The Women's Educational and Industrial Union (WEIU) was founded in 1877 by physician Dr. Harriet Clisby. Others involved included Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Thorn Lewis Gannett, and Abby Morton Diaz.
The WEIU provided support for Boston's working women, including legal aid and instructional courses. In 1905 the WEIU added a department to study working conditions, using the newly developing "social science" disciplines. The research arm of WEIU also drafted model legislation for factory inspection, wages, hours and consumer protection. In 1910, the WEIU began helping counsel and place college-educated women in jobs.
WEIU, which merged into the Crittenton Women's Union (CWU) in 2006, has also been involved in health and housing issues, especially as they relate to women.