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About Us

What is AAUW?

The American Association of University  Women (AAUW) is a national grassroots organization, established in 1881 as part of the women's movement to pass and ratify the 19th Amendment. There are now nearly 1,000 branches across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. There are over 30 branches in Florida.

AAUW is also non-partisan. That is, we do not support or advocate for any candidate for any office or any party. We do, however, advocate for issues related to our mission.

Contrary to our name, members don’t have to have worked in a university, nor is membership restricted to women. Applicants do need to hold at least an associate degree, or its equivalent, such as an RN from an accredited institution. And, in 1987, the organization opened its ranks to welcome women and men to membership.

Our Strategic Vision

The Lake/Sumter (FL) branch of the American Association of University Women will be the premier organization in Lake and Sumter Counties that offers college-educated women stimulating learning opportunities as well as opportunities to give back to the community.


Our History

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been a dynamic force in the lives of educated women for over 130 years, since it was founded in 1881. AAUW Florida was established in 1929, and the history of our branch begins in 1979.

The Lake/Sumter branch of AAUW Florida had its beginnings in Lake County with a meeting of 15 charter members on November 15, 1978. Lynn Douling was President Pro-Tem, and Helen Gardner was also a prime mover in initiating the Lake County branch of AAUW. Both women were honored for their efforts in December 1984. Dues were $20.00. By the following May the membership had grown to 59 members with a full slate of officers and activities. Meetings were held in members’ homes and local restaurants. The branch members were mostly from Lake County. Activities related to AAUW's focus on equity for and education of women and related issues were addressed through discussion and activities to provide financial support and speakers. Additionally, a variety of special interest groups developed which provided a social aspect for women who had similar interests.

In December of 1998 the Lake County branch became Lake/Sumter branch since many of the members were now coming from Sumter County. Our membership continues grow. As of March 1, 2022, our branch membership was at 118, and growing; we are the third largest branch in Florida. Members have a wide variety of opportunities to interact through learning groups, special interest groups, and committees. These interactions among members create relationships that drive branch philanthropic projects. These relationships also facilitate the branch's collaborations with other local organizations on initiatives that complement each other.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Lake/Sumter branch of AAUW is committed to a diverse community that stimulates a culture of learning and understanding and enhances a member’s experience. We aspire to create an inclusive and equitable branch that represents, supports, and celebrates diversity of all kinds.

In principle and in practice, Lake/Sumter AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full partnership in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

Our Mission

To advance equity for women and girls through education, research, and advocacy

We believe all women can embrace who they are, can define their future, and can change the world.

Learn, Connect, Support

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