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A Bright Past – Soroptimists Celebrate 100 Years

When Soroptimist International reaches a milestone in its history as now, the Celebration of 100 Years of Service, it is fitting that we should look back and pay tribute to those pioneers who established Soroptimist International on firm foundations and kept the flag flying through difficult times.

The First World Conference of Soroptimist Clubs was held in 1928


The Conference was held in Washington DC and at this conference the United States and Canada formed the American Federation SIA and clubs already established in Great Britain, France, Holland and Italy formed the European Federation SIE.

Other significant milestones at this conference were the decision that Soroptimist International conventions be held every four years from 1930  onwards. The constitution was agreed, and the representative body would comprise the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the two Federations. 

It was at this Convention that the “Soroptimist Emblem” was adopted for all members – Read more about the Soroptimist Emblem here

The Federation of Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI)

SIGBI was established in 1934 when Britain split away from the rest of Europe and became the third Federation of Soroptimist International after America and Europe.

Please click on the logos below to read more about Soroptimist History:




Special thanks to The Soroptimist Archives SIGBI publications and to  The Soroptimist Archives, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Philadelphia, PA, USA for photographs. Also to archives of SI Founder Region, and SI South West Pacific Federation. Thanks to SI Europe Federation.

Thanks also to Soroptimist Clubs and members worldwide for photographs and information. Thanks to Janet Haywood for her book History of Soroptimists. published 1995. Thanks to Liz Batten, Nisha Ghosh and Mimi Ward for further material

History of Soroptimists in India – thanks to Nisha Ghosh for research and for her article

The History of Soroptimists in Bangladesh – Jointly researched by Zebunnessa Rahman, Rezia Salam, Nilufar Sultana, Naseem Choudhury and Arifa Rahman from archives and records (sometimes misplaced or lost), and through constant discussions with founding and senior members]

Sue Challoner – Soroptimist Centenary Website History



Further reading: The History of Soroptimist International (1995) by Janet Haywood

Soroptimist International has a limited number of ‘The History of Soroptimist International’ by Janet Haywood (1995) available for purchase (English only). Please contact for further details.