About Us

About AAUW:

We are tenacious and trailblazing — advocating for women and girls since 1881 and into the future!

AAUW History:

The history of the American Association of University Women mirrors the progress of women in the United States. As the number of women graduating from college grew, so did our membership.

We’ve published hundreds of research reports, from an 1885 paper disproving a prevailing myth that college impairs a woman’s fertility to, most recently, a study documenting the economic impact of workplace sexual harassment. We have supported the academic achievements of many thousands of scholars, from scientist Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, to astronaut Judith Resnik, the second woman in travel in space.

Our advocacy efforts have propelled countless new laws, including the Equal Pay Act, first proposed in 1945 and finally passed in 1963; the Title IX amendment in 1972; the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009; and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was passed by the U.S. Representatives in 2019 but is awaiting action in the Senate.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.  In many ways, the fight for gender equity is just getting started.  Join us!

Oshkosh Branch History

In February and March 1914, ten women gathered to form the Oshkosh Division of the Fox River Valley Branch of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, later known as AAUW. The Oshkosh Division became a separate branch in 1915. Six of the women were in their 40s, three were in their 30s and one was in her 50s when they founded the branch.

They were a very interesting group of women. Five of the ten founders were associated with the Oshkosh Normal School, either as graduates or faculty members, previewing a consistent connection between the Oshkosh Branch and UW Oshkosh. All were members of other civic, church and women’s organizations, including three who were active in the movement for women’s suffrage. Three of the ten women were Oshkosh area natives; five were born out of state. Seventy percent of our founders never married, more than twice the national rate for collegiate alumnae in their era. They were a remarkably long-lived group. At a time when women of their age cohort were most likely to die in their 40s, sixty percent of the women lived to be at least 88, with only one woman dying before age 60. This clearly disproved misogynist claims that education was bad for women’s health, and suggests that AAUW is good for its members’ health and vitality!

Through the decades, the women of the Oshkosh Branch of AAUW have made lasting contributions to the community and state. We are indebted to our remarkable, energetic founders.

Oshkosh Branch Founding Members:

  • Mary E. Forbes, 1867-1956
  • Fannie Medberry, 1874-1962
  • Ethel Hurn, 1881-1958
  • Georgia Smeallie Nims, 1867-1960
  • Nellie B. Jones, 1871-1950
  • Helen Strong Noyes, 1870-1966
  • Myrtle MacIver, 1879-1951
  • Aleida Pieters, 1876-1936
  • Augusta MacNichol, 1873-1968
  • Rose Swart, 1847-1939

AAUW Wisconsin

AAUW of Wisconsin was founded in 1921. The first Wisconsin branch of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA), the Milwaukee branch, formed in 1896, and was followed by Madison (1908), Oshkosh (1908), Appleton (1913), Beloit (1914 ), Superior, and Wausau (1921). When the ACA merged with the Southern Association of College Women to become a nationwide organization with the name AAUW in 1921, the above seven Wisconsin branches of ACA joined to form what was then called the AAUW Wisconsin Division.