Soroptimist International uses the skills and expertise of its members to make a difference in the lives of communities.

Soroptimist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation for individuals in management and professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women.

The name ‘Soroptimist’ is derived from the Latin ‘soror’ meaning sister and ‘optima’ meaning best. It can thus be interpreted as ‘the best for women’.

Globally, the first club was formed in California in the USA in 1921. Now one can go anywhere in the world to find a Soroptimist as the organisation is represented by some 90 000 members in more than 3 000 clubs in over 120 countries.

Each club is based in a geographical area, such as a town or city. These clubs are grouped into regions and grouped further into four federations: Great Britain and Ireland, the Americas, Europe, and the South West Pacific.

Soroptimist South Africa (SISA) falls under Great Britain and Ireland.

In South Africa there are eight clubs and one women’s group: Cape of Good Hope, Durban, Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Mafikeng, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Tshwane. The women’s group is situated in Kimberley.

Our work varies from advocacy – we enjoy consultative status at the United Nations – to fund raising and sponsorships. Soroptimists are working women, artists, doctors, managers, farmers, scientists, accountants – women from all walks of life, all ages and cultures.

We have one thing in common: A desire and commitment to give back to our communities and those around the world.

Our aim

SI acts as a global voice for women through awareness, advocacy and action, its objects are to strive for:

  • the advancement of the status of women
  • high ethical standards
  • human rights for all
  • equality, development and peace through international goodwill and understanding, and friendship.

In delivering on its vision to be a global voice for people at risk through awareness, advocacy and action, SISA supports the following programme areas:

  • Economic and Social Development;
  • Education;
  • Environment;
  • Health;
  • Human Rights and the Status of Women; and
  • International Goodwill and Understanding.

We are deeply grateful for the assistance of our friendship links. These are international clubs with which we have special partnerships. They help us with fund raising for specific projects and keep us connected to the global purpose of Soroptimism. We have some friendship links that range from Tokyo to Ireland and Canada.


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