Blog by Sue Butler, SI Ilkley, Yorkshire
‘Why doesn’t everyone know about you?’ asked Monty Halls after listening to retiring Soroptimist International President Maureen Maguire speaking to conference about her two years in office.
Two years that could have been overshadowed by the aftermath of lockdown, by war and by terrible natural disasters were also a reminder of the hope, the support for achievement of women and girls across the world, the joy in friendship that Soroptimism brings.
President Maureen’s International President’s Appeal has already helped more than 3,000 women and girls. Fundraising has been so successful that the six projects will continue to Open Doors to a Brighter Future for a further year in projects across the world from Paraguay to Georgia. She and the project teams and participants have greatly enjoyed meeting each other over the last year, this joy still embodied somewhere in Uganda by a rooster called Maureen!
Going forward President Maureen oversaw the establishment of the Soroptimist Foundation which is currently supporting the public speaking competition for schoolgirls, how I admire them, to be so bold and so accomplished at such a young age; and will go on to support projects for women and girls from war torn countries.
As ever to hear about the projects we support brings us new inspiration and energy but President Maureen also spoke about the importance of our role in international discussions, her ambition that we should be seen and identified as a go to organisation advocating for improvement in the lives of women and girls, currently as part of the Campaign for a Global Treaty to END violence against women and girls. She reminded us of the importance of our role at the United Nations both through our United Nations representatives and our opportunities to send up to 90 representatives to the Commission on the Status of Women.
Seemingly indefatigably energetic she has also been working toward a Young Members Forum with a WhatsApp group and online seminars whom we older members can consult about issues relating to young people and can support as they develop their Soroptimist engagement.
I could go on, and on. To have this years conference set off by such an inspiring talk, given by such an inspiring role model – a privilege, a challenge, an energiser. Thankyou President Maureen. I can’t help wondering where you’ll be rolling your sleeves up next, and whether you ever go to bed!