BPW members voice their opinions at our annual conference. This forms our Mandate on which we all then campaign. Currently human trafficking into the London Olympics, stamp duty on pensions, the way that abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland –but not in England, Scotland and Wales and domestic violence are highlighted.
Sometimes we work with BPW Europe on issues such as the pay gap between men and women for work of similar value. We also work with sister organisations-joining in celebrations of International Women’s Day. Sometimes we work with the 40 000 members across the globe on issues such as female genital mutilation and the status of women in post conflict Iraq.
We attract high profile speakers such as Kate Adie, Stella Rimington, Susan Greenfield, Professor Alison Murdoch and Hannah Shields the Everest mountaineer to give our keynote address, named in honour of our founder Beatrice Gordon Holmes. She was a successful financier, but denied membership of the London Stock Exchange by her gender.
Conference 2011 in Bristol covered the following themes which are being supported and developed by all regions:
- dissolving gender barriers in the workplace for which Helen Wells from Opportunity Now has researched and collated figures
- violence against women and girls: regions are undertaking a variety of activities to address the situation in their area with local decision makers and attend government consultations
Click here to read the BPW News Spring 2011 Conference Issue.
Members benefit from being able to gather with like-minded people at a local level in one of the eight regions to make a difference in their locality; at national level at the annual conference; at European level through BPW Europe to reflect support for current issues; and at global level through BPW International.
BPW has a network of local clubs around the UK. Wherever members are based, they can choose to attend clubs as regular or occasional visitors. Each club has its own character and organises its programme around the interests of its membership. Meetings are either once or twice a month, usually on a weekday evening and this gives members the opportunity to network with other working women. Clubs charge an annual fee or ask members to pay per meeting. This is to cover any speaker fees, admin and catering costs they incur.
Members automatically join one of 8 local regions in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England. Regional teams organise events of interest to women in their locality such as seminars, dinners, discussion meetings or talks. They are the voice of BPW in their area and speak out on issues of importance to their members.
Members of BPW LASE and the Network London at their September meeting.
Members of BPW Billericay with regional members and guests on the occasion of their International Lunch.
BPW is a network of support to its members with a database of skills that can be called upon. We are always looking to keep this network growing and encourage you to join us.
THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED ABOUT MEMBERSHIP
WHAT DOES MEMBERSHIP OF BPW OFFER ME?
BPW has lots to offer you if you are interested in the world of work and enjoy meeting like minded women. Whether you are on a career break, studying, working as a carer or volunteer, retired or employed you will benefit from discussing issues common to working women.
WHAT IS YOUR AIM?
BPW gives women the confidence to play a full part in all aspects of their lives.
ARE YOU RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL?
BPW members speak many languages, have many religions and none and different cultures. Issues of concern to working women are discussed in a non party political way.
CAN I PROMOTE MY BUSINESS?
You can advertise at reduced rates in our seasonal, free magazine or on our website. You might like to sponsor our annual review or bi-monthly newsletters or have a stall at conference. BPW always tries to use its own members first when buying services or products.
WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO?
We are always led by our members. We discuss topical issues and lobby about current concerns such as sex trafficking into the London Olympics, mixed wards in hospitals or the siting of lap dancing clubs. We have social events, talks, outings and enjoy chatting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.
CAN I MEET OTHER MEMBERS?
New wording: BPW unites women in 5 continents and 100 countries around the world. The BPW UK Annual Conference, the European and International Congresses are opportunities for women across the world to discuss issues of common concern and shape BPW policy.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It costs £73 each year to be a member-with no joining fee. If you choose to visit a club or take part in a regional or international activity, you pay an additional fee to cover the costs of the venue, meal or speaker. Your annual subscription is due on the anniversary of joining and includes membership of BPW International and BPW Europe who receive a fifth of the money to fund worldwide activity. Your seasonal magazine, BPW News and the bi-monthly newsletter, the Bulletin, will arrive free through your own front door. You can also make free use of the members’ section of the website.
COULD I MAKE A NEW CLUB?
Certainly. Some have only a few members others about 30. Each club must follow the ethos of BPW UK and control its money –otherwise it can operate as it sees fit. Some elect a president; others have a rolling chair of each meeting. It really is up to you. Some meet monthly others fortnightly-it is up to you. Some meet during the day, others at night. Again, it is up to the wishes of the members.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Complete an application form and send it to us together with your payment.
I DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER-CAN I ACCESS INFORMATION?
Although BPW moves with the times, our members tell us that they prefer to receive an individual magazine seasonally and bi-monthly printed bulletins which update them on what is happening in the world of BPW. Other organizations insist on electronic copies, but that is not what our members prefer. Contributions are invited from members so they can share their opinions and news with other members.
I DON’T WANT YOU TO SHARE MY ADDRESS
And we don’t want to do that either. Some organizations share the address book of its members. We have chosen not to do this. We hold your address and telephone number on our data base but that is not shared with others without your permission. When you join you must give us permission to list your contact details on our data base, but this is only used so we can send you a copy of our magazine and the bi monthly bulletin and use it for other BPW activity such as asking if you wish to renew your membership or sending you voting opportunities. BPW has a “one woman one vote” policy, so each individual vote is important. Some organizations vote in clubs, but we ask for your own opinion on each issue. We would be dismayed if anyone shared your details without your permission and would seek legal advice.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE MY JOB OR GET DIVORCED?
BPW members join as themselves, not as an addition to someone else. But if you fall on hard times because of divorce, unemployment or natural hazards such as flooding we have an emergency fund available which can give grants or offer loans. As long as you have donated at least 50p for 2 years to the Members Emergency Fund, you will be entitled to discreet, speedy assistance. All matters are strictly confidential and no one else will need to know your problems.
Click here to join BPW.