Featured post

September 22, 2018 – Public Program

Join Us on Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 4-6 PM . . . . . . . . . . This event is free – but please RSVP, as seating is limited.

Aileen Rizo: Blazing a Trail for Equal Pay

Harpar Bizaar's quote about Alison Rizo

What would you do if you found out that your male co-worker made a lot more than you?

In in 2012, Aileen learned that her salary was lower than a co-worker with less experience and less education – based solely on her prior work history in a different state.  For the past six years, she has worked tirelessly on the quest to make “Equal Pay for Equal Work” a reality.

Alison Rizo - BioCome hear about Rizo v. Yovino

This landmark case raised the issue as to whether prior salary histories have perpetuated the gender pay gap.

Rizo resisted – and persisted – causing change to California’s Equal Pay laws and winning her federal case against her employer!

She will be telling of her experiences, from being a math consultant – teaching math skills to teachers – to becoming a familiar face in Sacramento, testifying in support of legislation that has been enacted to ensure that previous pay is no longer a determining factor when setting pay for a worker.

California is now one of six states with a ban on salary history in negotiations for worker.

Rizo’s lawsuit, Rizo v. Yovino, has led to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals full hearing and decision in April that, under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, employers cannot pay women less than men just because of a previous job’s salary.

Her attorney in the federal lawsuit is Dan Siegel of Oakland and her case has received financial support from the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.

As Rizo worked with advocates on the Sacramento legislation, she learned that her member of the Assembly consistently voted against the bills she was favoring.

She is now a candidate to replace him. Rizo’s story was featured on the New Republic blog July 19, 2018 and in the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund supported Rizo in her lawsuit.


If you’d like to support AAUW’s efforts to obtain equality for women & girls, you can donate to the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund at this link:




Location & RSVP:  Seating is limited, so RSVP at the . . . . . . . .  . .  . …………………….Eventbrite link below today:

You can download a pdf flyer about this event at:

Aileen Rizo On Achieving Gender Pay Equity – Saturday, 4-6pm on 9-22-18

Presentation by Ten 2020-21 AAUW Fund Recipients

The three purposes and general goals of the AAUW Fund:
1. Removing Bias from Today’s Education
2. Fighting for Fair Play and Economic Equity
3. Advancing Women Leadership Opportunities

In the last year, the AAUW Fund was able to raise an incredible 3.5 million dollars that provided 24 grants to women throughout California. These exceptional recipients will pursue academic work and lead innovative community projects to empower women and girls.

Last October, I heard from ten of these amazing women, who each gave a brief talk via zoom.

After listening to these women speak, I was inspired to make a donation to the AAUW Fund and I hope you will, too.   We all can offer support, no matter the amount.  Let’s take up the challenge!

Miriam Rabinovitz, VP, AAUW Fund

To donate to the AAUW Fund, please go to:  http://ww2.aauw.org/donate-gift-new/

Read on to find out about each of these 10 recipients’ challenges and accomplishments and their dedication to creating a world in which we can all thrive!

Becca Brunner
PhD candidate at UC Berkeley
Studying Wildlife Conservation in Ecuador

Becca grew up being raised by a single mom in the Midwest. She likes to refer to her background as moving from “cornfields to jungles,” as even as a child, she had an early interest in frogs. They have now become her focus of study in Ecuador. She is fascinated with their biodiversity and their ability to push and pull between their environment and the survivorship of their species.

Becca’s main interest currently is with the vocalization of frogs and their ability to stratify by sound frequencies in different environments.

Quite recently, Becca found a brand-new frog species in Ecuador and named the species in honor of her mother, LINDA, which means beautiful in Spanish.

Currently, Becca also spends time with younger girls who haven’t yet been brainwashed to think that “frogs are gross”! In working with these girls, she feels that changing societal stereotypes and notions will help to empower them as they grow into young women.

Amie Campos
PhD candidate through UC San Diego in Chile
Amie is on a Fulbright scholarship as well

Amie is another young woman who has found inspiration from her mother, a current frontline health worker during the COVID pandemic.

Amie’s research explores the effects of colonization on native indigenous populations. She works with indigenous people who were forced to move and lost their lands but are still trying to claim legitimacy to these lost lands.

After doing much research in this area, Amie is currently in the process of writing a book on this topic.

Constance Ilok
Post-Doc Studies at UC Irvine

Constance’s specialization is in exploring the college-going decisions and trajectories of low-income single mothers of color. Her special interest is in addressing 21st century college students who, like her, are students of color.

In her research she has found that 90% of single mothers are low income women of color who are facing marginalization and inequity in their access to college educational opportunities.

Constance is particularly interested in trying to address and change the narrative about the illusion of choice often depicted in the media regarding higher education. Much of her research is dictated by her own personal experiences in trying to navigate successfully through academia.

Lizette Solorzano
Currently finishing her last year of a PhD program at USC.

Lizette benefitted from DACA (Federal Dream Act which gave temporary amnesty to certain undocumented young people), and her interest in studying immigration comes from her own background and personal family experience.

Lizette grew up with Mexican American parents. Her grandparents migrated to the US in the 1960’s from Jalisco, Mexico. Lizette has always been interested in the immigrant integration experience.

From her studies, she has learned that 25% of the immigrant population are undocumented.

Lizette is currently examining the mental health effects such as depression, fear, and worry that are sadly most prevalent in the DACA population due to the precariousness of DACA.

In addition to writing her dissertation and continuing her research, Lizette volunteers as an advocate in the effort to organize to save DACA. She is hopeful that one day permanent immigration reform will be a reality for herself and others like her.

Rochelle McFee
Graduate PhD student, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego.

Rochelle’s research is in Jamaica and her academic focus is exploring how laws, policies, and judicial practices shape gender-based violence there. In her research, she has discovered that the Jamaican media, based on old colonial enforced practices, exploits and encourages sexual violence of women and girls.

Rochelle is most interested in helping to develop a new legal framework that will support individual personal gender choices and reduce current and longstanding gender-based sexual violence, resulting in some healing for those who have been the victims of this exploitation.

Maria Jose Navarrete
PhD candidate at UC Berkeley

Maria grew up in Ecuador and decided to obtain her degree in the fields of ecology and evolution. Like Becca, she too, was interested in studying amphibians and particularly frogs. Her focus is on studying the diversification of amphibians in high altitude environments.

Maria’s goal is to help empower indigenous communities through conservation.

Yvonne Zhang
Student at the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles

Yvonne, who grew up in a low-income neighborhood raised by a single mother, has always had a love of films. Early on, she realized she’d like to be a filmmaker and a director of her own film.

A major roadblock for her has been the knowledge that females are greatly underrepresented in the film director’s chair, as films have traditionally been directed by white males.

It is Yvonne’s goal to change that situation. Because of AAUW’s scholarship support, Yvonne is currently working writing the screenplay for a film. The film will explore the lives of three generations of women.

Yvonne is dedicated to writing stories that will help women make sense of their lives, and help validate and empower marginalized women in an ongoing effort to broaden their life and career opportunities.

Claire Breining
Student at UCSF, Health and Medical Sciences

Claire’s academic focus is on helping to reduce the racial disparity in health care practices, particularly in the area of birthing among immigrant women and children. Claire’s interest in this grew out of her experience as a birthing doula.

Through her work as a doula and nurse midwife, and through her studies on maternity health care, Claire discovered that there is a definite disproportionate distribution of resources that affect women of color resulting in pregnancy-related deaths. About 700 women die each year in the US as a result of pregnancy-related complications. One-third to one-half of this group are women of color.

Because the number of obstetricians in the US is high compared to other Western countries and the number of corresponding midwives is low, Claire is interested in establishing a program that will create increased opportunities for midwives and doulas from diverse communities.

Claire believes that this effort will help to build trust and education for birthing mothers and will greatly help to improve birth outcomes in this country, particularly for women of color.

Feather Ives
Candidate for Master’s in Public Health (MPH)
University of Nevada, Reno

Feather’s interest is focused on assisting college students, particularly women of color, in their ability to find success in their college experience, enabling them to better pursue their college goals and discover new opportunities post-college.

As a woman of color, Feather found that many women of color, particularly first-generation college students struggle financially during their college years. Their challenges are far greater than those of the white population, and these students of color need more support with basic needs to help them reach their full potential.

Feather’s research noted that the issue of hunger also presents a barrier to student success and degree attainment.

To this end, Feather started her own food security resource program called the Richmond Promise located in Richmond, California. Her program, which she hopes will become a national effort, provides technical training and resources to assist women in their transition to new careers and educational opportunities.

Denise Mitchell
Student of Botany and Plant Science , UC Riverside.

Unlike her fellow AAUW Scholarship recipients who presented today, Denise has been a science educator for the last twenty-five years.

Denise has mentored many of her students. Midway in her prior career, Denise decided to go back to academia to further study her long-standing interest in botany and plant science. Late into her career, Denise realized that she would like to teach students how to be good stewards of our natural world and to inspire them to better take care of our planet.

Denise is currently in a program that will help her to combine her background in teaching with a focus on studying three different ecosystems in connection with their ability to withstand heat and draught.

Her ultimate goal is to enlighten future students of hers and the next generation on the great need for them to develop a reverence for life as caretakers of our precious planet.

To donate to the AAUW Fund, please go to:  http://ww2.aauw.org/donate-gift-new/

Postponed: Our Equal Pay Day Event Across From City Hall

This event has been postponed and will be re-scheduled for a date this summer:
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when women’s earnings “catch up” to men’s earnings from the previous year. March 31st marks the day when the average woman worker earned as much in 15 months as a man in the same job made in 12.

Note well that for women of color “pay equity” day is even later in theyear — from August to November. As part of the national campaign, the call goes out to Wear Red on Equal pay Day to symbolize how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay.

Our branch will mark this pay inequity day by having a “connection” table in the downtown mall plaza across the street from City Hall. We will hand out Pay Day bars and cards, discuss Working Smart workshops to the many who work downtown, and take lunch in the Plaza. Our table is our visible way to raise awareness about and organize action around the gender pay gap in our community.

Please join your fellow members at this event as we engage Oaklanders and of course
remind them to vote and to be part of the census.

Date:           Tuesday, 31, 2020
Time:          11:30 am – 1:30pm
Location:   Oakland’s Downtown City Plaza  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .  . . . . . . . . .Across the street from City Hall      

Cost:           FREE to attend . .

Documentary Film Showcase

Saturday, January 11, 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakland-Piedmont AAUW

Our Documentary Film Showcase Presents:

Seeing Alred

When a woman makes a public claim of gender bias or sexual harassment, Gloria Allred is often at her side. Using archival footage and interviews with her supporters and critics, this documentary provides an engrossing look at the crusading lawyer. Gloria Allred has championed women’s rights for decades – come see how she has helped us fight for justice!








Date:         Saturday, January 11, 2020
Time:         2pm – 5pm
Location: Diamond Branch – Oakland Public Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    3565 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

Cost:         FREE to attend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Fall Kick-Off Meeting 2019

Saturday, September, 21, 2019
Oakland-Piedmont Kick-Off Meeting

Come Hear Keynote Speaker Cheryl Sundari Dembe

Keyote Speaker Cheryl Sundari Dembe Cheryl Sundari Dembe, chemistry professor and author of The Choice of Happiness: Glimpses from an Extraordinary Ordinary Scientific Mystical Life, is our featured Kickoff speaker.

She was a graduate student at the University of Chicago in 1971 when her thesis advisor suddenly died and no other team was willing to take a female on!  Now Nearly 50 years after her scientific research was interrupted, Dembe was awarded her doctorate there.

Dembe’s academic journey was propelled by a female chemistry teacher. “I thought by studying chemistry I would learn the truth about the universe and what it was made of,” she said.

All my life, I had thought of myself as a woman who didn’t make it,” said Dembe, now in her 70s and living in Lafayette. “I am extraordinarily grateful, after all these years, to be taken seriously.”

Refreshments: Finger foods & beverages will be available

Date:          Saturday, September 21, 2019
Time:          9:30am to Noon
Location:  Telegraph Hill Medical Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .3003 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
Parking is available in the back of the building. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Signage will direct you to the event from there
Cost:           Free to attend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Questions: Contact Diane Rawicz here

Everyone is Invited to attend this free event – Bring a friend!


Mingle:  9:30 – 10:00  | Welcome:  10 – 10:15 | Tech Trek Girls:  10:15 – 10:45 | Cheryl Dembe:  10:45 – 11:30 | Announcements:  11:30 – Noon

Cheryl Sundari Dembe being honored

Cheryl receiving her doctorate diploma at last!

Meet Kathleen Cha – New VP for Public Policy

Kathleen Cha, New VP - Policy

Kathleen is on the left at an AAUW event ( with Miriam Rabinovitz)

Kathleen Cha has served public, private and nonprofit sectors for more than thirty years as a Strategic Communications professional, facilitating community outreach, media and governmental affairs, and crisis communications regarding community issues, public safety, housing/land use, and global women’s leadership.  

Retired from government/agency work in 2014, she has committed to public service in nonprofit/civil society. In her commitment to equity and community building, she has been an AAUW advocate leader since 1988 serving as AAUW California President and AAUW Director on national Board for 6 years, a Branch member leader for AAUW Orange, AAUW San Francisco and AAUW Oakland Piedmont (a member since 2000).

Since public policy is part of her DNA, she considers serving as Public Policy Vice President a delight and privilege, and a great way to share with AAUW branch members the resources and ways to make equity and education work in our community. 

As this word warrior, she is currently League of Women Voters Bay Area Vice President and a community appointee to the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Planning Committee (RPC) providing policy on land use, housing, environment for the 101 cities and 9 counties.  This commitment includes serving as Vice Chair of A Safe Place providing comprehensive services to families suffering abuse and violence.

As board member and past co-chair of Women’s Intercultural Network (Win) helping lead Cities for CEDAW campaign, she was awarded a 2016 Circle of Courage Award for her international leadership support efforts.    She has served the past seven years an NGO (non-governmental organization-Civil Society) delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, facilitating and presenting workshop sessions on social protections and infrastructure, media and technology, and violence against women. 

She is an author, documentarian, and playwright from Big Foot, Little Foot and the Trouble with Dragons to Speaking a Woman’s Life. She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University, and received Master’s Degree in English/Literary Analysis and doctoral work in 18th Century and Rhetoric from Marquette University.

Meet Miriam Rabinovitz – New VP for AAUW Fund

Miriam Rabinovitz, VP - AAUW Fund

Miriam is on the right at an AAUW event ( with Kathleen Cha)

A member of AAUW since the early 2000’s, Miriam initially joined  in order to have more social and intellectual interactions with other Bay Area women. She has participated in Evening Books for many years and has also  volunteered on behalf of AAUW in various ways over the years. 

Now that Miriam has taken on this new responsibility as AAUW Fund VP, she will put her energy into working on behalf of expanding opportunities for girls and women, primarily by trying to raise funds from our membership on their behalf. Miriam is looking forward to the challenge and thanks you for the opportunity!

Miriam’s Background & Professional Accomplishments

Miriam was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and moved to Southern California at the early age of three.  She grew up in LA, lived abroad in Israel for a year after college. She attended UC Berkeley and graduated during the turbulent 60’s.  Miriam made Berkeley my home (in between travels) and acquired a teaching credential from San Francisco State University.

After teaching English at Logan High School in Union City for ten years, she decided to make a career switch and received an MPH (Masters in Public Health) from San Jose State University, with a major in health community education and gerontology. From that time on, Miriam has worked on behalf of older adults, first as a program director with well seniors (where she had great fun taking seniors on day and overnight trips) and then as an executive director of two nonprofit agencies working on behalf of frail elders.

In 1995, Miriam began working for Alameda County, first on a project called Hope for Elderly Independence, a HUD demonstration grant that provided 200 Section 8 vouchers for frail elders, along with funding for services to help enhance their independence, so they could continue to live independently and not have to incur the considerable cost in dollars and quality of life that happens due to premature nursing home placement (Oh how we could use programs like that today!).  When grant funds ran out, Miriam took work in other Alameda County Departments, i.e. Social Services, Public Health and Emergency Health Care Services.  In the last four years before she retired in October 2016, she taught Fall Prevention to Senior Adults.

Now a senior herself, Miriam tries to remember what she taught others so as to benefit from that learning herself!  Her retirement days are quite busy.  For two years, Miriam has been a Board Member of East Bay Foundation on Aging (EBFA), which provides funding and safety net services to low income seniors living in Oakland. 

Miriam’s Personal Interests

Miriam’s involved in the Jewish community, and as a member of Congregation Beth El in Berkeley is known as their “film curator”, picking and showing films with Jewish content. This year our focus was on “Celebrating Jewish Women” and she had great fun securing many good films to show.

Miriam also belongs to two Jewish choruses, sings some liturgical music and some Hebrew and Yiddish folk songs.   She  takes two play reading classes and one theater discussion class. Two years ago, she took up Mahjong and tries to keep that part of my brain active by playing the game at least two or three times a month.  Last and certainly not least importantly, Miriam has two adorable grandsons – age 3 and 4 who live nearby  for whom she enjoys babysitting. 

Like many of us, she is one busy retired lady!


Women’s Advocacy Day in Sacramento – May 8, 2019

Join Fund Her at California’s first-ever Women’s Advocacy Day, where we’ll hear amazing speakers, learn how to lobby, and help California lead the nation by urging our legislators to:

1. Expand paid family leave (SB 135, AB 196)
2. Protect survivors of sexual assault and harassment (AB 1510, AB 51)
3. Achieve gender equity in product pricing and local board representation (SB 320, AB 31, AB 931)

The event is free to attend (women, men, and children 12+ are welcome)!

Featured speakers: include State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Board of Equalization member Malia Cohen, two dynamic statewide leaders Fund Her helped elect in 2018.

Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Time:  8am to 3:30 am

Cost: Free to Attend

Location: Capitol Event Center, 1020 11th St., Sacramento, CA

If you want to stay overnight: Discounted rooms at the Citizen Hotel are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more info and to register for this event, go to: FundHer.org

Powering Progressive Women to Lead California


Equal Pay Day – Activist Event on April 2, 2019

Equal Pay Day - Arm Wrestling Graphic w StatsOn average, women must work until April 2, 2019 to earn what men earned in the previous year. 

Come help us raise awareness about this issue:

Tuesday, April 2, 4-6 PM at the Rockridge BART Station:

* Come out to have your picture taken with the Un-Equal Dollar or our AAUW picture frame. Then post it on social media to help spread the word!
* Come see AAUW members distribute PayDay bars to BART riders as they inform riders about the Wage Gap.

Branch Members: To help set up these events and/or participate at either location, contact Barbra Norum.

2019 Equal Pay Day for Women Events

On average, women must work until April 2, 2019 to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Help Celebrate the Cause of Gaining an Equal Pay Day!

Woman holding Equal Pay signWe will be raising awareness about this issue on two dates:

Tuesday, March 26, 11 AM-1 PM at Laney College, in the quad by the Student Center:
Come to our Un-Equal Bake Sale of delicious cookies, with 25% OFF for Women Only!
• Men: Each cookie costs $1.00 • Women: Each cookie costs $0.75
(We will be at Laney on this date because of their Spring Break.)

Tuesday, April 2, 4-6 PM at the Rockridge BART Station:
* Come out to have your picture taken with the Un-Equal Dollar or our AAUW picture frame. Then post it on social media to help spread the word!
* Come see AAUW members distribute PayDay bars to BART riders as they inform riders about the Wage Gap.

Branch Members: To help set up these events and/or participate at either location, contact Barbra Norum.

Oakland Women’s March on January 19, 2019

Womens March - Aerial View by Lake MerrittCome join us and other local  AAUW branch members to march from Laney College to the Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. 

We will gather in front of the Student Center at Laney College at 9:30 AM and walk together carrying AAUW signage.   At the end of the march, the Interbranch Council of the AAUW will have a booth where we can share information with marchers about our mission.

So don your pink hat, and bring your family and friends to join us!

Unable to walk the route?  Come to Frank Ogawa Plaza to visit our booth and to hear this year’s speakers, starting at 11am.

Date:  Saturday, January 19, 2019

Time & Location:  

  • TO JOIN THE MARCH:  Meet up at 9:30am at the Laney College Student Center. 
  • TO HEAR THE SPEAKERS:  Go to the Frank Ogawa Plaza at 11am.  Our booth will be open from 11am to 2:30.