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          The Association for Women in Communications


Strong Women in 1909

Strong Women Today

Read about AWC's rich history

In 1909, seven female journalists took steps down a path that has blazed a trail for women in communications for more than 100 years. In this 21st century, AWC continues to evolve—always looking at opportunities to professionally develop its members and pave the way to ever stronger connections between members across the nation. Read about AWC's rich history »


The Association for Women in Communications is the one organization that recognizes the complex relationships that exist across communications disciplines. Modern communicators must demonstrate competence in varied disciplines and be able to network and make career moves across the broad spectrum of communications fields. Disciplines represented within the association include print and broadcast journalism, television and radio production, film, advertising, public relations, marketing, graphic design, multi-media design, and photography. The list is continually growing as the profession expands into the newer media.

Mission Statement: AWC is a professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era.


Founded in 1909 as Theta Sigma Phi at the University of Washington, the organization has evolved from a student honorary women’s journalism fraternity to a strong national network of communicators in a broad range of disciplines.

The founding principles of Theta Sigma Phi serve as touchstones for AWC today: to promote the advancement of women in all fields of communications, to work for First Amendment rights and responsibilities of communicators, to recognize distinguished professional achievements, and to promote high professional standards throughout the communications field.

Ethical Values

AWC is committed to work nationally and internationally for pay equity for women in the communications workplace and for freedom of information.

Commitment to Education

The Matrix Foundation, AWC’s charitable foundation, provides scholarships and supports educational research and publications. AWC’s student and professional chapters offer educational programming for their members. The Professional Conference provides a forum for learning opportunities and interaction with communications leaders.

Leadership Development

Through its local chapter programs and sessions at the AWC National Conference, and online business courses, AWC provides members with the opportunity for training in leadership skills.

  • The Clarion Awards is an international competition with awards in more than 130 categories. The International Crystal Clarion Award honors the individual or organization with the most winning entries in a single competition year.
  • The International Matrix Award recognizes exemplary communicators; winners include Jane Pauley, Ellen Goodman, Diane Rehm, and Gloria Brown Anderson.
    The Headliner Award is bestowed on a member for recent national accomplishments. Among the winners in the 62-year history of the award are Gail Sheehy, Helen Thomas, Barbara Walters and Heloise.
  • AWC Professional Chapter Awards are presented at the national conference to AWC professional and student chapters that have excelled in leadership, communications and community support. This includes the AWC Chapter Star Award and AWC Chapter Excellence Award.
  • The AWC Student Chapter Awards recognize outstanding student members, advisors and chapters on the basis of leadership activities and contributions to school and community. This award was created in 1990. This includes the AWC Rising Star Award (highest achievement award for an AWC Student, AWC Outstanding Chapter Award, and AWC Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award).
These awards are presented at a special awards ceremony at the AWC National Conference.

Member Profile

  •  AWC has more than 2,000 active members, ranging in age from 18-91+. The average age is 41; most members are females from urban or suburban settings.
  • Response from the AWC member survey indicates 94% are college graduates, 47% hold graduate study or degrees; just over half work in for-profit businesses and most work in companies with fewer than 100 employees; most are salaried, full-time employees; approximately 40% are in the executive or management roles.
  • Of those who responded, about half work in public relations, marketing or communications management; the others work in fields including journalism, graphic design, photography, Web development, and publishing.