The name Soroptimist is coined from the Latin word ‘Soros’ meaning sisters and ‘ Optima” meaning the best. So, Soroptimist may be interpreted as ‘the best for women’.
Soroptimist International (SI) is one of the largest international voluntary service organizations for women and was founded in 1921. It is committed worldwide to the promotion of human rights and gender equality. The mission and objectives are achieved by working on projects relating to education, healthcare, environmental sustainability, violence & conflict resolution, economic empowerment with special focus on women’s welfare. Soroptimists actively support local, national and international communities in this way.
The SI network covers 75000 members in 122 countries. Globally, each Soroptimist club is affiliated to one of the four SI Federations, within Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, The Americas and South West Pacific.
Thus, Soroptimist International of Calcutta (SI Calcutta) is one of 14 clubs in India, held under the umbrella of National Association of Soroptimist International( NASI) and is affiliated to Soroptomist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI).
SIGBI has General Consultative (Category One) Status with
- Economic and Social Council, United Nations (ECOSOC) and
- United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
It has Operational Relations with United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is also in the Special List of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Through the above association with the various arms of the United Nations, the organization seeks equality, peace, and international goodwill for women. The work of SIGBI is also related to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Development Fund.
SI Calcutta was founded 40 years ago, when Aroti Dutt a renowned social worker of Kolkata got together with several professional and like minded women of the time, and set up an organisation to work towards the best for women.
It was registered under West Bengal Societies Registration Act (XXVI of 1961) bearing No. S/32319 of 1981-82.
In the past 40 years, we have had the satisfaction of undertaking several relevant and useful projects in diverse areas. Some major projects have commenced in the last few years.
We have also conducted several seminars and workshops in the city through which we have tried to spread awareness about various issues which are important for the betterment of women.
We believe that by transforming lives of women, we are also helping to change the lives of their families as well, thereby making a difference to the society.
SI Calcutta initiated the Dhaka Soroptimist Club, which was chartered in 1983.
SI Calcutta was instrumental in starting SI Jabalpur.
SI Calcutta helped Burdwan charter in 1985.
Two city clubs were initiated in East Calcutta in 1988 , SI Calcutta Downtown in 1993.
SI Calcutta initiated SI Kathmandu in 1995, but took years to charter in 2013.
SI South Kolkata was chartered in 2006.