BPW Australia is affiliated with BPW International, so members of BPW Australia are also members of BPW International. BPW International is one of the most influential international networks of women, with members and clubs in almost 100 countries on 5 continents. A portion of our membership fees are paid to BPW International to help support the organisation’s work at the United Nations and globally. BPW Australia is affiliated globally with other BPW clubs and regions, as well as women’s organisations who work with BPW to make a difference to women around the world.
Known at the United Nations as the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, 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 our work with the United Nations. BPW lobbied for the formation of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and was awarded a Peace Messenger Certificate from UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1987. Esther Hymer, our long-term 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 and advocacy at the UN Headquarters in New York, Vienna and Geneva; the UN’s regional offices including UNECA, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNESCWA and UNECLAC; UN agencies including UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, FAO and UN DPI; and continues to work closely with UNIFEM. BPW International also has representatives on the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby and equivalent agencies in other regions including APEC.
Every three years, BPW International holds an International Congress to which every Affiliate is invited to report and to bring resolutions to be debated. These resolutions become the advocacy platform for BPW internationally and are passed to our representatives in the international forums of the United Nations, UNIFEM, UNESCO, ILO and others to make representation.
BPW Australia always participates in these International Congresses, with a strong contingent of members from all states and territories. A significant number of BPW Australia members have been elected to BPW International Executive positions. Australia can celebrate four Presidents of BPW International, more than any other Affiliate globally: Freda Miriklis, 2011 – 2014, Dr Pat Harrison 1999 – 2002, Beryl Nashar 1974 – 1977 and Patience Thoms 1968 – 1971. Our current BPW International President is Dr Yasmin Darwich Darwich from Mexico.
BPW International is divided into five regions, each of which has a Regional Coordinator:
BPW Australia is a member of the BPW Asia Pacific Region, so we send a delegation to the BPW Asia Pacific Regional Conference held between International Congresses. The current BPW Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator is Susan Jones from Australia. Past President of BPW Australia Marilyn Forsythe supports Susan as the Subregional Coordinator for BPW Oceania.
Yasmin Darwich Darwich,
Australian Members on BPW Committees and Taskforces
Asia Pacific - Oceania Sub-Regional Coordinator
Because of its geographical size Asia-Pacific has (5) subregions. The subregional coordinators are members of affiliates who have a good knowledge and understanding of BPW International and its functions and activities and are selected by the regional coordinator and formally appointed by the BPW International President.
BPW International Past Presidents - Australian members
BPW Australia members have the opportunity attend the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)