Our mission is to promote equity for all women & girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy & research and to provide lifelong education and positive societal change.
AAUW was founded in 1881 on the conviction that education is key to achieving equity for women. The energy that was created then lives today through our efforts to advocate, advance and promote women and girls. Without us, many lives would go untouched.
In principle and practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers for full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.
Educational Opportunities Fund
In 1888, AAUW gave Ida Street $350 to pursue graduate research — possibly the first fellowship of its kind in any country. In 1920, Marie Curie received $156,413 toward the purchase of a gram of radium. Other awardees include former secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and astronaut Judith Resnik. To date, the AAUW Educational Foundation, through American and International fellowships, awards, and other grants, has helped more than 7,500 women pursue their personal goals through teaching projects, community action programs, career development and research studies. Total fellowships, grants and awards now exceed $3 million annually.
Legal Advocacy Fund
AAUW has played a key role in critical women’s and civil rights issues–lobbying, briefing Congress and the administration, spearheading coalitions. When 11 faculty who said Cornell University denied them tenure because they were women asked AAUW for funding, they inspirited a concept that helps all women speak out for justice. Out of AAUW’s support for that case grew the Legal Advocacy Fund, which provides funding and a support system for women who have experienced gender bias or sexual harassment in higher education. It is the only legal fund of its type in the U.S.