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Membership Director’s March 2023 Message

Did You Know…?

As we visit women’s groups across the UK, we are aware many women do not know about the work of Soroptimists in our Federation and across the globe! Here we talk about just one area of our work.

This is about our flagship project, Stop Violence against Women and Girls

  • We gathered evidence to support change for women in prisons, Prison Reform Trust.
  • We gathered evidence about the safety of women at railway stations.
  • We worked with Dame Vera Baird as Victims Commissioner to gather data about court practices in family courts, data that cannot be discounted when important changes are tabled to improve the outcomes for victims.
  • We advocated and spoke out to highlight dangers to women, the Sarah Everard case.
  • We attended meetings and presented our data at the United Nations where we have consultative status, to press for positive action and change.

In November I joined a march in Northampton for ‘Reclaim the Night’. It was very public, beautifully noisy, strangers spoke to each other and shared stories.  When we gathered at the end of the march, we saw what I thought was a ‘Snow Bus’, a glossy white vehicle that seemed to have lots of police officers offering coffees.

It was a SNO bus, Safer Nights Out, an initiative by Gloucestershire Constabulary to protect us against violence.  Added to that was the Flare App, where women can report any signs of threat even if they do not need intervention at that time eg staring, cat-calling, inappropriate gestures/comments, invasion of personal space etc.  The police then have a database of hotspots to target their patrols.

This is a practical way that services respond when Soroptimists gather the data, make representation, advocate and stand up against violence towards women and girls. We make the point, action follows.

Our membership of this global organisation gives us status as women who are a valuable resource. We are trustworthy, objective, working to high professional standards and therefore a ‘go-to’ organisation for services and communities that need support for positive change. We are an organisation that keeps members abreast of current local and global situations, especially through the eyes of women. We are an organisation that provides advocacy for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Our vision and mission demands strategic action from us. We will ‘educate, empower and enable women’ to give them a ‘step up’ to a more independent, successful future. Not a hand out but a step up onto the rungs of a ladder.  Providing aspirational support for women who don’t see a future for themselves because of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

We own the evidence of our work; we have the facts and figures; let’s get them into the public domain so that women ask not ‘’What are Soroptimists?’

but ‘How do we join? How do we become a part of this success story?’

If you are reading this, do you know that entry level membership is under £6 a month? Go to the membership page of the website and sign up today!

Dishi Attwood
SIGBI Membership Director