The theme of the Congress in New Zealand in 1985 (when I was elected as International President) was “Youth Today – Leaders Tomorrow” in recognition of the United Nations International Youth Year (IYY) 1985. To implement this theme during Congress, all affiliates had been encouraged to bring a young member to Congress as part of their delegation. The International Federation had established a Young BPW Fund ’85 which was used to assist twelve Young Career Women from ten different countries to attend Congress. Young Career Woman, Amanda Vosper (New Zealand), led a panel discussion on the subject of “Youth Today – Leaders Tomorrow” at Congress. A recommendation to Congress in 1985 titled “Youth Today – Leaders Tomorrow” asked that the Young BPW Fund be continued to ensure the attendance of Young Career Women at future Congresses. This recommendation was enthusiastically endorsed. President Michel stated that the idea of inviting Young Career Women to Congress “had proved to be far more successful than anybody could ever have imagined.”
Frances Hallett, a Young Career Women from BPW UK, wrote these words after attending Congress in 1985:
“I was very proud to belong to an organization whose aims can surmount all national barriers. I had not realized how many projects IFBPW was involved in, not just in using its voice to influence legislation but also in giving practical help in the field. I had not realized how dedicated IFBPW was to improving conditions for women both in the workplace and in their general living conditions”
1987 congress: Members contributed to an IFBPW fund called the Young BPW Fund ’87 during the triennium. Grants from the Fund were given to fifteen of the twenty-six Young Career Women attending Congress in 1987. In addition, affiliates sponsored their own Young Career Women. With Martha Gallant (USA) as their leader, the Young Career Women participated as panelists at Congress and discussed the topic, “The Future of Our Federation.” The five major subtopics were: image of IFBPW, programs, projects, membership, and the Young Career Women Programme.
1989: Continuing the very successful idea first launched at Congress 1985 of sponsoring the attendance of young career women at Congress, the Young BPW Fund ’89 supported the attendance of twenty young career women, aged thirty years or less. In addition, affiliates sponsored their own young career women raising the number participating to forty-five, double the number that attended Congress in 1987. The newly formed Young Career Women (YCW) Task Force was chaired by Maxine Hays (USA) and had concentrated on developing a YCW international program and expanding the YCW program at the 1989 Congress. The Young Career Women and members of the Strategic Long-Range Planning Committee, chaired by Immediate Past International President, Rosmarie Michel, joined together at Congress to present a panel discussion on the topic of “IFBPW Diamond Jubilee: Meeting Our Challenges.”
Summary of notes from BPW Finland Magazine by Tuulikki Juusela, Past BPW International President.