Our international organisation is an informal and friendly way to meet other women of all ages and backgrounds through a rich variety of activities including business lunches, discovery visits to places of interest in the city and surrounding areas, sports and cultural groups, charity support work, and regular get-togethers.
Imagine you just arrived from overseas or elsewhere in Germany to live in Berlin for the first time. You don’t know where to live, how to find a job, how to find a quality school for your children, or a good doctor or dentist. You have no community in Berlin, and perhaps you don’t speak much German. We wish to be the perfect community for you. Or maybe you’ve lived in Berlin for years — and simply enjoy meeting people from around the world. We offer you a community to meet women of all backgrounds. Our members represent more than 45 different nationalities.
Our Executive Committee
The Executive Committee consists of nine members who are responsible for the running of the Club. They are elected once a year at the spring Annual General Meeting.
2019 Executive Committee Members
|Vice President||Zeenat Habib|
|Social Events||Caroline Risch|
|Newsletter Editor||Yvonne Lashani|
|Membership Secretary||Sue Flaherty|
|Public Relations||To be announced|
|Web & IT||Ina Küller|
A very ordinary event took place in Berlin in late 1991. Two British women started talking while browsing in the same shop and decided to get to know each other better over a cup of tea. From that everyday occurrence, the BIWC was born. Debra Engler and Sharon Müller realised they shared the idea that Berlin needed an open international Club where women coming to the city from anywhere in the world could find a welcoming environment, using English as a common language. This was a unique idea at that time as the city’s existing women’s Clubs were aligned to specific nationalities.
At the time, Dr. Elisabeth Binder wrote in one of Berlin’s prominent newspapers Der Tagesspiegel:
The international community of the city is growing. But how do they find and get to know each other? As is so often the case, women have taken the lead. In this respect the Berlin International Women’s Club is one of the most successful organisations.
They discussed the idea with acquaintances and soon a small gathering of enthusiastic women in a Charlottenburg Kneipe persuaded the pair that their idea was a good one. The word spread and at the first meeting in April 1992 at a friend’s house, over 80 people turned up. The Club was founded. In October 1992, at what became the first Annual General Meeting, thirty-two members met and passed a resolution to officially register the Club in accordance with German Club laws. The following month, it registered its 100th member.
The Club has since created international connections and is affiliated to the International Women’s Association which enables BIWC members to participate in the IWA Open Door scheme. A BIWC Associate Member scheme was also initiated for those members who move away from Berlin but want to remain in contact with the Club and its activities.
In 1997, the Club, which is non-political and non-profit making, was granted charitable status by the Berlin authorities.
25 years …. And Counting
The Club celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017 and its membership of 230 women continues to offer a friendly and enriching environment for newcomers. If Berlin is your long-term home or you are here on a temporary basis, you will be warmly welcomed.
Club Motto and Logo
The Club motto Come and Share Our World was first used in 1994. The Club logo, the Gold Else, which can be found on the top of Berlin’s Siegessäule (statue of the Victoria) was chosen as a symbol of international, strong, creative and positive women from diverse walks of life.
Meet our members
Member Lorena Fa Everatt extensive travel career, including a spell in Frankfurt as an au pair, gave her plenty of new skills which come in useful now she is permanently settled in Berlin with her partner Craig and 5-year-old step-son, Scott. As well as working in a pharma company, 33-year-old Lorena is also an aromatherapy advisor having discovered that essential oils cured her own skin problems. She is currently studying for a specialisation in feminine health. She joined BIWC in May 2019 and, as one of her hobbies is handicraft, she would like to start a Club group, teaching crochet, sewing, beadwork, lampshade-making and papier mache skills.
Zeenat is Australian of Pakistani origin. She joined the Club in 2010, soon after moving to Berlin. The Club has given her the opportunity to meet women from different cultures and has helped her in getting to know Berlin. Zeenat enjoys attending the reading groups, business lunch and kool kiez whereby we explore different districts of Berlin. Zeenat left the Club for two years as she was working full time but rejoined in 2019, as she found that the Club is a great way to expand her circle of friends and to meet like-minded women. Moreover, it is great way not to feel alone as you meet other women who are experiencing the same issues as they navigate through this wonderful city. She served as membership secretary from 2015-2017. Currently, Zeenat is the the Vice President of the Club. She was motivated to volunteer for this position as it was an opportunity to give something back to Club that has been a very comforting place to make new friends.
Lucy returned to Berlin in May 1991 after having spent the summer 1990 in the city between her 3rd and 4th years at university. Two weeks after graduation, she was on the plane and has never looked back! She became a member in 1994, after hearing about the BIWC at the farewell activities for the US military base. Sue Williams, membership secretary at the time, was there promoting the BIWC and Lucy thought it sounded like an interesting Club to join. Although she was already established in Berlin and not actively seeking contact to the international community, she says the Club did provide a wonderful opportunity to meet women from around the world.
We want to hear from you. Do you have questions about BIWC?