According to the UK’s Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, the foreign population has doubled in the past decade, now exceeding a staggering 800,000 newcomers. This influx isn't just about retirement; it's about a diverse mix of investors, digital nomads, and professionals under the age of 50 flooding our shores. With the average age of expat women in the Algarve now sitting at a sprightly 48, it's clear we're not here for the rocking chair – we're here for the adventure.

But as the demographics shift, so do our needs and aspirations. In a recent survey conducted by the Algarve Women’s Network (AWN), a startling 68% of professional women expressed feeling 'unsupported and restricted in their development'. Blame it on the 'work from home' culture that's become so prevalent; it's hard to thrive when you're cut off from the pulse of like-minded individuals, from the camaraderie of shared challenges and triumphs.

Enter the Algarve Women’s Network – a lifeline for the modern, professional woman of the region, conducted in the English language. Founded by yours truly and the dynamic Sharon Farrell, AWN is more than just a network; it's a vibrant community that pulses with the energy of driven professionals seeking connection and growth. Our mission? To create a space where women can flourish both personally and professionally, where we can learn, support, and inspire one another.

Our calendar is jam-packed with events designed to ignite the spark of possibility. From captivating seminars on topics like marketing for startups and leveraging AI, to wellness retreats and adrenaline-pumping excursions, there's something for every woman craving enrichment, growth, and adventure.

And as we bask in the afterglow of International Women's Day, it's clear that our community is thriving, doubling in size every month and representing hundreds of women from 28 countries and 16 industries. We celebrated in the opulent setting of Vila Vita Parc, where a distinguished lineup of speakers inspired us with tales of resilience, creativity, and empowerment. Among them stood Erika Harding, an accomplished entrepreneur whose ventures have made a lasting impact on our community. Then there was Andrea Otley, a gifted artist whose work has graced galleries from the UK to Beijing. Elaine Godley shone as a beacon of strength and resilience, triumphing over cancer to become a multi-award-winning health and wellbeing mentor. And let's not forget Debby Burton, whose unwavering dedication to supporting Algarve Firefighters through aid, rescue coordination, and community engagement embodies true altruism. We have many remarkable women from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

Katya Bauval, Executive Director at Vila Vita Parc, shared her perspective, stating, 'Nurturing a local community of women who make a difference to the Algarve landscape is vital to the social and economic development of the region. At Vila Vita Parc, we believe in the power of collaboration and support, and through our partnership with the Algarve Women's Network, we aim to create a space where women can thrive.'

But perhaps the true stars of the show were the women of AWN themselves – everyday heroes like Anne (name changed) who escaped her violent husband and established a women's refuge to aid others facing similar situations, Alicia who recounts her tumultuous relationship with a charismatic shaman in her captivating award-winning memoir, or Jan, who challenges the women of Loulé to pursue their bucket list activities while contributing to charitable causes in this region. And let's not forget Suzi, who at the age of 55, finally realized her dream of starting her own business, and then went on to run her first marathon at the age of 62. So here's to the women of the Algarve – may we continue to uplift, empower, and inspire one another as we navigate this beautiful journey called life in the magnificent Algarve!

For more information follow AWN on Facebook.


I am an advocate for community development and a champion for women's empowerment. My passion lies in leadership and innovation, and I am dedicated to using my voice and influence to nurture robust, entrepreneurial communities throughout Portugal. My mission is to cultivate a vibrant community of changemakers who are committed to pursuing their dreams and making a significant impact in their new country of residence. 

A multi-award-winning entrepreneur | Bestselling Author | Co-founder of Algarve Women’s Network

Kamila Laura Sitwell