Strategic Plan 2.0

Reframing & Refocusing For Impact

In the midst of a global health pandemic, the worst economic downturn in almost a century and the beginning of our nation’s reckoning with hundreds of years of structural racism in every fabric of our society, AAUW works side by side with our 170,000 members and advocates, partners in industry and partners in education to implement meaningful and lasting change.

WHY 2.0 NOW?

Our strategic plan was adopted by the AAUW Board of Directors in June 2018, providing the foundation and the vision to advance gender equity. In just two years, we’ve achieved many milestones towards the ambitious goals laid out in the plan.

  • In two years, we’ve trained 145,000* participants in negotiation skills and engaged over 300 HBCUs, women’s colleges and minority-serving institutions in our work, thanks to two years of generous support from the Coca-Cola Foundation—and leveraged new partnerships in New York City, Pittsburgh and other metropolitan regions.
  • In just the last two years, AAUW has helped to enact pay equity laws in 16 states, including Alabama, one of two states that previously had no pay equity provisions on the books. These new laws cover millions of Americans and lay the ground work for innovation that can be replicated at the federal level.
  • We piloted the Equity Network just as the nation went into lockdown due to the coronavirus, and have successfully been engaging virtually with hundreds of working people ages 21-40 weekly on gender equity advocacy, voting rights, and professional career development.
  • To ensure AAUW’s sustainability and commitment to mission, we’ve fiscally aligned our budget and staffing to meet the needs of today and tomorrow, and launched a state-of-the-art new website.

But a strategic plan is never stagnant and must be dynamic and bold to meet the ever-changing needs of women and girls in our society. Reflect for a moment on all that has occurred in just over two short years since the strategic plan was launched.

As we prepare for the 140th anniversary of AAUW in 2021, we’ve honed in on the key areas where AAUW can continue to lead with an improved set of goals for our plan — call it the 2.0 version. You’ll note that our areas of focus have not changed; we continue to fiercely believe that our commitment to Education & Training, Economic Security and Leadership will further girls and women in all of society. To remain a cutting-edge and forward-thinking organization for today and tomorrow, AAUW must commit to best practices in Governance & Sustainability. This AAUW Strategic Plan 2.0 focuses more heavily on STEM given the generous bequest AAUW received in 2019. As our nation elevates solutions to combat systemic, structural racism, AAUW too must examine its mission work, advocacy, operations and programming to ensure that our work centers racial and gender equity at its core.

In the midst of a global health pandemic, the worst economic downturn in almost a century, and the start of our nation’s reckoning with hundreds of years of structural racism in every fabric of our society, AAUW works side by side with our 170,000 members and advocates, partners in industry and partners in education to affect meaningful and lasting change. But there remains so much work ahead. Improving policies and laws is only a portion of what we need to create sustained and important changes in our society in every regard for women and girls – we need scalable programs, we need accountability and metrics, we need bold goals, we need individual human behavioral acceptance and willingness to change. This extraordinary health crisis has also taught us that human beings are capable of dramatic change, that we can do difficult things.

As we embark together on this update to our 2018 plan, we at AAUW stand ready. We know that we can— and will — lead the change we want to achieve.


GOAL: Champion equal access in education, emphasizing STEM.

  • Increase success for girls and women of color in STEM through improvement of and access to learning environments.
  • Support educational pathways for women and girls, particularly STEM and with increased focus for women and girls of color.

GOAL: Ensure education at every level is free from sex discrimination.

  • Protect and expand compliance with Title IX and other civil rights laws across all U.S. states and territories.


GOAL: Shrink the gender pay gaps.

  • Champion pay equity federally and in all U.S. states and territories.
  • Lead nation in providing salary negotiation programs for employees and tools for employers, reaching 1 million women.

GOAL: Bolster inclusive career pathways for women in skills and training.

  • Develop blueprint and scalable plan for women of color to access STEM careers.
  • Expand Empower career development series for women in the workforce by at least 15%.
  • Support employers with tools and best practices to create inclusive pipelines and pathways for women, particularly women of color.


GOAL: Expand number of women in leadership, particularly in STEM.

  • Encourage early and midcareer women of color to pursue leadership pathways.
  • Showcase the impact of leadership development for advancing women, particularly women of color.
  • Advocate for leadership transparency & change in education and nonprofit sectors.


GOAL: Implement continuous improvement and best practices in governance, inclusion and organizational functioning.

  • Embody the goals and spirit of equity, inclusion, diversity and intersectionality across all AAUW activities and participants, prioritizing women of color. Conduct a SWOT of AAUW’s work to ensure inclusion and equity lens and review of structural racism in all work.
  • Evaluate and competitively assess AAUW’s governance model, ensuring best practices in nonprofit board structure and service.
  • Modernize AAUW’s technology infrastructure and build strategic, integrated, comprehensive, forward-looking communications and program platforms.

GOAL: Enhance financial sustainability by increasing and diversifying revenue.

  • Complement existing membership model with new modes to engage new audiences, increase donor populations, and achieve greater impact through partnerships.
  • Showcase ways affiliates can support national initiatives and priorities in ways that round out the local impact affiliates are making.
  • Explore feasibility of a fundraising campaign that will embolden national priorities.

* 145,000 represents the last two years. Total trained in our negotiation programs to date is 176,000