President's Message

President's Message

California Federation of Business and Professional Women

Professional Business Women’s Organization

We are the oldest organization of its kind in the world; devoted entirely and actively to the interests and needs of all women irrespective of their occupations and of their status. Our mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. Our founders fought for women’s rights by securing commissions for nurses who served in World War I and ensuring that both men and women could take civil service exams for government positions. Today, we continue the fight for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, the ratification of the CEDAW treaty, and equal pay for women.

From President Katherine Winans

Welcome to the California Federation of Business and Professional Women (CFBPW) website.  Since 1920 CFBPW has been delivering on its mission to promote and support equity for working women in all phases of their lives and to promote personal empowerment and professional development.

Our mission and objectives are still relevant especially now with the threat of undoing all the gains made over the last 50 years.  Women are facing some of the same challenges they faced before…many they thought were behind them.  There is still much to be done to ensure equality for everyone.  Please join us.


The CFBPW consists of local clubs, is a statewide federation, is part of a national organization (the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs – NFBPWC) and is part of an international organization (Business and Professional Women – International – BPW International). BPW was formed in 1919 in St. Louis as a result of the work that women did for the War Department during World War I. It is the oldest organization of its kind in the world. BPW works to improve the standards for women through training, education and legislation. BPW International, which was formed in 1930, has had permanent representation at the United Nations since 1947.  BPW International also has full access to the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women information. The three policy initiatives that BPW International focuses on are Equal Pay Day, Women’s Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business and Women Entrepreneurs and Trade. BPW International is one of the world’s most influential organizations, non-partisan and non-sectarian, promoting its objectives without distinction as to race, language or religion. BPW International develops the professional business and leadership potential of women on all levels, through advocacy, mentoring, skill building and economic empowerment programs and projects around the world.   It is the recognized voice of working women.

In 1951, through the work of California Federation of Business and Professional Women (CFBPW), California passed the “Wife Pay Check” bill which allows married women to pick up their own paycheck. CFBPW was instrumental in forming the Commission on the Status of Women and earlier this decade the California Federation worked to save the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. We supported State Legislation benefiting women and girls. We have funds available for scholarship loans and grants through our Education Fund. We are a charter member of the National Women’s History Museum and support its finding a permanent home in Washington, D.C. to be funded with private money.


NFBPWC was the second organization after Alice Paul’s Women’s Party to support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). We continue to work on its passage in addition to working to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, working to have Congress ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), working on Cities for CEDAW and  working to eliminate human trafficking. NFBPWC and its affiliates have championed gender-free work laws which would allow women to obtain jobs regardless of their marital status, reform of social security which would give greater financial weight to women’s contributions to the family, parental leave laws, better health and child care, and a more aggressive law enforcement attitude towards spousal abuse,  rape and sexual slavery. In 2017 we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which NFBPWC worked on passing. NFBPWC continues to work on eliminating the glass ceiling that exists in most jobs. NBPWC is a pro-choice organization and continues to work to make sure that women have that option.


CFBPW is divided into four District (Bay Capital, Northern, Sierra Mar and Valley Sunset).  Within each District are two to six clubs. These Clubs also have local projects they work on in their communities from scholarships to hosting candidates’ forums, to supporting local candidates to recognizing business/professional women in their communities. Each local club is unique – find the information on this website under Districts and the individual Clubs to find out about how to contact them, what Clubs are doing and how to join. When you join through a Club, you also become a member of the District, the California State Federation, NFBPWC and BPW International for one membership fee. If there are no Clubs in your area, you may join as a Member-at-Large with full membership benefits.

Our organization is comprised of women from all different careers and all stages of career development. Our membership is comprised of women and men who are attorneys, business owners, teachers, librarians, accountants, civil servants … working women and men. We are serious about what our organization stands for and are ready to take action to promote personal and professional growth. We put our talents and skills to use for a greater good for ALL women.


The members set the path and future of the Club, District, State, National and International organizations. The work of NFBPWC and CFBPW continues especially during this time when we are seeing elected political leaders blaming society’s problems on when mothers started working outside the home. Please join us in the fight to improve the lives of women and girls.


Why not start a BPW Club in your area? It’s a great way to bring like-minded women together to advocate for working women and families, flex your leadership skills and have access to an international network of influential business government leaders. Let us know your thoughts and a representative will contact you.