History of the International Women’s group of Warsaw

The IWG was started as a small social club for expat women (mostly diplomat spouses) in the 1970’s though no actual records prior to the 1990’s exist. The first president is believed to have been a Dutch lady, possibly an ambassador’s wife.

We know that the number of members was modest; around sixty women, most of whom were diplomats’ spouses. There were then few non-communist bloc businesses in Warsaw apart from airlines. Poland was a very different country back then. Constraints were placed upon the foreign community which limited contacts with polish citizens; all social activities had to be supported from within this community.

At the inception of the IWG in Warsaw, nationals from the Eastern bloc and other communist countries were ineligible for membership, as were Argentine nationals during the Falklands war in 1982. In the 1985/86 Chinese nationals were admitted as members and then after 1989 membership was open to all.

When Poland regained its independence in 1989 the club grew quickly as foreign businesses entered in Poland. The IWG club membership reached over 600 in the mid-1990’s.

In 2001, fifteen women became the founding members of a Polish association that would be called the ‘Stowarzyszenie International Women’s Group of Warsaw’.  Under this legal status IWG was able to finance important charitable projects. The association was liquidated in 2009 and today IWG is an unregistered, informal social club.

Our membership is currently around 150 women of more than 40 nationalities.

IWG Warsaw is member of Open Door, www.opendoorworldwide.com, a network of International Women’s Association, which are non-political, non-religious, non-commercial and where membership is open to all nationalities to offer inter-club contact and communication.