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Soroptimists National Conference 2018- a personal view

Caroline Marsh writes –

My First SIGBI Conference – Liverpool 2018 – the tidied up twitter version!

Off for a bit of social action at Soroptimists conference in Liverpool!

That was my first tweet as we were on the train to Liverpool. I tweeted and re-tweeted over 100 tweets over the course of the conference, and they are really my notes of the event. I am sharing some of these with you to give a flavour of what went on and my reaction to the sessions. I didn’t tweet from every session, and here I have put a comment to say what some of these talks were about. Tweets / re-tweets in italics. Twitter is immediate, opinionated and personal. Inevitably this report back is all of those things. I also hope that doing it this way makes it mercifully shorter!

Opening ceremony

Great to be part of a truly international movement to promote empowerment of women and girls-Looking forward to some inspirational speakers over the next two days

Emily Rose Yates – Travel for All

Inspiring to hear @EmilyRYates on realising capabilities not just limitations – how far can she go? Still exploring!

Want to know more about @EmilyRYates and what she’s doing to promote accessible travel? See this –
Great to get some ideas of what we can do to enable and empower for all members of society including the 20% who have a disability

What an inspiring first speaker at #SoroptimistLiverpool2018 -Emily Rose Yates, about accessibility, physical and social.

Great speech wonderful start to conference! Makes me realise my travels around the world are easy. Keep up the good work! 👏🏻🌎

Terry Waite

Terry talked about his experience of being a hostage in Beirut, much of it in solitary confinement.
Let’s talk more instead of going to war – a powerful message from Terry Waite
-solitude is different to loneliness

Dr Ann-Marie Wilson – 28 Too Many – talk on female genital mutilation and what her organisation is doing to tackle this since 2010
28 countries in Africa practice FGM. Need to work with police and other agencies to tackle this @28TooMany

fgm one of the most extreme forms of violence against women #28toomany

We were warned this would be shocking, but this sets out the facts so starkly
Shocking stats on FGM 😢

The horror of FGM: across the world 11 girls are cut every minute – and one of them will die. Support Dr. Anne-Marie Wilson and 28Too Many seeking to influence through law, culture and local safe place

More than 137000 girls in U.K. are at risk of FGM each year.
Cutting parties for FGM. #Soroptimistliverpool2018 have no words to describe their horror but we will and do act

Cutters are coming into the UK, the girls are not just being taken abroad. Globally, 11 girls cut every minute, and 10% of these will die from the cutting

50 000 000 African girls under 15 had or are at risk of FGM – we’ll be reading your report and taking action to support.

Shock in the audience to find out about the huge percentage of girls in Egypt who have been cut (over 85%). Hope coming out of Eritrea though

Findings from research show that medicalising FGM embeds it further into the culture, and girls are still dying.

Want to know more about FGM and the work of @28TooMany? Need to raise awareness more widely to campaign to change laws

Reports produced for every FGM country. Anti- FGM Laws must be passed. We must #educate and partner with faith based organisations.

Soroptimists are taking action to tackle FGM now – advocacy & lobbying, practical support to women, raising awareness- so much creativity and commitment yet so much more to do

Education, a key aspect of Soroptimism, being used to reduce FGM by the 28 Too Many team, showing the many ways education can be implemented

“A law won’t stop something happening, but without a law it will never end”

International President – Mariet Verhoef-Cohen
Our president reminds us why we became Soroptimists- it’s about the action programme

…is heartwarming to hear what members are doing to support water projects to help

impact measurements & measurable outcomes are important for successful programme action. Need to think about the difference we want to make & show that we’ve made it. Also need to collaborate with those we want to help, not just do what we think/want

‘what’s the best way to start a project?’ Mariet says “invest in women”

Federation Project 2019-2021
A general meeting platform party made up entirely of women….
Agreed to lobby for actions climate change

The winning project for Federation Programme is Empowering Girls from Nepal exciting times ahead!

Well, that was a tough call. Four very worthwhile causes, but we will be supporting Empowering Girls in Nepal from 2019 to 2022.

This project will be in partnership with the

Ellie Bird Lenawarungu – the Amuka Project supporting girls in Kenya

Powerful talk from @LansonEllie – empower yourself to empower and above all enable others without doing harm

Ellie Bird talking about educate, equip, empower and enable and work with Kenyan townships: girls who are sexually exploited for sanitary towels

Need to identify the enablers in the community to support the women who are empowered through a project- that’s transformational leadership

Think about who the enablers are or could be. It’s not enough just to empower, because that might not be sustainable

Imagine the poverty that means young girls are raped every month in exchange for sanitary protection. Soroptimists fund projects to help end this tragedy
Ellie’s challenge to soroptimists: Do we understand the complexity of the problem? Who are the enablers? Are we empowering ourselves so we can deliver transformational leadership?

Programme Action Project – Tomorrows Women Wirral

@TomorrowsWomen doing great work with women offenders. Great to have their work showcased here

Great project from SI Heswall – Women’s Centre helping women stay out of prison and rebuild their lives.

Prison reform needed! Keeping women out of jail and empowering and enabling them to rebuild. Well done Ladies!

Sally Kettle – Rowing across the ocean .                                                                        An inspirational talk from a woman who decided to row the Atlantic ocean who had never rowed across a pond before – twice! First time with her mother

Professor Helen Pankhurst – reflecting on the last 100 years of women’s rights

Looking forward to hearing from Helen Pankhurst to celebrate 100 years since some women got the vote

Over 1000 #soroptimists listening to Professor @HelenPankhurst – 100 years ago some women got the vote but it was 1928 before universal #suffrage. We have 10 years to make even more difference to women by the 2028 centenary

Listening to Dr Helen Pankhurst talk about women’s votes and how important it is to use it, we must encourage all women to do so

This is the presentation we’ve all been waiting for in this year of 100 years for some women getting the vote.
The Pankhurst family inspires women’s own agency and changing social norms, but can be done with flair and panache! @PankhurstCentre it wasn’t just about the vote. It was about women having dreams, changing social norms. If they did it WE CAN

Alter a nations habit of mind, then the changes to laws will follow

Some women in politics changes women, many women in politics changes politics –

How often is an early conversation question about family – to a woman? to a man?

Still work to do. We have 10 years. We can make a difference. Keep pushing equality to facilitate change. Populate Wikipedia with famous women from our communities. Become a Wiki editor !

Meru Garden Project Update

Hello from #SoroptimistLiverpool2018, check out our gorgeous stand! We’re here celebrating the amazing achievements so far of the Meru Women’s Garden Project. Thanks to all @SIGBI1 members for your epic fundraising efforts.

Soroptimist an “opportunity to experience a deep sense of sisterhood” said Jodie #soroptimistLiverpool2018 recounting a group trip to see the Meru Women’s Garden Project

So proud of Jodie from @ChesterSI as she gives a thoughtful and insightful presentation about the Meru Garden Study tour.

Now hearing about progress on the Meru Women’s Garden Project Emphasis on education and ownership of solutions rather than parachuting in resources
Love that ‘ Making a difference from the ground upward.’ – ENABLING the women to have a sustainable future.

Respect each other! Wise words during the Meru Garden Project update.

Invitation to SI Convention in KL – 18-21 July 2019

Next year we are invited to Kuala Lumpur to the SI convention. Look at the website for details we are promised action and interesting ideas
Programme for the convention next year
Louise Gillies @lougillies Let’s all go to #kualalumpur2019 ! I’ve already got my hotel and tickets. Can’t wait!

Better get booking! She’s very persuasive!!

Toilet twinning

Excited to be at #SoroptimistLiverpool2018 today. Soroptimists have proved their motto ‘Empower Today – Enable Tomorrow’ through their generous support of our work, providing families with lifesaving latrines,

Lack of toilet facilities affects women and girls most. Impacts on dignity and safety as well as health

Twin your toilet – 443m school days lost/year due to diseases of poor hygiene, women and girls assaulted going alone into bushy areas/at night, cholera and typhoid sweep through refugee groups. A toilet changes lives. Buy one!
I’ve twinned my toilet instead of Christmas Cards last year! Great cause & it’s a chore for me! @toilettwinning
Toilet twinning is about teaching communities build their own toilets, not doing it for them

Soroptimists already working on this – @ChesterSI supported first toilet twinned city for example

Nov 19th is World Toilet Day!Flushing poverty away! Celebrating a Revolut-loo-tion!

Our role at the United Nations .   Visual representation of the work we do with the UN. Soroptimist International is privileged to have consultative status to the UN. Working towards three of the Sustainable Development Goals 3 4 and 5

Presidential address and theme for the coming year
Welcome and good luck to Sue Williams, incoming Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland President 2018-19

Also changes at Region… Thanks to outgoing President Hilary, and best wishes to incoming President Pam @SIRegionCNWW

Time with friends

With two of my lovely Soroptimists from Nantwich @NantwichSI and Dinner on the first night – Sue and Helen with their steward sashes in suffragette colours!

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and came back inspired and enthusiastic about being part of such a great network of women prepared to take action to promote social justice.

Caroline Marsh November 2018