Public Policy

Where We Stand

From the AAUW National Website

AAUW’s policy work connects and rallies advocates at the local, state, national, and global levels to empower women and girls. AAUW uses lobbying and grassroots efforts to push forward poli- cies that break through educational and economic barriers for women. Below we highlight our positions and advocacy on major issues.

Economic Security – AAUW advocates for all women to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Look for the QUICK FACTS on the AAUW website for background information on paycheck fairness, retirement security, paid leave, health care.

Education & Title IX – AAUW supports a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, and diversity, including vigorous enforcement of Title IX. Read about focused positions on Higher Education, Elem and Secondary Ed Act, School vouchers, STEM Educa- tion, Sexual Harassment, Title IX

Civil Rights – AAUW advocates for equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse society. We support Voting Rights, Equal Rights Amendment, Human Trafficking prevention, Repro- ductive Rights, LGBTQ Rights.

Take Action – There are lots of ways to get involved with AAUW’s work to advance gender equity. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

Become a Two-Minute Activist – sign up for an issue on the website. Around the country, AAUW activists are helping to advance legislation to protect women and ensure economic security for them and their families. Thank you for joining AAUW!

AAUW California supports the passage of
Propositions 1 and 28 on the November ballot in California.
AAUW CA Public Policy Committee

Proposition 1.
The decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade dealt a serious blow to the rights of women to make their own decision about their bodies.  This spurred many state legislatures to act to ban abortion, some with no exceptions for rape, incest, or endangering the life of the mother. Abortion bans in other states have already taken effect. Yet polls in many states show a majority in support of protecting the rights of women to choose to have abortions. Currentlywomen are coming from other states to obtain abortions in California. An Abortion Access website is being formed in our state to enable and assist out-of-state women with travel arrangements, housing, medical appointments and other matters.

California Legislators, recognizing the remote possibility that at some future time state legislation could ban abortions, took timely action in June to pass SCR 10. This put Proposition 1, the Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom, on the November ballot. Passage of Prop 1 will amend the California Constitution, stating “Section 1.1 is added to Article I thereof, to read: SEC. 1.1. The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This section is intended to further the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by Section 1, and the constitutional right to not be denied equal protection guaranteed by Section 7. Nothing herein narrows or limits the right to privacy or equal protection.”

Proposition 28. In the context of AAUW CA’s Public Policy Priorities in support of Education, AAUW CA supports Proposition 28, The Arts and Music in Schools – Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act. Studies on educational achievement prove that arts and music education improve student learning. Music education has been shown to improve cognitive development and spatial reasoning while the dramatic arts improve reading comprehension.  Arts and music education has also been shown to improve school attendance and individual self-confidence and motivation to learn, particularly among poor and other at-risk students. Yet these programs are usually the first cut when school budgets are reduced. Prop 28 would provide a minimum source of annual funding coming from the state General Fund to K-12 public schools to supplement arts education programs. School districts would be held accountable to use the funds for hiring certificated employees and purchasing supplies and materials. Read the full propositions on the Secretary of State website,

Become informed, and Vote on November 8, 2022!!

When Women Vote,
We Change the Conversation!
Sue Miller, AAUW CA Public Policy Committee

Since 1881, AAUW has been a leading voice promoting education and equity for women and girls.  AAUW encourages women voters to get involved in the political process and gain a better understanding of the impact legislative action can have on our lives.

The recent US Supreme Court Dobbs decision on abortion has stimulated action in many states across the nation, including California.  Our legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed AB1666 which will enable a woman coming into California to receive an abortion to be protected from lawsuits originating in her home state. This bill was co-sponsored by AAUW CA! A further step protecting a woman’s right to make personal medical decisions is a Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 1, which will be on the November 8 ballot. It would amend the California Constitution to prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom in her most intimate decisions, which includes the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. AAUW CA supports this Constitutional Amendment.

Congressional races are particularly important this November.  Redistricting after the 2020 Census has changed the boundaries of many Congressional districts. In the current partisan climate, we need to be aware of what is at stake in both our national and state upcoming elections. Your current member of Congress may no longer represent you – be sure to become informed soon on the candidates for Congress in your district. As you sort through all this, please reflect on priority issues affecting us, our daughters, and granddaughters, and evaluate candidates’positions on these issues.

If you are a leader in your branch, make your October program a focus on the election. You may want to consider a CandidatesNight. Before a partisan election, AAUW branches may host candidate forums to which all major-party candidates in that election are invited. AAUW branches with 501(c)(4) status must make a thorough and good faith effort to ensure the participation of at least two candidates for a specific office but may proceed with a forum if only one candidate accepts. AAUW branches with 501(c)(3) status may only proceed with a candidate forum event if at least two candidates have accepted the invitation.

Here are resources to get helpful, non-partisan information:

AAUW CA website:    Public Policy section will soon have more detail on priority issues and questions to ask of candidates.
AAUW website:  Ideas for branch activities, C/U partners, and specifics for 501 c 3 and 501 c 4 branches.
CA Secretary of State website:  voter info, Ballot Initiatives.
State and County Voter guides – mailed to all registered voters in October. – maps of newly re-drawn congressional districts

Register to vote, if you haven’t already! And if you have recently moved you need to update your information with your County Registrar of Voters!   Voting is a powerful tool to bring about change!

Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Amy Hom and Melissa Maceyko AAUW Public Policy Committee

Students on college campuses often face sexual harassment and violence. A 2019 study found the rate of undergraduates who experienced rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation to be 26.4 percent for women, 23.1 percent for transgender, genderqueer, or nonconforming students, and 6.8 percent for men.
A crucial first step toward solving problems is accurate reporting and measurement. While numerous studies show that campus rape is common, the vast majority of American college and university campuses report zero incidents of rape, and only 1 in 5 undergraduate women report their sexual assault to authorities. This speaks to the inadequacy of reporting structures rather than the frequency of assaults. Lack of reporting, action, education, and trust may be exacerbated by the understaffing and underfunding of Title IX positions and offices at universities.
Further aggravating these ongoing problems, in 2017 the U.S. Department of Education, led by then-secretary Betsy DeVos, rescinded a number of sexual harassment protections under Title IX while expanding protections for those accused of sexual misconduct. These changes to Title IX have had a chilling effect as it has become even more challenging for students to come forward to report sexual assaults through official university channels.
Two pieces of proposed legislation in California in 2022 can make strides to address existing problems. The first is Assembly Bill 1712 (AB 1712), which establishes a workgroup for developing and deploying campus climate and sexual misconduct surveys to students on the campuses of California Community Colleges (CCCs), California State Universities (CSUs), and Universities of California (UCs) in order to better understand campus sexual violence and identify improvement areas. The second piece of legislation is Assembly Bill 1968 (AB 1968), which will standardize the content and presentation of crucial information for members of the CSU and UC communities who have survived a sexual assault, helping them to clearly understand their support and reporting options immediately following an assault.
The Department of Education under President Biden is expected to unveil major revisions to the current Title IX rules this spring, including making changes to the definition of sexual harassment and the ways in which schools must respond to complaints of sexual harassment. Further, the Department has stated that it will prioritize protections for students based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The AAUW CA Public Policy committee will be looking out for the Department’s new proposed Title IX revisions and will provide updates as they become available. 

National Council of Jewish Women & 

American Association of University Women at
Long Beach City College February 17, 2022
Childcare and  Financial Insecurity Facing Women Post Pandemic: What Can We Do:
The focus of this event was on Economic Injustice issues, focusing on Childcare and the need for a Long Beach Commission on the Status of Women.  Below is a photo of the speakers and event coordinators.

From left to right: Rita Powell, AAUW; Tiffany Alva, First5 O.C.; Suzie Price, L.B. 3rd District Council Woman; Herlinda Chico, LBCC Trustee/Supervisor Field Rep.; Tunua Trash-Ntuk, Executive Director LA LISC; Lisa Raufman, NCJW Moderator