History of International Women’s Club of Philadelphia

The International Women’s Club of Philadelphia (IWCP) was founded in 1989, after about two years of planning.

The seed for the IWCP was planted on a sidewalk in Society Hill when the two founding members, Patrica Macfadyen and Peg Robb, met by chance in 1987. Patrica and her husband, who are natives of Scotland, moved to within a few blocks of Peg’s home. Dr. Macfadyen, on sabbatical from the World Health Organization, worked on a special project at Jefferson Medical School, to where he had been invited by then Dean Dr. Joseph Gonella.

Patrica would speak often of Copenhagen, the Macfadyen’s last posting, and the club of international women who had introduced her to new things and supported her interests. She felt strongly that Philadelphia needed a similar club, where women away from their home countries had an opportunity to meet. Before the Macfadyens left in 1989, the International Women’s Club of Philadelphia was born. “The purpose of the International Women’s Club of Philadelphia is to welcome women of all cultures to the Philadelphia area and to promote friendship, cooperation, and understanding among women.” The late Linda Gonella, Dr. Joseph Gonella’s wife, was among the Charter members, and through personal contacts, a large number of women joined within a short time.

Milestones

  • 1987 Chance meeting between the two founding members, Patrica Macfadyen and Peg Robb.
  • 1989 Founding of International Women’s Club of Philadelphia and adoption of by-laws.
  • 1990 In September, celebration of first anniversary of IWCP at Founders’ Luncheon in Carpenter’s Hall.
  • 1991 Recognition of International Women’s Club of Philadelphia as non-profit corporation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • 1997 Affiliation with Welcome Clubs International in Washington, D.C., an umbrella organization of international women’s clubs in the U.S.A. and abroad. WCI conferences are held every two years in a different host country. In case of relocation, IWCP members are afforded preferred membership in an existing sister club.
  • 2000 Set-up of web site and of e-mail address.
  • 2005 Launch of own web address and website