National and local advocacy
Soroptimists encourage women in all walks of life to voice concerns and address injustices.
Each year, 35,000 Soroptimists across the 60 countries that Soroptimist International of Europe is active in engage in hundreds of different advocacy projects to improve women’s access to education, to demand opportunities for economic empowerment, to raise awareness about violence against women, to demand the highest quality of health care for women and girls, and to lobby for a more sustainable environment.
In addition to the advocacy work conducted at the international level which includes advocating for the ratification and implementation of international treaties of concern to women and demanding that priority issues for women receive their rightful place on the global development agenda, Soroptimists are also tireless advocates for women’s rights in their countries and in their communities, in other words, at the national and local levels.
All our advocacy work at the national and local levels is based on our first-hand experience of what women and girls in our communities need. When we raise awareness about child marriage it’s because this is a major issue in our community, when we educate girls about trafficking it’s because girls from our town have fallen prey to it, when we run campaigns on violence against women it’s because we know women in our building, neighbourhood or town who have been abused, harassed, beaten.
Many Soroptimist advocacy projects are done as collaborations between Soroptimists in different countries or in partnership with national or local organisations.
Some examples of our ADVOCACY projects:
- Soroptimists in Romania organised a hand chain in the centre of the city of Targoviste to “Stop Human Trafficking”. The gathering was part of a larger, ongoing project of the Club entitled “Trafficking can be prevented” which seeks to inform young girls and women about the dangers of trafficking. The event was launched as an advocacy project and counted 54 participants (students, Club members, friends, and passers-by!). It meant to draw the attention of the local authorities and of the public to the danger of human trafficking and to insist on the fact that human trafficking should be a tireless and peaceful struggle for human rights.
- Soroptimists in Norway organised a project to raise the number of female leaders in both politics and business in the Norwegian region of Lister. The project sought to inspire women to take on leading positions at work or in politics. Soroptimists organised an open event where they invited the administrative leader of their county to talk about her experience as a pioneer in several positions that were traditionally filled by men.
- Soroptimists in Mumias, Kenya, in collaboration with Soroptimists from Denmark implemented a project to keep girls in school. The project involved an awareness-raising campaign for girls. Soroptimists distributed sanitary towels to them in order to reduce their school absenteeism especially during their periods and discussed the importance of school attendance with them.
- Soroptimists in Turkey arranged a talk aimed at preventing child marriages at a girls’ vocational high school in Uluda?. People with different areas of expertise – a doctor, a lawyer, a psychologist and educators – all spoke to the girls about the consequences of child marriage, including the risk of violence involved.
- To raise awareness on violence against women and girls and obtain relevant statistics to better understand the issue, the Soroptimist International Union of Madagascar implemented a survey on violence against women that was distributed to all Soroptimist Clubs in Madagascar and to the private sector. The project sought to break the silence on violence against women and to investigate, in a concrete way, the different types of violence faced by women in Madagascar.
- Soroptimists in Como in Italy recently prepared a huge Soroptimist banner with the national telephone helpline and web address that women who have been victims of violence can use to reach support services. The banner was suspended above one of the busiest streets in Como, in front of the Court House. This advocacy project aimed to send a strong message against violence against women and sought to reach as many people as possible, especially women.