If we amend the AAUW bylaws to open membership to anyone supporting the organization’s mission, we:
- Strengthen the organization. An organization’s strength is based on its members’ support of its mission, not on membership criteria.
- Ensure that we walk the talk. AAUW’s mission is about equity for all women and girls, so we need to be equitable in welcoming all who support that mission.
- Increase our credibility. The degree requirement undermines our credibility in our advocacy work for equity.
- Dispel elitism. While we value and encourage higher education for all, one does not need to have a college degree to be an advocate for education, any more than someone needs to be a woman to support women’s rights. (We have admitted men to our membership since 1987.)
- Facilitate recruiting new members. Most people join because someone invited them. Doing away with the degree requirement eliminates that awkward sticking point of inquiring whether a person is “eligible” to join.
Honoring AAUW’s past does not mean we should be unable or unwilling to evolve and improve as an organization. Our past accomplishments stem from our commitment to change.
Here is a pdf brochure on the issues to use at conventions, branches, and other meetings.