About the International Women's Forum
IWF is comprised of more than 6,500 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations on six continents, dedicated to building better leadership locally and globally.
IWF members are trailblazers, innovators, and pioneers united to advance women’s leadership locally and globally. Members include Fortune 500 executives, government leaders from the local to sovereign level, international nonprofit leaders, and luminaries from the academy, arts, sciences, and more.
The International Women's Forum Oregon is similarly comprised of preeminent women in business, academia, government, and philanthropy. IWF Oregon is an affiliate of the International Women's Forum, which includes forums across the United States and around the world.
Each year, IWF convenes two world conferences— unique gatherings of global thought leaders and influencers brought together to examine global issues and solutions— through a women’s lens within a local context.
IWF is member and mission-driven. There is no other organization in the world that continually assembles such an extraordinary network of women to exchange ideas, to learn, to inspire, and to build better leadership for a changing world.
IWF’s charitable arm, the Leadership Foundation, supports high-potential women through leadership development programs – the Fellows Program and the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Mentoring Program.
Membership in IWF and IWF Oregon is by invitation only.
International Women's Forum History
In 1974, renowned writer, civic leader and philanthropist, Elinor “Elly” Guggenheimer, founded the Women’s Forum of New York. The stated goal: “Bring together women of diverse accomplishments and provide them with a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences. By thus becoming aware of their counterparts in all fields, and of mutual interests and attitudes, they can, when desired, speak in concert on issues confronting the total community.”
Due to the strength and growth of the founding Forum, women around the country voiced the need for a national network that would allow women of significant achievement, across all sectors, beliefs and backgrounds to unite under a common purpose.
The National Women’s Forum, created in 1979, with Forums in Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC was the realization of a growing footprint of exceptional women, united to build better leadership through the exchange of ideas, peer-to-peer support, and a concert of power and friendship.
As Forums organized and grew across other parts of the country, many of them, in turn, helped to develop Forums in other states, including the Oregon Forum in 1984.
In 1982, the Forum expanded globally with the addition of the UK; and in ensuing years, the Bahamas, Israel, Montreal, Spain and Sweden. The name was officially changed to the International Women’s Forum (IWF) in 1987, and the global headquarters resides in Washington, DC.
In 1994, IWF created its Leadership Foundation (LF), a 501c3 supporting the training and growth of emerging women leaders. The Fellows Program is its flagship initiative.
Today, IWF with more than 6,500 members across 74 affiliates in 33 nations, continues to build better global leadership across careers, cultures and continents by uniting the world’s most preeminent women through training, mentoring, and connectivity.
IWF convenes an extraordinary network of women leaders, provides exposure and access to a diverse audience of key female decision-makers, and delivers cutting edge programs exploring the topics impacting international progress, business, economics, ecology and enterprise. IWF is a one-of-a-kind organization comprised of friendships, influence, power and purpose.
As it looks to the future, IWF will continue to prepare, unite and inspire women leaders on a global scale and at a local level through the growth of future forums.