The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is the world's largest organization of midwives associations. Its vision and mission aims to underpin its global work. With over 100 Member Associations led by midwives who determine their own governance and strategies. ICM is the voice of over 300,000 midwives around the globe.
In 2022 ICM will celebrate 100 years since it was incoporated as the International Midwives Union at a meeting in Belgium.
Since the early 1900s there were a variety of international meetings of midwives on the European continent with the exception of an eight-year gap (1914-1922) due to WWI. In 1922, the International Midwives Union (IMU) was created, the forerunner of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and meetings of midwives in the European continent continued at uneven intervals, also affected by WWII. In 1954, the reconstituted IMU changed its name to ICM and appointed Marjorie Bays as the first Executive Secretary. She was also the Royal Collage of Midwives' Assistant Secretary. The first Head Office was based in London. The Triennial Congress series was established in 1954 and remains unbroken. The Congress has become a major platform which brings together midwives from around the world, to network, collaborate, share experience, exchange knowledge, learn, socialize and celebrate midwifery.
The ICM Council decided in 1999 to move the location of the headquarters office from London, UK to The Hague, Netherlands and it has been there since. The headquarters' permanent staff has increased from the appointment in 1987 of one part-time executive secretary, to the present larger group including the Chief Executive, Technical Midwife Advisors, Communications Manager, Project Lead, Membership Coordinator, Council Adminstrator, Advocacy Manager and other administrative staff.
The Council meets in full every three years immediately before Congress over four days. Each Midwives Association, irrespective of size, sends two voting delegates to the Congress. The maximum strength of Council is two times each Midwives Associations. Delegates debate and discuss policy and update core documents for example Position Statements, Guidelines, and Midwifery Standards. They provide strategic direction for ICM. They review financial statements and reports and the Board for the next triennium is appointed. Council also hears presentations from three shortlisted Midwives Associations (countries) and votes on the Congress country for 6 years hence.
ICM Congresses have become the major, regular focus for midwives’ global business, professional and scientific meetings. In addition, regional meetings and conferences are often held in the years between Congresses. The venue for each Congress is decided six years ahead, and the event is co-hosted by ICM and one of its Midwives Associations. Venues over the past 50 years have included Jerusalem, Kobe, Manila, Santiago, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington and Durban, as well as numerous European cities.
The Wellcome Library holds the ICM archive. Click here for further details of materials held in the archive.