Constitutional Reform Taskforce

Dr. Jean Murray, BPW International Executive Secretary 2008-2011 and Chairperson, Constitutional Reform Taskforce.

Dear members of the Board of Directors,

The first consultation draft of the revised BPW International Constitution and Regulations is now on the website (under Constitution) in English for you and your members to review.  An Explanatory Guide has been prepared to help you understand the documents and to explain what will be in the Procedure Manual. Translations are being prepared. The Constitutional Advisory Committee is keen to receive your comments by the end of September.

The draft Constitution and Regulations are based on the resolution passed at the 2008 Mexico Congress, the workshop at Congress and the Constitutional Amendments and Resolutions referred to the Constitutional Reform Taskforce.  The draft is informed by 28 submissions to the Constitutional Reform Taskforce from BPW members and affiliates, and by discussions at Regional Conferences and meetings. It has been developed by a committed group of expert members of the Constitutional Reform Taskforce, the Constitutional Advisory Committee and the Expert Advisory Panel.

The Constitutional Advisory Committee has produced a very short and simple Constitution as required by the Resolution 26, and a simplified set of Regulations.  Several terms have been changed in response to submissions, and the language has been kept simple with particular attention to using language that can be translated and retain its meaning.  Definitions have been provided.

There are some changes from the current Constitution and By-laws:

  • · The committees have been simplified as required by Resolution 26
  • · State Federations have been removed, but there is capacity for the International Board to approve sub-national Federations in very large countries
  • · Regional Coordinators can serve two terms
  • · Voting has been made more inclusive of all affiliates
  • o a quorum must be representative of the regions
  • o a Federation with fewer delegates can vote with their full entitlement
  • o Affiliate Clubs each have one vote instead of sharing a vote
  • o to maintain relativity, Federation votes have been increased to 5 votes minimum
  • o advance votes can be submitted to Congress from affiliates unable to attend
  • · Values have been added as requested in submissions
  • · A dissolution clause is included.

The submissions were divided on the matter of proxy voting. Some affiliates and members expressed strong reservations about appointing another affiliate as a proxy to vote at Congress in their absence, and were concerned about non-attendance at Congress or proxies not voting how they were instructed.  Others supported proxy voting provided it was strictly limited to circumstances where affiliates were unable to send delegates, such as family death or illness, refusal of visas, disasters and conflicts.  Some wanted proxy voting to be available without such limitations.  Because of these divided views, the Constitutional Advisory Committee has included advance voting rather than proxy voting; the Committee is interested to hear members’ views on this aspect of the Regulations.

There will be another opportunity for members to comment next month, and also opportunities for members attending the meetings in Vienna and Singapore to discuss the draft Constitution and Regulations.  The Committee will consider all comments received and distribute a second draft for further comment in October.  A third draft will be prepared for presentation to the Board of Directors for agreement in principle in November.  This agreed version will be formally circulated in February for voting at Congress.

Dr Jean Murray, BPW International Executive Secretary 2008-2011

Chairperson, Constitutional Reform Taskforce

Constitutional Review and Reform Schedule for 2010-11
18 September 2010 First draft of the Constitution and Regulations, and the Explanatory Guide, circulated to the Board of Directors for comment, and posted on the BPW International website
1-17 October 2010 Comments on the first draft considered by the Constitutional Advisory Committee and changes made
18 October 2010 Second draft of the Constitution and Regulations and an updated Explanatory Guide circulated to the Board of Directors
18-30 October 2010 Comments on the second draft considered by the Constitutional Advisory Committee and changes made
November 2010 A final draft of the Constitution and Regulations, with a draft of the Procedure Manual, presented to the Board of Directors for in principle agreement
December 2010 – January 2011 Any final concerns will be resolved
16 February 2011 Resolutions, nominations and the revised Constitution and Regulations will be circulated
17-21 June 2011 A formal vote on the Constitution and Regulations will be conducted at Congress in Helsinki
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