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What is a Soroptimist ?

The blog below (June 2020) by Rachel  Weinhold of SI Rossendale explains clearly what a Soroptimist is.

A blog by Rachel Weinhold, SI Rossendale

Having been a Soroptimist for several years now, I’m often asked ‘what is a Soroptimist?’ and ‘what do Soroptimists do?’.

Well, Soroptimists work to ensure that women and girls get a fair deal, in every country around the world.

We’ve been doing it for 100 years now and we think it’s about time the world knew about us. Which is why we’ve come up with a mission statement, to help explain what we do, as Soroptimists, day in day out.

Read on to find out more about our mission statement.

Who Are The Soroptimists?

It’s a good question and, in my 4 years of being a Soroptimist, it’s one I’ve been asked many times. I’m sure my Soroptimist sisters, some of whom have been members for 50+ years, have been asked it many more times than I.

In short, The Soroptimists are an international women’s charity who work to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

The Soroptimists have actually been around for 100 years – in fact, it’s our Centenary year in 2021. And yet, unfortunately, we’re often perceived as one of the best kept secrets amongst women’s organisations.

You’ve probably heard of the Women’s Institute. You’ve probably even heard of the Mother’s Union. But who’s heard of the Soroptimists?

Chances are, if you are aware of us, it’s likely because your Mum or your Grandma were Soroptimists in their day.

However, the Soroptimists are still going strong as an international women’s organisation, fighting for the rights of women and girls all over the globe. In fact, there are currently about 80,000 Soroptimists in the world, based in over 121 territories globally and that membership is growing year-on-year.

So, you could say, we’re a force to be reckoned with!.

Who Are SIGBI?

Because Soroptimism globally is such a large organisation, it is split into tiers to make it easier to administer and govern. This also ensures that every Soroptimist club is a local group made up of local women, tackling the issues that are most pressing and relevant to the women and girls in their community.

At the top of the tier, we have Soroptimist International; the global governing body, if you like. Soroptimist International has General (Category One) Consultative Status as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations. This means that, as Soroptimists, women have a seat at the highest tables of power in the world.

Soroptimist International is then split into four groups, or Federations, as they’re called. One of which is Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland.

Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) covers Great Britain and some countries in India, Africa and The Caribbean (although the African countries will shortly be leaving SIGBI to form their own Africa Federation)………………….