secret society for solo women travelers?

5W stands for Women Welcome Women World Wide. The organization has over 3000 members in over 70 countries and was started in 1984 by Frances Alexander. Most members are native to their countries but some are expatriates. There is a recommended minimum of £35 donation to join. There are few rules, the most important being the confidentiality of the list.

Roshelle Cashdan wrote in her article about 5W:

The member receives a directory which she pledges not to share with anyone except another 5W member. The directory listing contains several lines provided by each person: age, work, interests, languages spoken, contact information, and more.

From 5W’s website:

Gatherings are usually arranged by groups of members in their home town and extend an invitation to other members to attend from all around the world. They can last for several days, in a school or similar venue. They have an informal programme of events – maybe visits to local places of interest, theatre, projects, etc – but with plenty of time to talk to other women and perhaps to arrange visits to one another following the Gathering.

Each Gathering has an individual character, depending on the location, the size and the organisers.

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