Letter from the Board President

Dear Members and Supporters:  

Hope Bennett, Board President

I am both excited and honored to serve as President of AAUW Honolulu. Our  branch has seen tremendous growth under the leadership of Joanna Amberger  and we will continue to move forward with engaging events, diverse scholarships,  and community engagement that allows the women of Hawaii opportunities to  thrive.  

I love history and so I was delighted recently to discover a wonderful document in  our archives entitled Historical Recollections of the AAUW Honolulu Branch by Linda Nishigaya. This account chronicles the beginnings of our organization over  100 years ago and recounts the many ways in which our members sought to better  their island home. It is a powerful testament to the tremendous generosity of our membership. It is also a poignant reminder of privilege. The founding members  who at the turn of the twentieth century attended colleges such as Wellesley,  Stanford, and Oberlin were surely limited by their gender. Yet their race and economic status afforded them access to these prestigious institutions. 

Today the barriers to higher education, jobs in STEM, high wage salaries, and countless other opportunities still exist for women in our country and our state.  And women within marginalized communities still face even more significant  hurdles.  

So what can we do with the knowledge that fellow women throughout our islands are facing additional barriers to achieving their goals? Listening, deeply and with  humility, is a good place to start. With listening comes a deeper understanding of where we have been and where we need to go in order to achieve change.  

AAUW Honolulu has begun to conduct interviews with stakeholders and to  evaluate our programming with a lens that focuses on women and the  intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability, as well as immigrant, economic and LGBTQ+ status. With a greater understanding of the inequalities in our community, we can better extend our resources to the women who are most in  need.  

On behalf of the Board, I welcome you to join us as we recommit our efforts to

creatively and conscientiously serve our community. We have a wondrous amount  of talent and experience (not to mention personality!) among our AAUW Honolulu  members and supporters. I can’t wait to work with all of you towards making  Hawaii a place where every woman can fulfill her greatest potential. 

Hope Bennett
President, AAUW Honolulu Board of Directors