2019–21 AAUW Public Policy Priorities

Every two years, AAUW members vote on revisions to our Public Policy Priorities. The Public Policy Priorities establishes our organization’s federal action priorities, as well as guidelines for state and local action. The AAUW Public Policy Committee (APPC) has recommended changes to the Public Policy Priorities. Through January 11, 2019, you can comment in support of these updates or suggest changes to the Public Policy Priorities that you’d like to see on the ballot in the AAUW national election in the spring.

  • Changes that align the Public Policy Priorities with the Strategic Plan appear highlighted in yellow.
  • Changes that streamline the Public Policy Priorities or are editorial fixes appear highlighted in blue.
  • Changes that are responsive to member leader or APPC input and clarify or detail our support for specific issues appear highlighted in green.

Here’s how to comment:

  1. Read the current AAUW Public Policy Priorities and review the proposed changes.
  1. Scroll through the comments that have already been posted, if any.
  1. Follow the prompt, type your comment in the box, and click ‘Post Comment’

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The Public Policy Priorities underscore AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy and speak to women’s needs, aspirations, and concerns across the life span. The work of AAUW builds upon more than 130 years of responsible public participation, and the following principles priorities provide a basis for AAUW members’ actions at the local, state, national, and international levels. Implicit in each of our principles is support for government agencies administering programs, including adequate appropriations, effective and accountable administration, and provision for citizen participation. We advocate public discussion to ensure enlightened decisions on these principlespriorities. We work to increase the number of women and other underrepresented populations in policy- and other decision-making positions. Our positions are shaped by our commitment to being AAUW is nonpartisan and fact-based, and act to acting with integrity. We strive for our work to be We are committed to being AAUW is committed to inclusive and intersectional, and working in collaboratingon with diverse allies and coalitions to break through educational and economic barriers for women and girls achieve equity for all.

Public Policy Principles for Action

Basic to all of AAUW’s public policy efforts is the understanding that true equity requires a balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of the community. AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination and supports constitutional protection for the civil rights of all individuals.

AAUW believes that high-quality public education is the foundation of a democratic society and the key to improving economic prosperity and gender equality. We advocate equitable access to education and climates free of harassment, bullying, and sexual assault. We support academic freedom, civic education, protection from censorship, bias-free education, and responsible funding for all levels of education, including early childhood education and programs for students with disabilities. We advocate for increased access to higher education, especially for women in poverty. We promote equitable efforts to close the persistent achievement gap that disproportionately affects low-income children and students from minority communities of color.

AAUW promotes the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. Essential to that well-being are an economy that provides equitable employment opportunities; reduction of poverty; a living wage; quality, affordable dependent care; paid family and medical leave; safe, livable, and affordable housing; quality, affordable, and accessible health care for all, including reproductive health care; and a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. We support a Social Security system that provides inflation-protected, guaranteed lifetime benefits with a progressive benefit formula, spousal and widow benefits, and disability and survivor benefits. We support robust and strong Medicare and Medicaid systems and oppose any efforts to undermine Medicare and Medicaidthem, including privatization and block grant proposals. AAUW recognizes that gun violence is a public health crisis.

AAUW believes in the right to privacy and freedom from violence. We firmly believe in the separation of church and state. We support a fair, balanced, and independent judiciary. We support public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to the community. We see an urgent need for meaningful campaign finance reform, open and fair elections, and nonpartisan voter education efforts that will promote equitable political participation and representation in appointed and elected office.

AAUW supports efforts to improve racial, ethnic, and gender justice and will work to eradicate intersectional bias as well. This includes creating a diverse culture of involvement, respect, inclusion, and connection, where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is fully appreciated and utilized.

AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies against human trafficking and that promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people. We support the civil and human rights of all immigrants, including a fair and just path to legal status. We support a strengthened United Nations and its affiliated agencies. We advocate implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action from the 4th World Conference on Women and subsequent declarations. We affirm our active participation in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and our commitment to ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We support international family planning programs that are consistent with AAUW policy.

 

Biennial Action Priorities

National priorities inform state and local action. Biennial priorities for national action are chosen according to the criteria of viability, critical need, strong member support, and potential for distinctive AAUW contribution or leadership. Based on the National Board’s adoption of the 2018 strategic plan for AAUW, national public policy priorities are focused first on our major areas of focus: education and training, economic security, and leadership. Additional policy priorities are also critical to ensure equity for all. No further order of importance for the additional prioritiesis implied.

 

To support a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, anddiversity, and inclusivity, and to address the barriers and implicit biases that hinder the advancement of women and girls, AAUW advocates

  • Vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education
  • Adequate and equitable funding for quality public education for all students
  • Opposition to the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools
  • Increased support for and pProtection of programs that meet the needs of girls and women in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, including strong promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and comprehensive sexual health education
  • Vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education
  • Increased support for and access to affordable higher education for women and disadvantaged populations
  • Support for practices that halt the flow of students from schools to prisons, including reforming school disciplinary practices that disproportionately punish girls and students of color
  • Increased support for programs that break through barriers for women and girls in STEM fields

 

To achieve economic self-sufficiency security for all women, AAUW advocates

  • Pay equity and fairness in compensation and benefits
  • Equitable access and advancement in employment, free from systemic barriers and biases, including vigorous enforcement of employment anti-discrimination statutes
  • Closing the gender and race gaps in leadership opportunities for women of all backgrounds
  • Greater availability of and access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, including quality and affordable dependent care and paid family, medical, and sick leave
  • Programs that provide women with education, training, and support for success in the workforce, including nontraditional occupations and women’s entrepreneurship
  • Strengthening programs, including welfare and career and technical education, to improve postsecondary education access, career development, and earning potential
  • Strengthening retirement benefits and programs, including pension improvements and protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from privatization
  • Access for all women to the full range of health care services to ensure economic security
  • Increasing the number of quality jobs that pay a living wage

 

To guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse and inclusive society, AAUW advocates

  • Vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including affirmative action and expanding voting rights
  • Self-determination of one’s reproductive health decisions
  • IncreasedUniversal access to quality, affordable health care and comprehensive family planning services, including expansion of patients’ rights
  • Freedom from violence and fear of violence, including hate crimes, in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities
  • Support for U.N. programs that address human rights and women’s and girls’ concerns
  • Freedom in the definition of self and family and a guarantee of civil rights for all family structures
  • Passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

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Joyce Leak
Joyce Leak

Access for all women to the full range of health care services to ensure economic security needs to include that the services need to be nearby or easy access to location. A woman should not have to go way across the state to receive health services.

AAUW Public Policy & Research Department
AAUW Public Policy & Research Department

The comment period is now closed. Thanks to all AAUW members who provided feedback and support for the Public Policy Priorities. The AAUW Public Policy Committee (APPC) will review these comments. In spring 2019 AAUW members will be asked to vote on the 2019–21 AAUW Public Policy Priorities.

Patricia Ashe
Patricia Ashe

Pat Ashe representing AAUW Asheville, NC. “”Regarding Title IX and Other Civil Rights Laws Pertaining to Education, we would add:
Increased support for public policy that aims for universal PreK Education and for increased access to early childhood education (“Zero to Three”), the lack of which limits children in the age of greatest brain development and especially hampers caregiving women.”

Celine Nugent
Celine Nugent

I think it is an erroneous statement that the Public Policy Priorities are non-partisan. The opinions and statements which are made on a consistent basis are one-sided, progressive and right out of the Democrat playbook.

Shirley Muney
Shirley Muney

I’ve been disappointed that one of our key principles, protection of reproductive rights, is not emphasized more. When trying to find it to cite for my branch members, I found it buried in a section under individual rights & equality. In these days of continual attacks on reproductive rights, I believe we need to be up front with our position on this issue.

Lilly Gioia
Lilly Gioia

absolutely. In the name of “religious freedom” new rules due 1/14/19 will allow employers to stop insurance coverage for contraception of the basis of any “moral conviction” an employer may have. There is no government definition of “moral conviction.” All the employer has to do is call up their insurance company to remove birth control coverage.

Annalee Shelton
Annalee Shelton

Let’s clarify our support for those who identify as female. This might read like, “AAUW supports efforts to improve racial, ethnic, and gender justice and will work to eradicate intersectional bias as well. This includes creating a diverse culture of involvement, respect, inclusion, and connection, where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is fully appreciated and utilized. Our support of women and girls includes all those who identify as female.”

Susan Marceau
Susan Marceau

I made some suggested edits to the document, but they did not translate well into this format. I would be pleased to email them if you provide an address. Mine is sue@suemarceau.com .

Pamela Haylock
Pamela Haylock

I suggest AAUW should take a much stronger stance and undertake rigorous action to preserve Title X protections. The current Presidential administration – in particular a new rule governing Title X of the Public Health Act is to be issued this month is likely to make it harder for women to access contraceptive services. Also – efforts to roll back ACA must be strongly opposed – unless or until something better is offered. Current administration also supports abstinence-only education, operation of “crisis pregnancy centers” that have no professional staff and are unlicensed for clinical services. Please see analysis by Diana… Read more »

Lilly Gioia
Lilly Gioia

The attacks on insurance coverage for birth control are constant in an HHS staffed by people who oppose abortion and access to contraception. They are giving Title X guidance to use “natural family planning,” the rhythm method, to medical providers, rather than FDA-approved contraception.

Maxine Haggerty
Maxine Haggerty

The Salt Lake City Branch of AAUW would like to add wording to the a sentence in the third paragraph, which begins, “We support academic freedom….” At the end of that sentence, we want to add the words: “and curriculum in the arts and humanities.” Much educational research has shown that music and the creative arts promote better learning in other fields. Our members were very concerned when AAUW recommended and dropped from the 2015-17 Public Policy Program the long-time statement that “AAUW values and is committed to the arts and humanities….” We feel that adding the simple phrase about… Read more »

Barbara Kanning
Barbara Kanning

I am very much in support of the updates to our AAUW Public Policies.

Nell Matthews
Nell Matthews

The document is rewritten to take out excess words and provide focus. I applaud. Then you stick in “intersectionality” and a bunch more words. Just leave it at “AAUW supports efforts to improve racial, ethnic, and gender justice.”

Jill Smith
Jill Smith

Thank you for this inclusive activity. I agree with other responses that support succinct, targeted priorities of what AAUW is and does.

Mary Payne
Mary Payne

I scrolled through comments, and read some excellent discussion. I’m hung up, however, on “Priorities establishes” in the second sentence (“The Public Policy Priorities establishes our organization’s federal action priorities…”). Even as I type, the squiggly line appears under “establishes.” Are the auto-check and I confused?

Kathleen Schmidt
Kathleen Schmidt

Under Biennial Action: To achieve economic self-sufficiency security for all women, AAUW advocates
I disagree that “security” should replace “self sufficiency.” We strive for equity. When you say we want security for all women, it sounds like we want to be taken care of as opposed to taking care of ourselves.

Lilly Gioia
Lilly Gioia

After the disastrous Supreme Court Janus decision, AAUW should strongly support voluntary union membership for education professionals. Teacher unions with shrinking membership can lose collective bargaining status and ultimately be decertified. In unity there is strength. Furthermore, AAUW support to end forced arbitration contract clauses and nondisclosure agreements can help stop concealment of sexual harassment settlements. Mandatory arbitration is so common and has grown significantly in recent years thereby slamming the court house door closed to abused workers in all professions. Workers should be given freedom of choice in employment agreements to choose either voluntary arbitration OR class action or… Read more »

Sue Worden
Sue Worden

I disagree with removal of the phrase, “more than 130 years of”, from the sentence, “The work of AAUW builds upon more than 130 years of responsible public participation…”.

I think it’s important to remind readers (especially potential members and donors) that AAUW has been around a long time, that we have a long history of successful advocacy for positive change. We are not a group that sprang up overnight on Facebook. Our extensive and verifiable history establishes and strengthens our credibility as a powerful group that can get things done.

Annalee Shelton
Annalee Shelton

Second! This provides validity, particularly to external reviewers who are unfamiliar with AAUW’s work.

Barbara Gulick
Barbara Gulick

I agree!

Rosemary Vendena
Rosemary Vendena

I prefer that we not get distracted by which priority is “number one” ,or the meaning of of a few words. We should focus our strategy, our energies, on progress toward equity in every aspect of our lives. AAUW is nationwide and inclusive. Sometimes the only thing we have in common is our perseverance, If I choose to dedicate my time and money to legal advocacy while my sisters work on pay equity or campus safety, or salary negotiation, we can still come together to support each other and each effort.

Still we persist–since 1881.

Susan Rimby
Susan Rimby

I think the priorities read much better with the changes. I would agree with those who advocate for us keeping our membership open to those with college degrees. This is part of our history and our identity. I believe it drives our priorities as well. We can certainly collaborate with women who haven’t earned degrees.

Diana Bain
Diana Bain

Please fix the typo – ‘additional prioritiesis’.

What is a ‘quality’ job, and why should that be the criterion? A job that pays a living wage is the goal.

Diana Bain
Diana Bain

I think this sentence ‘AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies against human trafficking and that promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people.’ should be rewritten either by taking out the ‘and’ before ‘promote peace’ or by making the sub clauses equivalent grammatically – if you take out everything from ‘that global’ to after the ‘and’ the remainder makes no sense.

Charlene Carey
Charlene Carey

What is intersectional bias? Why not advocate for a single payer medical system which folds in Medicare, Medicaid and medical care for all Americans. This could be done thoughtfully, gradually but our current system is not sustainable, in my estimation.

Nancy Joyner
Nancy Joyner

I join with others in questioning the term intersectional.

Nancy Stiles
Nancy Stiles

Is there research to support a disproportionately number of girls are punished with school disciplinary practices?

Joy Bowling
Joy Bowling

Thank you to the PPP team. Here are my suggestions. 1. take out intersectional – just take it out- does not flow well at all! leave – …. .and will work to eradicate bias. 2. Keep – vs you all have it crossed out – keep…Increase support for women and girls in STEM fields! 3. take out the word security – replace it with financial authenticity for all women. My daughter (African-American professional) makes over $90 dollars, however, she still owes student loans…and is not financially authentic-why- because I still help her out financially! Why- because she manages her money… Read more »

Serena Gonzalez
Serena Gonzalez

Perhaps rewrite the sentence using ‘intersect’ or ‘overlapping’ vs intersectionality, if a majority of AAUW members are uncomfortable. I am familiar with usage of intersectioanlity and don’t see anything wrong with a reader(s) having to stop, look up the word, and learn something new. We should encourage omnipresence.

Mary Hope Schwoebel
Mary Hope Schwoebel

I support the proposed changes. Under economic policies is the issue of pay equality about equal pay for equal work, but that professions and sectors where women constitute the majority are generally valued less and paid less. So while we need to get more women in non-traditional fields we also need to pay teachers, social workers, etc. better.

Andrea Kornbluh
Andrea Kornbluh

Agreed. Might I also suggest that we prioritize review and reform of higher education policies that put graduate students in a dark limbo between valued undergraduate and legally protected employee. Terrible things happen in this space; instead of treating our best and brightest as junior colleagues, we often derail fine careers, sometimes permanently. I respect that this is not the situation at every institution, but it is a worthy priority due to the benefits that result when people are encouraged and empowered to reach their potential. Thank you everyone for your work on this important policy document.

James Doty
James Doty

STEM vs STEAM: AAUW’s policies and programs relating to improving opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math are based on several objective studies documenting gender bias and the economic benefits of careers in these fields. I oppose adding arts to the mix unless we have similar objective studies exposing a problem, what needs to be done and what is to be gained.

Laura Adolfie
Laura Adolfie

I believe in the KISS principle so prefer STEM and STEM is definitely an improvement over the previous acronym SMET! We are referring to disciplines not pedagogy. (If time permits, see: https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/stem-vs-steam for origins.) NSF, and NIH to a lesser extent, have addressed the issue of STEM vs. STEAM (check out their websites and recently, the National Academies). Over the years, In particular, NSF continues to pursue STEM vs. STEAM. NSF held a workshop (2010) and has since funded projects that have integrated the “A” in STEM and demonstrated positive results for STEM learners. Btw, I’d prefer that AAUW refer… Read more »

Annalee Shelton
Annalee Shelton

As the gender gap is still prevalent among arts careers, I believe there is reason to refer to this as STEAM. As Laura mentions below, inclusion of the arts has had positive results for traditional STEM educational efforts. Additionally, as others will follow our example, we have the opportunity to lead on this important point.

Barbara Gulick
Barbara Gulick

Creative thinking is important to STEM disciplines and has been demonstrated to be so. Make it STEAM!

Deborah McCarthy
Deborah McCarthy

Written in a much stronger voice. An Improvement. Proud to be a member that promotes these public policies.

Julia Burgess
Julia Burgess

THe difference between medical and sick leave is not clear,

Mardy Stevens
Mardy Stevens

Thank you to our public policy committee for making our priorities in line with our strategic plan and so much stronger. Many of my fellow member comments are thought-provoking and are deserving of more attention from the committee. Again, thank you.

Patricia Taylor
Patricia Taylor

I would like to suggest the following clarifying additions:
-Opposition to efforts to weaken the protections of Title IX through regulation or by any other means.
-Clarification that “the full range of health care services” and “comprehensive” family planning services specifically includes abortion or access to abortion.

Laura Adolfie
Laura Adolfie

My stream of suggestions: (1) AAUW supports or advocates for a number of issues, the following seems misplaced: “AAUW recognizes that gun violence is a public health crisis.” I’m sure AAUW “recognizes” many other items. Strengthen or if there is no official position of advocacy or support, eliminate it; (2) the policy document does align with two of the strategic initiatives fairly well; however, where are the policy priorities pertaining to leadership; (3) the document would be strengthened if there was a concise statement for each of AAUW’s strategic initiatives: education and training, economic security, and leadership; (4) do the… Read more »

Jane Newell
Jane Newell

“Passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment” should be the Number 1 priority! If AAUW does not participate in getting the amendment into the U.S. Constitution then all other priorities will be negatively impacted. Some states are actively working on state ratification; but, when the 38th state ratifies, AAUW National and nationwide need to be prepared to fight those who would block its addition to the constitution. If AAUW does not, we have no right to expect that the treatment of women and girls will change.

AAUW member since 1974

Lilly Gioia
Lilly Gioia

I wholeheartedly agree. As a supporter of Equal Means Equal, they are moving full speed ahead in the state of Virginia for 2019.
Lilly Gioia, == Pennsylvania…

Maribeth Cousin
Maribeth Cousin

At the end of the third paragraph, it should not just focus on people of color because all low-income girls or women regardless of color are at a disadvantage in the current society in the USA.

Elaine Kresse
Elaine Kresse

I would like to see sexual health care more emphasized. I read that Yale now has contraception including “plan B” in dispensers on campus, but health care clinics are being closed all over for access to women who can’t afford to go to Yale.

In general like the cuts to the script–In general the message in fewest words get read!

Karen Poorman
Karen Poorman

As per policy, should “STEM” become “STEAM?”

Serena Gonzalez
Serena Gonzalez

I am totally opposed to STEAM. There is little opposition to women pursuing degrees and and careers in arts. STEM is where we need to place our focus as a priority.

Annalee Shelton
Annalee Shelton

Since we provide leadership to so many other organizations, and as this document will be utilized as a reference for talking points, I support STEM becoming STEAM.

We are not belittling the importance of traditional STEM categories. The addition of the arts is more inclusive, which is a major theme of the comments here.

Barbara Crozier
Barbara Crozier

I have recently become aware that STEM is often expanded to STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. You might consider changing this sentence to say STEM and STEAM, with explanation of the acronyms.

Ann Furlong
Ann Furlong

Looks good. Much better language

Deborah Thiel
Deborah Thiel

Like the the thoughtful consideration to changes, which help clarify our focus, allow for change in terminology and are inclusive.

Faye Marcus
Faye Marcus

Having served on the APPC, I know how much work goes into this process.Thank you to the committee .

Karyl Lyne
Karyl Lyne

Thanks to everyone who worked on this statement of AAUW Public Policy. I, too, had problems understanding ‘intersectional bias’, which seems a contradiction in terms. My other comments are editorial. 3rd paragraph 2nd sentence insert for after advocate–‘we advocate for equitable’—, 7th paragraph 1st sentence remove and in ‘trafficking that promote peace’…, 7th paragraph 3rd sentence add for after ‘advocate for implementation of’…, In Action Priorities statement 2nd paragraph, change to ‘promotes gender fairness, equity, diversity and inclusivity; and addresses the barriers and …. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Jenny Redfern
Jenny Redfern

Thanks for providing the opportunity to polish our already very strong advocacy positions. Where this says “quality, affordable, and accessible health care” we should add “health care *and health insurance* “. Until we can agree on a single-payer system, the cost of insurance will be the barrier for women (and others) in low-income, part-time jobs. ACA is expensive for many, Congress removed the requirement to participate, and the insurance companies still control the costs. I agree with Terry that we should be more straight-forward on the issue of gun violence, and the damage it does to women and girls. At… Read more »

Nancy Beights
Nancy Beights

-To be respectful of the opinions of others, we need to respect all opinions, including those of conservative, pro-life women . -We need to be aware of current research, including that which indicates that those with transgender inclinations are more in need of a psychiatrist than a surgeon, and many suffer serious depression after their transition. -The civil rights of women should include those of women who choose not to abort their children. Example: a pregnant woman was thrown out of the Women’s March. -Academic Freedom on college campuses needs to include civil discourse and respectful discussion, as opposed to… Read more »

Karen Francis
Karen Francis

Hi Nancy, As Chair of AAUW’s Public Policy Committee (APPC) I want thank you for sharing your comments regarding AAUW’s member driven Public Policy Priories for 2019-2021. As stated in the current Public Policy Priorities 2017-2019 document, the ” priorities “underscore AAUW’s mission”- “AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination” and strives to be an inclusive organization. Our values are reflected in our Public Policy Priorities. Our mission, ” is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy”. The Public Policy Priorities ‘spells-out’ what we advocate for-he issues- that’s why we always say AAUW is political… Read more »

Deborah Thiel
Deborah Thiel

Nancy you have important statements and opinions to be made and debated. Thank you for eloquently bringing them forward. Abortion is probably the most divisive issues among us. Although we have differences, i think it’s important we discuss them openly. I am concerned that promoting the stance that a woman has the right to determine for herself what should be done to and with her body, which includes the age old decision whether to terminate a pregnancy or not has in too many pro-life circles been equated with being pro-abortion. I clearly don’t see it that way. One can morally… Read more »

Diana Bain
Diana Bain

I agree that respecting the choice made is the important part.

Louise Smith
Louise Smith

I have been a member of AAUW since 1967 when a large number of members were college educated stay-at-home moms! I also have seen changes in the discussions including a persistent try to remove our “college education” requirement which WOULD make us very like NOW.
The EDUCATION of women needs to continue to be our #1 priority!

Serena Gonzalez
Serena Gonzalez

I, too, oppose the removal of “college education”. This is an organization of and for women with college educations. It specifically identifies our commonality.

Ann Fleishman
Ann Fleishman

THE ISSUE OF OUR TIME
Protecting the environment must be our highest priority because none of our other priorities, although they are important will matter if we:
Cannot breathe the air or drink the water
Lose our coastal communities to rising seas
Lose animals and crops to feed people
Cannot survive multiple weather related disasters
We urge you in the strongest way possible to make every effort to save our planet.

Deborah Thiel
Deborah Thiel

Care of the environment is certainly an important issue and one of my top concerns in the world…but I would be concerned that trying to specifically address it through AAUW would be diluting this organization’s abiility to focus on our primary mission in elevating education and equity for women and girls.
Supoorting healthy environments for women and girls and supporting wowmen’s work and research in environmental issues would be appropriate.

James Doty
James Doty

Climate change is an important issue as is overpopulation. There are organizations and arenas to address them, but not AAUW. AAUW must stay on mission.

Elvira Monroe
Elvira Monroe

Elvira Monroe

Perhaps it is time for AAUW to give serious consideration to joining our sister organizations – LWV, We Can, Great Old Broads for the Wilderness, We Do, Girl Up, WEN and others – and become advocates and leaders tin protecting our environment.
The issue is a crisis. It is too critical for us not to make this one of AAUW ‘s priorities.
When we speak and act together, we are stronger.
Let us add our voices!

Rosette Dawson
Rosette Dawson

Thanks for doing this. It looks much better and is more specific.

Kate Elkins
Kate Elkins

I am very happy to see the change from advocating for “increased” access to quality, affordable health care to “Universal”.

Louise Smith
Louise Smith

I object to this change:
From
We advocate for increased access to higher education, especially for women in poverty. We promote equitable efforts to close the persistent achievement gap that disproportionately affects low-income children and students from minority communities.
to
We advocate for increased access to higher education, especially for women in poverty. We promote equitable efforts to close the persistent achievement gap that disproportionately affects low-income children and students from communities of color.

It is NOT ONLY women and communities of color that are disproportionately affected. Any minority group (muslims) that is affected should be our priority!!

Louise Smith
Georgetown TX

Mary Sandford
Mary Sandford

I reacted similarly when I read this change. I think many people still think of “people/communities of color” as being African-American only. I believe that retaining the use of “minority communities” better clarifies the inclusion of Muslims, Latinos and others.

Diana Bain
Diana Bain

Perhaps ‘diverse communities’?

Sue Worden
Sue Worden

I disagree with your comment, only because the word “diverse” encompasses significantly more dimensions than economic disadvantage. I think the sentence needs more specific wording to retain its primary thrust of economic disadvantage. I’d suggest something along the lines of “…the persistent achievement gap that disproportionately affects low-income children and students from culturally diverse communities.”

Donna Bickford
Donna Bickford

What about marginalized communities; I think that’s more expansive.

Sue Worden
Sue Worden

I like “marginalized”. I think that captures it!

Caroline Pickens
Caroline Pickens

Was able to read all of S. Rothwell’s comments. I also found confusing referring to the Leadership pillar of the Strategic Plan in the opening paragraph but then not indicating any priorities under Leadership. There are surely priorities that fit under Leadership.

Virginia Hatfield
Virginia Hatfield

Agreed with this comment as well. There didn’t seem to be the same clarity of priorities under Leadership. Needs to be spelled out to a greater degree.

Caroline Pickens
Caroline Pickens

The term “intersectionality” should be defined or else changed. I assume this is a term used in some circles, but it is not one the vast majority of members know (I had to google it to find out the meaning and my computer says it is not a word). Its meaning is not self-explanatory, although it is a good term once you know what it means. If it is used and most people don’t know what it means, it loses its impact. Needs to be defined or explained the first time it is used, please. I can’t read all of… Read more »

Patricia Spence
Patricia Spence

Would “multi-dimensional” work better?

Serena Gonzalez
Serena Gonzalez

multi-dimensional is not the same as intersectionality.

Jacquelyn DeFazio
Jacquelyn DeFazio

I agree with Caroline’s comment on “intersectionality” and don’t think “multi-dimensional” is any clearer. Both words lack clear, specific, generally understood meaning–except, perhaps, in certain circles.

Mary Hager
Mary Hager

I would an effort to define, as it is widely used in DC, particularly among groups advocating for women’s advancement.

Audrey Salgado
Audrey Salgado

I researched intersectionality and found the diagram on the YW Boston website to be helpful. https://www.ywboston.org/2017/03/what-is-intersectionality-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-me/

Denise George
Denise George

I also had never heard the term intersectional. I now understand what it means and its importance, but a definition would be very useful.

Sharon Hawley-Crum
Sharon Hawley-Crum

I also needed to learn the “new” term, but I think it should be retained. We can’t move forward if we don’t keep learning, extending our vocabulary, and using new terminology. I know that I felt the need to include the term, the definition, along with a bit of history, letting our members know that the term came into use in 1980. 40 years is a long time so this is not really a ‘new’ term!

Virginia Hatfield
Virginia Hatfield

I agree with the comments on the use of “intersectionality” – it should be defined or the meaning of the sentence better explained.

Serena Gonzalez
Serena Gonzalez

Perhaps rewrite the sentence using ‘intersect’ or ‘overlapping’ vs intersectionality, if a majority of AAUW members are uncomfortable. I am familiar with usage of intersectioanlity and don’t see anything wrong with a reader(s) having to stop, look up the word, and learn something new. We should encourage omnipresence.

Ann Pehle
Ann Pehle

As a gender equity organization, we must be in a leadership position. I don’t mind making members uncomfortable using “intersectionality”. Lack of familiarity doesn’t mean it is new or trendy or jargon. As a leading gender equity organization, we must lead. AAUW is lagging in our lack of use of the term and it is embarrassing. Understanding intersectionality is foundational to understanding diversity and inclusion. Knew this was an important term for our members to understand, so explored intersectionality and what it means as an AAUW branch at our December meeting. One of our best programs.

Diana Bain
Diana Bain

I agree – being part of advocacy for women means knowing the terms. This is a commonly used term.

Donna Bickford
Donna Bickford

I agree. Kimberlee Crenshaw coined the term in 1989, but feminists of color were talking about intersecting and overlapping oppressions even before then. It’s an important term to represent the way various aspects of our identities impact our power, privilege and oppression.

Annalee Shelton
Annalee Shelton

Agreed. If this hasn’t been decided already, I propose using this simple definition from Merriam Webster “involving members of multiple social categories.”

Updated text might read this way, “AAUW supports efforts to improve racial, ethnic, and gender justice and will work to eradicate intersectional bias (defined here as relating to interconnected social categories) as well.

Suzanne Rothwell
Suzanne Rothwell

This is to submit suggested changes to the text of the section on Biennial Action Priorities. Current text: “Based on the National Board’s adoption of the 2018 strategic plan for AAUW, national public policy priorities are focused first on our major areas of focus: education and training, economic security and leadership.” Comment 1: The word “focus” is used twice and is, therefore, an awkward structure. Also I do not see the need to use the word “first” as a modifier of “focus.” With no intent to change the meaning, I suggest the following change: “… priorities are focused on education… Read more »

Terry Longoria
Terry Longoria

This may be out of order – but given other recent brutal assaults by mass murder – now another in California aimed at college students – shouldn’t we embolden our statements on Gun Violence Prevention. I know it falls within some of our other goals – but at least under freedom from violence and fear…we should develop something about Gun Violence Prevention. I realize AAUW does not want to say Gun Control, but I think we need to say something about guns.

Patricia Spence
Patricia Spence

I feel as you do, Terry.At the same time, I am concerned about jeopardizing our non-partisan status, and each state relates so differently to this issue. When I post on our Branch FB page information about an upcoming legislative or other activity related to gun control I always preface the posting with the AAUW statement re: public health crisis. Perhaps, the fourh from the last point should read: Freedom from violence and fear of violence, including hate crimes and active shooter incidents, in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.

AAUW Public Policy & Research Department
AAUW Public Policy & Research Department

Thanks for this comment, Terry. I wanted to share some information for you and others considering AAUW’s ability to work on gun violence prevention within the Public Policy Priorities. As you identified, AAUW’s current Public Policy Priorities state that AAUW advocates for “freedom from violence and fear of violence…in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities” and that AAUW “recognizes that gun violence is a public health crisis.” The decision to address gun violence prevention is in keeping with our 2001 resolution on the topic (https://www.aauw.org/files/2017/09/1933-2017-AAUW-resolutions-nsa.pdf#page=48). To that end, AAUW and many local affiliates have engaged in advocacy to enact gun violence… Read more »

Coral Aiken-Miller
Coral Aiken-Miller

Dear Terry, I do not believe your comments are not out of order on any level.
Currently Gun Violence should be AAUW’s number one priority. If we dedicate 100% for one rear to ramp up a campaign full steam we will make a difference. We need to choose life first and equality second.

Kathryn Scruggs
Kathryn Scruggs

Does “Family Leave” include parental leave for babies?

Suzanne Rothwell
Suzanne Rothwell

The Family and Medical Leave Act, the federal law, specifically covers unpaid leave for; (1)The birth and/or subsequent care of the employee’s child. (2) The placement and/or subsequent care of an adopted or foster care child. AAUW may wish to consider whether further clarification is necessary to make clear that the priorities promoting new laws for paid ‘family leave” are intended to cover maternity/adoption leave as well as medical.

Faye Marcus
Faye Marcus

medical and sick leave. Is the pp committee saying that medical and sick leave are 2 separate entities?

Marcy Leverenz
Marcy Leverenz

I am assuming the bullet points are not prioritized?

AAUW Public Policy & Research Department
AAUW Public Policy & Research Department

Thanks for your question, Marcy! The revisions include this language to make clear that no prioritization is implied by the order of the PPP:

“Based on the National Board’s adoption of the 2018 strategic plan for AAUW, national public policy priorities are focused first on our major areas of focus: education and training, economic security, and leadership. Additional policy priorities are also critical to ensure equity for all. No further order of importance for the additional priorities is implied.”