Category Archives: General

Monthly Branch Program, March, 2015

March 11 (Wednesday), 10:00 AM –  “Human Trafficking in Austin and Beyond” – Elizabeth Gaines; Norris Center, Northcross Mall; Contact: Ruth Rubio

The March branch meeting of Austin AAUW focused on an important and violent issue that is particularly related to women—human trafficking. Elizabeth Gaines, MA, explained human trafficking, especially sex trafficking; sensitized the group to various terms used to refer to this population; and discussed the experiences of trafficking victims, in particular domestic minor sex trafficking victims (DMST). Ms. Gaines did an excellent job of conveying the severity of trafficking situations for the girls/women involved and of deepening our understanding of the interpersonal dynamics between pimps and their victims. Ms. Gaines is a staff member of the human service agency in Austin named Allies Against Slavery and is also a member of the Statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project for Texas, which is a project of the Center for Social Work Research at the University of Texas at Austin. The following is a brief summary of the presentation.

Human trafficking exists in two forms: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Both these forms have international and domestic victims. As defined by federal law, sex trafficking includes elements of force, fraud or coercion; or, the person induced to perform the act is under the age of 18. Even though the stereotype is that victims are from other countries, it is just as common to have victims from the USA. In all cases, trafficking requires the involvement of a third party who is exploiting the girls or women. Ms. Gaines reviewed various terms used to refer to victims, such as prostituted woman, sex worker, and commercially sexually exploited. The terms vary based on whether a person has made a choice about the situation, on whether the practice is legal in the area, on the balance of power in the relevant relationships and other factors. We learned that the most common age of entry into commercial sex in the USA is between 12-14 years old.

Domestic minor sex trafficking is the sexual exploitation of a child in which a third party profits from the commercial sex act and that occurs in the same country where the child was born. DMST is a severe form of violence against children. All children are at risk to be trafficked, however some are at higher risk. Risk factors include poverty, early childhood sexual abuse, homelessness, abusive and neglectful parents, learning disabilities, exposure to domestic violence and others. Multiple studies indicate that 70%-90% of commercially sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse. Ms. Gaines made the point that childhood sexual abuse results in a conflation of sex, love and violence that sets the stage for the abusive and controlling relationship between pimp and victim.

Bringing about change for victims is possible. Resources available in Austin include the following:

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
  • Austin Police Department Human Trafficking Unit 512-974-4786
  • Central Texas Coalition 512-367-3232
  • Allies Against Slavery

For those interested in exploring this social issue further, please know that Allies Against Slavery is hosting The Slave-Free City Summit in Austin on April 17 -18, 2015. For more information, refer to the website

Monthly Branch Program, February 2015

February 14 (Saturday), 10:00 AM – “ Role of Tejanas in Spanish and Mexican Texas” – Dr. Frank de la Teja, Norris Center, Northcross Mall; Contact: Dr. Sylvia Garcia

 IMG_9481The Norris Conference Center hosted AAUW Austin’s Valentine’s Day meeting with great hospitality and a delicious buffet which reflected the holiday theme. President Inés Garcia welcomed the 52 members and invited guests who had gathered to hear Dr. Frank de la Teja, the Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest (Texas State University) and a noted authority of Texas history. After saying that his usual approach to history is holistic, he deftly focused on Hispanic Women in Early Texas, the topic requested by Dr. Sylvia Garcia, program planner. He began by scoffing at the notion of Jane Long as the Mother of Texas, pointing out that Indian and Spanish women in the area we now call Texas had farmed, ranched, borne children, fought abusive husbands and the rigors of the Catholic church, managed towns like San Antonio on their own for centuries while their men were off hunting or warring, and they had generallyDSCN5429 prevailed–at least those who didn’t die in childbirth. He told the stories of determined women who raised children on their own by doing cooking, sewing, farming; of strong females who inherited vast ranches from husbands or fathers who recognized their worth; and of women who struggled to survive as widows or unwed mothers. Female slaves and indentured servants were also a part of the narrative.

After the program, Dr. de la Teja joined members and other guests in enjoying the generous and tasty buffet luncheon. Guests included five members of Las Comadres, an informal internet-based group that exists to build connections and community with other Latinas. Branch members Nancy Myers and Anneliese Ellerton were the lucky recipients of movie ticket door prizes provided by President Garcia.


Monthly Branch Program, October 2014

October 8 (Wednesday), 10:00 AM“Public Policy & Women’s Power” – Shirley Franklin, Austin Woman’s Club, 708 San Antonio St; Contact: Dr. Carol Fritz

Dr. Shirley Franklin spoke powerfully of her onetime roles as City Manager, working with Mayor Andrew Young of Atlanta, Georgia, and of her own 9 years as Mayor of Atlanta. She called herself the “sewer mayor” because she tackled the many violations of the Clean Water Act in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, working hard to make it “green.”  She lightly touched on her background which is replete with accolades and honors, including a 2005 “Profiles in Courage Award”, to talk about pay equity.  She argued that a woman applying for a job should “ask for as much salary as she can get her mouth to say.”  She mentioned working with the US Olympics Committee and making a fairly outrageous salary demand which they agreed to pay because they wanted her.  

She is currently serving as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor of Ethics and  Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and plans to be in Austin for another year. She wowed her audience of 42 admirers on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. 

Monthly Branch Program September, 2014

September 13 (Saturday), 10:00 AM“Carole Keeton’s Perspective on Austin” – Carole Keeton was our featured speaker at the Norris Center, Northcross Mall, 2525 W Anderson Lane, Suite 540.

Lyne Cooksey & Carole Keeton

Lynn Cooksey & Carole Keeton, September 13th, 2014

Carole Keeton, formerly known as Carole Keeton Strayhorn, is the daughter of Page Keeton, former Dean of the UT Law School. Carole described how being mayor of Austin shaped her leadership skills and provided the framework for a long list of firsts as a woman in public service. She is notable for several “firsts” in Austin and Texas politics:  the first woman elected as mayor of Austin and the first Austin mayor elected to three consecutive terms, the first woman elected to the Texas Railroad Commission, the first woman elected as state Comptroller, the first woman to serve as president of the Austin school board and as president of the Austin Community College board.

(LtoR) Lynn Cooksey, Carole Keeton, Anita Knight, Diane Brewer, September 13th, 2014

Austin branch member Lynn Cooksey, whose husband was also mayor of Austin, has known Carole for over 50 years and invited Carole to join us for our first meeting of the 2014-15 program year. We celebrated Carole’s 75th birthday which just happened to be September 13.

“The people, not professional politicians, know best.”
  ~ Carole Keeton quote




Monthly Branch Program, August, 2014

August 17 (Sunday), 3-5:00 PMAnnual Summer Membership Social, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2128 Barton Hills Drive; Contact: Diane Brewer  – Y’all are invited!

The American Association of University Women, AAUW – Austin Branch, now in its 91st year of championing women’s rights, is having its annual summer Membership Social for current and prospective members.  In addition to publicizing our upcoming year of excellent monthly programs, the social will feature voter registration; information about our missions which include Mainspring Schools, Girlstart, Latinitas, and fellowships for scholars; and the opportunity to join a wide variety of interest groups which highlight fun and friendship.  Refreshments will be served!


Monthly Branch Program, August, 2013


Sunday, August 18th, 3–5:00 p.m.,
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin 78703

Celebrate AAUW Austin! was our theme for this annual event, and we certainly have much to celebrate as we kick off the 2013‐2014 AAUW year!  A special cake honored 125 years of AAUW offering fellowships to deserving women, 90 years of our Austin Branch, 50 years of the Equal Pay Act guaranteeing paycheck fairness, and the celebration of former AAUW Austin President and still very active member Kay Goodwin’s 95th birthday!  Interest groups were featured, missions and opportunities to volunteer explored, and door prizes given!  Come and bring a friend!  No RSVP necessary, but for more information, contact Diane Brewer our Membership VP.