BPW Nigeria was started in 1961 by Mrs. Theodora Obafunmilayo Manuwa and a group of women in Lagos. The Lagos club became an associate club in 1962 followed by Ibadan and Enugu in 1964. In 1965 all these club became known as the Nigerian Federation of Business and Professional Women. Today there are 21 clubs with more in the process of formation.

BPW Nigeria is a member of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW) Also simply called Business and Professional Women (BPW) International. BPW was founded in 1930 by an American, Mrs. Lena Madesin Philips. The first club took off in Geneva, Switzerland. Today it has grown to include clubs in over one hundred countries around the world.

BPW International is one of the most influential international networks of business and professional women with affiliates in over 100 countries in five continents. Its members include influential women leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, professionals and young business and professional women.

About BPW

  • BPW is the largest organized network of business and professional women in the world.
  • BPW is a non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-governmental organization whose sole purpose is to help women achieve their full potential in society.
  • BPW has consultative category i status which the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It also has consultative status and special relations with the International Labor Organization (ILO), UNESCO UNCTAD, WHO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, FAO and IFAD.
  • BPW has permanent representatives at the United Nations and its agencies in New York Geneva, Paris and Vienna.
  • BPW has played a major role in all four, World Conference For Women from 1975-1995.
  • BPW presents the views of business and professional women to world and professional women to world organization and agencies.


BPW develops the business, professional and leadership potential of women on all levels through advocacy, education, mentoring, networking, skill building, and economic empowerment programmes and projects around the world.


BPW International aims to unite business and professional women in all parts of the world to

  1. Work for women's:
    • economic independence
    • equal opportunity and representation in economic, civil and political life
  2. Encourage and support women and girls to:
    • develop their professional and leadership potential
    • undertake lifelong education and training
    • use their abilities for the benefit of others, locally, nationally and internationally
  3. Advocate:
    • for the elimination of all discrimination against women
    • for human rights and the use of gender-sensitive perspectives
  4. Undertake:
    • world-wide networking and co-operation between business and professional women
    • non-profit projects that help women gain economic independence to present the views of business and professional women to international organisations and agencies, and to business, governments and civil society

UN Connection

The root of BPW’s advocacy is embedded in the work with the United Nations. BPW lobbied for the formation of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and supported many women’s issues. BPW was awarded a Peace Messenger Certificate from UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1987. Esther Hymer, BPW representative at the UN, was the first Chair of NGO CSW committee and was named as one of three women playing a significant role in the work of the UN Commission by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 1997.

Today, BPW continues its representation at UN Headquarters in New York, Vienna, Geneva; UN regional offices (UNECA, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNESCWA, UNECLAC); UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, FAO, UN DPI; Council of Europe; European Women’s Lobby and continues to work closely with UN Women.


  • Consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1947
  • Consultative status with the Council of Europe since 1977
  • Member of Civil Society of Organization of American States (OAS) since 2009