Skip links

SI Centenary Celebrations – 2021

A brilliant reason for celebrating


On 21 June 1921,  a group of women met at the Hotel Oakland in San Francisco (USA).  They formed a Members Committee in order to launch the world’s very first Soroptimist International Club.

Did they realise back then how enormous the network of Soroptimist clubs would become?   Probably not that day, but by 1926, Mrs Fox-Pitt, founder member of the first Soroptimist International Club in the UK was able to say:  “I do not think I am being over optimistic when I predict that in a few years’ time there will be a Soroptimist Club in every town and city of importance in Europe and America.

Now, of course, there are many Soroptimist International Clubs on every continent.


So throughout 2021 we, Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland – Sigbi, our Federation – together with Soroptimists around the world, celebrated 100 years of Soroptimist action.


How did we celebrate ?


Women from our Bright Past

Throughout 2021, we celebrated Soroptimists past and present.  The ‘100 4 100’ Campaign identified over 100 successful women who deserved special mention.

A Memorial Statue linking our Bright Past and Brilliant Future

Our National Federation, Sigbi, commissioned a statue to commemorate 100 years of Soroptimism. It is now installed in the National Memorial Arboretum


When you’re next in the area, don’t forget to take a look!  Our members Audrey, and Jennie (pictured here), thoroughly enjoyed their visit.

Planting Trees for a Brilliant Future

Trees that are nurtured and loved last a long time – just like our Soroptimist International organisation.

Putting trees on the map

During 2021, trees were planted throughout the Soroptimist International universe.  By the end of of the project in April 2022, over 104, 000 trees had been planted by Soroptimists in the member countries of SIGBI! See where they are here.

SI Woking and District marked the Soroptimist centenary by dedicating a tree in Woking’s renovated High Street.   Woking Mayor, Councillor Liam Lyons unveiled a commemorative plaque next to a beautiful silver birch.  We already have a tree in Woking – sponsored jointly by SI Woking and Woking Lions – in Jubilee Square.

We also contributed £100 towards the Trees for the Downs project.  The Southern Region  is sponsoring 100 – hopefully disease-resistant – “New Horizon” Elm trees. They replace some of the historic trees lost to  Dutch Elm Disease. They will help to maintain a healthy ecosystem in the Downs, because they will give food to butterflies and other insects.

Special Celebratory Events and Exhibition

Soroptimists got together at the House of Lords for a celebratory reception in early October 2021

Many Clubs put on special events.

During October and November 2021, SI Woking had an exhibition about the history of Soroptimist International in Surrey History Centre, Woking.