The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, on August 26, 1930, on the initiative of Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips. As President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs of the United States of America, she organized several "Goodwill Tours" to Europe in 1928 and 1929. Hundreds of American women participated in these tours with the purpose of meeting business and professional women in Europe and promoting affiliation with them. The founding member countries of the international federation were Austria, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States of America. Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips was elected as the first IFBPW President and served until 1947.
The International Federation of Business and Professional Women is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has had Consultative Status with the United Nations through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1947. At present there are a total of twenty-one members serving as representatives of IFBPW at the United Nations and its subsidiary organs, specialized agencies and related organizations.
Today the International Federation of Business and Professional Women is also called BPW International.