Should AAUW Endorse Hillary?

February 15, 2008

With the campaigns for the presidency heating up earlier than ever this year, some AAUW members have asked why AAUW isn’t endorsing the only woman candidate. Now that a woman might receive her party’s nomination, should AAUW—as an organization that strives to advance equity for women and girls—support her in breaking this marble ceiling?

While AAUW does advocate for legislation and takes political positions on priority issues as outlined in our member-endorsed Public Policy Program, our Policy on Candidates for Public Office (document access only available to members) has always been one of nonpartisanship. We do not endorse candidates in partisan elections, nor do our branches and affiliates endorse in partisan circumstances.

Would you want AAUW to support a woman candidate just because she was a woman? What if she opposed all your stances on issues? Does the question become less clear-cut because Sen. Clinton scored 100 percent when voting on key AAUW issues, as indicated in AAUW’s newly released AAUW Congressional Voting Record? Shouldn’t we as individuals judge candidates by how they might represent us rather than by gender alone? What do you think?

While AAUW continues our history of neither endorsing nor opposing members of Congress, we do encourage you to use our new AAUW Congressional Voting Record as a tool to hold your legislators accountable for their votes on AAUW issues. See how your legislators voted on key AAUW issues, and if they scored 100 percent, send them a note of thanks. Learn more about how you can make a difference with AAUW’s Voter Education Campaign.

By:   |   February 15, 2008


  1. Lyn Kagey says:

    I am concerned about voting for Clinton just because she is a woman who supports AAUW’s issues. True, she supported AAUW issues 100% of the time when she voted. However, she and Obama have exactly the same record of support. I wish that Mrs. Clinton did not come with all of the negative baggage of her husband’s administration, but unfortunately she does.

  2. Sandy Kirkpatrick says:

    It would be inappropriate for AAUW to support Hillary Clinton as a candidate simply because she is a woman. Ultimately as an organization we evaluate the work of our politicians based on their actions, not their gender.

    Oh, I’ll admit it… as a feminist I’m thrilled to see a female candidate have a real shot at becoming president, especially one whose positions largely appeal to me. But if I voted for her only because she was a woman, that would make me as shallow as the people who stridently oppose her because she is a woman.

  3. Kim Schulz says:

    I think this article, “Should AAUW Endorse Hillary?” is biased pro-Hillary. It does a good job by asking the question, “Would you want AAUW to support a woman candidate just because she was a woman?” (to which I think any true supporter of women should answer ‘no’, just as we don’t want people to vote against women just because they are women — we’ve fought hard to be judged solely on our merits).

    However, then the article says, “Does the question become less clear-cut because Sen. Clinton scored 100 percent when voting on key AAUW issues, as indicated in AAUW’s newly released AAUW Congressional Voting Record?” and does not even mention that the remaining Democratic contender, BARACK OBAMA, HAS THE EXACT SAME RECORD OF SUPPORTING AAUW ISSUES!

    As professional woman in her early 40s who benefited from and admired the pioneering woman who made my career possible, I am sorely disappointed by this type of statement (and worse) from many “feminist” elders. Since when did feminists start to think it is reasonable to pull the same kind of biased and inaccurate stunts on behalf of women that we protest when men do them against all women. Perhaps it would help you to be more neutral, if when you listed to each of the candidates you imagined them as members of the opposite gender, saying the same things, claiming the same qualifications, and see if you would really be so ardently pro-Hillary then.

    I’m sick of this type of polarization, and hope that we can move beyond this politics as usual to a new politics of the possible.

  4. Caroline Wood says:

    I believe that if AAUW endorses her, it is because she is a woman and not because she has anything new to offer the United States. I agree she supports reproductive freedom but has not opposed the war in Iraq. Many of the advisers in her campaign are from her husband’s administration. I would say No, AAUW should not endorse her campaign. Besides, I thought we do not endorse party candidates. Wouldn’t that require a rewrite of the bylaws?

  5. Ruth Wahtera says:

    I agree with AAUW’s policy not to endorse specific candidates. I also agree with the consensus here that we should not support a woman just because she’s a woman. I see our role as opening doors for women; making sure that gender isn’t a basis for exclusion.

    Many factors go into deciding which candidate to vote for. The weight and relevance of each factor will be very different for each of us. I think the evaluation of a candidate’s voting record on issues that are important to AAUW members is very helpful, but it’s not the only factor important to me.

    Thanks for opening the discussion,




  7. Rochelle Bradford says:

    Wow, this is really some kind of question! I would have liked it if you-all had said, Should AAUW vote for Hillary or Obama?
    That way there would not be a question of fiminist tactics or worry.

    Hillary Clinton is not a truthful person. Her husband is a crook and she’s showing the same traits. They are very negative, talk with a tongue that is forked, etc.,

  8. Betty Sulfridge says:

    I agree we as AAUW should not endorse any candidate, but personally I like Hilary. I think she has a better understanding of what we need, and especially of how to get it done, than O’Bama. I would like to see him run in 4 or 8 years, after he has more experience in how things work in Washington, D.C.
    He needs time to get a folllowing among representatives and senators who will help him get things done. Only a couple of years in the Senate is not enough, with no executive experience either. Of course, I don’t think we should let the Republicans continue in power, after all the things they have done to upset our position in the world with the Iraq war, and their indulgence of the wealthy to the detriment of the workers of America.

  9. What a great question. One day I am for Hilary, the next for Obama. Fortunately the state of NY where I moved lost my voter registration so I was not able to vote in the primaries. The fortunate is meant to be sarcastic. What I can tell you as a new comer to NYC, we’ve lived here over a year now, is this. Hilary is loved here, because she has a lot of good things for the state of NYC. I think she is a very hard worker. That is why I lean towards her. In honesty my hesitation is because people (on the right) hate her so much. But I personally think she would make a great president.

  10. BARBARA R. FLEMING says:


  11. I do not feel that AAUW should change its position against endorsing any political candidate. The gender or political party of the candidate should not matter. AAUW has always been a non-partisan organization. That is where we get our strength. We advocate for our public policy positions, not for specific individuals.

  12. Mary Peterson says:

    I am glad to see that clear thinking is prevailing and we are not going to change our stand on endorsing partisan political candidates. By endorsing candidates we would become just another group and we would lose our more valuable position of being known “on the hill” for the accuracy of our research on our position papers. Issue advocacy should continue to be our program to provide change in public policy.

  13. While AAUW may not endorse the female candidate for president, it does not escape many of us that HILLARY represents the fondest dream of those of us who have advocated for what she is doing in running for the office of President of the United States.

    I am a HILLARY supporter and a life-member of AAUW.


  14. Susan Virostek says:

    I think some interesting points have been raised by Linn Cohen-Cole about Hillary’s relation to the Monsanto corporation and to the integrity of our food supply.

    This woman is a former supporter who was moved to write after viewing a piece on The News Hour, which said Monsanto, a US agricultural corporation, hired Bollywood actors to sell illiterate farmers Bt (genetically engineered) cotton seeds, promising they’d get rich from big yields. The expensive seeds needed expensive fertilizer and pesticides (Monsanto’s) and irrigation. There is no irrigation there. Crops failed. Farmers had immense debt and couldn’t collect seeds to try again because Monsanto seeds are “patented” as “intellectual property”).

    Hillary’s ties to the Monsanto corporation and the friendly association between the Clinton administration and “agri-business” are well documented and disturbing.

    This stuff is riveting:

  15. Ann Rancourt says:

    I absolutely think women’s organizations around the country should be supporting Hillary Clinton. She is an outstanding candidate who has fought for children’s and women’s rights and issues her whole life. The biased, sexist press that this woman is having to deal with is abominable. I am shocked that women’s organizations around the country have been silent about the way this woman is being treated. My God, women, if not now, when; if not us, who?

  16. Sophie says:

    AAUW should endorse Hillary. I have three little girls 6, 4, 2 and I am a one issue voter. I don’t even care what the candidate’s platform is. Until Congress is populated with an even number of men and women, the main goal should be to get more women elected.

  17. Marian says:

    I believe Hillary would be the best president and I hope many AAUW members will vote for her. However, I am not sure that we should take a stand as an organization for one candidate or another.

  18. Joan Bowser says:

    I do not think AAUW should endorse Hillary Clinton for President.

  19. Melinda Nickle says:

    Hillary Clinton is by far the best candidate for the office of president of the United States. If she doesn’t win, I shudder to think of what will become of our country under either John McCain or Barack Obama. She is brilliant, hard-working, and focused. I have met her and worked with her and know that she is a fine human being. Still, to answer the question, AAUW should probably not endorse any candidate because there are diverse views amongst the members.

  20. Jean Jack says:

    AAUW endorse Hillary? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

  21. Jayne says:

    I totally agree with Marian, Ann, and Gloria Cordova. Hillary is hard-working and supports ALL of our AAUW issues. We need a woman President — and she would make an outstand-ing president of the United States!

    I support Hillary and AAUW!

  22. Meg says:

    I think it is a shame people blame Senator Clinton for her husband’s actions. Every woman should be judged by her own actions. She is running as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, not as Mrs. Bill Clinton. There can be no doubt some will not vote for her because of her gender, and yes, I’ll give her a few points to compensate that, and a few points for having overcome anti woman bias in her career. Perhaps, AAUW is right in not endorsing candidates, but the organization might give her kudoos for getting to the place she is now. Remember Shirley Chisholm said she had more trouble as a woman than as a black. Sign me ordinary white woman.

  23. Sonoma Mom says:

    It is hilarious and pathetic that so many of the bloggers on this website are barely literate and refuse to support the first qualified woman candidate for President.

  24. Sister Grim 4 says:

    Sonoma Mom, I beg to differ with you about Hillary Clinton bring the “first qualified woman candidate for President.” While you may disagree with their politics (or you may have other underlying reasons for not believing these women qualified), Shirley Chisholm (1972), AAUW member Patsy Takamoto Mink (1972), and Elizabeth Dole (2000) also sought their party’s nomination for presidency of the United States. Being qualified and what’s socially acceptable have proven to be two different things.

    I agree with the historical impact that Hillary’s election would have and in fact voted for her in my state’s primary because I felt at that time that her policies, ideas, and plans for this country where most in line with my own values and concerns. But as an African-American, the same should be said for the election of Barack Obama. In a country where nooses are STILL being hung from trees as a form of intimidation (e.g. the University of Maryland and Jena, LA), his election would go a long way to showing a change in the social climate of this country to vote for one’s qualifications over one’s skin color.

    Your comment makes the issue too black and white (no pun intended) — vote for the woman because she is a woman. Blind support of any kind is “hilarious and pathetic.”

  25. CmColoroso says:

    I sincerely hope this organization will formally choose to support Senator Hillary Clinton in her historic bid for the presidency, as I have personally chosen to do myself.

    Though Senator Obama presents many attractive qualities, Senator Clinton has proven herself the most experienced and qualified, the most mature in her grasp of complex issues, and the most forward thinking in her approach to modern political dilemmas, especially a solution to our health care crisis.

    Also, we should not forget that the fact that she is a woman remains significant. Though one’s gender should not prove the sole voting rule, ignoring the obstacles she has overcome, similar to the ones we have all overcome, assumes that our society is far more tolerant than reality would dictate, and we must recognize that the opportunity to elect a female president may not resurface soon.

    Though Senator Obama boasts a record similar to Clinton’s on many issues which concern this organization, there is great significance in the fact that she was a leader in the development of such positions, rather than simply agreeing with the stances of others. She has redefined many roles occupied by women, and has served as an inspiration to many younger women.

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