SIGBI-Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland History

Soroptimists in Great Britain – In the Beginning

Two years after the first club was formed in America, in 1923 the Greater London Club was formed in Great Britain  Read more about Establishing Soroptimist Clubs in Great Britain here  




A noteworthy historic event took place in 1927 when the first World Conference of Soroptimist clubs was held in Washington, DC. At the conference the United States and Canada formed the American Federation SIA and clubs already established in Great Britain, France, Holland and Italy formed the European Federation SIE.

Other significant milestones at this conference were the decision that Soroptimist International conventions be held every four years and adoption of the Soroptimist emblem for the members – Read more about the emblem here

Soroptimist International Federation Great Britain & Ireland SIGBI

The Federation of Great Britain & Ireland was established in 1934 when Britain split away from the rest of Europe and became the third Federation of Soroptimist International after America and Europe. Margaret Adams then recently elected as President of the National Union of GB became the first President of the Federation of Great Britain & Ireland.

Watch here this AMAZING film of the 1939 Federation Conference Soroptimist international Great Britain & Ireland in Buxton

Extension was progressing

Soroptimists in Great Britain and Ireland

In June 1935 it was decided to form  9 Divisional Unions (DU),  Each DU sending a representative to Federation meetings. These 9 Divisional Unions divided and sub divided and then increased, and in 1975 became 17 Regions – read more about Soroptimist Regions here

Extension Overseas

By the 1950’s Soroptimists from Great Britain were travelling overseas and developing clubs in many countries.

Soroptimists in Africa

The first club in Africa to be chartered was Soroptimist Salisbury Zimbabwe in 1957 by the Federation President of SIGBI  Rebecca Morris, who also visited Bulawayo, where a club was formed and Chartered 2 years later.

Troubles came to this beautiful country and Soroptimists have been and still are in the forefront of efforts to help the people who have suffered great distress as a result of years of fighting.

Federation President Rebecca Morris also visited and chartered clubs in South Africa – Soroptimist work in Africa had begun – read more about Soroptimists in Africa here


The Caribbean

Federation President Dorothy Griffiths visited Trinidad on holiday and in Port of Spain was able to establish a group of prominent women who signed a petition for the formation of a Soroptimist Club – the club received their charter in 1959


The story of Soroptimists in the Caribbean is one of steady growth and increasing service to the community with 12 clubs formed in six countries between1958 – 1983 read more about Soroptimists in the Caribbean here

South Asia

The Lahore Club in Paistan was formed in 1967 and received its Charter from Beatrice Grosvenor in March 1969 – Beatrice later became Federation President in 1971. Since its inception it has been concerned with the role of women in public and national life, and particularly with women’s education. Later more clubs were chartered throughout South Asia – read more about Soroptimists in South Asia here