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Voting importance stressed

University Women's association keeps approach simple

Kelly Silva

— The American Association of University Women’s Steamboat Springs chapter is encouraging women in the Yampa Valley to vote in the upcoming election, even though no gender issues are highlighted on the ballots.

Jane Carpenter, membership chairwoman, said the nonprofit organization advocates education for women and girls through the national and international branches of the organization.

“Especially with all this bin Laden stuff going on right now it’s important to educate our women. Women (in the Taliban) are not allowed to have any education,” Carpenter said.

Although the upcoming state and local government elections do not have any issues that the organization would advocate for or against, it would like to send the message to women that it is important to vote.

“It’s very powerful and this issue is in tune with today’s needs,” Carpenter said.

Although nothing stands out this year, Carpenter said many issues would face an election in November 2002.

The local chapter will begin stronger involvement with educating women and girls in town about sexual harassment, gender bias, the transition from school to work, strength in voice and policy making and women in technology.

The organization began a Sister-to-Sister Summit that allows women and girls to talk frankly about issues facing education and equity.

Carpenter said they would like to begin a Woman-to-Woman or Sister-to-Sister Summit to bring women together to talk about transitions and technology.

“We would like to do more with aid in reading programs in the community,” Carpenter said.

The local chapter has given school supplies to the districts and issues an outstanding junior girl award every year.

“We want to keep it simple and just make people aware of what we’re doing,” Carpenter said.

The organization contains more than 150,000 members and 1,500 branches. It was founded in 1881 and has kept its goal to tear down barriers that females face in society.

The organization helped found the International Federation of University Women in 1919 to reach out to less fortunate women in other parts of the world and to diversify the membership.

The local chapter meets once a month with a guest speaker. The Friday meeting will host Karen Vail, program director for Yampatika’s Partners in Interpretation, as the guest speaker. For more information, call Carpenter at 879-6248 or president Karen Richards at 879-8065.


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