Business & Professional Women UK
Aim high
- with the confidence and connections to make a difference!

Welcome to

A (very!) brief history of BPWUK

The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) was founded by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips in 1930. Subsequently, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was formed on 12th November 1938. The founder member clubs were the Westminster Club, the City of London Club and the Thames Club. Miss Beatrice Gordon Holmes was elected as the Founder President and served until 1947.

BPW International has become one of the most influential global networks of business and professional women with affiliates in 95 countries across 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.

Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips

"Make no small plans. They have no power to stir the blood" declared our founder, while touring the United States in 1921 as she was building the Federation. Since then BPW has grown into a truly global Non-Governmental Organization, recognised at the highest levels of civil society.

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 received 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, and Geneva; at UN regional offices (UNECA, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNESCWA, UNECLAC); at UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, FAO, and UN DPI; at the Council of Europe; and at the European Women's Lobby, and continues to work closely with UN Women (previously UNIFEM).