For many countries within our Federation, the season of Spring will soon be upon us. Spring usually represents a period of new growth, hope and fresh possibilities. As we look around us, we can see what may appear to be gradual but still small bits of hope. We see the worldwide loosening of restrictions as people slowly return to life as “normal”. This includes the resumption of in-person events where we can truly connect and feed on each other’s energy. We even see, later this year, the return of our first physical conference in two years! This is definitely a sign of hope and something to look forward to.
That being said, new growth is very often preceded by rainfall, as this is very often what stimulates this growth. As such, amidst all of our anticipation, we do continue to see clubs which are struggling for various reasons and even in some cases being on the verge of closure. While this may seem discouraging, let us focus on what we can do differently and how we can use these issues as driving forces for reflection, re-evaluation and redirection. We often hear the saying that an arrow can only be shot by dragging it backward before it is launched forward. If we consider this analogy, we may see this period as one where we feel like we are being pulled backwards. We see declining numbers in terms of membership, and a sense of disillusionment in some regards. However, we can choose to focus on that aspect, or we can see this as our backward movement preparing us to launch into the future, but the choice is ours and is heavily dependent on our willingness to embrace, accept and drive change.
As such, here are some suggested issues that I want us to each reflect on as individual Soroptimists as well as within our clubs:
- What is the true essence of Soroptimism? What is our purpose?
- Are we serving this purpose?
- How are we portraying ourselves to women worldwide?
- How are we bridging the gap between generations? (We can consider here our processes, structure, rules) Are these seen as motivators or hindrances?
- How can we adapt to the changing world?
These questions are by no means exhaustive and are simply a starting point for us to begin thinking about where we are and where we need to be. I want to caution that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions and in fact the answers may vary according to culture, age and demographics, but this is exactly the point, we are a diverse group and rather than attempting to define a rule of thumb, maybe we should be embracing and encouraging diversity and reframing what our future looks like. We’re all going along this journey together so let’s use this as a period to come together, brainstorm, adapt and build back better!
SIGBI Membership Director