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To read more about the international history of BPW click here

The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers

We are proud of our BPW History. BPW was founded in the USA 1919 as a direct response to significant numbers of women first entering the workforce during World War 1. US President Wilson commissioned a study for the status
of women, asking Lena Madeson Philips to undertake the work.  Out of her research, Lena recognised the real need for women to organise themselves and from this BPW was born.


Lena was an extraordinary woman, in any era, but particularly in the early 20th Century, at a time when women did not even have the vote in the USA.  Under her management, BPW US established rapidly, and was instrumental in achieving women’s suffrage there.  Not content with a thriving organisation in the US alone, Lena wanted to share their success with women in Europe, eventually setting up BPW International in 1930 – so 2020 was our 90th International Birthday. 


By 1961, the first Irish Club was formed in Howth, Co. Dublin, with further Clubs quickly springing up in Ireland. BPW Ireland was a founder member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland and lobbies for change in Ireland through this organisation. BPW Ireland has also maintained strong links with the wider BPW Community and through these links, has consultative status at the Council of Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Although BPW Ireland is relatively small, BPW’s combined voices and long history of advocacy for women, gives real power to make a difference.