who told me she was forced to have sex with 10-15 men a day. I read about girls being thrown into trunks of cars and driven hundreds of miles. I saw young girls walking on International Boulevard in Oakland being controlled by their pimps over cellphones. I met with survivors in a safe house who were making the transition from victim to survivor. It’s the unfathomable human tragedy that must motivate all of us to rescue human trafficking victims and give them a chance at life.

People in the airline industry play an especially important and unique role. Trafficking ignores borders, and transportation is at its core. Traffickers depend on planes, airports, roads, and hotels to do their business.

Trafficking happens every day and we need to fight it every day, but Super Bowl 50 is a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue and raise our united voice of the Bay Area to say to traffickers: You are not welcome here!"

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