Dear Soroptimists,


It makes one humble to kick off a biennium in the middle of Centennial Celebrations.


What our ‘founding mothers’ achieved, exactly a hundred years ago, was outstanding and beyond challenging. The first-ever Soroptimist project was to ‘Save the Redwoods’ and saw women in California standing up and lobbying at a time when only men could, or would dare to. They made choices in times they weren’t even supposed to have the ability to make choices. Not only did they step out of their comfort zone, they created an organisation specifically for professional women. At the time some professions didn’t even allow women in their ranks!


My dream, a hundred years later, is still that each woman can make her own choices about her life, her education, her career, her body, the way she dresses, the way she contributes and stands in society…and this is what Soroptimist is still about.


The determination and dedication of these pioneering women inspired me to build a Biennium programme highlighting the fundamental aspects of our organisation: who we are and what we stand for. Returning to the essence of Soroptimism. I believe this will make us more visible and recognisable as an organisation of women standing up to unlock the potential of women and girls by educating, empowering and enabling them.


In this biennium we shall not only Stand Up for Women, but Stand Up for you, to make you proud to be a Soroptimist, by bringing our message with one global voice which is heard and understood. By doing so, bringing us all closer and ensuring that our endeavours remain proud priorities.


The entire world has entered a new era. From virtual we went to hybrid, starting a ‘new normal’ right now that isn’t that normal any longer. Let’s increase our chances to succeed in these times of transition. Let’s overcome feelings of hesitation which you may be experiencing in post COVID times. Let’s be inspired by our founders, a hundred years ago, who bounced back after war with far fewer resources than we have now.


Together, we KNOW we can, let’s SHOW we can and do it now!


I count on you all to embrace the next one hundred years in the challenging spirit of our founding mothers, pushing back boundaries.


Let’s move forward!


Yours sincerely,


Carolien DEMEY,

SIE President 2021-2023