The venue for the next Congress had been
left undecided at Brussels. When later a
mail vote was taken, Paris emerged as the
choice for this first postwar Congress.
French members, now with their Federation
re-formed, were delighted. So, one can believe,
was every one of the 14 countries (out of
20) which sent delegations: Austria, Belgium,
Canada, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France,
Great Britain, Holland, Italy, New Zealand,
Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the United States.
There were Observers from Austria, Denmark,
Egypt, Hungary, Monaco, and Switzerland.
were held in UNESCO House. M. Louis Joxe,
Conseilleur d'Etat, Director of Cultural
Relations, welcomed the gathering. His warmth
was reflected in the welcome also of Dr.
Walter Laves, Deputy Director General of
UNESCO, in Dr. Julian Huxley's unavoidable
absence. Maitre Madeleine Martinache, President
of the French Federation, expressed joy
and great satisfaction at having the meeting
Lena Madesin Phillips was making her last
appearance as President. This undoubtedly
heightened the air of expectancy almost
as much as any prospective changes in the
constitution could evoke.
was important, she said, in her presidential
address to examine the Federation's programme
in relation to the conflicts of the day.
said: "Ideas and even ideals have changed.
Old hopes are dead, new dreams have risen
from their roots. In those war years, not
only the bodies but the minds and spirits
of those who bore the brunt were mangled
as through a wine press from which was drained
the relatively pure wine of selflessness.
That wine is the life blood of the future."
giving reasons why she wished women could
sit at those tables where the fate and future
of the world was being decided, she said
women would be less bound by protocol; they
might display more flexibility and ingenuity.
Leaving the general and addressing herself
particularly to members, Dr. Phillips said:
ask you to be as great in peace as you were
in war. . . Let us face the future with
faith and courage, realising that the human
race goes painfully but surely forward,
and that we are privileged to participate
in the struggle of that progress."
it were possible to recreate the warmth
of that deep, quiet, and slow speaking voice,
the sincerity that gave substance to the
abstract, none could fail to be moved, as
those who heard her were, to the belief
that they were "integral parts of a
world struggle toward freedom of spirit."
relinquishing the chair to Miss Dorothy
Heneker, while she made her business report
on the preceding nine years, Dr. Phillips
said that the Federation office's tasks
had ranged from world legislation to finding
rare dyes for a European expert in fine
textiles or trying to locate a book for
a member author, the plates and copies of
which had been destroyed.
announcement made by Miss Margaret A. Hickey,
Chairman of the United Nations Committee,
gave great satisfaction. The International
Federation, she said, was one of the first
few nongovernmental organisations out of
the many who applied, to be granted consultative
status by the Economic and Social Council.
It would confine itself in representation
to those subjects in which it has special
interest and experience. Observers had already
attended sessions of the General Assembly,
the Human Rights Commission, and Status
of Women Commission. A comprehensive pamphlet,
"Women and the United Nations,"
had been published and widely used to implement
the recommendations made at the Brussels
Board Meeting. Recommendations now made
by her Committee included vigorous efforts
to increase understanding of the U.N. and
the work of its specialised agencies, such
as the World Health Organisation (W.H.O),
and UNESCO, support of the International
Children's Fund by national governments,
and the support of a sound merit programme
in the U.N. Secretariat. All the recommendations
were approved, and a suitable resolution
passed for transmission to the United Nations.
Possibly the exhilaration of again meeting
together made members feel capable of undertaking
the recommendations put forward by Mme.
Kraemer-Bach, Chairman of the Legislation
Committee in 1938 and now again at its head,
called for considerable action on the part
of national federations. They were without
delay to form their own Legislation Committees
which would distribute information and reports
put out by the International Committee.
The matters on which it would be concerned
to provide such material would be:
(1) Important International
Conventions touching upon the Federation's
various interests so that, where necessary,
action could be taken to urge governments
to ratify them or to enact appropriate
(2) New legislation
which might be restrictive against business
and professional women.
(3) Possible legislation
to remove or lower existing barriers which
prevented such important gatherings as
watchfulness would necessarily entail alert
and informed action. None could know whether
women would prefer to "be relegated
to the role of spectator in peace time,"
or whether the responsibilities they had
recently carried had opened the way for
a permanent change. Under the title "Toward
a More Effective Womanhood in Public Life,"
earnest pleas were made by several speakers,
notably, Miss Margaret Hickey who said,
"with the help of women, I am convinced
that the peoples of the world have enough
leadership to achieve the goals outlined
in the Charter of the United Nations."
"Women's organisations," she continued
"provide ladders of training upon which
individuals may climb from obscurity to
Meanwhile, the immediate
need was to give real meaning to the Federation's
Committees which were operating.
Anni Voipoi-Juvas of Finland, acting for
Miss Havener, Chairman of Publicity who
could not be present, reported a resumption
of international radio broadcasts. Especially
important among this Committee's recommendations
(1) the appointment
of a permanent Information Officer;
(2) the expansion
of Widening Horizons into a substantial
printed magazine carrying articles of
international value to business and professional
women, and illustrations, among other
(3) the publication
of an illustrated book on the International
Federation's aims and its work.
Commercial Exchange Committee had neither
functioned during the war nor effectively
since. It was, in fact, removed from the
Constitution in 1950 when Miss Betsy Kiek-Wolffers
reported that governmental regulations had
not eased sufficiently the commercial traffic
between various countries.
the other hand, the Employment Exchange
Committee created at Brussels was firmly
recommended by Fru Agda Rössel (Sweden),
who detailed the lines it should take. This
and the United Nations Committee were added
to the list of Standing Committees.
financial "know-how" of Miss Gordon
Holmes was shown to have borne fruit. Mrs.
Claridge Taylor, presenting the Treasurer's
Report, said that 1938 had shown a deficit
of $1,600.00 and she felt justifiably proud
to be able to report a surplus of $3,327.13
at the close of June 1947. £1,200
of the Lights Up Fund had helped in organising
Clubs in Holland, France, Denmark, and Australia.
Owing to a sudden indisposition, Miss Gordon
Holmes could not present her own report.
But through Mrs. Claridge Taylor, she urged
that National Federations should make every
effort to remit their Dues to the International.
In some instances, Governments would make
exceptions under currency control for such
payments. Alternatively, the amount due
should be set aside and an auditor's certificate
sent to Headquarters for use of the International
Federation through whatever channels they
could devise. Her final plea was for a proper
sense of responsibility towards the International's
finances for its continued progress.
least there could be no further uncertainty
about what was expected. A revision of the
Constitution, adopted at this meeting, set
definite rates for affiliated organisations.
Annual Dues for National Federation members
would, in the future, be in United States
currency 10 cents per capita for affiliated
Clubs, 1 cent per capita for affiliated
organisations (other than Clubs), and $5.00
for Associate Members, or the equivalent
in standard currencies of other countries.
Active membership was still to be limited
to one National Federation Member from each
the objectives of the International was
added: "To make available and ensure
the use of the specialised knowledge and
economic and technical skill of business
and professional women in the promotion
and support of the programmes and activities
of world governmental organisations."
Just how that could be pursued, time alone
would show. The number of voting delegates
to Congress was reduced from twelve to six
as being more within the financial range
of the smaller countries. The Constitution
Committee had been chaired by Judge Lucy
Somerville Howorth of the United States.
was rising excitement when it became known
that the Nominating Committee had not been
able to conform with the Constitution, and
therefore had no nominations to offer for
the Presidency or any other office. Dr.
Phillips discharged the Committee and called
a meeting of the Board of Directors. They
had made certain recommendations on nominations,
and she asked Miss Margaret P. Hyndman (later
to become Canada's first woman K.C.) to
present the Report. The nominees who had
given their consent were:
||Miss Sally Butler (United
||Dame Caroline Haslett (Great Britain),
Miss Margaret P. Hyndman (Canada), Dr.
Ines De Guidi Insabato (Italy), Maitre
Madeleine Martinache (France), Dr. Gilda
Peraza (Cuba), Miss Margery L. Toulson
(New Zealand), Mrs. Anni Voipoi-Juras
(Finland), Mme. Marie Wolfova (Czechoslovakia)
||Fröken Bergliot Lie (Norway)
||Mrs. Isabelle Claridge Taylor (United
were advised by Dr. Phillips of their right
to make nominations from the floor. There
were none. Further consultation was had
with parliamentarians, who ruled that under
the existing circumstances, it was legal
to have one person cast the vote of elections.
Mrs. Olivia Johnson of the United States,
seconded by Mme. Kraemer-Bach of France,
moved that the President cast the vote immediately.
This was unanimously carried. The President
complied "by virtue of the authority
vested in me, I hereby cast a ballot electing
Sally Butler as International President,"
and so on through the list. Tension subsided.
The incident is treated rather fully because
it was a unique occasion, calling for cool
heads and expert handling.
the end of the business sessions, Dr. Phillips
was made a permanent member of the Board
of Directors. Miss Sally Butler, President-elect,
who moved the motion said it was by reason
of her long service to the Federation, her
great influence, and her services given
to the women of the world in founding the
International Federation of Business and
Professional Women. Dr. Phillips was given
a standing ovation and was understandably
moved when she expressed her thanks.
D. A. Vavasseur, Vice-President of the French
Federation, had arranged a varied and most
pleasing social programme. There was an
Exhibition of Fine Arts and Handicrafts
at the Club Feminin, an evening of musical
compositions and readings by French members,
a fashion show, and many receptions by delegations.
Monsieur Marius Astier, Vice-President of
the Municipal Council at a civic reception
in the Hotel de Ville added to the more
formal welcoming words his conviction that
it was "natural now to meet women in
all professions on an equal footing."
The farewell banquet took place at UNESCO
House with Mr. James B. Orrick, Chief of
the Department of Public Information, as
the principal speaker on the theme "To
next day Miss Sally Butler met members of
the Board of Directors for the first time
as International President. The meeting
was brief and dealt mainly with administrative
invitation was extended by Dame Caroline
Haslett for the next Congress to be held
in Great Britain in 1950 when the United
Federations of Great Britain (the "Bridge"
formed to link the British Federation with
the National Federation for affiliation
purposes) would handle all the arrangements.
It was accepted.
Miss Hyndman of Canada
and Dr. Peraza of Cuba were appointed members
of the Executive Committee, a third to be
Board of Directors did not meet again until
June 1949 in Helsinki. By then, its United
Nations Committee, under Dr. Hickey, was
initiating an even wider programme. The
Federation could claim to have made a definite
contribution to sound international relationships.
K. Frances Scott read Dr. Hickey's Report
in her absence. Practical assistance had
been given to the programmes of U.N. specialised
agencies by bringing them to the attention
of influential groups of women throughout
the world. A tribute to the fine work done
by National Federations lay in the renewal
by the Economic and Social Council of the
International's Consultative Status in Category
B. (see Appendix
No. 2) Special mention was made of the
support given by the United Federations
in Great Britain. The United States, Australia,
Union of South Africa, and others, including
Great Britain, had set up educational programmes,
and the local United Nations Committees
of the Federations had often become the
focal point of Community responsibility.
The International Federation was invited
to the Third Conference of International
Non-Governmental Organisations on United
Nations Information at Lake Success, New
York, in April. A delegation of nine attended,
headed by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips, who
was unanimously elected President of the
Conference. The International was represented
at meetings of other Committees by Dr. Hickey
(United States), Miss Ruth Tomlinson (Great
Britain), Mme. Kraemer-Bach (France), and
Mrs. Esther W. Hymer (United States), who
gave particularly distinguished service
in the preparation of another supplement,
her third, to the series Women and the United
might be expected, the work of the United
Nations Committee expanded most rapidly.
It was important that it should. There was
the incentive of recognised status with
the Economic and Social Council and having
a permanent representative there, and the
probability of promotion from observer to
consultant status at the I.L.O. and UNESCO.
Documentation was plentiful. Other Standing
Committees such as those on Legislation
and Employment Exchange had to hammer out
their own programmes and find the experts
among Federation members to make them intelligible
to rapidly growing numbers. Discussion brought
out the advisability of limiting such committees
to six persons selected to represent regional
groupings with the responsiblity for preparing
and circulating programme material to corresponding
reality, the Federation was still feeling
its way. A good deal of time had to be spent,
not merely on picking up old threads, but
disentangling them and discovering which
could be stretched to new dimensions and
which would best be replaced. Either treatment
called for careful, unhurried thinking,
and it becomes no longer possible within
the limited size of this history to mention
in detail each step in the recommendations
made and discussed. They were not without
practical difficulties nor more subtle ones
arising from the need to strictly maintain
the Federation's nonpartisan character now
reaffirmed in its acceptance of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. It was possible
for the Federation to urge, as it did by
resolution at this Helsinki meeting, that
Dutch legislation, which required married
women officials to be dismissed after January
1950, be brought into accordance with Article
2 of the Charter and to press for the application
of Article 15 concerning the nationality
rights of married women. It could not, under
any circumstances, be used for disseminating
had been found impractical to hold a Board
Meeting in the summer of 1948. This seems
to have sparked two trial regional meetings:
one in Oslo (known as the Nordic Conference)
in May, and one in London in October that
year in order that European members should
still be able to meet each other. As a result
of the success of these meetings, the Executive
had appointed a special Committee, chaired
by Miss Margaret P. Hyndman of Canada, which
subsequently recommended that the Constitution
should be amended to provide for Regional
social round at this meeting in Helsinki
started with an official reception by Mme.
Alli-Paasikivi, wife of Finland's President.
It progressed through a luncheon as guests
of the City Government at Kaupunginkellari,
a hall decorated by unique ceramic murals
and by the paintings of a young woman artist,
Tove Jansson; luncheons and cocktail parties
by Mme. Tyvne Leivo-Larsson, Minister of
Social Affairs, and the Minister of Communication,
Mr. Erkki Harma; a Sibelius Concert by the
Helsinki Symphony Orchestra; a lunch at
the House of Parliament, and the closing
banquet in Kalastajatorppa Hall on a tree-framed
seashore, not to mention private hospitality.
It is in this kind of social coming-together,
as much as in meetings and the absorption
of reports, that it is possible, as Miss
Sally Butler said from her Presidential
chair to which she had succeeded in Paris,
"to become familiar with the circumstances
in other countries and find new incentive
to meet our obligations towards our International