Do You Know AAUW?

Oct 15 2010 Published by under Feminist Musings

Founders of the ACA (Click to embiggen)

In 1881 seventeen college-educated women came together to form a new organization, the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA). Over the next year, their numbers swelled to 65, and they started down a road of activism and advocacy that continues to this day.

In 1921 the ACA merged with the Southern Association of College Women, forming the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I joined the AAUW several years ago. I had heard Dr. Laura complaining about the group on the radio, and their membership application showed up in my mailbox. The price was right, and I got to tick off Dr. Laura; the check was in the mail immediately!

The AAUW has a detailed online history (photos in this post pulled from it). One early effort occurred in 1885:

The first research study surveying women's health and physical education comprises feedback from 1,290 members. It is published by the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor and establishes that, contrary to prior statements made by a prominent Boston physician, higher education does not adversely affect the health of women college graduates.

Education doesn't hurt women!!!

Yes, they had to prove that college education did not adversely affect women's health!

Another fact I did not know was that AAUW provided a grant to Marie Curie in 1920 to puchase 1 g of radium.

Through the years, AAUW has provided strong advocacy for the rights of women and minorities. Their first efforts regarding pay equity began in 1913; a century later they are still fighting that battle!

So who can join?

AAUW is a community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance. Your membership makes AAUW's powerful voice even stronger on critical issues affecting women and girls.

National Membership is open to anyone holding an associate or equivalent (RN), baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Student Affiliation is open to anyone who does not already hold an undergraduate degree and are enrolled in a two-or four-year regionally accredited educational institution.

Yes, the AAUW had admitted men since 1987!

AAUW plays a big role in advocacy for equality in the USA and internationally; I am not surprised that the organization allied with Vision2020. I look forward to making more of my membership.

2 responses so far

  • Marcus says:

    With regard to college affecting women's health, I recall reading some argument from about that period that went like this;

    Education involves thinking which increases blood flow to the brain. Since women's blood would be rushing towards their brains it would be rushing away from their uterus, leaving them unable to bear children.

    I believe the author had no actual evidence, but thought it too risky to even tempt fate.

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