I will be the guest speaker tomorrow at the Milwaukee West Suburban Branch of the Association of American UniversityWomen (“AAUW”) annual fundraising tea. The organization was founded in 1881 by a group of 17 women—all college graduates. Their purpose was to create broader opportunities for women in higher education. One of the founders, Ellen Swallow Richards (photo below from Wikipedia.org), was the first woman to receive a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she did so in 1873.
Today, the AAUW consists of a network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college and university partners. The work it does to foster equity and positive societal change, through funding for education, research and development programs for women, is impressive. Each year, the AAUW Educational Foundation provides $3.5 to $4 million in fellowships, grants, and awards for outstanding women and for community action projects.
For 20 years, the AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund has raised money to support women fighting sex discrimination in higher education. As an attorney who represents women in sex discrimination cases I know first-hand how important it is for a woman who brings a sex discrimination to have financial resources to prepare and advance her case.
The bottom line is the AAUW is all about women helping other women and that is a mission I enthusiastically support.