Welcome to IWF Canada
The International Women’s Forum of Canada (IWF Canada) is an affiliate of the IWF global organization. You’re now part of a distinguished global community: over 8,000+ preeminent women leaders in fields spanning government, entrepreneurship, business, science, philanthropy, sports, professional services, academia and the arts. For 50 years, IWF has provided the meeting place where women of diverse achievement can enjoy meaningful friendships, alliances and personal enrichment.
Membership is your passport to life-expanding experiences and conversations—at home, across the country and around the world. As a Canadian member, you are welcome at events in any of our seven Chapters across Canada or internationally and to connect with any IWF member globally.
Our History – International Women’s Forum
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 New York Forum, women leaders across the United States 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 of advancing women’s leadership.
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 American women. They were united in building better leadership through the exchange of ideas, peer-to peer support, friendship and power. As U.S. Forums organized and grew across other parts of the country, many of them, in turn, helped to develop Forums in other states.
In 1982, the Forum expanded globally with the addition of the UK followed by Canada. We are proud the Canadian Forum was a pioneer in helping to establish our global community. In ensuing years, the Bahamas, Israel, Spain and Sweden also joined. The name was officially changed to the International Women’s Forum (IWF) in 1987 and the global IWF headquarters resides in Washington, DC.
What Makes Us Special
The International Women’s Forum (IWF) is an invitation-only network of the most accomplished women in the world. We connect women leaders across every professional sector in support of each other and the common mission of advancing women’s leadership and championing equality worldwide. Today IWF is comprised of women leaders in 33 countries and 76 local Forums. IWF is the only organization of this scale that builds significant relationships between C-level women across countries and careers. Our members are inventors, entrepreneurs, CEOs, heads of state, academics, scientists, astronauts, Olympic athletes, artists, filmmakers, financiers, philanthropists, and more.
The heart of IWF is vibrantly represented at global meetings held twice annually, once in the US and once in a world capital abroad. In addition, IWF Canada holds its national conference “Canada Connects”, in a hosting Canadian Chapter city annually.
There is no other organization in the world that continually convenes such an extraordinary network of accomplished women leaders, provides exposure and access to such a broad and diverse audience of female decision-makers, while delivering programming that explores the most relevant topics impacting society’s economics, ecology, policy and enterprise. This is a unique community distinguished by friendships, influence, power and purpose.
IWF Canada, like IWF Global, is an invitation-only, membership organization. Functionally, the organization is dependent on membership fees which subsidize the Chapter and Forum activities as well as support the global organization’s office. The Board is responsible for this distribution. The Board directs the affairs of the Forum in such a way to ensure that the Chapters are the “engines” of the organization while the Board determines strategic priorities and fosters a sense of national identity and belonging.