Founded in 1993 (as the Center for Gender Equality), the Center for the Advancement of Women (CAW) was, in the words of its president, Faye Wattleton, an institution "dedicated to research-based education and advocacy for women." Its long-term objective was to promote "better treatment of women by society." A centerpiece of CAW's work was its National Data Center on Women, an extensive archive of information based on surveys regarding women's attitudes and experiences.
Professing to be non-partisan, CAW worked with women's advocacy groups to publicize its research findings, which largely depicted women in America as victims of widespread discrimination. In turn, the Center used these findings as the basis of its calls for action. Among CAW's chief concerns were: ending the allegedly widespread practice of job and pay discrimination against women; encouraging women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology; helping women gain broader access to taxpayer-funded healthcare services, particularly abortion; providing taxpayer-funded child care services for women in need; and stamping out domestic violence and sexual assault against women, which CAW portrayed as growing epidemics.