I found myself having to write a short piece about Soroptimist International (and what a fab organisation it is) so I decided to put it on the website, except that there wasn't a suitable tab for it. As a result, I've added a "Groups" tab and will have to add that to my to do list.
The piece that I wrote wasn't about the history so I'll add more about that later.
Many of the positive changes for women, and society as a whole, have come about as a result of women forming groups and fighting collectively for social change. Some of the groups, particularly the ones with a single purpose (like suffrage) have gone now but others began and some now have a long and prestigious history - the Soroptimists are one and the Fawcett Society another.
I think it's very difficult for women's groups nowadays (certainly in the UK). The funding isn't there and many people would tell you that there isn't the need. Of course there's still a need, and there will be until women stop being marginalised and start actually being equal. Equal opportunities is a great idea but not of much use without the infrastructure in place and without a change in attitudes (by employers, by Government, by men and by women).
In 2000, I attended a Women's conference in Liverpool, attended by representatives from women's centres across the country. I wonder how many still exist? Certainly, the one I worked for, which was then one of the biggest and most successful, barely survives now and offers services to only a very few women.
So, I am happy to support the work of women's organisations. I'm happy to see that some thrive and am disappointed to see so many go to the wall due to lack of funding and lack of interest.
My priority as HistoryWoman is still women's history but I'll try to add occasional pieces about the history of Women's Groups and Organisations as I go along. In the meantime, I hope people will enjoy the page on Soroptimist International and will consider supporting Women's Organisations in future.