The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) is an international membership organization of women and men dedicated to fostering and encouraging the activities of women in music, particularly in the areas of musical activity, such as composing, performing, and research, in which gender discrimination is an historic and ongoing concern. The IAWM engages in efforts to increase the programming of music by female composers, to combat discrimination against female musicians, including as symphony orchestra members, and to include accounts of the contributions of women musicians in university music curricula and textbooks.
The IAWM was formed in 1995 from the merger of three organizations that arose during the women's rights movements of the 1970s to combat inequitable treatment of women in music: (1) the International League of Women Composers (ILWC), founded in 1975 by Nancy Van de Vate to create and expand opportunities for women composers of music; (2) the International Congress on Women in Music (ICWM), founded in 1979 by Jeannie Pool to form an organizational basis for women-in music conferences and meetings; and (3) American Women Composers (AWC), Inc., founded in 1976 by Tommie Ewart Carl to promote music by women composers. AWC created a library of music scores at George Washington University, published a journal, the AWC News/Forum, and produced concerts and recordings of music by American women.
Through the efforts of its approximately 400 members, the IAWM continues the work of its parent organizations to achieve its cultural and educational mission of gender equity. The IAWM sponsors an annual Search for New Music by women. Prizes are offered in a number of categories, and the IAWM presents the winning pieces in public concert. The IAWM also sponsors the Pauline Alderman Award for musicological and journalistic works on women in music.
The Journal of the IAWM, published in two issues per year, includes research about women in music, continuing the tradition of the AWC News/Forum and the ILWC Journal. The Journal of the IAWM is a first hand resource on information of women composers and has been cited as such on research articles concerning women composers. (Another journal founded by the IAWM, Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture," is now handled by the University of Nebraska Press.)
IAWM Congresses feature compositions, performances, and research papers about women in music. IAWM members offer women-in-music courses in colleges and universities.Advocacy by the International Alliance for Women in Music has contributed to the inclusion of women composers in college music history textbooks. In another effort toward ending gender discrimination, the IAWM led successful boycotts of the American concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1990s.
The IAWM plays an important role in the careers of many women composers.