It is clear in BPW International’s Constitution in C5, that the International Federation of Business and Professional Women consists of “Affiliate Federations, Affiliate Clubs, and Individual Affiliate Members of Business and Professional Women.” This is remarkable because we represent women in business and decision-making in about 100 countries and five regions. What is even more impressive is that our members are at the core of our organization and are strongly tackling today’s societal issues and global challenges around the world. This makes it even more important that our federations, clubs and individuals remain consistent not only in our overall aims through the constitution, but we also regulate ourselves through our accepted structures (locally, nationally and regionally) in a manner that truly showcases “cooperation between business and professional women” as per one of BPW International’s aims in the Constitution under Section C3(4).
One way that members can display steadfast cooperation is aligning our structures in a systematic and methodical manner. In fact, in our Procedure Manual in Section 4.3 under “Affiliate Constitutions and by-laws of Federations and Clubs”, it is explicitly stated that “these constitutions and by-laws must comply with the BPW International model constitution.” It is therefore imperative that we coordinate and organize our constitutions and by-laws to allow us to govern ourselves in a professional and uniform manner at all levels of BPW. The Regions do not have a Constitution as such, but they do have Regulations which are a means of assisting in the organization of BPW International.
Within the framework of the Regional Regulations, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
- Processes for selecting and nominating a Regional Coordinator
- Processes for selecting a Regional Committee
- Requiring the Regional Coordinator to conduct an annual meeting
- Allowing for regional dues
- Permitting the Regional Coordinator to seek sponsorship and grants
- Permitting partnerships with regional agencies and institutions
- Requiring transparent reporting and accountability (PM 5.7)
Of course, it is reasonable that some regions may need to amend or update their Regulations while others may not have had a chance to prioritize this area of governance. The objective is to equip every region with the appropriate resources and assistance to govern themselves in a manner consistent with BPW International while adhering to their own Regional Regulations and national constitutions.
According to our Procedure Manual in Section 2.3.8 it is the duty of the Regional Coordinators “to raise awareness of BPW International aims at the regional level.” We hope that members will reach out to the Regional Coordinators, in a spirit of cooperation, to update their structures and regulate themselves to align with BPW International to support the theme of “New Actions Through Cooperation.”
Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla, JD, BPW International Executive Secretary 2021-2024