One of four Federations globally, SI South West Pacific (SISWP) is an expanding and dynamic Federation.

Since its Charter as a Federation in its own right in 1978, the South West Pacific has grown from three member countries, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, to include 13 countries - these include Mongolia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Clubs within the Federation provide service to their local, national and international communities and focus their efforts on issues identified as being of current global significance. This allows the accumulated efforts of members in their local communities to have a global impact.

The Federation supports its own major projects, as well as supporting the Annual Soroptimist International President's Appeal. Clubs and Regions generate their own projects according to local needs and opportunities.

  

Vision    Mission    Values

 

Soroptimist International is a vibrant, dynamic organisation for today’s professional and business women. We are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide.

  

 

Soroptimists inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls through a global network of members and international partnerships.

  

 

Human Rights for all • Global Peace and International Goodwill • Advancing Women’s Potential • Integrity and democratic decision making • Volunteering, diversity and friendship

 

What does Soroptimist mean?

The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin soror meaning sister, and optima 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.

 

The SISWP Team

The Federation Board consists of 12 elected Members who manage and oversee the organisation. We also have two dedicated staff members based in Sydney who provide support to members of the South West Pacific. 

(insert a link here to view the board members)

The Federation Programme Team, led by the Programme Director and six (6) elected members make up the programme team. The team provides advice to the members on the 8 Objectives; Education, Elimination of violence, Economic empowerment, Food security, Heatchcare, environmental sustainability/water and sanitation, Conflict resolution/peace promotion, Disaster relief, mitigation and resilience. 

(link here to the Federation Programme Team)

Join Us

Join with us, and become part of this dynamic team of women helping to educate, empower and enable women and girls to reach their full potentiall members who are powerful and effective advocates of women’s and girls’ rights.

 

Soroptimist International is a global movement of women, with members belonging to more than 3,000 clubs in 126 countries/territories, spread over 4 federations. Members of Clubs represent a wide range of occupations, talents and interests. The theme "Soroptimists - Educate to Lead" with a focus on Education, Enable and Empower provides opportunities for members to improve the lives of women and girls world wide.

Through international partnerships and a global network of members, Soroptimists inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls by: advocating for equity and equality; creating safe and healthy environments; increasing access to education; and developing leadership and practical skills for a sustainable future.

A Global Voice for Women

Soroptimist International is a Global Voice for Women working through AWARENESS ADVOCACY and ACTION to EDUCATE, ENABLE and EMPOWER women to promote human rights for all, equality, development and peace. The organisation works together with other non-government organisations (NGOs) and various United Nations agencies to bring about changes to make the world a better place for this and future generations.

Four Federations

The international organisation is comprised of four Federations, each of which has its own administrative and leadership structure. Each Federation has representation on the International Board and takes turns at filling leadership positions and proposing international projects. The international organisation maintains a database of information about the work done by Clubs and Regions globally, allowing it to be an effective Global Voice for Women.

Soroptimist International and each of the Federations maintain a web site:

World War I was a major catalyst for women.  They left behind their aprons to do jobs which were usually done by their male counterparts.  Women became used to being a member of a valued workforce, having independence and earing their own money. One such woman was Edith Glanville.

Edith Glanville's 18 year old son was one of the boys who died on the battlefield.  She formed an association which would stop all wars, so she was ahead of her time.  A forceful lady who didn't seem to let convention become a problem.  She formed a Quota club in Sydney with a team of like minded women and commenced a round the world journey pursuing her ambition to outlaw all wars. 

Whilst in the United States she attended a meeting held by the American Soroptimists and was so impressed she returned to Sydney, sent back the Quota charter and formed her band of followers into Soroptimist International Association of Sydney.  

The Americans formed the first Soroptimist Club, whilst Britain formed a similar one.  In 1921 they amalgamated into Soroptimist International Association. 

sydney1Back in Australia, the Federation of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) claimed the fledgling club of Sydney, and the charter of the Sydney club finally took place in 1937.  World War II added confusion to the operation of the club, as contact with the British Federation was severely hampered.  Edith proudly wore the chain of office for these 8 years.

Soroptimist International was a category club, which meant that clubs could only have one member of a category, but after 5 years another member of the same category could be admitted to the club.  The growth of Soroptimist International was quite phenominal, despite the stringent rules of entry and membership.  Tremendous projects were successfully carried out by clubs.

1939 saw Soroptimism arrive on the shores of New Zealand with SI Wellington becoming the first Soroptimist club, but it took until 1949 for SI Christchurch to be charted, followed closely by SI Auckland. Conversation amongst members was now focused on forming a 4th Federation of Soroptimist International.  It was not until Betty Loughhead was appointed chairperson of the Co-ordinating Committee of Australia and New Zealand in 1967 that a Pacific Federation was seriously considered. 

1971 saw a club formed in the pacific nation of Fiji, with the charter of SI Suva,  Fiji becoming the third Nation to join the Council (CSWP).  More Fijian clubs joined the CSWP and clubs continued to be charted in Australia, with clubs in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.  In 1973 the Federation of Great Britain and Ireland held their conference in Sydney, allowing many Soroptimists from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to attend.

Finally in 1978 the 4th Federation - Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific was formed, what a joyous occasion this was.  The inauguration ceremony of the Federation of the South West Pacific was held in Adelaide at Easter in 1978, such a great moment when SI President Hilda Richardson handed over the Charter of the Federation of the South West Pacific to Her Excellency, Maris King and invested her with the Insignia of SISWP.  We had made it!.

Diversification of Culture occurred in the 1990's, with the introduction of Malaysia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and Mongolia to Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific. These new countries and members created opportunities to support projects whilst building friendships of understanding across cultures.  Diverse cultures add a richness to the organisation. 

all insigniar1

 History of the insiginias over the years.

The Four Federations

The international organisation is comprised of four Federations, each of which has its own administrative and leadership structure. Each Federation has representation on the International Board and takes turns at filling leadership positions and proposing international projects. The international organisation maintains a database of information about the work done by Clubs and Regions globally, allowing it to be an effective Global Voice for Women. 

Emblem

 

EmblemBlueLThe female figure depicts the spirit of womanhood. The oak leaves and acorns (on right), epitomise the strength, growth, progress and achievements of the organisation. The laurel (on left) is the emblem of victory typifying friendship and success

 

 

 

Why Be A Soroptimist

Zanaa Jurmann the first President of SI Mongolia recalls "I first met Dr Indrani Manuel, SI Malaysia in September 1999 when I was attendig a UN Regional Meeting.  We met in the bus that was transporting women delegates between the hotel and the Conference Venue,  then on the last day of the Conference we were sitting next to each other and I asked her about herself and remarked on the small pretty badge on her chest, so then started to tell me in some details about Soroptimist International and SISWP which interested me greatly". 

Jennifer Gaylard joined the Cobram/Barooga club in 2003 ater attending a meeting as a guest.  During that meeting the club members decided to 'buy a goat', for a women living on the African continent, and I was sold!, I thought, "this is the club for me', such a practical and innovative way of helping one women to improve the quality of life for herself, her children and indeed her entire village!.

Dr Indrani Manuel, Looking back over 24 years as a member of SISWP, my passion for the ideals for which Soroptimism stands has enabled me to undertake this journey by doing in in my own way and at my own pace, I am thankful, proud and honoured that I was given the privilege to serve SWP from 1998 until today, as Malaysia's first National Representative on the newly constrituted Federation Board 1998-2000, SISWP Programme Coordinator for Education 2000-2004, Federation Programme Director 2004-2007, representing SI at the DPI session at United Nations in 2005, SWP Representative on SI e-TIS Editorial Committee 2009-2011 and a member of the Editorial Committee of the Soroptimist SWP since 2011. Thank you to all Soroptimists near and far who have shown me the way. 

Lorna Mead, serving at International level as Extension Convenor, developed my perspective of how exciting and varied the countries in our global organisaiton are, and how much they have to offer to the Federation.

Bronwyn van der Meche, I had been involved in education for more than most of my career, I have always had an interest in social issues and have actively participated in the Teachers Across Borders (TAB) programme providing workshops to teachers in Cambodia.  After an invitation to an SI breakfast I became aware of the goals of SI and realized that the organisation fitted very nicely with my values and that I could contribute to achieving their goals while meeting and sharing experiences with a range of members at the more social level as well.