The National Council of Women of Great Britain was founded in 1895 as a response to the unsatisfactory working conditions faced by many women at the time. Known as the National Union of Women Workers, the organisation quickly developed into a nationwide network of small groups, and within two years had become affiliated to the International Council of Women (ICW). It has since worked in the UK and internationally on issues of concern to women.

1900 – 1920

By 1900 the Union had set up a number of Special Committees, to focus on particular issues. One of the best known of these was the Women Patrol Committee (later known as the Women’s Police Committee), which became a forerunner of the Women’s Police. Around the same time, the organisation began its campaign for ‘Equal pay for Equal work’, and was particularly concerned with the position of women in the armed forces. In 1918 it became known as the National Council of Women of Great Britain.

1950s, 1960s

In 1951 the NCW became an incorporated body governed by a Memorandum and Articles of Association. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, it was particularly active in working to remove discrimination against women in all areas and in encouraging women to play a full role in society, and this work continues today.

The NCW works closely with the European Network of ICW, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and in 1969 was a founder member of the Women’s National Commission.


In 2000 the organisation was given special consultative status at the United Nations, enabling it to send representatives to sessions such as the Commission on the Status of Women, held annually in New York.


The NCW has responded to changes in society over the course of its history, and in recent years has created policy committees to look at issues ranging from consumer awareness to developments and challenges in science and health. Today, it continues to provide a forum for debate and an opportunity for women to voice their concerns, make recommendations to Government and other decision-making agencies; is a valuable source of information for members; and provides a key support network for women in the UK.

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN GREAT BRITAIN Administrative Office: 81 Bondgate, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL3 7JT. Tel: 01325 367375
Registered Charity No 1001015. Registered in England and Wales. No. 502692. Company limited by guarantee. No. 502692.
Registered Office: 36 Danbury Street, London, N1 8JU. NCW has special consultative status at the United Nations.