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Soroptimist awarded OBE for Promoting Gender Equality

(London) Soroptimist International (SI) Programme Director, and member of SI St Albans and District, Hilary Ratcliffe, has been made an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE) in the UK Honours List , for services to “promoting Gender Equality Overseas”.  Hilary Ratcliffe is pictured here collecting her OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on 21 Nov 2014.

Hilary writes “It was a lovely day – a very very special day – I am so proud. The ceremony at Buckingham Palace was perfect. Meeting Prince Charles and having travelled to Sierra Leone I was able to talk about the wonderful work Soroptimist International is doing there and we agreed on the horror of the current Ebola crisis. The day was a celebration – not just for me but for the work of so many of the women who work so hard as volunteer Members of my organisation.”

A Soroptimist since 1980, Hilary lives in Harpenden and is an active member of the St Albans and District Club. She has been Club President, Regional President, Chair of the Soroptimist UK Programme Action Committee, SI Great Britain and Ireland Federation Assistant Programme Director for Education, Federation Programme Director and has been International Programme Director since 2011 – a post that will have it’s grand finale at the SI Convention in Istanbul in 2015.

Alongside her voluntary work as International Programme Director, Hilary is active in her local Harpenden community, she works as a freelance tour guide in London and the South East of England; she is a trained City of London Guide, Blue Badge Guide and St Albans City Guide. Before this, she spent many years as a teacher of history in secondary schools and further education colleges and was also responsible for providing pastoral support and personal and social education to sixth form students.

Hilary has inspired countless Soroptimists around the world to get involved in local, national and international projects to improve the lives of women and girls.

As International Programme Director, Hilary leads Soroptimist International’s advocacy and policy work at the UN and other international forums, speaking up for women and girls and representing the voices of around 80,000 Soroptimists in 130 countries and territories worldwide. She provides guidance and inspiration for thousands of on-the-ground Soroptimist projects to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls, helping to share good practice across the world, while developing global policies and position statements based on the experience of Soroptimists worldwide.

For more information about Soroptimist International, please contact Lisa Roscoe Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) on 0161 480 7686, email lisa@sigbi.org website www.sigbi.org

Soroptimist International is a leading global women’s voluntary organisation. It has close to 90,000 members in more than 3,000 Clubs in over 100 countries around the world. The Federation of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) has members in more than 350 clubs in 29 countries including the British Isles, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Malta.

Soroptimists inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls through a global network of members and international partnerships. Soroptimists are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong and peaceful communities worldwide.

Soroptimists focus on transforming the lives of women and girls, locally, nationally and globally, through education, empowerment and enabling initiatives. Soroptimists make a difference to the lives of more than half a million women and girls in the world every year.

Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland is an organisation in Special Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council since July 2013, which is in addition to the General Consultative status held by the umbrella organisation Soroptimist International. Soroptimist International is a recognised Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) representing women from all over the world.

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