Today we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and the achievements of women everywhere. It is also a day to raise awareness about women’s equality and to take stock of what still needs to be done to enable us to reach true gender equality.
Soroptimists Stand Up For Women
As Soroptimists We Stand Up For Women – we are a vibrant and dynamic organisation of almost 72,000 women across the world working together to transform the lives of women and girls.
I joined the Chepstow Soroptimists just over 30 years ago having heard about some of the projects they were involved with. There were some quite formidable ladies there, but I was warmly welcomed to their meetings and encouraged to participate in local, national and international activities. I was particularly fascinated by the fact that Soroptimist International had (and still has) consultative status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations (UN). This meant that because of the projects we undertook and the activities we were involved in, we had a voice at the UN. Wow, that was amazing – a real chance to make a difference.
Soroptimists are remarkable women
I vividly remember the first time I attended a regional meeting for all the Soroptimist Clubs in South Wales. I was very impressed by the Regional President and the way she handled the meeting, very efficiently but with a great sense of fun. The speakers were so interesting and were people and subjects that I would not otherwise have had access to. And meeting the other Soroptimists was inspiring too. I was excited to be part of this organisation and intrigued as to where it would lead.
I didn’t have to look much further than the members of my own club (initially in Chepstow and more recently in Bridgend) to come across remarkable women. The members were from such a diverse range of professions – a teacher, accountant, solicitor, vet, food consultant, farmer, actor, University Dean, pharmacist, business and management consultant to name just a few. There was even a judge, a High Sheriff and a Girlguiding Chief Commissioner. Each of these ladies brings a wealth of experience and has amazing connections.
What each of these women have in common is first, that they are Soroptimists and second, that they #ChooseToChallenge (the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day). By working together we are able to tackle issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking, the environment and the rights of older women. We are able to encourage others to get involved and inspire the next generation of women to make their voices heard too.
Since those first days as a Soroptimist, I have met hundreds of like-minded women, attended many more Club and Regional meetings, as well as Federation and International conferences and I have played a role in numerous projects to improve the lives of women and girls both on my own doorstep as well as across the world.
International Women’s Day 2021
On this International Women’s Day, I welcome the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere and take up the call to raise awareness about women’s equality and lobby for accelerated gender parity.
Soroptimists are women taking action. Soroptimists are women making a difference.
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