Past International President, Ann Garvie, attended our club meeting yesterday along with members from our club, Southern Region clubs and a Southeast Region club. Ann began by talking about her early years as a child and young woman before she became a Soroptimist. Ann recounted her meeting with the Camilla at a time just before she became engaged to Prince Charles as his title was then. They met at the House of Lords and she took Camilla onto the balcony.
Ann became Federation President in 2004 and International President in 2013. She spoke about her International President’s Appeal, See Solar Cook Solar and the effect it had on women and their families’ lives. She spent time visiting the main UN centres and advocating for women’s rights, including medical issues. Ann said that Gender Equality was a main issue globally, not just for Soroptimists but for all countries and that our main focus should be towards this. In the lively discussion that followed, the education of boys alongside girls was discussed in prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). Part of that discussion is shown in the short video clip below. We discussed the importance of partnership work with men’s groups such as White Ribbon who visited us almost a year ago in November 2021. Also, potentially having men as honorary club members which is the case for some clubs in the USA.
Other topics mentioned included poverty with the current cost of living crisis and having to have foodbanks to address this, lack of insulation in homes, inequality in the penal system and lobbying for a women’s minister. The need to raise our profile as Soroptimists, to focus on Programme Action globally as well as locally in order to attract new members was also discussed. Some of these are a call to action which we can address in our clubs. You can read more about Ann’s life here: Ann Garvie