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63rd. Session of Commission on the Status of Women 2019

Soroptimist International Republic Of Ireland to Host
Soroptimist International Convention in Dublin, July 2023
(details >>)

UN Women

How do I join Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland?

We welcome new members to all our clubs. If you're interested in joining please go to"Contact" at the top of the page.

We will forward your enquiry to the club nearest to you, who in turn will contact and meet you to inform you about soroptimism; our goals, our work, our meetings, as well as our many social activities.

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

NWCI welcomed the International Women’s Day ratification of the Istanbul Convention, after a long campaign by women’s groups and organisations including Soroptimists working to end violence against women. 

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI

Sharon Fisher
SI President 2020-2021

"The value of any social movement is having everyone moving in the same direction toward common goals. We can be the messenger that brings the complex global issues facing women and girls into focus and aligns them with the programme work of Soroptimist International (SI)." (more...)

View "Exploring the Road to Equality" webinar >>

View "trafficking Our Girls" webinar >>


President’s Report AGM 5th September 2020


It has been an honour for me to be National President Soroptimist Republic of Ireland.
This organisation has a wonderful legacy of working to improve the lives of women and girls. We are like minded women who want to make a difference to the lives of women and girls everywhere. We stand up for women through our advocacy, raising awareness and our programme action work.
Last October none of us could have imagined what 2020 would bring. On the 27th March 2020 the Government and HSE “Stay at Home” Order came into effect which led to the cancellation of many Soroptimist events including our Girls Public Speaking Final on 21st March and the 54th Joint North South Conference on 16th May. Many of our members have been cocooning at home or working from home. Many have been working on the frontline. Every Club has made great efforts to ensure that members have kept in touch and vulnerable members have been assisted by their Soroptimist Sisters.

 My theme for the year has been “Hear our Voices” and it has been my goal  to hear the voices of the members of our 16 clubs throughout the country and to strengthen the 2-way communication between members and our National Association.

 I had hoped to do that through a number of means including visiting our clubs.  In my first 4 months before we went into lockdown, I had the pleasure of visiting several Clubs including: SI Bray, SI Mullingar, SI Cork, SI Wexford and SI Drogheda. Unfortunately, once lockdown was enforced further club visits were no longer possible.  Since then, I have continued to communicate with every club through different means including phone calls, what’s app, Zoom, email and the old reliable post.

I have really enjoyed Two Club Presidents’ Zoom meetings which gave me the opportunity to get to know our Club Presidents better, to hear their concerns and for all to learn from each other and to share ideas for our organization and  I am delighted that incoming President Mary Kerr intends to continue with these meetings.

N/A officers and I are increasingly using WhatsApp and Zoom to communicate with members.  The National Executive has continued to meet regularly via zoom during the lockdown and reports are posted on our website.  Executive reports continue to be posted before a meeting, to give clubs time to read them and to prepare for the meeting and ask questions.   I encourage members to read reports to see the work of the executive on your behalf.   I have continued to have our voices heard through my use of social media, including Facebook and Twitter to promote and highlight the work of Soroptimism. 

 Our voices continue to be heard.

Domestic Violence:   2019 saw the end of our National Project Safe Home Safe Community.  While Ireland has achieved progress towards gender equality -Sustainable Development Goal No 5 - women continue to suffer violence. Throughout the year I have represented Soroptimist International ROI at a number of events including Women’s Aid Femicide Watch 2019.

Turn Off the Red Light Campaign   On 28th November 2019, I attended the Ruhama 30th Anniversary Conference “The Sexual Violence of Prostitution and Pornography.” This was quite a disturbing conference highlighting the harsh realities of prostitution and the increasing violence of pornography.

Girls Public Speaking Competition The Girls Public Speaking competition got off to a great start. I attended a Regional Final in Drogheda in January. Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, the Final in Dungarvan was postponed. I look forward to attending the rescheduled Final in Dungarvan on 3rd October 2020 if Government restrictions allow.

Belfast Conference   We are delighted that the Belfast Conference will go ahead in October with a new format which will be a virtual conference. Federation President Isobel Smith has developed a programme which includes live and recorded presentations. There is a fantastic line up of speakers with Baroness Hale, Dr Alison Gardner, Jane Garvey and Professor Sue Black OBE. All their biographies are on the conference website.

Soroptimist Centenary Celebrations
Five nominations from Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland were accepted for consideration for SIGBI’s “Who is She?” project, part of the centenary celebrations. 100 Soroptimists will be showcased for their contribution to their communities and to Soroptimism. Our nominees are;  Tess Hogan, SI Cork, Anne Kavanagh, SI Dublin, Judith Ironside, SI Ennis, Dr Patricia Mc Caul Collins, SI Drogheda, and Mildred
O’ Brien, SI Bray.  It is with great joy that we have received the news that Mildred O Brien has been selected in the first group of Soroptimists being honoured.

We continue to make plans for our Tree Planting ceremony at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation at Glencree whenever it  may be possible within Covid regulations.   Mrs. Sabina Higgins, wife of President Michael D Higgins has graciously accepted our invitation to attend as Guest of Honour.


Our working model as an organisation has had to change how we do things. We are looking at new ways of carrying out our programme work.  We are now working through a combination of virtual meetings and face to face meetings within social distancing guidelines.  This hasn’t been easy for any of us, but we must embrace this challenge and work together for our organisation to continue and grow. Since women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,  we are needed now more than ever.

I would sincerely like to thank the members of our Executive who have worked tirelessly and with enthusiasm over the past year. You live the values of Soroptimism. Thank you to all members for your support and friendship.

In Friendship
Catherine Giblin.
National President Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast SIGBI Conference 2020

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to hold our usual Federation Conference, which would have seen over 1,000 Members from all over the world meeting up in Belfast in October 2020.

Instead, we are holding a Virtual Conference over two days, 30-31 October 2020 13.30-17.00 GMT both days. This is an exciting development for us, as the Conference will be live-streamed and will be like watching a television programme.

We will still have the amazing speakers that were lined up, and there will be live Q&A sessions for each speaker. We will also still have Celtic Storm to entertain us after the Change of Insignia as part of the closing ceremony. See the full Conference Programme here >>

What an honour to be President of this amazing organisation.

it is our vision and mission that lies at the heart of who we are. What excites me is the idea that this is even a possibility and that we can work with others with the same intent to make it happen.

My theme is ‘We Stand Up for Women’ My hope is that this can be a platform for us to clearly articulate the difference that we make to the lives of women and girls.

Isobel Smith
SIGBI President 2019-2020


SIGBI Benevolent Fund:


To receive help from the Benevolent Fund, an applicant must have been a member of a Soroptimist Club for at least 3 consecutive years. Assistance is given in the form of grants, either as a one-off payment for a specific need, or as a regular quarterly grant to supplement the beneficiary’s income. The fund does not make loans.

To apply

Application Forms for financial assistance from the Benevolent Fund may be obtained from your Regional Representative, Clare Comerford ( or from the Benevolent Fund Secretary ( All information is treated in absolute confidence.  The only person with whom the applicant will discuss her circumstances is her Regional Representative, who will help her complete the form and ensure that the reasons for the application is made clear.  The form is then sent to the Secretary of the Benevolent Fund.


Catherine Giblin, National President,
Catherine Giblin
National President

Who Is She? – Showcasing Soroptimists for the Centenary
To celebrate the first centenary of Soroptimist International,
what better way to raise the profile of the Organisation, than to identify 100 Soroptimists past and present who have made a noteworthy contribution to society.

These amazing women will be ‘Celebrated’ by publishing their biographies on Wikipedia,  clearly noting prominently in the piece that they are/were members of Soroptimist International. 

Clubs from ROI have made suggestions for past and present members to join this elite group; Five have reached  the shortlist and we are delighted to show them below:

Mildred O'Brien, SI Bray.
We are very pleased to announce that Mildred O'Brien has been chosen as one of the first women to be nominated for the centenary list.

Judith Ironside, SI Ennis & District, is among the women selected for the second month of this promotion. 

Dr. Patricia
SI Drogheda
Tess Hogan
SI Cork
Anne Kavanagh
SI Dublin
Judith Ironside
SI Ennis
Read more about these wonderful

As part of Soroptimist Centennial Celebrations, we were planning to plant a tree in Glencree on 21st September 2020.
Due to Covid 19 the event has been postponed. Rescheduled date to be advised.

President Elect Mary Kerr in Glencree, where she, together with Mary Courtney, made arrangements.

United Nations building, New York.
COVID-19 might have silenced the city that never sleeps, but it hasn’t stopped our team of UN Representatives in New York from advocating for women and girls.

Read the full blog >>

Link to History of Soroptimism.

Proud Feminist: An Interview with Darina Dolan >>

SI Athlone members
Athlone Soroptimists with Senator Gabrielle McFadden on a visit to Dail Eireann.



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