History of Soroptimist International
The Soroptimist name
The first question we are often asked about Soroptimist International is: “but what does it mean?”
The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin soror meaning sister, andoptima meaning best. Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as ‘the best for women’. From the founding of the first Soroptimist club in Oakland, California, in 1921, through to the present day where over 3000 clubs are flourishing throughout the world, Soroptimists have continued to strive to achieve ‘the best for women’ in every sphere of their lives
First Soroptimist club founded in Oakland, California. The Founder President was Violet Richardson Ward.
Chartering of first Soroptimist club in London. The Founder President was Viscountess Falmouth.
Suzanne Nöel founded SI Paris, the first Soroptimist club in Europe. She later became the first President of the European Federation.
Foundation of American and European Federations. Soroptimist International Association created to provide link between the Federations.
Europe and Great Britain & Ireland form separate Federations.
First Soroptimist club in Sydney, Australia.
Soroptimist International Association awarded Consultative status with UNESCO.
SI awarded category C Consultative status with ECOSOC. (Economic & Social Council, United Nations.)
Foundation of International governing body of Soroptimist International.
Inauguration of SI South West Pacific Federation. The Founder President was Mary Whitehead.
SI granted Category 1 Consultative status (now General Consultative Status) with ECOSOC.