SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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August 14, 2013

Local leader has national platform to empower women

(Continued)

Born in Hawaii, Ho graduated from the University of California in Berkeley with a major in history. She had a long teaching career, including as a gifted-education specialist in New York and director of the Teacher Resource Center, also in New York. For eight years, she and her husband lived and worked in England, where she served on the education faculty at Highbury College. She was able to travel extensively in Europe and take in its museums and theaters, she said.

But she missed the United States and her volunteer work, she said, and when she returned home, she joined the AAUW, which shares her philosophy that education is a stepping-stone to self-sufficiency.

The group’s latest focus is on women who may be marginalized in society, those who are running single-parent households, those who want to work and better themselves.

“Our agenda for these next two years is to strengthen our legislative advocacy,” Ho said, including looking at student interest rates, support for community colleges, increases in the minimum wage, affordable child care and affordable housing.

The group plans to emphasize the important role community colleges play in education in the Bay State, given that a quarter of all undergraduates attend community college in Massachusetts, and 60 percent of these students are young women, Ho said. Many women attend community college because of its lower cost and flexible hours. The majority of women who attend community college go into the health care and education fields.

What is needed, Ho said, is encouragement for women who attend community colleges to study in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, which offer higher salaries and also fill a need for more workers in these fields in the United States.

Ho said a forum on women and community colleges is being hosted at North Shore Community College’s Lynn campus in October.

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