About us

Soroptimists are women in professions and business who work together at local, national and international levels to educate, empower and enable women and girls with an aim to improving their lives.

Soroptimists have addressed women’s issues in their communities and beyond since Soroptimist International was founded in 1921. Today, we are a strong international network of some 70,000 women, who are powerful and effective advocates of women’s and girls’ rights.

Today, Soroptimist International of Europe, the largest of the five Federations of Soroptimist International, is comprised of some 30,244 women across Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. The national Unions and Clubs of Soroptimist International of Europe initiate, support, finance and implement well over 4,000 projects for millions of euros every year. Our members work in their communities and beyond to provide concrete and practical help to women and girls.


Women and girls will achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide.


Soroptimists transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities.


The principles of Soroptimist are to strive for:
• The advancement of the status of women
• High ethical standards
• Human rights for all
• Equity, development and peace through the advancement of international understanding and good will

Where we are

Discover our clubs and unions around the world

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Our history

The first club of Soroptimist International was founded in Oakland, California in 1921. The purpose of the organisation was and is to create a broad network of women representing different occupations, to foster a spirit of service and to encourage high ethical standards in business and professions.

The prominent French plastic surgeon Dr Suzanne Noël initiated the first SI club in Paris in 1924 and inspired the founding of many others in Continental Europe. She became the first President of the European Federation, which was established in 1928.

How Soroptimist are organised Soroptimists are organised in clubs in their cities/towns/villages, each having approximately 30 members. For historical reasons, Soroptimist International of Europe includes not only the clubs in Europe, but also in the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Soroptimist International of Europe currently comprises 1,153 clubs. If a country has five or more clubs and at least 100 members, it can form a Union. There are 21 Unions in Soroptimist International of Europe.

In addition to Soroptimist International of Europe, there are four other Federations:

  • Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA)
  • Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI)
  • Soroptimist International of South East Asia Pacific (SISEAP)
  • Soroptimist International of Africa (SIAF)

These five Federations form Soroptimist International, which boasts more than 70,000 members in 121 countries.

Partnership and institutional relations

Soroptimist International of Europe is proud to hold consultative status at the United Nations’ ECOSOC, participatory status at the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby, and to contribute to the work of the OSCE. Soroptimists also regularly participate in various NGO forums of concern to women at national and international levels.

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SIE Board

The Board is elected for two years.

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Route de Florissant, 72

1206 Geneva, Switzerland

phone+41 (0)22 346 08 80

Contact us
Soroptimist peace prize The Soroptimist International of Europe Peace Prize is conferred every two years to honour people or organizations deserving special recognition for their remarkable achievements to promote peace.

For ten years now, the Soroptimist International of Europe Peace Prize has awarded and, perhaps more importantly, celebrated the outstanding contributions of certain visionary women towards the establishment or maintenance of peace in their own communities and much further afield.

Soroptimist Peace Prize 2017 awarded to Gégé Katana Bukuru

About her

The most recent recipient is Gégé Katana Bukuru for her remarkable and courageous commitment to the fight for the women’s rights in her war-torn country for over a quarter of a century. In 2001, she founded the Solidarity of Women Activists for the Defense of Human Rights (SOFAD), a grassroots network of over six hundred women that fight for women’s economic, socio-cultural, civil and political rights in East Africa – a region where sexual violence against women, including elderly women and very young girls, is considered by both sides of the military to be a legitimate “spoil of war”.

Previous winners

  • 2015

    Edit Schlaffer

  • 2013

    Silvana Arbia

  • 2011

    Sylvia Borren

  • 2009

    Valdete Idrizi

  • 2007

    Carla del Ponte