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International Women’s Day – great celebrations

IWD on 8th March 2014 was even bigger and better! Look at our event on: We stood ON THE BRIDGE in Cambridge and our theme, inspired by Ban Ki-Moon was:


Soroptimists from around East Anglia stood ‘On the Bridge’ in Cambridge. We were joined by young girls from Stagecoach Cambridge to dance and shout our theme – Educate the World’s Girls.

Our club took along approximately 600 children’s books to donate to the charity the EACHSA Trust, which is a small organisation set up to ship books directly to schools in South Africa. There are no administrative costs and as usual with Soroptimist projects, Soroptimists are directly involved, know who they are working with and can be sure about what happens from collection to distribution. Many thanks to the schools and churches who helped our collection.

In 2013, our club members joined the Chelmsford club and the Colchester club in the county town of Chelmsford, to hold an IWD event. Chelmsford is fortunate in having lots of bridges in the centre of town and we stood on three of them – chatting with passers by as we walked from bridge to bridge.

We were supported by Chelmsford MP, Simon Burns and one of our own MPs, David Amess sent us a message of support. David said that he wished he could be with us but had business in Southend. He send us his good wishes for a successful event – Thank you David!

Our Southend event in 2012 was brilliant… and our last event in Cambridge is still being talked about. Southend Club supported the region’s event in Cambridge which put out the message ‘No Women No Peace’. Eleven members joined Soroptimists from all over the region to make a human poster on Silver Street bridge. The poster, showing blue men, 40% of which changed to pink women, is in support of UN resolution 1325 demanding that more women are involved in Peace Negotiation groups. The UN resolution is ten years old but has, as yet, had little impact, with almost 100% of peace negotiators still men. Soroptimists are raising the issue with MPs. Regional Past President Margaret Sandercock, a member of the Southend club says, ‘It’s not a good idea that men who make wars should be the only ones to decide about the peace settlements. Women are very much affected by war – their lives are destroyed and often there are crimes against women that go unpunished. They need a voice to ensure that negotiators strive for real peace. It’s not just about boundaries and armaments, it’s about providing for the needs of families – health care, education, homes, justice and safety.’ Baroness Angela Smith of Basildon had sent a message of support to the club. Baroness Angela said, ‘… the real challenge for the next 100 years is not just for women – but for the world – and that is to use the talents, the skills and the power of women to build peace and to negotiate ways forward in a society that faces greater conflicts. Whether it is in a local community or a nation – women’s skills can make a difference and it is not just women who pay the price if we fail to use these skills.’

Soroptimists really care about women’s human rights!