Public Policy Action

AAUW’s policy work connects and rallies advocates at the local, state, national, and global levels to empower women and girls. We use lobbying and grassroots efforts to push forward policies that break through educational and economic barriers for women. AAUW’s Public Policy Priorities, adopted every two years by member vote, establish the federal action issues on which AAUW members across the country focus advocacy efforts.

Action Alerts

Voting Rights: Freedom to Vote Act

Our democracy works when everyone can fully participate. Elected officials routinely make decisions about issues that directly impact all of us. From our paychecks to paid leave, access to reproductive health care and access to education, our lives are on the line — and our vote is our voice. Members of Congress have worked on a compromise focused on core measures needed to modernize and protect how voters participate in the electoral process: the Freedom to Vote Act (S.2747). Send a message to Congress this week!

  • Require every state to have automatic voter registration
  • Establish Election Day as a federal holiday
  • Ensure the ability to vote by mail
  • Protect communities vulnerable to disenfranchisement
  • Ban partisan gerrymandering
  • Paid leave took a big step closer to victory, but our fight is far from over. 

Last month, we celebrated the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee’s decision to include a permanent, universal paid family and medical leave program in the reconciliation package. But discussions are ongoing and changes are still likely. Over the coming weeks, you might hear that “paid leave is off the table,” but we’re working to ensure that is never true.

This is where you come in. We need you to keep the pressure on. With lots of work left to do, we ask that you maintain momentum with us and keep contacting your members of Congress regularly. We must make one thing clear: A permanent, universal paid leave program must be included in the final budget. We ask you to send a letter or call your US Senators and urge your friends to do the same.

Join us in ensuring all workers have permanent access to universal paid leave and other critical human infrastructure supports — act now!

Creating a universal paid leave program—which the United States does not guarantee, unlike the majority of developed countries—would be monumental. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to change the future for all workers. This is the time to make history.

  • Access to critical health care should not depend on where someone lives.

Civic participation takes many forms, especially with an ongoing pandemic. Committing to calling your elected officials and empowering friends and family to join is just as, if not more powerful than going to a rally or march in person. Please make decisions on where and how to advocate safely and take note of public health precautions required in your area. This week, you could:

Every person should have the ability to make their own informed decisions regarding their reproductive life. It is beyond time for abortion to be secured legally, funded fully, and equitably available for all who need it, when they need it, without shame or stigma.
Take action today to protect reproductive health and freedom!

Stop Gun Violence Against Women & Children

In June, 2021 the Illinois House reconvened and passed HB 562.
This bill addresses Illinois’ gun violence epidemic that continues to threaten the lives of children across our state. HB562
(click here

HB562 is a bill that will save lives and promote equity by:

– Expanding background checks to all gun sales in Illinois and make sure that records of all private sales done with a background check are kept for 20 years;
– Giving 9 million dollars to fund community based mental health programs in the communities most impacted by gun violence;
Allowing the Illinois State Police to remove guns from people who have had their FOID card revoked but not surrendered their gun; doubles the amount of funds for this purpose;
Incentivizing the collection of fingerprints for FOID cards.

This bill makes progress on reducing gun violence and expanding background checks. It includes establishing a database of repeat violent offenders so law enforcement officials can easily identify them and they can be prevented from purchasing guns.

Become an AAUW two minute activist.

Illinois delegation of AAUW members at ERA Rally Day.

Take action on issues impacting women and girls by joining AAUW’s Action Network. As a Two-Minute Activist, you will receive urgent email notices when your advocacy is needed most. AAUW provides all the tools you need to call or send messages to your members of Congress, write letters to the editor for your local newspapers, contact your state legislators about pressing issues, and more.

Sign up to be an activist: