About Us

The National Board of Catholic Women actively seeks to enable the spiritual growth and development of all Catholic women.

We aim to promote the communion and participation of Catholic women in fulfilling Christ’s mission by:

  1. Creating a space for the diversity of women to be in communion with one another
  2. Equipping women to fully participate in the Churches mission through formation and information
  3. Ensuring the hopes and concerns of Catholic women are heard within the Church and that women are involved in decision-making and mission

The NBCW operates centrally as a national umbrella body with the support of the Bishops’ Conference.

In addition we have a framework that holds the potential to reach into the women in the pews of the local Church through our structure of Diocesan Links forming a national network.

This key partnership between the national body, diocesan links and the Bishops of each diocese situates the NBCW to be a transformative vehicle for synodal development- listening, forming, representing and advocating for those on the margins.

With the innovation of communications the NBCW strives to offer centralised online formation, celebrating the contribution women make to our faith and in living our the Mission of Christ.

Who we are

The National Board of Catholic Women brings together women from many different backgrounds. We work nationally and internationally to challenge discrimination and promote the right of women to gender justice. We actively promote the presence, participation and responsibilities of Catholic women in the Church and society. We work ecumenically with women of other faiths and secular groups. Our many member organisations, with their particular interests and networks, make an invaluable contribution to the work of NBCW.

NBCW is a forum where Catholic women in England and Wales can:

  • Exchange experiences
  • Express their hopes and concerns
  • Make recommendations about the life and mission of the Church

NBCW give a voice to Catholic women.

The NBCW is effective in communicating Catholic women’s views and concerns to a range of bodies:

  • We are a consultative body to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
  • We communicate with the Government and the Press on matters of public interest.
  • We act internationally as a consultative body to the United Nations Social and Economic Committee (ECOSOC).

Let your voice be heard:

  • The Diocesan Link is a key person who communicates to the NBCW what women in her diocese are saying. Contact your link.
  • Our Standing Committees welcome women with relevant experience in issues being considered. Get in touch if you think you have something to offer.


In 1939 Cardinal Hinsley asked the Catholic Womens League, the Union of Catholic Mothers and the Catholic Girls Association to work together to co-ordinate their war effort. This became the National Board of Catholic Women.

In 1989 the NBCW Golden Jubilee Review highlighted the need to widen the network to all Catholic Women – not only those in official organisations. As a result of this review, the structure of the NBCW was dramatically changed to allow all Catholic women in England and Wales a voice. Cardinal Hume wrote: ‘The Bishops’ Conference needs to hear from women about the needs and concerns of women in the Church on topics which seem to women to be most crucial or fundamental.’

Today the NBCW is a complex organisation with seventeen member organisations and links to ten national organisations, communicating Catholic women’s concerns and views, through a wide network, to the Bishop’s Conference and national and international organisations.


The Board is made up of the Executive, Committees and Member Organisations. In addition, there are representatives from dioceses and an Episcopal Liaison, and the Board has links with a number of other national organisations.

ExecutiveThe Officers, together with representatives from committees and dioceses, manage the Board
Episcopal LiaisonAppointed by the Bishop’s Conference
Standing Committees and Working GroupsWork to raise awareness on areas of concern
Member organisationsAppointed representative(s) with voting powers
Link organisationsOrganisations where the NBCW has representation


OfficersPresidentPast PresidentVice PresidentsTreasurerSecretary
Amy CameronMargaret ClarkJacintha Bowe & Susan LonghurstBarbara CooksonClaire Paisley
Executive OfficersNikki PetchSophie RudgeSuzanne KowalDorothy Dodoo

Episcopal Link

The Bishops are responsible for the Governance of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. They hold a twice-yearly Conference. The Episcopal Liaison is the link between the Bishops’ Conference and the NBCW and acts as a two-way conduit. He attends the Conference and communicates the work and actions of the NBCW to the Bishops, and communicates to the NBCW the thoughts of the Bishops’ Conference on issues specific to the Board. The current Episcopal Link is Abbott Hugh O.Praem. Read more

Standing Committees / Working Groups

To learn more about our work go to the Committees page.

Ecumenical and InterfaithSocial Responsibility
EducationWomen in the Church
InternationalViolence Against Women and Girls
Science, Environment and BioethicsCommunications Working Group

Member Organisations (those which have a vote)

British Federation of Notre Dame Associationshttp://bfnda.org
Catholic Association for Racial Justicehttps://www.carj.org.uk
Catholic Peoples’ Weekhttps://catholicpeoplesweeks.org
Christian Life Communityhttp://www.cvx-clc.net
Conference of ReligiousEmail: gensec@corew.org
English Society of the Grailhttps://www.thegrail.org
The Society of the Holy Child Jesushttps://www.shcj.org
Marriage Carehttps://www.marriagecare.org.uk
National Conference of Secular Instituteshttp://www.secularinstitutes.co.uk
National Justice and Peace Networkhttps://www.justice-and-peace.org.uk
Newman Associationhttps://www.newman.org.uk
Pax Christihttps://paxchristi.org.uk
Union of Catholic Mothers Waleshttps://www.facebook.com/1990catholicmotherswales
Women Word Spirithttp://www.womenwordspirit.org

Link Organisations (to which NBCW sends delegates)

Faith-Based Links
Catholic Union of Great Britainhttps://catholicunion.org.uk
Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Womenhttps://efecwomen.com
Women’s Interfaith Networkhttp://www.wominet.org.uk
National Council for Lay Associationshttps://ncla.org.uk
World Day of Prayerhttps://www.wwdp.org.uk
World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO)https://www.wucwo.org/index.php/en
Secular Links
National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO)https://nawo.org.uk
National Council of Women (NCW)http://ncwgb.org