2021 Vote: Bylaws Amendment

AAUW members can now vote on proposed changes to the bylaws recommended by the AAUW Board of Directors and AAUW Governance Committee that would eliminate the degree requirement for membership. Voting closes on Monday, May 17 at 5:00 pm ET.

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AAUW’s mission is to advance gender equity, yet the requirement for membership explicitly denies access to membership to those without college degrees. AAUW does not promote equity for all women and girls if the organization maintains exclusionary membership requirements. The membership requirement is not fair, is not right, and is not equity. This is simply the right thing to do.

For this proposed amendment, the Saving Clause in the bylaws is eliminated as it refers to degrees from institutions which have lost their accreditation and will no longer be necessary if the proposed amendment is approved by the membership. The Student Associates clause is removed as students become eligible for full membership with the elimination of the degree requirement. Language has been added to the Dues section to give the AAUW Board of Directors explicit authority to set a dues rate of $0 for students or any other category of membership the Board deems appropriate.

Learn more with the Open Membership Toolkit.


Section 1. Composition. The members (“Members”) of AAUW shall consist of individual members (“Individual Members”) and college/university members (“College/University Members”).

Section 2. Basis of Membership.

  1. Individual Members.
    1. Eligibility. An individual holding an associate (or equivalent, e.g., RN), bachelor’s, or higher degree from a higher education institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (an “Accredited Higher Education Institution”) or other qualified educational institution located outside of the United States, as determined by the Board of Directors, shall be eligible to receive admission to AAUW membership; such membership shall be granted upon payment of AAUW dues. The provisions set forth in this section are the sole requirement for eligibility and admissibility to AAUW membership except that the Board of Directors may establish a process to assess credentials that are submitted based on degree equivalence. An individual who supports the AAUW mission and pays annual AAUW dues shall be eligible to be an individual member with all rights and responsibilities of AAUW membership.
      B. Saving Clause. No Individual Member shall lose membership due to any change in the status of the higher education institution upon which original qualification for membership was based.
    2. (C.) Life Membership.
      1. Paid. An Individual Member may become a life member (a “Life Member”) upon a one-time payment of twenty years’ annual AAUW national dues, based on the amount of annual AAUW dues the year the Member elects to become a Life Member but without credit for AAUW dues paid in prior years. Thereafter, the Life Member shall be exempt from the payment of AAUW national dues.
      2. Fifty-Year Honorary. An Individual Member who has paid AAUW dues for 50 years shall become a Life Member and shall thereafter be exempt from the payment of AAUW national dues.
  2. College/University Members. Any Accredited Higher Education Institution or other qualified higher educational institutions located outside the United States, as determined by the Board of Directors, that pays annual dues to AAUW shall be eligible to be a College/University Member. Each College/University Member shall appoint one or two representatives who are eligible to be Individual Members and who shall each have the membership benefits rights and responsibilities of an Individual Member and any other benefits that accrue to representatives of College/University Members, as determined by the Board of Directors.
  3. Other Organizational Members. The Board of Directors may set forth criteria for other organizations (“Organizational Members”) to join AAUW.
  4. Appeals of Refusals of Admission to Membership. Any potential Individual Member or College/University Member that has been refused admission to membership may appeal to the Board of Directors for review. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final.

Section 3. Student Associates. The Board of Directors may permit undergraduate students enrolled in Accredited Higher Education Institutions or in other qualified educational institutions located outside of the United States, as determined by the Board of Directors, to associate with AAUW, with fees (if any) and benefits as determined by the Board of Directors.

Section 4. Section 3. Dues.

  1. Amount. The annual dues and member benefits for any category of member shall be established by a two-thirds vote of the AAUW Board of Directors. Annual dues may be set at lower amounts, or may be waived entirely, for certain Individual Members based on objective criteria including but not limited to the Individual Member’s status as a student and the Individual Member’s current enrollment at an institution that is a College/University Member. Members shall be notified of the intent to consider a change in the dues, the proposed amount, and the rationale for the change at least 60 days prior to the vote.
  2. Payment. Member dues shall be payable in accordance with procedures established by the Board of Directors.

Section 5. Section 4. Severance of Membership. Any Member may be suspended or removed from membership for any conduct that tends to injure AAUW or to adversely affect its reputation or that is contrary to or destructive of its mission according to these Bylaws, with action taken following policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Directors. In addition, a College/University Member that is no longer eligible for membership shall be removed from members.