BPW: What is BPW?
Our Roots: History & Strength in Advocacy
The International Federation of Business and Professonal Women (BPW International) was founded by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips in 1930. BPW International has become one of the most influential international networks of business and professional women with affiliates in 95 countries in five continents. BPW has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and participatory status with the Council of Europe. Its members include influential women leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, professionals and young career women.
The root of BPW’s advocacy is embedded in the work with the United Nations. BPW lobbied for the formation of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and supported many women’s issues. BPW was awarded a Peace Messenger Certificate from UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1987. Esther Hymer, BPW representative at the UN, was named as one of three women playing a significant role in the work of the UN Commission by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 1997.
Today, BPW continues its representation at UN Headquarters in New York, Vienna, Geneva; UN regional offices (UNECA, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNESCWA, UNECLAC); UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, FAO, UN DPI; Council of Europe; European Women’s Lobby and continues to work closely with UNIFEM.
The root of BPW’s advocacy is embedded !
An introduction to BPW International, 2008, 8 minutes.
Our Aims: Develop Professional and Leadership Potential for Women at All Levels
BPW affiliates contribute to society by enabling women to sustain themselves economically. In addition, BPW offers personal development programs for members such as mentoring, leadership training and e-Business training. Since 1996, BPW affiliates worldwide have helped over 45,000 women to become economically empowered.
BPW projects assist women to:
- Enter and re-enter the workforce
- Start up and advance their business or profession
- Protect their rights
- Overcome their limitations
- Create a nurturing environment in work, education, health for women development
BPW affiliates also collaborate with governments and other non-government organizations (NGOs). BPW International belongs to coalitions of NGOs such as Project Five-O and Conference of NGOs (CONGO).
Our Ambition: Equal Participation of Women and Men in Power and Decision-Making Roles
While capacity-building and confidence-building enable more women to advance to executive positions, the goal of equal participation is still far from being a reality.
BPW International is giving high priority to create opportunities for women to rise to the level of top executives by collecting evidence on the return on investment when women become top executives. The aim is to use this testimony to persuade the relevant stakeholders such as companies, institutions, academia and governments that they would perform better if the percentage of females at top executive level increased and reached a par with men.