Soroptimists are members of an international organisation for women who share the ideals of advancing the status of women and furthering human rights through Advocacy, Awareness and Action. Worldwide we have over 90,000 members.
We speak up for women by celebrating International Women’s Day on the 8th of March each year. We campaign against sex trafficking and for the elimination of violence against women. Our voice is loud – we have consultative status at the United Nations! In the Ilkley club we’re lucky enough to have a member who has played a major role in International Soroptimism and was formerly the International Assistant Programme Director for Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland.
As well as keeping women’s issues high in the public consciousness our guest speaker programme keeps club members own knowledge and skills up-to-date and emphasises the importance of continuing personal development. Our friendship links with other clubs around the world also increase our understanding of women’s issues globally.
Closer to home we have an annual conference for the Yorkshire clubs and an annual national conference which members can attend if they wish.
We do a lot more than just talk! Indeed the most important strand of Soroptimism is known as “Programme Action”
Here are some of our actions from the last couple of years.
– An outdoor Tai Chi lesson attended by members from Ilkley and other regional clubs. An introduction to a gentle but powerful form of exercise which all members could have a go at. A way of coping with the demands of a busy home life and a challenging job.
– Supporting a local women’s refuge by donating clothes, toiletries and organising fundraising events such as a Bridge lunch, a raffle and a coffee morning with stalls selling, clothes, bric-a-brac, jewellery, crafts and cakes.
– Our microcredit challenge saw club members starting their own small businesses using a start-up fund of just £10. Mimicking the situation in which many women in developing countries must use their ingenuity and very little money to support their families. Our businesses included, dog walking, baking, chauffeuring, plant sales, quiz night organisers and clothing alterations. It was a massive success and raised £4,500.
– Street collections for the charity Breast Cancer Awareness
– Taking part in Walk the Walk