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President Isobel’s July 2020 Message

Hello everyone,

What activity does July bring?

July heralds our Soroptimist Day of Action and our theme this year is ‘Stay Connected.’  This seems the most relevant activity to celebrate on the 18th July as staying connected has never been so important in the face of this pandemic.   There is a toolkit for this campaign on the members’ area of the website, www.sigbi.org.

The 18th July also marks Nelson Mandela’s birthday and in tribute the UN have had a Nelson Mandela International Day of Action for the last 10 years.  The Secretary-General António Guterres in an address to the General Assembly in 2017 said “The best tribute we can pay this great man is not words or in ceremonies, but actions that improve our world.”  The UN body’s president, Peter Thomson, noted that Mr. Mandela’s fight for a world that is just and fair “remains as relevant today as it was during his lifetime.”

Does a pandemic have a different impact on the lives of women and girls?

Mandela’s fight for a world that is just and fair may be even more relevant today than Peter Thomson thought.   A tweet from The COVID – 19 World Bank Live series states, “Evidence from outbreaks similar to COVID-19 indicates that women and girls can be affected in particular ways, and in some areas, face more negative impacts than men. In fact, there is a risk that gender gaps could widen during and after the pandemic and that gains in women’s and girls’ accumulation of human capital, economic empowerment and voice and agency, built over the past decades, could be reversed.”

How does Soroptimist Action help?

It is important as an organisation that we look at the issues that face society currently such as discrimination, the increase in domestic violence and the role of women going backwards as a result of the pandemic.

The harshness and occurrence of these problems differ across countries and they are further complicated by age, sexual orientation, income, ethnicity, culture, and physical abilities.  Yet one thing is becoming clear, the adverse consequences are disproportionate for women everywhere.

Never has staying connected been so important.  Members connected with each other, with the organisations we support, our links around the world.  All working together on the actions that make a difference to the lives of women and girls and will result in a future just and fair world.

Here’s to our Soroptimist Day of Action on the 18th July and increasing our visibility and voice, making things happen.

Best wishes,

Federation President 2019-2020

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