Celebrating 140 Years of AAUW

AAUW: 140 years of research, education and advocacy.

A Legacy of Empowering Women

When AAUW began in 1881, few women had the opportunity to pursue a degree—prompting founder Marion Talbot to support a fund for women’s education. Today, women outnumber men in earning degrees at nearly every level. Yet our work is far from done.

Over the past 140 years, AAUW has evolved to become the leading voice in advancing gender equity in education and workplaces everywhere. Through research, education and advocacy, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone gets the same opportunity to learn, earn and lead. Our programs aim at moving women forward—and we fight for policies that support our goals.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Dr. Ngozi Oknojo-Iweala

Congrats to the 2021 AAUW Alumnae Recognition Awardee

AAUW marked its anniversary with a special award ceremony and celebration on November 17. The AAUW Alumnae Recognition Award honors a past recipient of an AAUW fellowship or grant who has attained outstanding success and distinction in their chosen profession. Our 2021 awardee is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021.

Learn More 

November 19, 2021

AAUW@140 Virtual Event

Join AAUW for a celebratory event honoring our rich past and looking ahead to a bright—and equitable—future. We share an interview with our distinguished 2021 Alumnae Recognition Awardee, recognize notable branch birthdays, and hear from our board chair Julia Brown and new CEO Gloria L. Blackwell.


AAUW’s work has always been grounded in rigorous—and relevant—research. Our first report in 1885 countered a widely held belief that women’s fertility was impaired by attending college. And our seminal research on the gender pay gap, The Simple Truth, is re-issued annually to examine the persistent barriers to equal pay. We have published dozens of other reports over the years, most recently on the disproportionate  impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on Latinas. Our research, cited by opinion leaders and policymakers, allows AAUW to have a voice in national conversations.

Marisa Madison, recipient of a 2018-19 Community Action Grant


AAUW is one of the world’s leading funders of graduate women’s education: Since 1888, we’ve provided more than $115 million in fellowships and grants to 13,000 women from 150 countries. Our recipients have included some the most influential voices of the past two centuries, such as Madame Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the current head of the World Trade Organization. AAUW also educates women through its many programs on leadership, negotiation and other career-building skills. Our current focus is on providing support for women of color and for women in the STEM fields, where women remain significantly underrepresented.

AAUW delegation at the 2017 Women's March on Washington


Fueled by our donors and supporters, AAUW’s advocacy efforts have amplified women’s voices in statehouses across the country, as well as in the halls of power in Washington D.C. We have fought to enact laws and policies that champion gender equity and to break down barriers limiting women’s access and opportunity. Among our many accomplishments are helping to pass the Equal Pay Act of 1963; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act; and the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Our advocacy work continues through our Legal Advocacy Fund, Lobby Corps, Action Network and more.

Making It All Happen

AAUW could not continue its vital work without the help of its members, donors and supporters. Your contributions make a concrete difference in the lives of women and girls, and on their behalf, we are deeply grateful.

And we’re pleased to announce that this year—in honor of our 140th milestone—AAUW’s Board of Directors, committee leaders and some staff have generously made possible the largest matching gift opportunity in our organization’s history. Because of their generosity, every donation made to AAUW through the end of the year will be DOUBLED up to $75,000!

We at AAUW are deeply grateful to the following Board Directors, national member leaders and staff who have contributed thus far.

Kimberly Adams
Joseph Bertolino
Michael Best
Gloria Blackwell
Katrina Breese
Julia T. Brown
Peggy Cabaniss
Tom Chappell
Lisa Cherry
Kim Churches
Angie Cooper
Diane Crawford
Christina Folz
Lisette Garcia
Malinda Gaul
Charmen Goehring
Claudia Gray
Elizabeth Haynes
Mary Hickey
Patricia Fae Ho
Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard
Karen Kirkwood
Jeanie Sell Latz
Jackie Littleton
Edwina Frances Martin
Eileen Menton
Heather Miller
Shaila Rao Mistry
Kate Nielson
Caroline Pickens
Dale Satake
Cheryl Sorokin
Shannon Wolfe
Mary L. Zupanc, M.D.

AAUW Affiliate Birthdays

AAUW National isn’t the only one having an anniversary this year. Congratulations to all of our affiliates with big birthdays in 2021-22! Thank you for helping us advance equity this year and every year.

Baltimore Branch, The College Club, Inc. (Maryland)
Bradford (Pennsylvania)
Chickasha (Oklahoma)
Fort Collins Inc. (Colorado)
Harrisburg (Pennsylvania)
Iron Mountain-Kingsford (Michigan)
Jamestown (New York)
Lynchburg (Virginia)
Manhattan (Kansas)
Saginaw (Michigan)
Walla Walla (Washington)
Wausau (Wisconsin)

60th Anniversary
Blooming Prairie (Minnesota)
Fergus Falls (Minnesota)
Fort Myers/Lee County Branch (Florida)
Fremont (California)
Sonora (California)
Willingboro Inc. (New Jersey)

70th Anniversary
Chillicothe (Ohio)
Clarion (Iowa)
Farmington (Michigan)
La Mesa-El Cajon (California)
Nevada (Missouri)
New Britain (Connecticut)
Oak Ridge (Tennesee)
Powell  (Wyoming)
Salisbury (North Carolina)
Santa Maria (California)
Sarasota (Florida)
Ukiah (California)

80th Anniversary
Bryson City (North Carolina)
Cleveland (Ohio)
Denison (Iowa)
Grand Rapids (Michigan)
Hayward-Castro Valley Inc. (California)
Keene (New Hampshire)
Los Gatos-Saratoga Inc. (California)

90th Anniversary
Bridgeport (Connecticut)
Carlsbad-Oceanside-Vista (California)
Corvallis (Oregon)
Dayton (Ohio)
Duncan (Oklahoma)
Durant (Oklahoma)
Ocala (Florida)
San Fernando Valley (California)
San Mateo Inc. (California)
Tucson (Arizona)
Tyler (Texas)
Wheeling (West Virginia)
Winchester (Virginia)
Valparaiso (Indiana)
Vancouver (Washington)

Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Maryland)
Big Rapids (Michigan)
Fallbrook (California)
Flagstaff (Arizona)
Garrett (Maryland)
Grants Pass (Oregon)
Kingston (New York)
Miles City (Montana)
Mountain Lakes Area (New Jersey)
Salisbury (Maryland)
Somerset Hills (New Jersey)
Willmar (Minnesota)

Gig Harbor (Washington)
Gresham Area Branch (Oregon)
Kirkwood-Webster Groves (Missouri)
Lake Country (Wisconsin)
Livonia (Michigan)
Metro West (Minnesota)
Murrysville Area (Pennsylvania)
Palos-Orland Area (Illinois)
Poway-Penasquitos (California)
Southwest Dallas County (Texas)
Tarrant County (Texas)
Wytheville (Virginia)

10th Anniversary
Iowa eNetwork

20th Anniversary
California Online Branch
Southeast King County (Washington)

40th Anniversary
Ballwin-Chesterfield (Missouri)
Morgan Hill (California)