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Our history

The history of IAWM

Women’s museums have evolved independently of each other, and often knew nothing about each other. It was a deliberate decision not to contend for a place in traditional museums. Museum operators were much more interested in creating their own niche in which full and exclusive attention could be dedicated to women’s culture, history, and/or art of the past and present.

Women’s museums are important for women’s education, empowerment and self-confidence. They provide awareness training, possibilities for independent actions and tools to overcome discrimination.

A common discussion on women and museums has arisen in the last decade, with the establishment of the network womeninmuseum.

It was a big moment in 2008 as the Women’s Museum Meran, Italy and the Women’s Museums Senegal held the first international conference of Women’s Museums in Meran. 25 museums did appear and Shirin Ebadi, winner of Nobel Peace Prize (2003), became the godmother of the network.

The women are the ones who write the history of the world! There has to be a Women’s Museum in every country of this world!”
Shirin Ebadi

In 2012 at the fourth International Congress in Alice Springs, the Network of Women’s Museums was transformed into the present association (IAWM).

Today the IAWM is a strong network with about 30 member-museums worldwide that are pursuing their collective goals. An international congress is traditionally held every four years on a different continent where museums meet for exchange and support. The last conference took place in Mexico City in 2016 and the next conference is taking place in Hittisau, Austria 2020.

If you want to read more about us:

Our goals

What we do

Who we are