AAUW History

We honor the group of visionary women who founded AAUW 136 years ago on November 28, 1881.

On that day, Marion Talbot, then a recent graduate of Boston University, and Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, invited 15 alumnae from eight colleges to a meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Among the first generation of women college graduates, these pioneering women struggled with a lack of career opportunity. In founding AAUW, they discussed how they would join together to help other women break through educational barriers and attend and graduate college as well as assist those who had already graduated.

The rest is history. Today, AAUW boasts 170,000 members and supporters, more than 100 student orgs, and 800 college and university members. Our community engages in amazing advocacy work—in 2017, AAUW members and supporters voiced their support or opposition to at least 325 state bills, submitted more than 10,000 comments to the U.S. Department of Education in support of strengthening and protecting Title IX, and sent over 270,000 messages to lawmakers. We look forward to many, many more years of advocating for women and girls!