Founded in 1921, Soroptimist is an international organization for professional women who provide volunteer service to their communities. Almost 100,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories contribute time and financial support to community-based and international projects benefiting women and girls.
Soroptimists use their special expertise and management skills to advance the status of women and girls.
We are leaders in our community. By joining with other women we can make the world a better place through awareness, advocacy and action in the service of our community and society.
Soroptimist International: At the UN, Soroptimist International is classified as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) with General consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). Representatives, all volunteer Soroptimists, work in each of the four main UN centers in New York, Geneva, Vienna, or Paris to maintain SI’s visibility and voice in international affairs.
The Soroptimist presence at the United Nations provides an important platform where the organization can have its voice heard by an international community.
Stuart Morrow, a professional organizer with a number of other talents to his credit, organized the Soroptimist Club of Alameda County in 1921. During a sojourn in the East Bay while attempting to form an Optimist club in Oakland he called upon the “Parker-Goddard Secretarial School” in search of a candidate for membership. He explained his purpose for calling, talking several minutes. Presuming that the school was run by two men, he was surprised to learn that, instead, it was operated by women. He sought to excuse himself. It was then that Adelaide E. Goddard commented, “When the men admit women as members of their service clubs, I would be interested.”
The remark sparked an idea for Mr. Morrow. He called together several of the outstanding business women in Oakland to pursue the idea of forming a service club for women. The preliminary meeting was Tuesday, May 31, at 4 p.m., in the Rose Room of Hotel Oakland.
The chosen name – SOROPTIMIST- was coined from two Latin words: SORO and OPTIMUS. Soro-Sister: the companion word to brother, symbol of the bond of comrades. Optimus – The Best, the Highest Good: from this word comes Optimism, the philosophy that all works out to promote the highest good. Hence it became interpreted to mean “the Best, or the Highest Good for Women,” and more popularly in recent years as “The Best for Women.”