We know that the impact of major issues affecting the world – climate change, Covid-19 are just two examples – is mostly much greater for women and girls. Since 2011, Soroptimist International has affirmed its commitment to mitigating the effects of these global issues on women and girls. Giving all girls a proper education is a great way to help the women they become to face the challenges the world gives them. So the SI President’s Appeal, beginning in October 2021, is ‘Opening Doors to a Bright Future’ . During the next two years, Soroptimist Clubs around the world will be contributing to an Appeal project in each of the five Soroptimist International Federations. Soroptimist International of GB & Ireland will have a stand at the forthcoming COP 26 Conference on climate change.
2016 – SI Woking won the Love your Club award in the competition organised by Woking Advertiser
2021 – Soroptimist International celebrates its Centenary – see below our Centenary Celebratory Candle Ceremony…
…and our Club also celebrates its 45th anniversary
Mission and values
Right from the start, a personal commitment to serving the community was asked of the Soroptimist and underpinned the whole movement.
100 years of service later, Soroptimists still live those fundamental values of high moral standards, and community service undertaken by women who have become friends.
Since 2011, people are increasingly aware of domestic abuse and coercion, elder abuse, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and honour-based violence, modern day slavery and human trafficking. Many of these issues affect women and girls especially, so the work of many Soroptimist Clubs focuses on them.
Status of Women
Since 2011, women have acquired more equal rights in some countries.
UN Women reported that during 2020, Brazil and Sierra Leone joined Australia, England, Norway and New Zealand in publicly committing to equal pay for women and men footballers. In 2021, Pope Francis changed canonical law to let women have more powerful roles in the Catholic Church. He also appointed a woman (Sr Naomi Becquart) to a senior position. The Muslim Council of Britain appointed a woman (Zara Mohammed) to be Secretary General. The UK New Year Honours List of 2021 included 49% women. From 2021, marriage certificates in England and Wales will give the name of the mother of the bride and groom.
But in the last decade, we have seen some recognition for women’s specific needs. The global movement against period poverty is an example. Petitions and lobbying across the UK about this led to free access to menstrual products in public buildings and schools in 2020.
Exhibition: The Soroptimist Story
Our exhibition about the Soroptimist Story to celebrate the centenary of Soroptimist International opened on 1 October 2021. It runs until 26 November 2021. Entry to the Surrey History Centre, Goldsworth Road, Woking is free.
Soon after it opened, we were delighted to be able to show our exhibition to Deputy Mayor of Woking, Saj Hussain. Our photo shows the Deputy Mayor with members of SI Woking and invited guests at Surrey History Centre.
23 October 2021 – Woking Debates has arranged a talk about Modern Slavery from Hope for Justice. If you want to attend the Zoom meeting on this very important topic, go to Woking Debates
We’re looking forward to many fruitful exchanges and collaboration. We love their newsletter!
Women in Prison
New Beginnings Art Award 2021 arranged by the Women’s Support Centre. The exhibition features art by women prisoners and is a real eye-opener. Visit it at the Lightbox in Woking until 28 November 2021.
Crest Advisory has published a report about the cost of maternal imprisonment. Soroptimists have long had serious concerns about the cost to the well-being of children whose mothers go to prison. This report gives solid evidence of the impact on families. Read more about it here and on the Crest Advisory website.
Recently there have been distressing media reports about the treatment of pregnant women and their babies in prison. Now there is a petition to to end prison sentencing for pregnant women and new mothers. Contact We Level Up on their website, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp for more information and to sign the petition.
Tanya Stafford of the Surrey charity, Brigitte Trust, joined our recent Social Evening. She told us about the tremendous work of the Brigitte Trust. The charity offers emotional, practical and social support to individuals and their families. Its aim is to help people live well beyond a life-changing or life-threatening diagnosis. Tany spoke with passion and commitment about the help on offer. It includes telephone calls, home and hospital visits from trained volunteers, who, as one client put it ‘make the unbearable bearable’
More volunteers in Woking and Guildford are needed. If you feel that this could be something for you, visit the Brigitte Trust for more information.