About Us

The Washington DC Branch of the American Association of University Women

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was founded as an alumnae group for college women.  Why a group for college women?  Men had their alumni groups, but often there were not enough women from a single college or university to form an alumnae group. It made sense for college and university women to come together in a national organization.

Our branch, the Washington, D.C., branch was recognized as the Association’s first branch in October 25, 1884. It was founded by ten young women, none of whom was more than six years out of college. In the first year, three study groups were active: political science, Latin sight reading, and living English writers.

The branch immediately became a voice in policy issues that primarily affected women and their children.  This is a long and illustrious history and we can be very proud of the contributions of our foremothers to issues such as these:

  • Health of college women (1885)
  • Sanitary conditions in DC public schools (1889)
  • Increasing the quality of primary grade teachers by securing salary raises (1898)
  • Compulsory education in DC, reorganization of the  DC Board of Education, and child labor legislation (all in 1906, a very good year)
  • Guidance programs in DC public schools (1927)
  • Beginning steps toward family court (1956)
  • Additional judges in juvenile court (1962)
  • Support establishment of  4-year liberal arts college and 2-year technical institute in DC (1964)

We are proud of the fact that our branch was responsible for racially integrating the AAUW in 1954, thanks to the leadership of Alice Cole. It split the branch in two and probably other branches as well but it made the AAUW a leader in racial equality as well as gender equality.

In addition to the activities on the policy front, the branch has had many activities that support our goals.  These include:

  • Hosting an annual reception for newly sworn in citizens
  • Mary Church Terrell scholarship for local high school graduates attending local schools
  • Career Day for local middle school students

Today our branch continues this proud tradition of leadership within the AAUW family.  This June AAUWDC was honored as one of the top ten leaders who develop other women’s potential to lead in their school, communities, and country through State Per Capita Giving to the Leadership Programs Fund, and a second award for being at the top ten branches for per capita giving to AAUW Funds.

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. Membership in the AAUW is open to anyone who holds a two-year associate’s degree or higher degree from an accredited college or university.

AAUW’s Mission

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

We welcome you to join us.