In 1881, seventeen of America’s first female university graduates met and created an organization to expand women’s opportunities in higher education and in the workplace.  The first branch of the American Association of University Women, now known as AAUW, was formed in 1884 in Washington, D.C.  The organization has expanded and evolved, formally taking the name, AAUW, in 1921.  Early initiatives included research to debunk the notion that higher education impairs women’s health, the promotion of legislation to further educational opportunities for women and girls, and reports on pay equity issues.  Over the years, AAUW has advocated for such issues as the appointment of women to the diplomatic service, and has supported the passage of such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.Funds raised by AAUW members have supported such noteworthy women as Marie Curie who received $156,413.00 in 1920 toward the purchase of one gram of radium.  Astronaut Judith Resnick received an AAUW Educational Foundation fellowship in 1975.  The following year Donna Shalala, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, received the AAUW Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars.

In the 21st century, AAUW continues to be a national organization that promotes education and equity for all women and girls.  AAUW lobbies and advocates for education and equity; funds pioneering research on girls and education, community action projects, and fellowships and grants for outstanding women around the globe; and provides funds and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace.

This local affiliate branch of AAUW was founded in 1958 and is one of thirty-six branches in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


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