PWN Global was born from the willingness of women’s networks to join forces across European countries to advance gender-balanced leadership. We promote the professional progress of women across all sectors and industries. This is how it began, and how it has changed and evolved to become what it is today.
> OUR BEGINNINGS
In 1996, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox was on maternity leave from her job in computer pro-gramming after having her third child, and ready to go back to work. Avivah met with several colleagues to share stories, and through their conversation they identified a need for a safe place for women to draw strength and support from, and thus PWN Paris was born (then called Professional Women’s Network Paris).
Avivah believed that establishing a network that offered women career support would have a significant impact, as she had discovered that the policies and environment in workplaces where men held much of the power and dominated the culture resulted in many women quitting their jobs.
Since its founding, the Professional Women’s Network has crossed the borders of Europe to become Global with 29 City Networks in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Together, we represent 3,500 members and a global community of 35,000 followers. And we are proud of the diversity of our network!
> OUR MISSION
Over time, not only our reach, but also our goals have evolved. Although it was clear from the data that diverse workplaces were more productive and profitable, this information wasn’t translating into action by most corporations. So, in 2014 our mission changed from ‘how can we support women in the workplace’ to ‘how can we change the workplace and remove systemic barriers and behaviours to redress the balance.‘
One of the answers to this question was to engage men in our cause to further the goal of gender-balanced leadership. These core beliefs in the value of balance of genders and diversity in the workplace are also a compass we share with our corporate partners, sponsors, and members.
> ADVANCING THE WAY WE WORK TOGETHER
Today PWN Global is involved in major public policy debates at international, Europe-an and governmental levels:
PWN Global also strives to echo societal challenges by creating initiatives to tackle specific women’s issues:
We also make a point of exchanging best practices amongst our members to create programs and calls for action to address issues such as the gender pay gap, access to financing for female entrepreneurs, and increased representation of women in all industry sectors (STEM, Finance, Trade, Logistics, Fashion, Entrepreneurship).
In 2021, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, PWN Global has remained committed to supporting all women across sectors and industries together with our allies, friends and partners, and in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals in the framework of the United Nations. We also continued to be an engaged actor of the civil society for the economic empowerment of women as a participant of the United Nations Generation Forum celebrating the Beijing Declaration and by signing the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, and encouraging our partners to follow.
We provide our members with opportunities for networking, education and inspiration in the fields of mentoring, entrepreneurship, leadership, gender-balance and hidden/unconcious bias, self-awareness and career development. During the past year we have moved most of our Events and Programmes online to support and care for the safety of our communities. This created an exceptional opportunity for global empowerment and collaboration.