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 and Mary Church Terrell. 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.

Today our branch continues this proud tradition of leadership within the AAUW family.  Currently, our branch is redefining our outreach programs and activities for 2023 and beyond.  The following is our updated Mission, Vision, Values, and Focus Areas.  Stay tuned for our first ever strategic plan based on the following.

Washington DC affiliate of AAUW Mission is to use a systematic
approach to advance gender equity for women and girls through
education, advocacy, and supporting DC Statehood initiatives for the
residents in Washington DC.

VALUES (our core principles)
Washington DC Affiliate of AAUW values are nonpartisan, fact-based,
integrity, and inclusion and intersectionality.

Washington DC Affiliate of AAUW vision is equity for women in DC.

Areas of focus is the path we are going to take to achieve our mission.
• Advocacy (Lobby Corps, race relations, health, etc)
• Training (leadership, advocacy, economic security, professional
development, personal development, etc)
• STEM Advancement (Nancy Grace Roman Initiatives)
• DC Statehood

We welcome you to join us.