Establishing Soroptimist Clubs in Europe

Dr. Suzanne Noel a prominent French cosmetic surgeon, was the founding president of the Soroptimist club in Paris in 1924.

She traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia using her lecturing series to share the Soroptimist concept and message, founding new clubs in countries that were sorely lacking in recognizing professional women’s contributions to society.

Dr. Noel was the single most important figure in the founding of one of the most prominent women’s organizations in Europe and tending for years to its growth and stability. She set an unrivaled record by establishing a dozen clubs around the world, thus widely spreading the concept of Soroptimist International.

It was therefore fitting that Dr. Noel was elected to be the first President of the European Federation of Soroptimist International in 1930. Her constant dedication to Soroptimist, which she often referred to as her “child,” earned her the designation of “Godmother” of the European Soroptimists. Moreover, it is her work in Soroptimist that helped to define her views from a feminist perspective and where her dedication to the betterment of women can be ultimately understood.

Dr. Noel’s cosmetic surgery career constituted only a part of how she assisted women in accomplishing independence. The other part rested in her career as a Soroptimist. She was dedicated to helping women achieve independence through a network of support within a public framework. Suzanne was devoted to keeping women in the workforce for as long as possible and she helped to keep them there, first by enabling them to look youthful and capable of working despite the lack of protection or laws against ageism and second by supporting them personally and professionally through her Soroptimist organization.