Origin and goals

EWMD was founded in 1984 by women working in business schools, universities and entrepreneurs’ associations across Europe. The major goal was to promote women into management by launching studies on the contributions and experiences of women in management and by disseminating best practice among European corporations and business schools. 

EWMD’s initial activities also focused on offering new professional role models to young women. The “Founding Mothers” were Gay Haskins and Valerie Hammond from the UK, 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 birth of EWMD was strongly supported by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) in Brussels under the leadership of its Secretary General, Sybren Tijmstra. He and EFMD members in corporations and business schools recognised that companies in Europe were not drawing well enough on the knowledge and skills of women in management and there were too few young women enrolled in business schools in Europe in the 1980s.

Today the main goal of EWMD is to achieve more visibility and participation of qualified women in leading positions in business, commerce and wider society. Quality levels in management can thus be raised and enriched through more women and greater diversity.