I Hadn’t Thought About It

March 19, 2008

A typical response, if you’ve tried to recruit a male as an AAUW member. For most men, thoughts of joining a women’s organization are quickly dismissed. After all, how can a male possibly contribute, and if he could, would he be accepted?

Why did I join? Three reasons: (1) My wife, a long-term member, has gained so much from the organization and is always energized when she participates in an AAUW activity. (2) The importance of the mission: driving equity is vital to the societal and economic health of our nation. (3) The relevance of the strategic process: recognizing the need to transform and taking action provide many exciting opportunities to contribute.

I’ve stayed a member because I’ve been both welcomed by every AAUW member that I’ve met and afforded the opportunity to participate in a variety of meaningful activities. Most important, it is clear how well the organization leadership is working together to pursue the strategic process.

Have you been successful in recruiting and retaining men? At a minimum, recruit them as members at large, but then also take the time to keep them connected and look for opportunities for them to contribute. If you’ve been successful in recruiting men, please share your thoughts.

When we focus on pursuit of the mission, gender, generation, and ethnicity don’t matter. We need the talents, skills, and voices of as many as possible.

By:   |   March 19, 2008


  1. Hey Dave and all, I find this question so interesting about men’s membership/contributions. It does seem like in our individualistic society, we don’t do enough to promote some kind of joint membership, maybe of a husband and wife but seems like there could be other kinds of partner too – which in reality is what happens sometimes, as all three of the writers above have said. My friends Ken and Nina view their activity in, and contributions to, a bunch of organizations as more or less a joint project. They try to spend equal energy and money on “his” and “her” connections – so many times the beneficiary group only sees one of them. However, they often talk over what’s going on and may both attend some events. Couldn’t we offer some kind of dues discount for those situations?

    People like Dave who are so respectful of men’s leadership are doing us all an enormous amount of good.

  2. Carolyn Hayek says:

    My husband is not currently a member, primarily because of the expense of paying dues for two family members. However, when I have held leadership positions, he has joined and taken on supporting roles. He has served on our state board and was a big help with some major bylaws changes we had a couple years ago.

  3. John Lovaas says:

    Meaningful AAUW Membership

    My wife, Fran Lovaas, was a past AAUW branch president, and she was the one who talked me into joining AAUW five or six years ago. And I’ve been glad I did.

    • I work part time at a local newspaper and have good contacts with the press, so they made me the branch PR person. I still perform that job, getting their events, special people, and programs good coverage.

    • I have also participated in AAUW programs—mostly in a support role.

    • I am most impressed with AAUW’s advocacy work, both in Richmond and in Washington.

    • And perhaps my favorite activity is my branch’s GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) Program, which we do in cooperation with local elementary schools and a couple of corporate giants—like Lockheed Martin. Each year they get 200 or more girls in fifth and sixth grade to spend a Saturday getting motivated to get involved in math and science in their secondary school years. We’ve had speakers like Sally Ride, one of the first women astronauts to go into space. It is really exciting.

    I admire many women, probably my wife more than any other. Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Martina Navratilova, and many more are an inspiration to me.

    John Lovaas
    AAUW Reston/Herndon (VA) Branch

Join the Conversation

You must be logged in to post a comment.