The Word From Carolyn

President’s Message

Dear West Harris County Members,

Georgia Kimmel is a treasure!  I have been fortunate to be on state Public Policy Zoom meetings with Georgia.  The knowledge she brings from her work at MAM is invaluable.  Now, she has offered to meet weekly with the lobbyist hired by Texas AAUW to promote our mission in Austin.  We are in good hands with Georgia.  Please join me in thanking her for stepping up!

Vote on National By-laws and Public Policy

At the Zoom meeting put on by the Texas AAUW Board, Malinda Gaul, National Board Member, told us that in the last election only 12% of the membership voted.  To my chagrin, I have to confess that I was one of the 88% who did not vote.  I can do better!  We can do better!

Ballots

If you have an email registered with AAUW National, you will receive your ballot by email.  We will let you know when the ballots have been sent.  Those without email will receive a paper ballot.

If you would like a paper ballot, please email me at morriscs@aol.com or Carolyn Stoffel, Membership Chair, at c-stoffel@sbcglobal.net.

Please read the revised National Public Policy Priorities below.

Carolyn Morris
Branch President

2021–23 AAUW Public Policy Priorities

The Public Policy Priorities underscore AAUW’s mission to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. The work of AAUW builds upon responsible public participation, and the following priorities provide a basis for AAUW members’ actions at the local, state, national, and international levels. Implicit in each is support for government agencies administering programs, including adequate appropriations, effective and accountable administration, and provision for citizen participation. We advocate public discussion to ensure enlightened decisions on these priorities. We work to increase the number of women, and the diversity of backgrounds they represent, including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity, and other underrepresented populations in policy- and other decision-making positions. Our positions are shaped by our commitment to being nonpartisan and fact-based, and to acting with integrity. We strive for our work to be inclusive and intersectional, collaborating with diverse allies and coalitions to achieve equity for all.

Basic to all of AAUW’s public policy efforts is the understanding that true equity requires a balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of the community. AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination and supports constitutional protection for the civil rights of all individuals.

AAUW believes that high-quality public education is the foundation of a democratic society and the key to improving economic prosperity and gender equality. We advocate equitable access to education and climates free of harassment, bullying, and sexual assault. We support academic freedom, civic education, protection from censorship, bias-free education, and responsible funding for all levels of education, including early childhood education and programs for students with disabilities. We advocate for increased and more equitable access to higher education, that is affordable and yields high quality credentials or degrees especially for women in poverty. We promote intentional, equity-focused equitable efforts to close the persistent learning and opportunity achievement gaps that disproportionately affect students from low-income and minority groupschildren and students from communities of color.

AAUW promotes the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. Essential to that well-being are an economy that provides equitable employment opportunities; reduction of poverty; a living wage; quality, affordable dependent care; paid family and medical leave; safe, livable, and affordable housing; quality, affordable, and accessible health care for all, including reproductive health care; and a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. We support a Social Security system that provides inflation-protected, guaranteed lifetime benefits with a progressive benefit formula, spousal and widow benefits, and disability and survivor benefits. We support robust and strong Medicare and Medicaid systems and oppose any efforts to undermine them, including privatization and block grant proposals. AAUW recognizes that gun violence is a public health crisis.

AAUW believes in the right to privacy and freedom from violence. We firmly believe in the separation of church and state. We support a fair, balanced, and independent judiciary. We support public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to the community. We see an urgent need for meaningful campaign finance reform, open and fair elections, and nonpartisan voter education efforts that will promote equitable political participation and representation in appointed and elected office.

AAUW supports believes in the need to end white supremacy and address structural and systemic racism. Efforts to improve racial, ethnic and gender justice must be embedded into every initiative and will work to eradicate intersectional bias as well. This includes working to eradicate intersectional bias and creating a diverse culture of involvement, respect, inclusion, and connection, where the richness of diverse ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is fully appreciated, understood and utilized.

AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies against human trafficking and that promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people. We support the civil and human rights of all immigrants, including a fair and just path to legal status. We support a strengthened United Nations and its affiliated agencies. We advocate implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action from the 4th World Conference on Women and subsequent declarations. We affirm our active participation in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and our commitment to ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We support international family planning programs that are consistent with AAUW policy.

Biennial Action Priorities

National priorities inform state and local action. Biennial priorities for national action are chosen according to the criteria of viability, critical need, strong member support, and potential for distinctive AAUW contribution or leadership. Based on the National Board’s adoption of the 2018 strategic plan for AAUW, national pubic policy priorities are focused first on our major areas of focus: education and training, economic security, and leadership. Additional policy priorities are also critical to ensure equity for all. No further order of importance for the additional priorities is implied.

To support a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, diversity and inclusivity, and to address the barriers and implicit biases that hinder the advancement of women and girls, AAUW advocates

  • Vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education
  • Adequate and equitable funding for and access to quality public education, including early childhood education, for all students
  • Opposition to the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools
  • Increased support for and protection of programs that meet the needs of girls and women in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, including strong promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and comprehensive sexual health education
  • Increased support for and access to affordable higher education for women, including alleviating the debt burden that disproportionately impacts borrowers of color and exacerbates the racial wealth gap. and disadvantaged populations.
  • Support for practices that halt the flow of students from schools to prisons, including reforming school disciplinary practices that disproportionately punish girls and students of color

To achieve economic security for all women, AAUW advocates

  • Pay equity and fairness in compensation and benefits
  • Equitable access and advancement in employment, free from systemic barriers and biases, including vigorous enforcement of employment discrimination statutes
  • Closing the gender and race gaps in leadership opportunities for women of all backgrounds
  • Greater availability of and access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, including quality and affordable dependent care and paid family, medical, and sick leave
  • Programs that provide women with education, training, and support for success in the workforce, including nontraditional occupations and women’s entrepreneurship
  • Strengthening programs, including welfare and career and technical education, to improve
  • postsecondary education access, career development, and earning potential
  • Strengthening retirement benefits and programs, including pension improvements and protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from privatization
  • Access for all women to the full range of health care services to ensure economic security
  • Increasing the number of quality jobs that pay a living wage

To guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse and inclusive society, AAUW advocates

  • Vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including affirmative action and expanding voting rights
  • Complete, accurate and timely collection of data, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender identity to inform policy decisions and the apportionment of political representation
  • Self-determination of one’s reproductive health decisions
  • Universal access to quality, affordable health care and comprehensive family planning services, including expansion of patients’ rights
  • Freedom from violence and fear of violence, including hate crimes, in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities
  • Support for U.N. programs that address human rights and women’s and girls’ concerns
  • Freedom in the definition of self and family, including protection from discrimination and a guarantee of civil rights for all family structures
  • Passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Georgia Kimmel
Public Policy


ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP AND DUES

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.
  2.     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.
  3. 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.
  4.     (C.) Life Membership.
  5.     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.
  6.     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.
  7.     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.
  8.     Other Organizational Members. The Board of Directors may set forth criteria for other organizations (“Organizational Members”) to join AAUW.
  9.     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.