Links | Feedback | Sitemap

About Us

Brief History Of BPW Galway

In Ireland the first BPW club was inaugurated in Howth, Co. Dublin in the early 1960s. Very quickly other clubs were established and the National Federation was formed. Currently there are four clubs in this country. BPW Galway was founded in 1986. The founding member and first President was Mrs Breda Ryan. Our chain of office was sponsored by the Bank of Ireland and was supplied by Hartmanns of Galway. Since 1986 BPW Galway has grown from a core group of 25 to a current membership, of 100. From its inception BPW Galway has always striven to hold true to the ethos and value system of BPW International.

Our Roots: History & Strength in Advocacy

The International Federation of Business and ProfessionalWomen (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 80 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 ofWomen (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; EuropeanWomen’s Lobby and continues to work closely with UNIFEM.

What is BPW Europe


In 1977, the IFBPW was accredited to the Council of Europe and received consultative status along with some 200 NGOs. Marcelle Devaud was nominated Permanent Representative and Michelle Laublé (both of France) her alternate.

In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, several relatively informal international meetings were held for Germanspeaking and some for francophone BPW. There seemed to be a general desire for contacts and cooperation across national borders.

Michelle Laubé, then President of the Strasbourg Club, invited all European BPW Presidents and interested members to the 1st European Conference which took place in September 1981.

In October 1985, the 17th International Congress of BPW International in Auckland, New Zealand, voted to set up five regions, headed by Regional Coordinators. MarianWaats was elected to this position for Europe.

In September 1990, through the hard work of women such as Marcelle Devaud and Emilienne Brunfaut, the EuropeanWomen’s Lobby was founded in Brussels. BPW is a member of the European Women's Lobby and Renata Blodow was the first delegate of the European Federations of BPWto the EWL.

In 1981, the presidents of the European Federations of BPW International decided to create the European Coordinating Committee to support the work of Regional Coordinator.

In January 2009, the presidents of the European Federations of BPW International created a legal structure to run common projects at European level : BPW European Coordination AISBL (association internationale sans but lucratif - international non profit organization). The executive Board is made of the European Regional Coordinator and members of the ECC.