Our history and connections
AAUW Florida is part of a national organization established in 1881 by a small group of female college graduates to encourage other women to pursue higher education. Today, the American Association of University Women comprises a nationwide community of more than 170,000 members and supporters. Continuing the tradition of our founding, members all hold an associate’s degree or higher.
The Florida organization was established in 1929 and, like its counterparts around the country, has continuously advocated for equal opportunities for women and girls. Branches in Tampa and Tallahassee met in 1916 and 1923. Over the next six years, groups in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami, Gainesville, Pensacola, Sarasota, Hollywood and Central Florida (now Orlando-Winter Park) joined with them and became the founding branches of AAUW Florida.
Helen W. Cole was president of AAUW Florida in our first year, serving from 1929 to 1930. Click here for a list of the women who led the organization since then, as we approach our 100th anniversary in 2029.
AAUW Florida now has 30 branches throughout the state with a total of about 1,400 members. Twenty colleges and universities in Florida are also members, benefiting their entire student bodies and faculty. Enrolled students working toward a degree are also eligible to become associate members.
The programs and projects we undertake today are aimed at achieving equity and opening doors of opportunity for women and girls. At both the branch and state levels, they reflect:
- Our mission: Advancing gender equity through research, education and advocacy.
- Our vision: Equity for all.
- Our values: Nonpartisan. Fact-based. Principled. Inclusive and Intersectional.
Strategies in action
- Completing three research projects on the economic security of elderly, Black, and Hispanic women in Florida.
- Holding annual week-long, summer Tech Trek camps that capture the enthusiasm of middle-school girls for STEM.
- Making an annual, day-long lobbying trip to Tallahassee to ensure that legislators understand issues important to AAUW.
- Sponsoring Work Smart, free, online classes to help women learn skills to negotiate better pay and benefits.
- Educating the public about Equal Pay Day when women catch up to what men made the previous year and how much longer it takes for women of color.
- Providing information on the importance of understanding and participating in public policy advocacy efforts.