Above, IWF founders Muriel Fox (left) and Eleanor Holmes Norton are honored at the 2019 Elly Awards in New York City.
For this edition of In the Lead, we’re looking back at the people and stories that converged to create the International Women’s Forum 45 years ago. In the following video, Women’s Forum of New York founder Muriel Fox provides an oral history of the organization, including her relationship with fellow founder Elly Guggenheimer, her own professional journey and her role in the larger women’s movement.
In 1974, civic leader and philanthropist Elinor “Elly” Guggenheimer founded the Women’s Forum of New York with Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange; Eleanor Holmes Norton, now U.S. congresswoman for the District of Columbia; and Fox, one of the first female public relations executives and a founder of the National Organization for Women.
Over the next five years, local forums developed in Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In 1982, the forum expanded globally with the United Kingdom and later the Bahamas, Israel, Canada, Spain and Sweden. The National Women’s Forum officially became the International Women’s Forum in 1987. Today, we boast more than 7,000 members in 33 countries on six continents.
Thanks to the vision and leadership of the “two Eleanors and the two Muriels,” IWF has become the foremost organization for elite women professionals. IWF continues to expand this influential network, showcasing our mission to build better leadership through the exchange of ideas, support and friendship – globally and locally.