Public Policy

The following is a summary of the AAUW public policy program. For more detailed information please see the websites of the national and California associations.

The public policy program underscores the AAUW mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research, and speaks to women’s needs, aspirations, and concerns across the life span. The work of AAUW builds upon over a century of responsible public participation at the local, state, national, and international levels. AAUW is committed to working in partnership with diverse allies.

The following principles provide a basis for AAUW members actions at the local, state, federal, 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 work to increase the number of underrepresented populations, including women, in policy- and other decision-making positions.


Basic to all AAUW public policy efforts is the understanding that true equity requires a balance between the rights of the individual and the needs of the community. We firmly believe in the separation of church and state.

AAUW supports constitutional protection for the civil rights of all individuals, including the right to privacy. We believe in choice in the determination of one’s reproductive life.

We support a fair, balanced, and independent judiciary. We oppose all forms of discrimination. We support affirmative action to improve racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. We affirm our commitment to passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

AAUW believes that quality public education is the foundation of a democratic society. We advocate equity, academic freedom, protection from censorship, bias-free education, and responsible funding for all levels of education. We advocate increased access to higher education, especially for women in poverty.

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, a livable wage, reduction of poverty, quality affordable dependent care, paid family and medical leave, decent and affordable housing, and quality affordable health care; freedom from violence; and a clean and healthful 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 public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to community. We support meaningful campaign finance reform that will promote equitable participation and representation.

AAUW values and is committed to the arts and humanities, which develop and enhance our pluralistic cultural heritage.

AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies that promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people. We advocate public discussion to ensure enlightened decisions on these issues. 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 commitment to 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.