2024 Proposed Bylaws Changes

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

The AAUW Board of Directors and Governance Committee recommend approval of the following proposed bylaw amendment to open AAUW’s membership. This change will align our membership practices with our purpose of advancing equity for women and girls and enable us to include members with the diverse backgrounds and perspectives needed to achieve our purpose in today’s world.

Overview and Reasons for the Proposed Amendment

We remain committed to higher education as a pathway to eliminate barriers that hold women back and to enhance their leadership opportunities at all levels. We admire the effort of the inspiring women who have led the way in earning their degrees. We recognize, however, that in today’s world higher education degrees are one of several paths needed to advance equity for women and girls. Professional certifications, on the job training, career technical experience and life experience all are alternative paths to obtaining education and the skills needed to become leaders and advocates for ending discrimination against women.

When AAUW began its work, higher education and professional careers were denied to most women. That is no longer the case. More than 50% of college degrees are currently being awarded to women, and women are now attaining powerful positions in business and government. Yet discrimination against women continues. Eliminating the degree requirement enables us to expand our voice and our reach, our ability to fulfill our purpose, and will open more opportunities to address the needs of all women.

AAUW’s name, which continues to have significant brand recognition for AAUW as a women’s rights organization, will remain the same if the amendment is adopted.

The board recognizes that some members have strong views on the proposed change in the requirement for membership and encourages respectful debate on this important issue.

The board firmly believes that the proposed amendment is in the best interests of AAUW and its future relevance and sustainability as an inclusive and forward-thinking organization committed to advancing equity for women and girls. The board urges a vote in favor of the amendment.

Amendment Summary

The proposed revision of Article III would:
  • Replace the Individual Members paragraph of the Membership Qualification provision (currently Article III Section 2 a) with new language indicating the sole requirement for membership is support of AAUW’s purpose.
  • Delete the provision on Student Associates (currently Section 3) since students would be allowed to join as full members of AAUW thus eliminating the need for a Student Associate provision.
  • Renumber Section 4 Dues as Section 3 and delete the reference to “categories of membership” in this section to permit the board to set different dues for student members as previously allowed when Student Associates were listed as a separate category rather than included as part of the Individual Membership category.
  • Make no changes to Article III Section 1 or Sections 5 and 6 on Life Membership and Membership Decisions, except that Section 5 Membership Decisions, and Section 6 Affiliates would be renumbered as Sections 4 and 5, respectively, with no other change.

Text of Proposed Amendment to Article III

Article III
Members of the Association

  1. Membership. The Membership of AAUW shall consist of individual members (“Individual Members”) and college/university members (“College/University Members”), as well as other membership categories as determined by the Board and these Bylaws.
  2. Member Qualification
    1. Individual Members. Any individual who supports AAUW’s purpose of advancing equity for women and girls shall be eligible to receive admission to AAUW membership subject to completion of such informational procedures as the Board shall establish; 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.
    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 of an Individual Member and any other benefits that accrue to representatives.
  3. Dues of Members.
    1. Amount. The annual dues and member benefits shall be established by a two-thirds vote of the AAUW Board of Directors and dues shall be payable in accordance with the procedures established by the Board of Directors. Members shall be notified at least thirty (30) days in advance of the intent to consider a change in the dues, the proposed amount, and the rationale for the change.
    2. 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 set in 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.
  4. Membership Decisions.
    1. Any potential 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.
    2. 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 purpose 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 membership as soon as practicable after it loses its eligibility.
  5. AAUW Affiliate. An AAUW Affiliate (“Affiliate”) has no member status but is an independent local organization (incorporated or not) consisting of AAUW individual members who support AAUW’s purpose at a state or local level and which has been given the right to use AAUW’s name and has executed, and continues to comply with, the AAUW Affiliate Agreement approved by the AAUW Board and any other requirements established by the Board from time to time. Use of the AAUW name or logo by the AAUW Affiliate is subject to the Affiliate Agreement and approval of the AAUW Board of Directors.


Access Current AAUW Bylaws