SIGBI Programme Director’s Blog January 2019

Peace, goodwill and understanding 

This time of year seems an appropriate time to look at another of the 5Ps – Peace. This has only one goal – 16 – which is defined by the UN as follows:

“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

It has 12 targets and 6 gender specific indicators.

UN Women avers that in both developed and developing countries law and justice institutions continue to fail millions of women and girls, whilst tolerance and impunity for crimes against them remain widespread. This matters because women play a vital role in preventing conflict, in forging and maintaining peace, and in moving towards peaceful and inclusive societies at all levels from individual to community, country and international levels.


How can we, as soroptimists, play our part in improving the experience of women and girls in the countries in which we operate? Firstly we need to know where we are at the moment but unfortunately not all countries have submitted information to the UN. All countries in our Federation plus the USA (classed within the OECD by the UN) are in Table 1. These demonstrate a wide disparity, even within the UN Regions – others show similar results.

Does the data below help us to focus our efforts? What areas of ‘peace’ do we work in at present? Given the different levels at which our projects are directed I think this includes:

  • Violence Against Women and Girls, including Domestic Abuse – e.g. supporting women’s refuges, combatting forced marriage and FGM;
  • Disparities in the way women are treated within criminal justice systems – e.g. given prison sentences for minor offences when men are not and the disruptive effect this has on them and their families[1];
  • Slavery and Trafficking – 71% of people affected by slavery are women and girls[2]. We need to ensure the acceptance and implementation of the Global Compact for Migration adopted by the UN in December 2018[3]; the voting[4] showed that 152 countries were in favour, 12 abstained whilst the USA, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel and Poland voted against;
  • Poverty – e.g. supporting food banks, delivering health care; addressing inequalities in political representation and levels of promotion within occupations.

I am sure you can think of others but it is clear that we need to act across SIGBI at all levels of society. Do continue the good work you do – and don’t forget to report it on the programme database. We will be reviewing this during 2019 to:

  • try and make it relevant to the 5Ps;
  • enable our reporting to the UN and the Charity Commission;
  • easier to enter and extract data;

so that we can become even more effective at what we do.

I look forward to working with you in helping women and girls be the best they can be in a fairer and more just world – at least in our Federation.

Best wishes for 2019 and the future.


Kay Richmond
Director of Programme

Read previous blogs from Programme Director Kay Richmond: