TWU's Esther O. Ajayi-Lowo awarded AAUW International Fellowship

July 21, 2020 — WASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded its 2020–21 International Fellowship to Esther Oluwashina Ajayi-Lowo of Denton, Texas. Ajayi-Lowo is a doctoral scholar in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University.

“I was extremely excited when I read the news about my award. It immediately gave me a sense of belonging to a community of great African women like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. Tererai Trent who are AAUW alumni and also my role models,” said Ajayi-Lowo. “AAUW International Fellowship will help me accomplish my scholar-activist-teaching goals, which are centered on seeking human rights and social justice for women in Africa and globally.”

Ajayi-Lowo is writing her dissertation on the significance of indigenous birthing standpoints for reproductive justice in Nigeria. She plans to be that professor in a higher institution who is not only teaching and researching but also actively engaging in advocacy for the rights of women and girls. “The support of AAUW is giving me a head start on my journey toward accomplishing my academic goals and career aspirations,” said Ajayi-Lowo.

AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education: Over the past 132 years, it has provided more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 women from 150 countries. AAUW is proud to be one of the nation’s largest educational funders for women of color.

For the 2020-21 academic year, AAUW awarded a total of $3.5 million through seven fellowships and grants programs to more than 200 scholars, research projects and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls.

AAUW International Fellows are selected for their academic achievement, scholarly promise and demonstrated commitment to women and girls. Thousands of AAUW International Fellows have returned to their home countries to become leaders in government, academia, community activism, business and science.]

“AAUW fellows and grantees have touched our society in immeasurable ways,” said Kim Churches, the chief executive officer of AAUW. “These innovators are breaking the mold in nontraditional fields and changing the face of leadership nationally and globally. AAUW is proud to support them with the resources they need to excel.”

This funding is especially important given that women are disproportionately burdened by student debt. And their ability to pay off that debt is hampered by a lifelong pay gap that affects women in nearly every profession. The pay gap widens over time and has consequences on all aspects of a woman’s financial life, from paying for an education to saving for a comfortable retirement. AAUW’s awards help to alleviate the burden of student debt so women can focus on developing their skills and experience. 

Applications open August 1 each year. Deadlines vary by program. To find out more about this year’s exceptional class of awardees, visit the online directory.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s fellowships and grants have helped scholars and activists overcome barriers to education and advancement for 132 years. AAUW’s free salary negotiation course has trained thousands of women to advocate for themselves. Learn more and join us at

Page last updated 4:34 PM, October 20, 2020