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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

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against women >>

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

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.


I am proud to accept the chain of office as President of the National Association of Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland. This chain carries a substantial history dating from 1966 when the Divisional Union of Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (founded in 1932) decided to split because of the onerous workload of managing 32 clubs!  It was at this point we became the National Association of Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland.  A substantial number of our clubs existed as part the Divisional Union.

The 86th SIGBI Federation Virtual Conference has finished and I applaud the organisers who have had to move from the traditional format to a totally new method of Conference presentation in a matter of months. It was an outstanding conference. 

I wish to thank my friends, the members of SI Wexford, who nominated me 2 years ago for this position.  I am honoured and humbled to know they believed I could follow the footsteps of previous National Presidents.  A member of SI Wexford since 2012, I have worked with my club in promoting the principles of Soroptimism through our involvement in Programme Action, advocacy, friendship and raising awareness of issues affecting women and girls.  

I wish to thank President Catherine and the outgoing members of the National Executive for leading us in into uncharted waters with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.  How our ways of doing business have changed in a few short months.

Stay Connected
My theme for the year is ‘Stay Connected’.  During the summer as I reflected on a theme for my year I began to understand my  most important objective would be to encourage clubs to continue functioning, club members to look out  for one another and keep our focus on programme action.   As the current extremely strict Covid-19 restrictions continue we are getting used to the new normal.   Unfortunately, this is not going to finish in the immediate future.

My objective is well underway.  I would like to compliment each club for successfully mastering technology and holding their ‘online’ AGM and meetings.   Please continue to have your club meetings – it is important we maintain contact with one another and keep the focus on plans for programme action. It is important also to keep up the social contact – many clubs have ‘social online gatherings’ e.g. afternoon tea etc.   I know we all miss the ‘face to face’ contact and it will be great when we can meet again – it will happen!

In the meantime, take advantage of the Soroptimist  websites and the links  to view the Soroptimist activity at United Nations and the  many online webinars available – Soroptimist Internationals webinars based on the International President’s appeal ‘The Road to Equality’ have been attended by members from across the globe who log in despite the big time differences.

Mary Kerr,
National President Soroptimist International Republic of Ireland

Johanna M Raffan MBE

I am the new President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland Federation. What a privilege and honour it is to be the President especially in our 100th year.

My theme for the year is “Believe to Achieve”.  This has been my mantra in my 45 years in education, every child has the potential to do great things. We must give them every opportunity to achieve their aspirations. Let me tell you a short story – Mark was a very good runner and on Sport’s Day he took part in the Marathon – twice round the school field. At the age of 10 he was running the final leg of the field on his own. What potential! In discussion with his parents we arranged for him to join a local Running Club. His final achievement was to represent Great Britain in the Olympics – from small beginnings and a belief that he could achieve. Our chance to Educate, Enable and Empower girls has never been more important.

We must “Build Back Better” if we are to have bright future. Our work with the 17 Sustainable Goals must influence all our Programme work, our focus must be to redress the balance for women and girls around the globe. Gender related violence placing women and girls at risk has escalated since March. It does not help that many women continue to be confined with their abusers, whilst resources and support services are redirected. (read Johanna M Raffan's full article >>)

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 >>

Through their  Programme Action, Soroptimists in Ireland are ‘on the road’ with International President, Sharon, on her journey to find and empower women and girls who are left behind. Full reports of our activities  can be discovered on Club  and Reports pages, but three of the current projects are shown below – considering action for Older People, to prevent FGM and to intervene in the pressing problem of climate change.



Mary Kerr
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. 

Anne Kavanagh, SI Dublin, who is among the women selected for the third month of the centenary list.

Dr. Patricia
SI Drogheda
Tess Hogan
SI Cork
Read more about these wonderful

'it is my great pleasure to announce that President Tess Hogan SI Cork (above) has been invited as a VIP guest to a reception at the House of Lords in May 2021, as part of the Soroptimist Centenary celebrations. Tess's name has been drawn with one other ,from the names of Soroptimists who are being recognised by the #WhoIsShe? Campaign to celebrate our centenary.

Catherine Giblin, immediate past president. 

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.

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


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