AAUW’s story begins in 1881, when a small group of female college graduates banded together to open the doors for women’s career advancement and to encourage more women to pursue higher education.
The history of the American Association of University Women mirrors the progress of women in the United States. As the number of women graduating from college grew, so did our membership.
We’ve published hundreds of research reports, from an 1885 paper disproving a prevailing myth that college impairs a woman’s fertility to, most recently, a study documenting the economic impact of workplace sexual harassment. We have supported the academic achievements of many thousands of scholars, from scientist Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, to astronaut Judith Resnik, the second woman in travel in space.
Our advocacy efforts have propelled countless new laws, including the Equal Pay Act, first proposed in 1945 and finally passed in 1963; the Title IX amendment in 1972; the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009; and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was passed by the U.S. Representatives in 2019 but is awaiting action in the Senate.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. In many ways, the fight for gender equity is just getting started. Join us!