About BPW


What is BPW?

The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) was founded by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips in 1930.

BPW International is one of the most influential international networks of business and professional women with affiliates in over 100 countries in five continents. Its members include influential women leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, professionals and young business and professional women.


BPW International develops the business, professional and leadership potential of women on all levels through advocacy, education, mentoring, networking, skill building, and economic empowerment programmes and projects around the world.


BPW International aims to unite business and professional women in all parts of the world to

  1. Work for women's:
    • economic independence
    • equal opportunity and representation in economic, civil and political life
  2. Encourage and support women and girls to:
    • develop their professional and leadership potential
    • undertake lifelong education and training
    • use their abilities for the benefit of others, locally, nationally and internationally
  3. Advocate:
    • for the elimination of all discrimination against women
    • for human rights and the use of gender-sensitive perspectives
  4. Undertake:
    • world-wide networking and co-operation between business and professional women
    • non-profit projects that help women gain economic independence to present the views of business and professional women to international organisations and agencies, and to business, governments and civil society

International Theme 2017-2020

“Empowering Women to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

International President 2017-2020

Dr. Amany Asfour, Egypt

UN Connection

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 the first Chair of NGO CSW committee and 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 UN Women.


  • Consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1947
  • Consultative status with the Council of Europe since 1977
  • Member of Civil Society of Organization of American States (OAS) since 2009


  • UN Women
  • UN Global Compact
  • International Trade Center
  • Global Summit of Women


  • Conferences of Non Government Organizations (CoNGO)
  • Project Five-O