About AWS

The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS), founded in 1981, is a not-for-profit educational and professional organization. With over 2,000 members, AWS is one of the largest organizations dedicated to enhancing the interaction and exchange of information between women surgeons. Truly an international organization, AWS has members in 21 countries:


To inspire, encourage, and enable women surgeons to realize their professional and personal goals.


  • Equity | AWS will promote improvements in the workforce conditions for surgeons now and in the future.
  • Professional Development | AWS will encourage a healthy workforce of current and future surgeons.
  • Organizational Effectiveness | AWS will have an organizational structure and business model that supports a vibrant, dynamic, and relevant organization.


The Association of Women Surgeons is Important…and here’s why:

  • AWS addresses the unique challenges that women surgeons face such as:
    • Balancing family issues with the demands of a surgical career, including when to have children;
    • Pay and promotion equity issues; and
    • The lack of women in academic leadership positions.
  • AWS has been a leader in providing mentorship at all surgical levels to both women and men.
    • The AWS Pocket Mentor was first published in 1993. Since then four updates have been published and nearly 50,000 books have been distributed to men and women medical students, residents, program directors, department chairs, libraries and schools. The AWS Pocket Mentor is also distributed at other medical conferences.
  • The American College of Surgeons recognizes AWS with a Governor position, as it does with other specialty organizations, thus communicating that we serve an important constituency.