2017 AAUW ballot comment – Proposal 2.

Dear AAUW Palo Alto members,
This message is my personal opinion. I invite others to express their opinion on either side of the issue of AAUW membership eligibility which is on the National AAUW ballot.
The proposed bylaws change is:
“Proposal 2. Shall Article IV of the AAUW Bylaws be amended to eliminate the degree requirements for individual members?
“If adopted Article IV will be amended as follows.
“(1) Eligibility. An individual who pays annual dues to AAUW shall be eligible to be an individual Member.” 
Yes, that means AAUW membership would no longer require a college degree. That requirement was important in 1881 and many successive years when so few women attended college that they needed a support group. That has changed. Now AAUW works for equity in many areas, yet denies membership to people who support the goals of AAUW but do not have a college degree.
In recent years, that contradiction has been even more apparent to me when meeting grateful mothers of Tech Trek students. They are enthused about the positive effect of the science camp experience on their daughters and mothers offer to join AAUW to help send more girls to camp. However, many of them did not have the opportunity to attend college although they are intelligent, committed to providing opportunities for girls and passionate about education. I am sad and embarrassed to tell those women that they cannot join us. It’s time to offer membership to all who support our mission of education and equity.
Please vote to change the bylaws by voting YES on Bylaws Proposal 2, even if that is the only item on the ballot that you mark.
The Voter Guide, with its excellent comments on all bylaws and public policy proposals, statements of candidates, and the ballot are accessed at:
Voting ends June 15 at 6:00 p.m. PDT.
Thank you.
Marie Wolbach, AAUW Palo Alto
Former Director, National AAUW Board of Directors
Founder, Tech Trek STEM Camps for Girls