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The Worldwide Women’s Volunteer Movement You Need To Know About

We’ve all heard of Oxfam, Bernado’s and The Salvation Army – but have you heard of Soroptimists?

Find out about the worldwide women’s volunteer movement helping 100,000’s of women and girls:

What does Soroptimist mean?

The name Soroptimist derives from Latin – soror means sister, optima means best.

‘Soroptimist’ can be interpreted as ‘the best for women’, which makes sense as Soroptimists aim to do the best that they can for women through their work.

What do they do?

Soroptimists work to enhance the lives of women and girls everywhere, providing access to education, healthcare, food, clean water and much more.

When did they start?

Soroptimist International was founded in 1928 meaning they have been working to improve the lives of women and girls for 90 years.

Where do they work?

Soroptimist’s worldwide clubs work across the globe.

How many ‘Soroptimists’ are there?

There are just under 80,000 Soroptimists worldwide and 7336 of those are in Great Britain and Ireland.

They have 320 clubs in 29 countries including Africa, Asia, the Carribean and Malta.


Why should you join?

Joining would mean you could positively change somebody’s life for the better.

Soroptimist International said:  “There is no one else like us around.  We are unique.  We bring women together from all races, creeds, colours and religions across the world to work for the greater good of all women and girls.

Where ever you go in the world you will find a Soroptimist.  It is a worldwide social network of sisters who get things done.  Members experience their own personal development whilst becoming more aware and informed of local and global issues.”

The positive changes you’d make by joining:

Clubs choose to take on projects from five different areas, these are:

  • Economic empowerment
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Violence and conflict resolution
  • Food security and healthcare
  • Education

Projects can be global, national or local.  They aim to preserve our environment, give everybody access to an education and end poverty and hunger.

Soroptimist International said:  “Impact at a local level can be as varied as supporting widows in Nigeria, school building in Kathmandu to human trafficking awareness in Medway towns, we are all one.”

How can you get involved?

There are three different membership choices:

1. Club Membership

You can join your local club, attend regular meetings and participate in club activites.

2. Linked Membership

A ‘linked’ membership is for women who want to belong to a club and take part in their activities but can’t make it to all of the regular meetings.

3. Associate Membership

An associate membership is for women who believe in what the Soroptimists do but don’t have the time to fully commit to getting involved.

You can join here.

Where is your local Soroptimist group?

You can find out where your nearest Soroptimist club on this map:


What a local member says:

Caroline Auckland, Regional Representative for Tunbridge Wells explained why she became a Soroptimist: “I’ve always been passionate about women, women’s history and their role in society.  I feel it’s very important for women to support women and sometimes when you have a mixture of genders it’s quite easy for women to become invisible or disempowered by the male voice.  So that’s one of the reasons why I became a Soroptimist – I wanted to help

We are effective in our change, we are worldwide, so it’s a group of friendships that extend all over the world.  If you’re ever abroad and you’ve got a problem, you can ask if there’s a Soroptimist in whatever area you are in and one will come to your rescue.  There is a sense of sisterhood.”