American Association of University Women

By: Betty Anderson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 2017

The Texas branch of the American Association of University Women, a network of women and men who have a bachelor's or higher degree, was formed in Dallas in October 1926. The national organization of AAUW was organized in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1881 to open graduate education to women. Ten local community groups had formed before the state organized in 1926 with Jessie Daniel Ames as its first president. Assisted by national committees and a national headquarters staff of professionally trained educators, committees of the Texas division worked with local branches in the state in a program for practical educational work. Early goals included improvement of rural schools and extension of the Sheppard-Towns Act. The founders believed that education was the key to achieving equity for women of all ages, races, creeds, and nationalities.

In 1994 Texas had 5,000 members in seventy branches. AAUW has examined the fundamental issues of the times-educational, social, economic, and political-and has taken action, often far ahead of popular opinion. The association spoke out early for racial integration and against McCarthyism, supported Margaret Sanger and Roe v. Wade, and lobbied to remedy injustices from child labor to modern pay inequities. Its vision is equity and education for women and girls. In 1991, AAUW launched the Initiative for Educational Equity, a long-term, comprehensive effort to eliminate systematic gender bias in American schools and set the stage for concrete solutions; and Hostile Hallways: The AAUW Survey on Sexual Harassment in America's Schools, the first scientific national survey on sexual harassment in American public schools.

AAUW turns credible research into grassroots action to make tomorrow's classrooms more equitable by organizing community meetings, mentoring girls, conducting math-science institutes, and working with educators to develop new approaches. The philanthropic arm of AAUW is its Educational Foundation, which was formed in 1886. AAUW members raise millions of dollars each year to support the foundation. In 1993, $2.75 million was awarded to women through national and international fellowships, grants, and awards. The foundation has helped more than 6,000 women reach their personal and professional goals. Named endowments for Texans include those for Ida Green, Jessie Daniel Ames, and Charlotte Wyatt. AAUW's Legal Advocacy Fund was formed in 1981 to provide funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination in higher education. LAF helps students, faculty, and administrators challenge discriminatory practices involving sexual harassment, denial of tenure or promotion, and aid for women's athletics programs. The AAUW's international connection is the International Federation of University Women, which provides a worldwide forum where university women from fifty-nine nations interact on international issues. The federation is committed to improve the status of women and girls.

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AAUW Journal, January 1911. AAUW Outlook, January-February 1989. American Association of University Women, Bulletin of the Texas Division, May 1930, September 1936.

  • Education
  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Societies
  • Women
  • Professional Organizations
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Activists
  • Advocates
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Texas in the 21st Century
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Betty Anderson, “American Association of University Women,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

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August 1, 2017

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