IWP was formed in 1991 to provide English speaking women the opportunity to express their ideas, utilise their talents and enrich their lives through their contributions to the group and to the larger community in Portugal. The association is a nonprofit organisation as per our Constitution.
IWP, International Women in Portugal, is a social organisation for women of all ages and nationalities in the Lisbon–Cascais area. Whether you’ve just arrived to Portugal or are a long time resident, being a member of IWP is a fantastic way to meet women from all over the world, make new friends, and make the most of your life in this wonderful country.
Joining IWP will introduce you to other women with similar interests, hobbies or backgrounds, expanding and enriching your own experience of living in Portugal.
IWP has a reputation for offering a warm welcome to new members and providing opportunities and activities that reflect the changing needs of women in Portugal.
Moving to a new country can be intimidating as well as exciting. We hope to help members overcome the difficulties often encountered when settling into life in a foreign country. We offer ongoing support and activities to those new to the country and those who want continuing contact with other expats. Whether you are newly arrived, a longtime resident, or a woman returning to your home country from abroad, there is a place for you in IWP.
While British English is the official language of IWP, our membership represents many nations and members will find others who speak their native language. By offering activities in which to participate and many social events to attend every month, the organisation offers members the opportunity to express their ideas, use their talents and enrich their lives through their involvement with IWP and the larger community in Portugal.
One of the most wonderful things about IWP is that it is big enough to contain all of us. Many of us have lived all over the world, grown up in cultures different from that of our parents, fallen in love with partners and raised children in cultures different from our own childhoods. The joy we feel encountering others whose complex lives reflect our own is profound.
Others are living in a foreign country for the first time, facing culture shock and language barriers without any previous experience. We can feel homesick, isolated or lonely. It can be challenging!
And so we need each other! What we share far outshines our differences. What keeps us going to our meetings, activities and “happy hours” reaches past our separate languages, experiences and cultures to a deeper understanding, even when words fail. We have a common understanding —when we feel joy or sorrow or pain, when we laugh or cry—we see ourselves reflected in each other. We are not alone.
As women, we know that reason and emotion, thoughts and feelings, nature and nurture, are vitally intertwined at all times. As international women building our lives in beautiful Portugal, we know we cannot do so alone. Our nature is to share our lives with others. Our needs are intertwined, and simply caring about each other is the purest form of communication.
What we offer
Members have many opportunities to get together informally in and around Cascais, Estoril and Lisbon.
We offer a wide range of social, leisure and cultural events, some of which include spouses, partners or guests. We also have excursions and workshops. These are often planned by members and arranged in cooperation with the Executive Board.
- Arts & crafts
- Book clubs
- Card games (bridge)
- Golf lessons for beginners
- Petanca (boules)
- Language and conversational groups
- Mother and baby/toddler group
All of these activities are often held in a member’s private home, at a local park or designated meeting place.
Normally (when we’re not dealing with pandemic limitations) there is a monthly ‘Happy Hour’ in Cascais at a popular bar / lounge.
Members are encouraged to suggest new activities, expanding our skills and experiences.
IWP women are like Portuguese azulejos
Azulejos are painted ceramic tiles. Each is beautiful individually; when joined together they create new patterns of diverse colours and motifs.
The azulejo is one of the strongest cultural expressions in Portugal and one of the most unique contributions of the Portuguese to world culture.
Like azulejos, the women of IWP each have their own personal identity. Together, they come from all over the world to make up a beautiful mural of experiences, journeys and life experiences.