The “Open Door” Networking Forum is an umbrella body that was formed to help members of International Women’s Clubs around the world make contact with one another. In the 37 years it has been around, “Open Door” has become a network of over 80 clubs spanning 40 countries and over the years has been of enormous value to those involved.
In addition to the support available to members who are relocating internationally, support is also provided to members traveling abroad
Throughout the international network, celebrations take place on a regular basis to which IWC Cape Town members are invited and often attend.
Aims & Objectives
Open Door aspires to facilitate and promote inter-Club contact and communication between International Women's Associations which are non-political, non-religious, non-commercial, and where membership is open to all nationalities. The Open Door network is administered through the means of a Directory of member Associations with Club and Contact details of Presidents and International Coordinators.
The main objectives of Open Door are to:
  • provide an immediate point of contact for a member from an affiliated Association moving to or visiting a town or city where a 'Sister Club' exists
  • grant guest status at a monthly meeting to meet groups of expatriate and like-minded women provided she presents her membership card or introduction letter from her Association to the international coordinator of that Club
  • help and advise new Associations and provide help and support to Clubs where needed
    Membership in an affiliated Association is not automatic. Each Association is autonomous and membership is governed by its Constitution and other legal rules.
How It Started
The idea of Open Door was started in IWC Stockholm by Elisabeth Sammann, in 1980. She got the idea while travelling abroad with her husband, a Rotarian. The hospitality extended to him by fellow Rotarians in foreign cities impressed her so much that she thought this could help members of International Women’s Associations have a similar reciprocity in "opening their doors to each other" when visiting or moving to a city or town in another country.
Open Door started with just nine International Women’s Associations, each agreeing to nominate an International Coordinator to welcome IWC members to their Clubs as guests at monthly meetings, and other Club activities as well as occasionally exchanging Club Newsletters and correspondence. At the same time Ismelda Pellet, Vice-President of IWC The Hague, had also started a network of Associations with the aim of forging closer links of friendship through exchanges with International Women’s Associations worldwide.
By the end of 1983, Elisabeth had a total of eighteen Associations and Ismelda had twelve. They came in contact with each other and decided to join forces. Five years later, Elisabeth moved back to Chile with her family and Ismelda took over as Open Door Chairman.
For further information: Our Open Door representative in Cape Town is Anne-Sophie Richter. Please contact her at annesophie@telkomsa.net.

P.O.Box 587
Constantia 7848
Cape Town
Republic of South Africa
Lorraine Mewett
27 71 561 2522
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