Is AAUW Older Than You Are? Yes, and a Lot of Other Things, Too.

November 29, 2013

When you’ve been around for a while you find that longevity has its perks. You get to brag about all the amazing people you’ve known and helped over the years, and you get to spend a little time reflecting on the historical moments you’ve experienced. So in the spirit of birthday bragging, here’s a list of some of the best things that came around after we did, in 1881.


1. The Eiffel Tower (completed in 1889)

the eiffel tower
Did you know that the Eiffel Tower, created for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, was only meant to last 20 years? We, too, were hoping that the fight for equality wouldn’t need to be around for very long, yet here we are …


2. Ferris Wheels (first built in 1893)

ferris wheel

The Americans were not to be outdone by the French. In 1892, the call went out to civil engineers for a structure that would rival the Eiffel Tower at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. That’s how George Ferris ended up building his famous wheel.


3. Radios (invented in 1895)


At the risk of sounding like your grandparents, we admit to being older than the radio. And television. And Facebook.


4. The Lincoln Memorial (completed in 1922)

the lincoln memorial copy

From our headquarters on I Street NW, which we moved into in 1921, we could almost watch as they finished construction on one of America’s most historic monuments (and our preferred spot for flash mobs).


5. The Hollywood Sign (completed in 1923)

the hollywood sign

Like us, this West Coast landmark hasn’t always had the same name. The original sign actually spelled out Hollywoodland. It wasn’t until the late 1940s that the sign was changed to its current spelling.


6. The Empire State Building (completed in 1931)

the empire state building

By the time President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C., to officially turn on the Empire State Building’s lights in 1931, we were already 50 years old and doing amazing things like educating women about cancer.


AAUW is also older than…

Famous Structures

  • Mount Rushmore
  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Tower Bridge, London
  • The Gateway Arch, St. Louis
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The National Archives
  • The Statue of Liberty

Important Inventions

  • Airplanes
  • Automobiles
  • Coca-Cola
  • Computers
  • Air Conditioning
  • Electric Toasters

12 U.S. States

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming


On November 28, 1881, 17 women sat down to talk about the issues facing (the very few) women in higher education. Today, we celebrate our founders, as well as the thousands of women who became part of the AAUW community.

Celebrating 131 Years of AAUW

Let’s not forget about the small group of visionary women who paved the way for the creation of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae — the predecessor to AAUW.

Four empty plates and forks

Summertime, and the Kids Go Hungry: The School Lunch Problem

Did you know that our own founder Ellen Swallow Richards created the nation’s first planned school lunch program?

Marion Talbot pictured in an academic gap and gown

An Untold Slice of History, 132 Years Later

In honor of AAUW’s 132nd birthday, we take a look back at how our founder Marion Talbot got her start — and uncover an untold page of her story.

By:   |   November 29, 2013

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