Advancing equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political.
While a primary highlight for the local branch of AAUW is supporting the education of women and girls. There is a historic movement of a political nature:
The predecessor to AAUW was ACA (Association of Collegiate Alumnae) and in its early years (1881…), members were reluctant to address the issue of suffrage because of the fear of diluting their primary mission to enhance educational opportunities for women. However, by 1914, there was agreement to study the issue of women’s suffrage. All branches were charged with studying suffrage as an academic question and at the 1915 annual convention, delegates would be prepared to vote on a resolution endorsing suffrage. The suffrage resolution passed by a vote of 247-19: “Recognizing that under our government, education in both its academic and social aspects is controlled by the electors, be it Resolved that we, as a body of college women, dedicated to the promotion of education and desirous of furthering our ability for usefulness, favor suffrage for women.”
And so, were early members of ACA, suffragettes? Yes, many members were active suffragettes even though as an organization, ACA was not directly involved in the suffrage movement. Today there is increasing motion trending toward sound inclusion of advocacy in equal rights for women further stresses the mission. Note the strategies emphasized across all states and branches from our national AAUW:
- Education and Training: Addressing the barriers and implicit biases that hinder advancement of women.
- Economic Security: Ensuring livelihoods for women.
- Leadership: Closing the gender gap in leadership opportunities
- Governance & Sustainability: Ensuring the strength, relevance, and viability of AAUW well into the future.
In Durango, we know we live in the best place in the world, and we believe in our responsibility to support young women and their desire to succeed. Our AAUW branch of Durango began its journey in 1946. Working closely with Fort Lewis College (FLC) and the FLC Foundation, we have funded and now award three endowed scholarships each year and are raising money for a fourth scholarship in the name of our long time life member, Sandy Brown. Also in conjunction with FLC, we support the attendance of young FLC students to attend the annual National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Our local commitment is complete with a STEM award that supports a student identified woman to participate in the Village Aid Project. We also support the fellowships and advocacy projects of the national organization. We accomplish all of this while enjoying the fellowship of like-minded friends in various activities such as interest groups, monthly birthday luncheons, and annual fund-raising events that frequently includes celebrating local authors and speakers.