In 2004, the idea of Juvenilia was discussed at the meeting of 3 Unions of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland (Dreiländertreffen) in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
At the time there were two Juvenilia Clubs in Switzerland. The Juvenilia Clubs were founded by the daughters of Soroptimists and quickly evolved into an organisation for any woman who is not satisfied with the current status of women in society.
Gabriele Kössler and Elisabeth Brandl (Union President of the Austrian Union 2004-2006) were convinced that Juvenilia clubs were a good way to inspire young women with the spirit of Soroptimist, and thus brought the idea to Austria. This resulted in the first Juvenilia Club being chartered on September 23rd, 2006 in Linz, followed by Juvenilia Vienna and Juvenilia Südburgenland.
These clubs profit from young, new ideas, and can rely on the know-how and networks from the “mother” organisation – Soroptimist International. “Juvenilias”, as members are called, are allowed to attend the Austrian Union annual meeting as silent observers and the partner of the Austrian Juvenilia clubs is always an Austrian SI Club.
But why join a club like Juvenilia?
Juvenilias profit from the large network of Soroptimists. With thousands of women in different professional fields, contrasting views on current issues and various careers, Juvenilia members are able to benefit from their experiences and can form connections to shape their own path. Some members take part in the Austrian Union mentoring program.
When joining Juvenilia, all members have finished their secondary education, some are completing university courses, but they all share the common interest of being part of a group, and have the desire to invest time and energy into what they believe in; raising awareness for social injustices, especially concerning women, is a vital goal. Through events, such as book brunches and gallery evenings, the Juvenilia try not only to collect donations but also put women, their concerns, achievements and talents in the forefront.
Structurally the Juvenilias are organised as clubs with a President and a Board, and all members are encouraged to participate, put forward ideas and eventually be part of the Board, which changes annually. At monthly meetings – in times of Corona also online – members welcome a speaker to offer an insight into different working environments, such as women’s shelters in Vienna, or other, similar organisations, e.g. UN Women.
Even before joining the Juvenilias, many members have been involved in voluntary charitable work and these ambitions tend to grow as we get older. Since the Juvenilia Clubs are part of the Soroptimist Union many take the opportunity to join one of the Soroptimist clubs mainly depending on their previous involvement with the club. Nonetheless, having the possibility of being involved in bettering women’s lives and careers is immensely motivating and satisfying.
On October 3rd 2020, in Innsbruck, we are proud to charter our 4th Juvenilia Club.
By Sarah Andreis, President & Sophie Schmied, Juvenilia Vienna