About AAUW

Who We Are

For more than 125 years, the American Association of University Women has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW is composed of three corporations: the Association and the AAUW Educational Foundation, a supporting affiliate of the Association, the AAUW Leadership and Training Institute.

Through its nationwide network, AAUW opens doors for women and girls and influences public debate on critical social issues such as education, civil rights, and workplace equity. AAUW sponsors community programs, publishes groundbreaking research on women and girls, is one of the world’s largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women, and fights sex discrimination in all levels of education.

AAUW’s Mission

Advancing equity for women and girls-through advocacy, education, and research

AAUW’s Value Promise

By joining AAUW, you belong to a community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.

What AAUW Does

AAUW Association: The power of AAUW stems from its approximately 100,000 members, 1,000 branches, and 500 college and university partners nationwide. Branch members and members-at-large have an associate’s (or equivalent) or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. Members range from recent college graduates to women in a variety of professions. Student affiliates are working toward their first degree. Higher education institutions can join AAUW through the college/university partnership program. Association activities focus on several areas:

  • Hosting programs that promote opportunities for women and girls in schools, at work, and in local communities. Training tomorrow’s leaders through professional development conferences, workshops, and materials, including the AAUW National Conference for College Women Student Leaders and the biennial AAUW National Convention
  • Mobilizing voters on issues of concern to women and their families through the AAUW Voter Education Campaign and Woman-to-Woman Voter Turnout program
  • Informing and influencing local, state, and federal policy-makers on AAUW’s policy priorities, including a strong system of public education; affordable, quality higher education; Title IX, reproductive rights, affirmative action, and other civil rights; a fair and balanced judiciary; workplace equity and equal pay; and retirement security
  • Convening coalitions with diverse groups, educators, parents, and businesses AAUW Educational Foundation. The Educational Foundation is one of the world’s largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women. Established in 1958, the Educational Foundation
  • Awards about $4 million each year in fellowships, grants, and awards to help women achieve their goals and to promote equity in schools and communities. More than 8,000 women from more than 130 nations have received support from the Educational Foundation.
  • Conducts landmark research exploring issues concerning women, girls, and education. Recent reports include Women at Work (2003), Tenure Denied: Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia (2004), Gains in Learning, Gaps in Earnings (2005), and Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus (2005).AAUW Legal Advocacy Foundation Established in 1981, the AAUW Legal Advocacy Foundation, a program of the AAUW Educational Foundation, provides funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination, as well as proactive campus programming to stop discrimination before it starts. LAF is the nation’s largest legal fund focused solely on sex discrimination in higher education, including sexual harassment, pay inequity, denial of tenure and promotion, and inequality in women’s athletics programs through the following:
    • Financial support for sex discrimination lawsuits against colleges and universities
    • Rewards to programs and leaders that improve the climate for women on campus and off
    • A network of volunteer attorneys and social scientists who consult with women on legal Strategy, resources, and the strength of current or potential cases
  • Outreach to campuses and communities to raise awareness about sex discrimination in higher education


AAUW began in 1881, when Marion Talbot called a meeting of 28 women graduates– the first generation of alumnae. The purpose was unique: to support each other and future generations of women in higher education. The Association of Collegiate Alumnae was formally established in 1882, merging with the Southern Association of College Women and the Western Association of Collegiate Alumnae in 1921 to create the American Association of University Women.