The AAUW Board of Directors and Governance Committee recommend approval of the following bylaw amendment to eliminate the degree requirement for membership in AAUW. 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.
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.