BPW Barbados is an Associate Club of BPW International.
Our Roots: History & Strength in Advocacy
The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) was founded by Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips in 1930. BPW International has become one of the most influential international networks of business and professional women with affiliates in 95 countries in five continents. BPW has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and participatory status with the Council of Europe. Its members include influential women leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, professionals and young career women.
BPW International develops the professional, leadership and business potential of women on all levels through advocacy, mentoring, networking, skill building and our economic empowerment programs and projects around the world.
ABOUT BPW BARBADOS
The Business & Professional Women’s Club of Barbados (Est. 1966), is a “status-of-women” organisation and a chapter of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, represented in over 100 countries. It is a registered charity comprised of volunteers. BPW Barbados focuses on elevating the status of women, through training & development, business & entrepreneurship, improvements in health & freedom from violence.
The objectives of BPW International are:-
- To work for high standards of service in business and the professions.
- To encourage women and girls to acquire education, occupational training and advanced education, and to use their occupational capacities and intelligence for the advantage of others as well as themselves.
- To stimulate and encourage in women, awareness and acceptance of their responsibilities to the community, locally, nationally and internationally.
- To work for equal opportunities and status for women in the economic, civil and political life in all countries, and to work for the removal of all discrimination.
- To promote world-wide friendship, co-operation and understanding between business and professional women.
About BPW Barbados Projects, Programmes & Alliances
BPW Barbados has implemented several social, political and economic development programmes over the years to encourage the advancement of women and girls, respect of their human rights, protection of the vulnerable and to promote empowerment to improve their quality of life in all spheres.
For almost 30 years, BPW Barbados has played a tremendous role in the development of Gender-Based Violence policies and programmes in Barbados, having a significant role in the Human Rights landscape of the country. BPW Barbados operates a Shelter for Battered Women, a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline and in 2014 and a new walk-in Crisis & Resource Centre as part of a Reduce Gender-Based Violence and HIV Project. The BPW Shelter is the organisation’s flagship project, through which safe house and crisis intervention services are offered to women and children victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other forms of Gender-Based Violence. BPW Barbados is also a member of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking. In recent times, due to economic constraints and major reductions in Government subventions (the Government, being the main donor since the inception of the Shelter), the project has been challenged for the first time in its history. However, closing the facility is not an option and the thought of women and children having nowhere to go when fleeing from violence represents regression and denial of a basic human need – safe shelter. BPW Barbados continues to seek funding and put measures in place to keep the doors of their flagship project open and salutes it staff members who report to work amidst months of delays in payment of salaries. BPW Barbados commends staff, volunteers and members of the organization who work tirelessly to keep the project afloat.
Capacity Building is a major part of the work of the organization, as sharing knowledge for development and improvement of skills is a key element of empowerment. Such is evidenced in the annual personal development programme “Educate to Eradicate Poverty and Abuse” for young mothers and the recently completed Breakfast Club Empowerment Programme for Differentl-Abled Women. BPW Barbados leads in Gender-Based Violence capacity building for its stakeholders in law enforcement, the legal community, medical fraternity, social services and other entities.
Partnerships: Local, Regional & International Stakeholders & Collaborations
Partnerships are an important part of the work that BPW Barbados executes. In addition to the work with the Government of Barbados through the Bureau of Gender Affairs, BPW Barbados has partnered with several NGOs to improve the status of several communities, including women and children in the areas of social and economic development. Recent partnerships include work with the National Organization of Women, the Caribbean HIV Alliance, the Soroptimist International of Bridgetown, Dance4Life, Women of Purpose Ministries and the National Council of the Diabled, providing several education, prevention and empowerment programmes to various populations including the youth, some who are housed juvenile detention facilities. The international donors and embassies are key stakeholders in the work of the organization. BPW Barbados continues to collaborate with the US Embassy of Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean to host educational events, consultations and other interactions on gender, human rights issues and pertinent NGO issues. BPW Barbados has collaborated with UNWomen, UNFPA, UNDP and other UN agencies for consultations in areas of human rights, women, sexual and domestic violence, HIV, policy development and more. BPW Barbados is a key stakeholder in the European Union’s Gender-Violence Committee.
BPW Barbados, through the Bureau of Gender Affairs, reports on several human rights conventions that the country of Barbados has signed on to. These include the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Declaration to End Violence Against Women (DEVAW), Belem Do Para, the Beijing Platform for Action and others. Members of the organization have been recognized for their significant contributions to education, HIV prevention, politics and governance and other areas of national development.
Some of our other activities and accomplishments include:-
2014: Walk-in Crisis & Resource Centre as part of a Reduce Gender-Based Violence and HIV Project – a multi-stakeholder approach to mitigating GBV and HIV.
2014: Senior BPW Barbados Member Dame Maizie Barker-Welch awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her work in women’s rights and development locally, regionally and internationally; recipient of the “Power to Make A Difference” Award at the BPW International Congress, South Korea.
2013: Awarded USA PEPFAR-GBV/ HIV Grant; Awarded HR Development Grant by EU-NSA to conduct capacity building in Gender Based Violence & other areas.
2013: Formed alliance with Family Conflict Intervention Unit of the Royal Barbados Police Force to tackle issues of Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence in Barbados
2012: Appointed to National Task Force on Human Trafficking; facilitated local NGO-capacity building by FAVACA; Collaboration with the Team Mikey Charity & the UN’s UNiTE Campaign to promote gender-based violence awareness & prevention through “edutainment”.
2011: Implementation of Children’s Counselling & Intervention Programme at the BPW Shelter: individual and group therapy for children accompanying their mothers in the Shelter.
2008: Recipient of the Lady Mongella Award for work in Gender-Based Violence at the BPW International Congress, Mexico.
2005: Partnered with the Bureau of Gender Affairs & International Organisation on Migration for an island-wide Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign.
2003: Initiation of annual collaboration with the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA to host faculty and graduate students for volunteer outreach & capacity building seminars with local law enforcement, social workers, crisis intervention workers and NGOs in pertinent areas of Gender and Development.
1998: Shelter for Battered Women opened with the assistance of the Barbados Government..
1997: Crisis Centre is created in response to the need for further community outreach, education & interventional services in the area of Gender Based Violence.
1986: Crisis Hotline established for victims of rape. Today it is a 24-hour hotline for victims of all forms of violence.
1970s – 1980s: Young Career Women Competitions & Career Showcase
BPW Contributions to Legislation:
2014, 2012 & 1992 Review of Domestic Violence Act; 1992 review of Sexual Offences Act;
Constitution Review Committee – made strident representation for foreign-born husbands of Barbadian women to be able to live & work in Barbados; Education Act Review; Draft Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act; supported the call of National Organisation of Women for a Minimum Wage Bill
BPW Barbados Executive 2015-2017
President: Jenifer Johnson
Vice President: Nicole Alleyne
Treasurer: Anita Walters
Immediate Past President: Marrianne Burnham
Crisis Centre Coordinator: Marlene Hewitt
Shelter Coordinator: Marva Browne
Programme Officer: Mary Thompson
Public Relations Officer: Alison Mullin
Recording Secretary: Sandra Britton
Young BPW Representative: Carl-ann Bradshaw
Corresponding Secretary: Available