About us

The International Women’s Forum (“IWF”) is a global organisation of pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievement who come together across national and international boundaries, to share knowledge, exchange ideas and inspire each other to promote better leadership for a changing world. IWFSA is the SA chapter of the International Women’s Forum (“IWF”), a global network of over 8,000 members across 76 Forums in 33 countries. Our core objectives are to nurture and develop a pipeline of the next generation of women leaders through targeted Leadership Development programmes, mentoring and coaching.

Founded in the United States 1982 , the IWF facilitates networking among women of achievement and promotes opportunities for women in leadership with forums throughout North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Through international programmes, conferences, galas, symposia, communications, publications and special functions, members can meet, experience and exchange ideas and goals – some of which influence industry, shape economies, and define government policies worldwide.

The International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA) was established 19 years ago when its patron, Mrs Zanele Mbeki, together with a group of women leaders, set up a South African chapter of the IWF. IWFSA currently has 100 members drawn from government, business, the sciences, the arts and numerous other areas.

The IWFSA members, who are at the top of their fields of endeavour and who have nationally and internationally identifiable track records, enjoy unique networking opportunities with access to both local and global influence of high performing, like minded and accomplished women. It is a great opportunity to foster meaningful relationships and connect in a safe space through workshops, meetings, forum events and conferences.

Our mission

IWFSA is a powerful membership of pre-eminent women across sectors and cultures who come together to inspire and invigorate each other on key issues which will impact a changing world. The IWFSA is committed to developing and building a pipeline of the next generation of women leaders through:

  • Specific leadership Development programs
  • Mentoring and coaching

Our vision

IWFSA is inspired to be the voice of women leaders who bring change as the catalyst for ethical leadership.


Membership is by invitation only and nominations should be supported by two current IWFSA members. The nomination process follows strict criteria as laid out by the IWF membership committee. Some of the criteria guidelines are:
  • preeminent woman in her field, profession or corporation
  • holding a position of significant professional accomplishment
  • highest professional abilities
  • influential in her company, field or industry
  • successful entrepreneur as evidenced by size, scope, clientele etc
  • of the highest integrity
  • significant position of leadership in organisation, industry or community
  • influential
  • internally and externally recognised as preeminent
  • significant influence
  • built a sustainable legacy
  • track record of taking action for women
Should you feel you would qualify for membership, please submit your resume here for a preliminary discussion.

Our initiatives

Developing the Next Generation of Women Leaders

Young Leaders Connect (YLC)

Young Leaders Connect (YLC) is an initiative of IWFSA Leadership Development. IWFSA has a 6-pillar strategy; Members Affairs, Leadership Development, Funding and Sustainability, Advocacy, Stakeholder Management, Brand and Reputation. Leadership Development as one of the 6-pillar strategy, aims to develop and strengthen leadership capability of women leaders.

Read more here.

IWFSA FASSET Women's Leadership Programme

Empowering Women in Management and Leadership

The IWFSA FASSET Women’s Leadership Programme (IFWLP), a transformative initiative brought to you by the International Women’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA) in partnership with the Financial and Accounting Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) and Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE). This programme is aimed at developing 1000 women in the financial sector over a 3-year period. (1 October 2022 – 30 September 2025)

Read more here.

About FASSET as Sponsor

FASSET is the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) for the Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and Other Financial Services sector. It facilitates the achievement of world-class finance and accounting services skills. The lack of women representation in senior management roles is evident from research conducted by FASSET. CEO of FASSET, Ms. Ayanda Mafuleka, is driven by a passion for empowering young women in the financial sector and inspiring others to Pay It Forward. Under her leadership, FASSET committed to sponsor and fund #1 000 bursaries for the EDP and MMDP under the WLP over 3 years. Graduates from the EDP are encouraged to become mentors for participants in the MMDP and create a powerful chain reaction of positive change. The Department of Higher Education and Training fully supports this initiative. DHET understands and values the role of women in the labour force and future economic growth.

IFWLP Alumni Network

A Network of Empowered Women Leaders

The IFWLP Alumni Network a distinguished network of empowered women leaders who have successfully completed the IWFSA FASSET Women’s Leadership Programme (IFWLP).

Committed to Ethical Leadership

At IFWLP Alumni Network, we firmly believe that ethical leadership is the cornerstone of harnessing positive and sustainable change as we progress. We recognise that ethical behaviour, integrity, accountability, and responsibility are vital attributes for leaders who seek to make a meaningful impact in their organisations and communities.

Catalytic Strategy

The Catalytic Strategy, established in 2019, by the International Women’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA) and the WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) (“Joint Partners”) is a transformative initiative, evidence -based advocacy mechanism for Women Economic Justice in South Africa. The Catalytic Strategy aims to identify effective mechanisms for facilitating access to research and leveraging this information to shape South African policy, influence debate and to drive industry and policy change on the critical issues of Women Economic Justice, ultimately inclusive economic growth.

Our Partnership

With the generous support of the Anglo-American South Africa, the project endeavours to evaluate the effectiveness of existing legislation in addressing the gender pay gap, advocate for Gender Specific Legislation and recognise companies and individuals who are committed to women advancement and empowerment.