Who We Are
WIF has a current membership of over 300 women and men. The UN Secretariat invites WIF to hold its briefings in a conference room in the UN Headquarters Building. The briefings are open not only to WIF members, but also to diplomats from the Permanent Missions to the UN and officials in the UN Secretariat.
Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek, wife of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, is the Patron of the WIF. Many of the women who serve as their countries’ permanent representatives or as high-ranking officials of the UN Secretariat serve on the WIF Honorary Board.
WIF was founded in 1975 – the International Year of Woman. A group of diplomats’ wives, who at that time were excluded from the sessions on international politics that their husbands were attending, decided that they needed to find a way to keep informed on events in the international arena.
WIF was created as a means of engaging in lectures and discussions related to the current agenda of the United Nations. Additionally, in the early years WIF provided assistance to newly-arrived diplomats’ wives in finding schools for their children, getting medical advice and helping with household problems. In time, however, the United Nations and the City of New York established agencies that took on these responsibilities.
WIF enjoys the role today of inviting the women of New York to engage with the challenges and achievements of the work of the United Nations.