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.