Business and Professional Women (BPW) members at Caboolture and North Lakes have a true understanding of how the international group has been making a difference for 90 years. They’re leading the charge in our region – mentoring each other and lobbying for change.
Today’s a special day for the international group – it marks 90 years since the organisation was formed in Switzerland by Dr Lena Madesin Phillips.
The international headquarters opened in 1931 in America, and in July 1946, after World War II, the first BPW International gathering was held in Brussels.
Dr Phillips noting the event was filled with “deep emotions and poignant memories”.
In the 1920s, Australian women were quick to recognise the value and potential of the BPW movement which had been established in America in 1919 by Dr Phillips, well before it became an international organisation.
Australian Clubs were being formed at much the same time as Dr Phillips was traveling to Europe to establish BPW International.
The first Australian BPW Club was established in Melbourne in 1925. On February 8, 1947 six Australian BPW clubs passed a resolution that an Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs be formed.
There are now 18 BPW clubs across Australia in urban and rural areas, and there are groups in more than 100 countries.
BPW Caboolture president Gail Hudson says BPW has given women the chance to thrive in business, while also raising the status of women not only in Australia but throughout the world.
It’s also a driving force for pay equality, lobbying for change.
The group isn’t stuck in the 1930s and is using technology to connect, particularly during periods of COVID-19 isolation, and reach the next generation of businesswomen.
“It’s extremely supportive of its members. Here at Caboolture, we run monthly breakfast meetings and other events throughout the year,” Gail explains.
They invite speakers who share their knowledge and members have an opportunity to speak about their businesses, from time to time. The meetings are also a chance to get to know each other, and share experience and tips.
There’s also opportunities for professional development, through structured programs.
“I think it’s more important now than ever because we all need a little support and mentoring at the moment,” Gail says.
BPW North Lakes president Sara Gault agrees saying members are in it for the same reason – to support each other.
“I think because it’s a safe environment for women to grow, we all mentor each other,” Sara says.
Sara says she enjoys seeing younger members grow in confidence as a result of being part of the group. It’s something she has experienced herself.
“These girls are smart, but don’t have confidence in themselves. I find their confidence grows and they’re willing to take on tasks, jobs, projects,” Sara says.
While much has been achieved in the past 90 years, there is still work to be done.
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