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Strengthening SI’s global network

UN Women honours Soroptimist International

On 24th October, 2012, UN Women held an honorary event entitled ‘Empowering Women for 25 years’, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Metro Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. The event honoured women and organisations who have, and are, making a difference towards the Advancement of Women around the world.

Individual Honorees included Abigail E. Disney, a filmmaker and philanthropist, Analisa Balares, Founder of Womensphere, and Eileen Fisher, who founded the clothing company Eileen Fisher, Inc. Soroptimist International was one of two NGOs receiving an award; the other was Business & Professional Women International (BPW), founded in 1930 and working hard to achieve gender equality in the workplace.  It is a joy to be recognised for our tireless efforts over the last 91 years!

NY Un Reps Lois Beilin and Paulette Forbes Igharo meet newly appointed Exec Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcku

NY Un Reps Lois Beilin and Paulette Forbes Igharo meet newly appointed Exec Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcku in August 2013

Creating the Future: Evolution

SI UN Representative Paulette Forbes-Igharo attended the 5th Annual Womensphere Global Summit and Awards in September 2012, entitled ‘Creating the Future: Evolution’. It involved a gathering of activists dedicated to the improvement of society, namely through improving the lives of women.

Paulette reported that the title was very apt as it was repeatedly demonstrated that small actions can create huge ripples. A key message was the need for continued pursuance of the goal of women’s advancement globally. Paulette recommended that SI immediately apply this information  by addressing the plight of widows and by developing social entrepreneurship projects.

In some countries, widows suffer severe degradation and inhumane treatment, often as a result of cultural norms. However, when families migrate, even to the developed world, these cultural practices persist. The women are to a large extent an invisible group with no support. Starting with small entrepreneurial projects in our communities would be immensely helpful to these women. Social entrepreneurship is a vital key to development and empowerment. Identifying projects that impact the community while women build skills and wealth would be helpful from many perspectives”

"Shady Cool Enterprises", an SI Ba (Fiji) social enterprise project helping vulnerable widows to earn a living.

“Shady Cool Enterprises”: SI Ba (Fiji) social enterprise project helping vulnerable widows earn a living.

Commonwealth Education Conference, Mauritius

Two Soroptimists from Mauritius attended the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers  at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC), 27th-31st August 2012. The Forum’s theme was ‘Education in the Commonwealth: Making it Happen’, focussing on the critical role of non-state actors in delivering accessible, acceptable, available, and high quality education. The aim of the forum was to engage Commonwealth governments and non-governmental organisations to work together to improve educational outcomes. It was an opportunity to revise achievements to date, exchange good practices, share experiences, take stock of emerging strengths and gaps, and identify strategies to be applied towards achievement of goals such as the MDGs before the next conference which will be held in the Bahamas in 2015.

World Bank and IMF Civil Society Forum

Sumie Ito and other participatnts at the WB/IMF Civil Society Forum

Sumie Ito and other participants at the WB/IMF Civil Society Forum

The World Bank and IMF 2012 Annual Meeting Civil Society Policy Forum took place from October 10 – 13 2012 at the Tokyo International Forum. Soroptimist International club member Sumie Ito from the Japan Higashi region was in attendance to represent SI and ensure that the importance of education, empowerment, and enabling opportunities for women and girls was raised.

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