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Mission Statement
The American Association of Women in Community Colleges changes women’s lives through education, service and leadership development

AAWCC Values and Promotes:
Women in Leadership
Equity and Economic Independence
Service at All Levels

AAWCC Advocates for and Sponsors:
Diversity of Ideas and Culture
Higher Education Attainment
National Issues Affecting Women in Community Colleges
Professional Development for Career Progression and Achievement
Women’s Professional and Career Accomplishments

AAWCC 2019 - 2020 Platform Statement

Building the Pipeline, Advancing Equitable Environments, and Naming Inequitable Practices

The Association of Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) has worked deliberately and diligently to ensure the equitable treatment and success of women in community colleges.   Deeply rooted in the compelling access mission of community colleges, AAWCC champions the needs and interests of women students through scholarships, mentoring, and programming; advances the needs and interests of women working in community colleges through professional development, mentoring, and advocacy; and ensures the equitable and just treatment of women attending community colleges, working in community colleges, and visiting community colleges through advocacy, compliance, and awareness.


"There's a lot of unconscious bias against women being the No. 1, at the top, the president, whether that's the president of the United States, a governor or the president of a college. The very slight margin that we as women have is to be not too tough, but tough enough.”

--Andrea Silbert, the president of the Eos Foundation. –Newsweek, April 10, 2017

The data is clear that women are still underrepresented in higher education leadership, despite evidence of a robust pipeline of women with outstanding academic credentials. Are women discouraged from seeking leadership positions? What makes them opt out? Are they actively overlooked in favor of male candidates? Every generation confronts questions about gender equity in work life, and each one moves the needle a bit further on issues of inclusion, salary equity, and racial and ethnic diversity.  But barriers remain. When women are leading in higher ed, they are paid less than men.  In fact, women across most occupations continue to under-earn ̶̶̶̶ about 80 cents on the dollar is the most frequently cited figure nationwide. That is well over a half million dollars over a 30-year work life.

Paradoxically, female college presidents are more likely to have a PhD or EdD than their male counterparts, which suggests that many women are working harder but achieving less. That women are under-represented in college leadership is an unmistakable reality: only 26 percent of college presidents are women, according to data from American Council on Education.1  Community colleges have a higher share of female presidents than four year- colleges (near 30 percent), as do public colleges and universities (about 28 percent). But only 15 percent of those who lead doctoral granting institutions are female, and those leadership positions tend to have the highest salaries.                                                                                                      

The good news? These inequities are not indissoluble.  In fact, we have been chipping away at them for the past century with the 19th amendment, civil rights act of 1964, Title IX, and other efforts to make women equal participants in governance, education, and economy. Advocacy groups such as AAWCC have focused on moving the numbers in the right direction, while building the pipeline of well-qualified leaders, and promoting inclusive environments in higher ed. But there is more work to do.  Data shows that there are plenty of female candidates: women have earned more than half of all doctoral degrees since 2006, and more than half of all masters’ degrees since 1991.  And female students at community colleges are watching ̶ they have earned more than 50% of all associate degrees since 1978. With all of these women climbing the ranks of academic achievement, it’s a wonder that leadership circles are not bustling with female executives. But with females filling only a third of undergraduate student body presidencies, perhaps they don’t see themselves reflected enough in positions of leadership.  

For those female leadership who do find themselves leading, sharing their strategies, progress, and vision with the next generation contribute to an important goal: protecting the success we have already won and expanding the reach of our influence.  Many already in positions of leadership are actively coaching the next crop of female leaders. Some leaders may want to share their experience, but are unsure about how to balance it with their other responsibilities. Still more of us are searching for guidance about how to advance our careers and grow the impact of our communal voice.  Wherever you fit in this spectrum, AAWCC can help. Our resources connect you with skills and knowledge while our membership can provide vital advice and support. I hope each AAWCC chapter will commit to two of the following opportunities for their local members, and urge them to be accountable for their progress.  One of the strengths of community is that we can help hold ourselves accountable for achieving our goals.  As we share our achievements and aspirations, I hope each of you find a place that you fit in the AAWCC community: both serving and benefiting from our group of remarkable educators.


The 2017-2019 Platform will build on the rich history of eliminating barriers for the academic achievement and professional success of women within community colleges by advancing a bold and deliberate platform composed of three planks.

Building pathways of success
 for our members is critical. Through thoughtfully designed learning pathways, intentional mentoring, and career pathway exploration, we can fortify the architecture that is already in place. Building on already existing programs such as “40 Under 40” we will add:

·         The Leadership Resource Network: leaders in specific career areas will make themselves available for phone calls from women nationwide seeking advice in their field

·         Career Laddering Webinars: 45-minute segments targeting specific career areas for those looking to move up

·         “Speed-Dating” Mentoring: over the phone, women mentor each other through specific challenges through 15-minute consultations

Keeping momentum going requires consistent attention,
 and women can benefit from skills sets and guidance in navigating pathways, expanding capacity, designing career ladders, and empowering themselves in contract negotiations. The CEO Retreat already contributes, and we will add:

·         “Heroes Hall of Fame” Award: women or men who have contributed to keeping women’s experiences actively in the forefront of higher education  

·         Career coaching and webinars on milestone moments (transitioning from one organization to another, pregnancy, parenting, and divorce, etc.)

·         Contemporary Issues Primers: a series of recorded talks (much like TED Talks) by “master women leaders,” compiled in a library for easy reference

Naming and deconstructing inequitable practices
 will help nurture an environment of inclusion. In addition to education on Title IX/VAWA (identifying and combatting sexism and hostile environments), we will add:

·         Champions of Gender Equity Award: highlight the work of men and women who are contributing uniquely to building a climate of inclusion and equity

·         Workshops and book clubs in implicit bias


12011 data  - Heather L. Johnson, ACE

Contact Us: 

AAWCC, P.O. Box 32682, Pikesville, MD 21282-9998

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