BPW NZ History

BPW NZ  was formed in 1939, initially as an offshoot of the YWCA organisation. The initial focus of the NZ Federation was with regard to the war, and food parcels were sent to Britain. But at the same time a plan of study was outlined on the “Status of Women”. Projects were also undertaken, and in the first decade these included:

  • A survey of the status of domestic work and workers
  • Juvenile employment
  • Women jurors
  • and in 1941, a series of lectures was arranged on “the Social Aspects of Sex”.

Soon after the war, in 1946, when the Federation was composed of 10 Clubs and was becoming recognised as a nationally organised society, it separated from the YWCA. Some ten years later membership had increased to 940 in 19 Clubs. This steady growth continued so that, when the Federation celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1989, membership totalled nearly 2000 in 45 Clubs located throughout New Zealand. In 1991 the Federation adopted a new Constitution and became registered as an incorporated society.

The Federation has maintained a close affiliation with the International Federation. Delegates and observers have regularly attended Congress and Board Meetings, members have served on Standing Committees and four have been elected to international office. In 1985 the XVIIth Congress was held in Auckland – the first Congress in Australasia.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now a US Supreme Court Justice, learned the story of the Women’s Rights Movement. Today she says, “I think about how much we owe to the women who went before us – legions of women, some known but many more unknown. I applaud the bravery and resilience of those who helped all of us – you and me – to be here today.”

Evidence based business case promoted

Sponsorship of women into leader and decision making roles

Women on Corporate Boards of Management
Supply chain support for women owned business in corporate and government purchase policy and practice
Access to capital, funding and equity ownership rights

… at all levels
Women as a percentage of intake at all management levels in business and government
Education and development
Equal Pay
Mentoring and support to ensure equitable distribution and representation of women in decision making roles
Transparency, reporting and monitoring

… in the community
Corporate Social Responsibility
Local supply chain support for women vendors
Women’s and girl’s economic empowerment through education, development and participation
Health and well-bring
Access to micro-finance.

Theme for  for 2017-2020 is

“Empowering women to realize sustainable Development Goals”

 ………..Past Themes:

2017-2020 is “Empowering women to realize sustainable Development Goals”

2014-  2017  “Together, we will be Making A Difference Through Leadership And Action.”

2011-2014  “Empowered Women Leading Business”

2008-2011  “The Power to make a Difference”

2005-2008 “New Dimensions of Leadership”

2002-2005  “A World of Peace”

1999-2002  “Empowering Women for the 21st Century”

1996-1999  “Partnerships for the Future”

1993-1996  “Taking IFBPW Forward”

1991-1993  “Women – Environment and Development”

1989-1991  “Women – the Spirit of Enterprise”

1987-1989  “Women – The Vital Force”

1985-1987  “Youth Today Leaders Tomorrow”

1983-1985  “Women in Transition – Strategies for Success: Preparation and Progress”

1980-1983  “A Golden Opportunity: Golden Jubilee”

1977-1980  “The Challenges to the New Women”

1974-1977  “Looking Towards the 21st Century Women …Their Full Potential”

1971-1974  “The Significant Seventies”

1968-1971  “Human Value in Today’s World”

1965-1968  “Developing Channels for Cooperation”

1962-1965  “Road to World-Wide Understanding”

1959-1962  “Building Bridges between People”

1950-1959  “The Trained Women – Her contribution to World Affairs”

1947-1950  “The Art of Living Together”

1938-1946  “Business and Professional Women and the New Social Order”

1936-1938  “The Work of Women in the Modern World in Different Spheres of Business, Science, Art and the Professions”


Past Presidents of BPW NZ

1939 – 1946                   Founder President Margery …………………………………….Toulson
1946 – 1950                   Daphne Chapman
1950 – 1952                   Elsie Harper
1952 – 1956                   Challis Hooper
1956 – 1957                   Amy Gilmour
1957 – 1959                   Dolly M. Wilkins
1959 – 1961                   Mary Fraser
1961 – 1963                   Daisy W. Pillar, QSM M.A.,
1963 –  1965                   Pauline F. Cooper
1965 – 1967                   Pauline Gapper, BA
 1969 – 1971                   Dorothy Ritchie, B.H.Sc

1967 – 1969                   Lorraine Harrison-Lee

1973 – 1975                   Ria McBride, OBE B.A,

1971 – 1973                   Dorothy Raymond, LL.B

1975 – 1977                   Joan Bielby, QSO. JP. M.P.S,
1977 – 1979                   Noela Page, MBE
1981 – 1983                   Beryl Scott
1983 – 1985                   Alix Haywood. JP.
1985 – 1987                   Beverly Sturgeon
1987 – 1989                   Eleanor Palmer
1989 – 1991                   Audrey Harris, QSO

1991 – 1994                   Anne Knowles, CNZM. LL.B (Hons)
1994 – 1996                   AnneTodd, ONZM  LL.B,
1996 – 1999                   Dianne Glenn. Adv.Dip.Tch. …………………………………….NZID.                    
1999  – 2001                  Maureen Eardley-Wilmot, JP  MA ……………………………………(Hons) Dip Ed Psych
2001 – 2003                   Jean Park, MNZM.JP
2003 – 2006                   Anita Devcich
2006 – 2009                   Faye Gardiner, B.A. RGON,
2009 – 2011                   Angela McLeod, B.Ag, Dip. Dev. …………………………………….Studies
2011 – 2014                 Carolyn Savage,  ANZIA, MArch,         …………………………………..BArch (Hons), BAS, NZCD (Arch)

 2014 – 2017                 Vicky Mee, BSc, PG DipBus

2017 to present           Hellen Swales, Dip Phty & B Com 

Leave a Reply