The European Women's Management Development Network was founded in 1984 by women engaged in business schools, universities and business associations across Europe. The main goal was to bring women closer to higher management positions by launching studies on women's contributions and experiences in management and by disseminating their best practices among European companies and business schools.
The first activities of EWMD also focused on offering new, unedited professional female role models to young women in need of positive, inspiring examples.
The "founding mothers" were:
Gay Haskins and Valerie Hammond from the United Kingdom
Helga Stödter, Ariane Berthoin Antal and Camilla Krebsbach-Gnath from Germany
Federica Olivares and Ambra Poli from Italy
Margit Wallsten from Sweden and
Elisabeth Michel-Alder from Switzerland
The creation of EWMD was strongly supported by the European Fund for Management Development (EFMD) in Brussels under the direction of its Secretary General, Sybren Tijmstra. He and EFMD members in companies and business schools found that European companies were not drawing positive conclusions about women's knowledge and skills in management and that there were too few young women enrolled in business schools in Europe in the 1980s. A change was needed.
Today, the Network links professionals from all areas of business, education, politics and culture. Its spirit is characterized by determination, personal engagement, give and take, and open exchange. EWMD welcomes both individual and corporate members, employed and self-employed. The main goal of EWMD is to increase women's visibility and participation in higher positions in business and society. EWMD believes that quality levels of management can be increased and enriched through more female presence and diversity.