Soroptimist International President Hustings

Rita Leaman, SI Scarborough

The conference delegates returned after their coffee break to hear two previous SIGIB Federation Presidents present their case becoming President for a two year period 2021-23. The facilitator was Beverley Bucur, SI Director of Advocacy. There were three parts to the hustings: A personal statement. Facilitated questions. A personal summary.

Pat Black (2012/13) spoke first, wearing a scarf showing a variety of Soroptimist buttons and badges. As a schoolgirl, Pat visited the UN in Geneva, was inspired and never forgot the humanitarianism on show. Pat welcomed questions at any time, not just today.

Maureen Maguire (2011/12) was backed by a slide saying: Press for Progress and Seize every Opportunity. Maureen said she would promote progress through education and training.

Q1: What one thing would change externally and internally?

Maureen said she would look towards raising the profile externally and for club members to spread the word through raising the profile of SI externally. Members should spread the word through their friends.

Pat spoke about the importance of making a platform for improving communications, especially using all means of social media.

Q2: a) What is your vision for a five Federations in SI? b) What are strategies for support and integration? c) How will the new Federation be supported?

Maureen emphasised the need for communication to support the Federation, acknowledging the cultural, language and financial differences.

Pat spoke about helping the Federation to move forward and acknowledging that many members of the new Federation will have been members of other Federations.

Q3: Given reductions in membership and reserves, how do we retain SI as a functioning organisation?

Maureen said that whether it was one or five Federations, consistency is needed. On a blank piece of paper there were four options:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Do we become one Global organisation?
  3. Do we set up different and smaller Federations?
  4. Do we reorganise along the lines of the UN with Regions joining together?

We must be a friendly and an inviting organisation,

Pat reminded us of what IPP Sue Biggs said about making sure of that ‘what’s on the tin is on the inside’. Programme Action is the key by demonstrating what SI is doing in the communities. We must embrace world change. Advocacy relevant to the world and improve viability.

In Summary

Maureen said that educating the woman will educate the family.We must invest in women and girls and use the 5 Ps for gender equality.

Pat reminded us of the words in the Vision. Soroptimists are visionaries and visionaries need to change. Soroptimists have led change in gender issues. Team work makes dream work.