Our Story

GWI History


When Dean Virginia Gildersleeve, Professor Caroline Spurgeon and Rose Sidgwick sat together in 1918 and conceived the idea of a worldwide organisation uniting university women, they were convinced that by fostering friendship and understanding, women graduates could help prevent another catastrophe such as the World War that had just ended. Their dream became reality the next year when university women from Great Britain, Canada and the United States met to lay the foundation for the International Federation of University Women (IFUW). Over ninety years later, and under the new title of Graduate Women International (GWI), thousands of women graduates throughout the world share the same principles and vision that inspired those early leaders…



GWI Timeline: 1919-2015


On 27 April 2015, IFUW launched its new name of Graduate Women International (GWI). The contemporary title more accurately reflects the organisation’s inclusive membership, and dynamism across advocacy, projects, fellowships and grants.


2008 – 2014

Strong delegations to the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, including making an oral statement at the 54th Session and three successful GWI seminars as part of the NGO programme.

Participation in the successful UNIFEM campaign Say No to Violence.

GWI’s Education Advocacy Handbook launched at the 2010 Conference in Mexico.

The Hegg Hoffet Fund for Displaced Women Graduates awards to displaced women graduates to facilitate their integration into their new countries is restructured to reflect current practices…



Historical Archives

All historical archives from GWI’s history, spanning 1919-1997, are stored at the Atria Institute (formerly Aletta Institute for Women’s History). Anyone wishing to consult the GWI archives should contact the Institute directly:

Website: www.atria.nl

Telephone: +31(0)20 665 08 20

E-mail: info@atria.nl

The long history of GWI has been captured in images. Click HERE to visit photo archive of GWI.



Back to Who We Are