In 1937, a group of women in Joplin formed a chapter of Soroptimist to work toward strengthening their community. The club was chartered on March 6 with 15 members. At the time, women weren’t permitted to join the all-male community groups.
The charter officers were as follows:
- Chloe Wise, President
- Frances Rosenthal, First Vice President
- Cora McDonald, Second Vice President
- Juanita Wallower, Secretary
- Josephine Yates, Treasurer
- Carrie Kerwin, Parliamentarian
The charted club had a five-fold purpose: to study the legislative problems affecting women; to aid in vocational guidance, of which the club had several scholarships for deserving young women in business, educational, and art schools; to conduct business research; to give financial aid and assist in the rehabilitation of unfortunate families; and to foster “junior venture” groups of young women, “who will be the women of tomorrow.” Members consisted of “classified professional women and business executives of the highest moral and ethical standards, who through loyalty to the club standards, civic interests, and their community and nation, carry out the ideals of the organization.”
A lot has changed for women and girls in 85 years. But the road to equality continues to be difficult. Women and girls face tremendous challenges solely because of their gender. And they suffer disproportionately from poverty, racism, sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking.
Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. With its long history of working with women and girls, Soroptimist knows that helping them receive education, develop skills, and gain training is a powerful strategy toward realizing their dreams.
Soroptimist International of Joplin