From the Director

One of the things we discovered as we reviewed materials for the writing of CEW’s history this past year, was that some of the issues that were top priorities for CEW in the past have returned as current agenda items of critical importance. In this case, women’s economic security is one of these issues. CEW’s 2006 Spring newsletter was focused on “gender (in)equality and women’s economic security,” with a lead article that shared data on the wage inequalities based on gender, the greater lack of security for women entering retirement without their own pensions; and the compounded impact these inequities have on women of color, who are more likely to be single head of households AND paid less than white women.

Since that 2006 publication, some progress has been made. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; in- creasing numbers of women have established their own retirement savings accounts; and more women have cracked the glass ceiling. However, unfortunately, pay inequity based on gender, and the compounded impact for women who experience inequalities at the intersections of gender, race/ethnicity, and low socio-economic status is still quite harsh.

In this issue, we report on CEW’s success in convening a rich and robust conference on Women’s Economic Security in May. This conference was a part of the Center’s larger advocacy effort to address the issue of helping women here in Michigan exit the cycle of poverty, with a focus on promoting state and local policies that make a difference.

We also share news of a different type of “old and new” via who’s out and who’s in. Retiring from a long career as a huge contribu- tor to the Center’s written presence in the University community and beyond is Jeanne Miller, Director of Information, who stepped down in May. She leaves with us a great legacy that she penned in honor of CEW’s 50th anniversary—A Matter of Fairness: A History of the Center for the Education of Women. On the heels of her departure come two new Leadership Council members whom we are excited to welcome into our midst—Christine Green and Alicia Torres, whom you can read more about.

Finally, there is more old and new featured in this issue. In October, CEW plans to invite back to campus over 1,000 former CEW Scholars and Fellows who received financial support—and in some cases, counseling support—from the Center in years and decades past. They will all be welcomed back to help CEW celebrate our past achievements, our 50th Anniversary, as well as this year’s new group of Scholars and Fellows. All CEW Scholars and Fellows will also be invited into a new “CEW Community of Scholars Network.” This Scholars Network is being established with the goal of providing peer counseling and mentoring opportunities, periodic gatherings in Ann Arbor and around the country, and access to a database of talent, experience and collective wisdom.

New programs expand our focus on the career and life transitions of adult women, while some long-established programs continue to provide opportunities for women on the University campus. Read on. Learn more about speakers and programs we have held this past year. And most importantly, be in touch to engage with us.
After the anniversary celebrations, there is still much work to be done—for example, on economic security for ALL women, on continuing to prepare women for leadership roles, and on support- ing women through all the transitions we undergo in our career life cycles. We invite you to participate; join us in this important work.

Gloria D. Thomas, PhD, Director, CEW