Profile: The American Association of University Women (AAUW)

On April 10, 2018, Equal Pay Day was acknowledged by many across the country to make aware that women are still not being paid as much as men are today.

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, Equal Pay Day symbolizes the day that women who work full time in the United States must work until in order for them to make the pay that men made the year before.

The issue of unequal pay between men and women has been present for a long time, and while some progress has been made, there is still a lot more to be done. Organizations like The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is one of the voices that has been working to tackle this issue for years.

The AAUW was founded in 1881 by two women and has since been a large voice for change. Upon its founding, the non-profit organization started out with just 17 female members. Today, that number has grown to 170,000 members, along with the establishment of 800 college and university partners.

Together, members of the organization fight for the empowerment and improvement of women’s lives through their advocacy and various training programs.

Some of their programs include their campus initiative leadership program, which provides the skills young women need in order for them to become potential future leaders of their generation, and their STEM education program, which advocates gender equity in the STEM field as well as provides resources to teach girls in middle school STEM education.  

On their website they state: “Women working full time in the United States typically are paid just 80 percent of what white men are paid, a gap of 20 percent — and it’s even worse for women of color...we are fighting to close the pay gap, one workshop at a time.”

The AAUW 2017 annual report captures many of their achievements of the year, including one that highlights the continuous battle for equal pay. In 2017, the AAUW was able to get the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a court case (Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education), which involved a woman, Rizo, who was refused an increase in her salary after learning that she was being paid 20% less than her male coworker.

Through efforts like these, the AAUW is able to make an impact in the lives of other women and stand their ground on the issues they are fighting against.

The same annual report also states that in the summer of 2018, they will be tackling problems in a different way due to their newly implemented strategic plan.

With the help of generous supporters and members, the AAUW is able to thrive and continue to be a leading voice for the betterment of women’s lives. If you are interested in learning more about the AAUW, visit their website. They have a drive that will definitely leave you feeling inspired.