April – May Programs

April 27, 7:30 pm Book Discussion: The Vanishing Half

Have you read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett?
From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. Book discussion will be guided by Elaine Fisher, president of NW Suburban branch.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.  Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?

“Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal
“A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it’s an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it’s piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly.

Join the Northwest Suburban and Jane Addams branches for a book discussion on April 27th, 7:30 pm. Advance registration required. Click the link below: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkcemsqzspEtPZaDT14PmWCYOY5jUd5u8h

AAUW-IL 97th State Convention – Together Again! All in for Equity
Friday – Saturday, May 6 – 7, 2022

Deadline is April 15th to register for the discounted rate! All the details and registration form are in the Spring Link. Convention location is DoubleTree by Hilton Lisle Naperville – 3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle, IL

May 6, 4 pm Friday – Registration
5 pm Happy Hour Social and Convention Opening
Welcome by AAUW-IL President, Lisa Cherry
Keynote by Gloria Blackwell, AAUW CEO: National Update
The Queen of Basketball (Documentary-Short Film)
President’s Reception

May 7: Saturday Keynote Speaker – Julie Strauss, PhD
Social Media: How is it Transforming our Democracy?
Julie received her Ph.D. in American Politics from Northwestern University. Her dissertation examined the unique role women members of Congress have had on public policy. Prior to entering graduate school, Julie spent two years on Capitol Hill working for elected officials. She received her undergraduate degree in social science from Wesleyan University. She currently lives in Evanston with her husband and two children.

Taking Theory to Reality: DEI Panel
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training is offered in many settings. What does it take to
move DEI training from theory to reality? What does it take to have effective policy and programs in government, schools, and businesses? Our expert panel will share their experience, knowledge, and practical application of DEI.

Dr. Harriet Hope Lewis, PhD
Founder/CEO of Konensens Development Inc, a boutique consultancy
that furthers equity and inclusion through CRS/DEI training and support,
International trade, and tourism development.
Dr. Rebecca Gordan, EdD
Assistant VP of for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at North Central College.
Dr. Geneace Williams, JD, PhD
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Manager of the City of Naperville.
Dr. Donna Kiel, EdD
Professor in the Department of Leadership, Language, and Curriculum at DePaul.

Lunch & Business meeting, awards, officer election and public policy reports (including the ERA).
Challenges to Intellectual Freedom: It’s not just about banning books, American Library Association
Branch Development: Using AAUW’s Mission to Gain Community Recognition, the Elgin Branch, Naperville Area Branch, and Naperville’s Issues Action Team (I-ACT)
Closing/Wrap Up and Raffle

March Programs

Thursday, 7 – 8 pm, March 24th – The German Virtuosa
Inside the Life and Times of Clara Schumann

She was not only a divine pianist, talented composer and successful teacher, but also a mother of 8 and the main breadwinner for her family.  In the very male dominated 19th century, German superwoman Clara Schumann did it all while juggling a 61 year concert career that made her internationally famous.
Join German historian Anette Isaacs for an intimate look at the life of the exceptional Clara Virtuosa!

Advance registration is required. Register with the Des Plaines Public Library to receive the Zoom meeting link.

Join us to learn about this amazing woman of the 19th century!

Weds., 7:30 pm, March 30th – What Can We Learn From Jane Addams?

Where would Jane Addams be today? Would she help dispel urban ethnic stereotypes?
This program shares the details of Jane Addams’s life at Hull-House in Chicago, how she became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 and raises the question of what lessons we have learned that apply to today’s world.

Presenter: Gloria McMillan, Research Associate, Dept of English, The University of Arizona. Her recent edited work is The Routledge Companion to Literature and Class.
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZ0pd…

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have any questions about this online program, contact Kate Skegg, the program registrar, at aauwJaneAddams@gmail.com  Please share this program with others that you think may be interested.

Jan. – Feb. Programs

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 7 pm – Combating Disinformation at Local School Board Meeting

Presenters Joyce Slavik & Jim McGrath, NWSOFA (Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action)
School board meetings are increasingly adversarial, with board members and educators harassed and threatened. Boards make local decisions that impact the education and futures of our children, the vitality of our communities, and our budgets as taxpayers. Since school boards provide local governance, why are the same things happening at meetings throughout the suburbs? Our speakers from Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action (NWSOFA)-Indivisible will provide perspective and recommend how we can support our school board members and schools.
Advance registration required: Link to register

Co-Sponsors: AAUW Naperville Area, AAUW Aurora Area, AAUW Batavia-Geneva-St. Charles, AAUW Downers Grove Area, AAUW Lombard Area, AAUW Northwest Suburban, AAUW Wheaton-Glen Ellyn

Saturday, Feb. 12th, 10 AM: Asian Americans and the “Other” in the Era of the Pandemic and the Uprising

Our speaker, Dr. Ada Cheng, described as a “professor-turned-storyteller” will combine a storytelling performance and a facilitated dialogue. Dr. Cheng’s program shares personal stories that reflect the historical status of Asian Americans as well as the impact of current major crises facing society. The stories will address institutionalized mechanisms and individual practices that promote inequality and make immigrants of color be considered the “other.”

Dr. Cheng’s internet information lists that she was a tenured sociology professor from 2001 to 2016, who became tired of struggling against both subtle and overt gender and racial discrimination in academia. She enrolled in an improvisation class at Chicago’s Second City and found a new role as storyteller, stand-up comedian, and improv comic. Currently she is an adjunct faculty at Dominican University and works full time as the Education and Outreach Specialist with Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC. On 8/27/2021, the 7th Congressional District’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force (MEATF) & American Multi Ethnic Coalition (AMEC) named Ada Cheng 2021 Educator of the Year.

February’s program is sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau which is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly through the Illinois Arts Council Agency, as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.

This program is free and open to the public. Join Zoom Meeting:

Thursday, Feb. 17, Amelia Earhart portrayed by Leslie Goddard

Here’s another AAUW program co-sponsored by Downers Grove branch and the Elmhurst branch, a dramatic portrayal of Amelia Earhart by Leslie Goddard.
Register early as this may have a limit on attendance.
Please click the link to register https://conta.cc/3D7dWi4
Amelia Earhart’s courageous exploits and spirited personality made her an international celebrity in the early twentieth century. In this lively living-history program, meet Amelia and learn about her experiences as the first woman to cross the Atlantic by airplane (1928) and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1932). She’ll describe how she learned to fly, what inspired her adventurous spirit, and why she set off in 1937 for an around-the-world flight.

Monday, Feb. 21st, 6:30 pm Did Black Lives Really Matter in Early Illinois?

The Rockford Branch presents “Did Black Lives Really Matter in Early Illinois?” via Zoom on Monday, February 21st at 6:30 PM.  Public historian and educator, Caroline M. Kisiel will deliver this program through the Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar Program and it is free and open to the public.  If you would like to participate, please send your email address to fe.marcus@att.net and you will receive a link several days prior to the program.  Please join us in exploring Illinois history.The Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar Program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assemble through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA), as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

Confronting the Rise of School Board Disruptions
Jan. 2022

Flier for Confronting the Rise of School Board Disruptions webinar

Join Indivisible Illinois, Illinois Families for Public Schools, Social Justice Alliance -Indivisible IL and other co-hosts, including AAUW Naperville Area, for an informative free webinar on Confronting the Rise of School Board Disruptions.



The Graduates/ Los Graduados 

Watch online Part One of The Graduates/Los Graduados.
This PBS film follows three Latinx girls showing first hand the unique educational challenges that face these young women in particular and Latinx High School students in general.  The documentary gives insight on pressing issues in education today through the eyes of Latinx students from across the United States.

Available online from PBS. https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/documentaries/graduates/


Holiday Social

Celebrate the Holidays

Members Joined together for an AAUW member holiday social on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 7:30 pm. We’ll chat and share our concerns about women’s equity. Our branch has some newer members, and guests are welcome too! Email elainefisher128@gmail.com for the Zoom link. Plan to share your favorite holiday drink or tradition! or your New Year’s Resolution!

Before the end of the year, consider donating to our AAUW Northwest Suburban  branch Oakton Community College scholarship if you can. Make your check payable to: Oakton Community College Educational Foundation. In the Memo note: AAUW NW Suburban Scholarship. Your contribution is tax deductible. Mail to: Oakton Community College, Educational Foundation, 1600 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines IL 60016-1268

November Programs

Nov. 13 Program Recording: AAUW Fellows & Grantees

Meet three outstanding women, recipients of our AAUW Fellowships or Grants. Melissa Mister, Project Director, After School Matters, Ramael Ohiomoba, Selected Profession Fellowship, Jenny Lopez Alvarado, Career Development Grant.
Recording link: https://youtu.be/5TDjn36otWg

Nov. 17 Program Recording:  Sex Trafficking In Our Backyard

Women are 90% of victims of sex trafficking which is a form of modern slavery. Trafficking is happening right here in Chicago and the suburbs. This program will present victim statistics, how to recognize a victim, methods being used to recruit young women, and what we as community members can do to prevent trafficking.

Recording link: https://youtu.be/Bz-fwiCAWck

Presenter: Priscilla Cruz, Midwest Prevention Advocate at SelahFreedom, B.S. of Psychology, SelahFreedom, Bringing Light into the Darkness of Sex Trafficking.

Oakton College Art Exhibit

Bad@ssery: Women Creating a Just Environment
and World  Oct. 4 – Nov. 1, Koehnline Museum of Art

Women and girls have always faced tremendous obstacles, whether it be sexual harassment, violence, inequality or workplace discrimination, and instead of following the fairytale script of waiting to be saved, we have been instrumental in saving ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. From epic figures such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Shirley Chisolm, Gloria Steinem, Ida B. Wells, Grace Lee Boggs, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Jane Addams, Pauli Murray, and Dolores Huerta to activists such as Stacy Abrams, Winona LaDuke, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Janet Mock, Malala Yousafzai, Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Neshat, and Naomi Klein, women and girls have been trailblazers in their own liberation. We have been hit with an overwhelming number of challenges in the past year. Where do we stand now? How have we survived and broken through barriers? How have women been impacted by the pandemic and the resulting shecession? How is our liberation connected to movements such as Stop Asian Hate, Black Lives Matter, Organized Communities Against Deportation, Prison Abolition, Me Too or Standing Rock? How have we fought against transphobic state bills and LGBTQ+ discrimination? How have we kept our families and communities safe? How have we conspired with other women and implemented social and environmental change? What failures and missteps did we experience? What did it take and at what costs?

ERA: How Long Must We Wait for Equal Rights?

Sept. Program:
Presenter: Marti Sladek, retired civil rights attorney

Women have been struggling for gender equity in our Constitution ever since Abigail Adams admonished her husband John to “remember the ladies.”  Despite federal and state laws, and wide public support, implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment remains elusive, and courts do not take gender discrimination as seriously as other forms of inequality.
Why is this so difficult?  What can we do about it now?  More information.


AAUW Action Project

Time for Paid Leave: Program Highlights

Please join AAUW to learn more about the critical importance of Paid Leave legislation in Illinois and about how you can help to advocate for this bill in our state. This event is presented by AAUW Naperville Area and supported by AAUW-IL. Watch the award winning film Zero Weeks which uses personal stories to show the impact of unpaid leave from work in the US. This legislation will improve the lives of Illinois women, families and businesses.

Our esteemed speakers will discuss the need for paid leave, provide actions you can take to advocate, and answer your questions. The event included a screening of the thought-provoking film Zero Weeks and discussion with two distinguished panelists. View panelists’ presentations.

Robert Bruno
Professor and Director
Labor Education Program, Chicago
University of Illinois

Sarah Labadie
Associate Director of Policy
Women Employed



The United States is the only industrialized country WITHOUT a federal paid leave law. That’s right, ZERO WEEKS of paid leave is what the USA offers in comparison to other countries, some of which offer up to a year of paid leave.

While many of us may be familiar with the FMLA, which is unpaid, and the use of paid sick days for our own sickness or after childbirth, most workers do not have access to pay when they are not at work for their own illness, after childbirth or adoption, after their partner has a child, or when they must care for a family member. Thus, unpaid workplace interruptions frequently occur, disproportionately impacting women. The consequence of these interruptions over time and in the aggregate contributes to the ongoing gender-based pay gap.

A plethora of research exists to show that Paid Leave legislation benefits families, children, employers, and, importantly, helps to reduce the gender-based pay gap.

Illinois Senate Bill 835, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, sponsored by Senator Villivalam, has been introduced into the 102nd General Assembly in Illinois. This comprehensive paid leave bill has the buy-in of many important constituencies in the state. The time is now to pass this important bill in Illinois and have our state join the nine other US States and the District of Columbia with a paid leave law in place while we await legislation at the federal level.

Elizebeth Smith Friedman: The Woman Who Smashed Codes

Thursday, April 22, 7:00 pm

We will meet via Zoom for a discussion of the life of a truly amazing woman, Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the founder of modern cryptography. On Jan. 11 PBS AMERICAN EXPERIENCE aired The Codebreaker program about Elizebeth Friedman. It’s available online now via Passport or Amazon Prime. This video program is based on the book, The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone. We will discuss the video program and the book.

How does Elizebeth Friedman inspire you or young girls who might enjoy coding? We’ll discuss this fascinating book that begins at the Newberry Library in Chicago!

The codebreaker who spanned two World Wars and took down the rum-running Mafia during Prohibition, including Capone’s brother, single-handedly neutered the German U Boats’ wolf pack, and took down Nazi threats in South America that could have become a southern front against the US. In World War I she cracked the German’s codes. AND she did it with paper and pencil. She started this on the estate of billionaire George Fabyan in suburban Geneva. He had recruited her in the Newberry Library in Chicago. She learned her craft by trial and error. She often fought bias against women and was paid less. But because she was so talented, she was the one who was always called upon, and she often did her work in the shadows, rarely getting the recognition she deserved.

Here’s a link to the book, The Woman Who Smashed Codes, A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies


And here’s a link to the American Experience, The Codebreaker.