Public Policy

AAUW PA’s public policy goals are to educate citizens about the impact of public policies on women and girls and to advocate for policies that will advance equity for women and girls. In Pennsylvania, AAUW actively endorses the national AAUW Public Policy Program. AAUW Pennsylvania supports good governance, an informed citizenry, and community dialogue on critical issues. Biennial priorities are intended to complement national priorities and to be a focus for active educational and advocacy efforts by members in the state.

For more than a century AAUW has influenced the legislative debate on critical issues affecting women and girls through effective grassroots advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. The North Hills Pittsburgh Branch encourages our members to be actively involved in this work.
Advocating is as simple as finding a cause that matters to you and uniting people to take action toward that common cause. As AAUW members, we share a mission of empowering women and girls. Individually and collectively we have the attitudes, values, and knowledge, talents, skills, and experience to be effective advocates. Each of us can do something.

The North Hills Pittsburgh Branch works locally to advance the AAUW member-endorsed Public Policy Priorities addressing policies that break through educational and economic barriers for women. Specific areas of work are GOTV, Title IX, and Equal Pay. We collaborate with other organizations in the community to achieve these goals.
Events our branch will be involved in will be posted on our website, discussed at branch meetings, and posted in our Viewpoints. Viewpoints, the branch online newsletter, has a section dedicated to Public Policy.
AAUW is a non-partisan organization.

It has been a crazy time since the election

If you have been watching the activities in Harrisburg they could had an impact on AAUW’s priorities since the election.  With so much uncertainty about the leadership in the House of Representatives (The fight over control of the Pa. House is Harrisburg high-stakes lunacy at its worst – Pennsylvania Capital-Star ( it is unknown what will happen come January 3rd.  AAUW PA is part of coalitions working on many fronts from the Constitutional Amendments to Women’s Health.  

What we do know is that on January 3rd, there will be a rally organized by Fix Harrisburg from 11-12pm.  If any branch member is interested in attending, please RSVP to this link. Join the Movement for Redistricting Reform | Fair Districts PA. Living in western Pa this is a bit of a drive. If you plan to attend AAUW PA can have signs ready for attendees. AAUW members that attend will hold signs with our logo on them in support of rule changes that will assist in our efforts to get our priorities up for a vote!

Second, we are patiently waiting to hear from the Commonwealth Court judge about the School Funding Lawsuit.  This decision could come any day and we hope to have members participate in actions around the state to support our schools’ need for adequate and equitable funding!  Education Voters is organizing advocates and if you are interested please complete this form in order to be notified after the decision.    Yes! Please send me information about being part of a response when the decision in PA’s school funding lawsuit is issued. (

Third, on the federal side, we have seen the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act and Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and hopes that it can be passed in Senate by the end of the year.  Please remind all members to join the Action Network for updates. 

AAUW Pennsylvania Public Policy Priorities 2022-2024

Click here to download.


Gateway to Equity Award for 2023

On March 11, the American Association of University Women North Hills Pittsburgh Branch presented its 2023 Gateway to Equity Award to Kim Freithaler, North Hills Art Center executive director.

According to the AAUW, she embodies the association’s commitment to achieving equity for women and girls by promoting healing through creativity for people of all ages and backgrounds who are working through personal life challenges.

Freithaler’s leadership during the covid-19 pandemic enabled the North Hills Art Center in Ross to obtain new grant funding, remain open safely and increase membership.

Freithaler became president of the art center’s board of directors in 2007 and has been the executive director since 2016. Under her leadership during the pandemic, the center maintained its partnerships with social service agencies.

Through those partnerships, the center fulfilled its mission of providing “healing through creativity” for individuals across the life span by providing free art supplies, art classes and opportunities to display their work for grieving children, victims of intimate partner violence, immigrants, disadvantaged children, youth and families, hospitalized children and their families, military veterans, and elders in residential care.

North Hills Art Center director earns AAUW Equity Award |

Gateway to Equity Award for 2022

Kelley Clouser, Branch President (left) with Bonnie Joyce, Gateway to Equity Award 2022 Recipient (right).
This award is given to individuals or groups that have shown, by action and
philosophy, that they advance equity for women and girls through
advocacy, education, or research. Bonnie has done this through her career
as a respected nursing educator and patient advocate at the UPMC
Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing. Her support, teaching, and
mentoring of students in classes, clinical rotations, and community service
projects help them develop the attitudes, values, knowledge, and skills
needed for compassionate patient care.

Gateway to Equity Award for 2021
The AAUW North Hills Branch honored Vivian Lee Croft and Girls Write Pittsburgh as this year’s Gateway to Equity awardee. Vivian Lee Croft founded Write Pittsburgh, a creative writing collaborative and member organization of Dave Eggers’ International Alliance of Youth Writing Centers, in 2016. In 2018, she adapted the Creative Nonfiction Foundation’s workshop Writing Away the Stigma to support teen writers. Vivian is a Margaret L. Whitford Fellow at Chatham University pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Writing. She was awarded 2020 residencies at Tongue River Artist Residency and Pittsburgh’s City Books. She is a nonfiction writer concerned with home, memory, and trauma. Vivian edited the book, We Are All Related, a collection of portraits by photographer Andrea London and her writing is featured in F(r)iction and Hippocampus.

Girls Write Pittsburgh inspires teen writers to create, explore, and grow through writing. It is Pittsburgh’s only program designed to empower girls through the creative expression of writing, exposing them to a world of opportunity, through the craft. Write Pittsburgh is to amplify voices, empower writers, and encourage relationships that build writer agency and foster relationships that grow and strengthen community. It envisions a strong community of writers and storytellers empowered through social, emotional, and mental health learning, nurtured through creative support, uplifted by community engagement, and valued through equity and inclusion.

To learn more about AAUW Public Policy go to:

An interesting article that adds to the dialogue about how to talk about differences and similarities through the lens of lif experience.