Women’s Equality Day Celebrated in August


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Women’s Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

The 19th Amendment prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.

Women’s Equality Day was first celebrated in 1973 and is proclaimed each year by the United States President.

President Richard Nixon issued Proclamation 4236 for Women’s Equality Day, which began, in part: “The struggle for women’s suffrage, however, was only the first step toward full and equal participation of women in our Nation’s life. In recent years, we have made other giant strides by attacking sex discrimination through our laws and by paving new avenues to equal economic opportunity for women. Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life. And yet, much still remains to be done”

As of 2018, every president since Richard Nixon has issued a proclamation designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. On August 25, 2016, President Obama’s Proclamation read, in part: “Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls.  (source: Wikipedia)

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Women’s Empowerment…1848 to 2019


Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote but just because we got the right to vote, did we really become empowered women at that time?  You make your own decision.

To begin with, we need to look back at history.

It took almost a century for women to be granted the right to vote in the United States, considered by many to be the first major act of empowering women.

In 1848 the movement for women’s rights launched on a national level with the Seneca Falls Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Following the convention, the demand for the vote became a centerpiece of the women’s rights movement. Stanton and Mott, along with Susan B. Anthony and other activists, raised public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. (source: history.com)

Throughout America’s early history, women were denied basic rights granted to men. For example, women couldn’t own property, had no legal claim to any money they might earn, and did not have the right to vote. Women were expected to focus on housework and motherhood, not politics.

However, not all women bought into the notion that they were second-class citizens but, it was not until the Seneca Falls Convention that the issue of women’s rights came to the forefront.  Did you know that over 300 people, mostly women but some men, like former African-American slave and activist Frederick Douglass, attended that convention?

And did you know that, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, they produced a
“Declaration of Sentiments”  document fashioned after the Declaration of Independence, which said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”?(source: history.com)  But, as we all know, the Declaration of Independence remains, “that all men are created equal…”

And did you know that in 1869, the Wyoming Territory granted the right to vote to all female residents age 21 and older, and when Wyoming became a state, women’s suffrage remained part of their state’s constitution? (source: history.com)  I didn’t.

So…in 1848, the movement for women’s rights was officially launched, but it took until 1872 for Victoria Claflin Woodhull, as the Equal Rights Party nominee, to become the first woman to run for President of the United States.

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Victoria and her sister, Tennessee, were empowered women.  In 1870, backed by financier Cornelius Vanderbilt, they opened the first Wall Street brokerage firm. At the time, she was 31 and Tennessee was 24.  Woodhull was not only the first female to  own a brokerage firm on Wall Street; she was also the first woman to start a weekly newspaper, and an activist for women’s rights and labor reform.

But, it took another 144 years before Hillary Clinton, another empowered woman,  became the first women to win a major party nomination in 2016.

And today…we have not 1…not 2…but 5 women who have declared their intention to run for President of the United States…100 years after women were granted the right to vote. So, how do these empowered women tie into our Soroptimist mission?

Our bold, Big Goal to improve the lives of 500,000 women & girls by 2031 through our 2 signature programs, Live Your Dream, a cash grant for women heads of household enrolled in an undergraduate program or trade school, and Dream It, Be It, a mentoring program for teen girls who face obstacles to success by empowering them.

And why are we working so hard to these empower women & girls? Because, we feel that empowered women and girls can & will change the world for GOOD!

For more information on our Dream Programs or the work we do as Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach to empower women, please contact us at info@soroptimisthuntingtonbeach.org.


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2018-2019 SI Huntington Beach Rocks Soroptimist International of the Americas’ 4 Pillars


Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach truly supports our global mission of improving the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social & economic empowerment.

We know empowered women & girls can and will change the world for good!

Here is what we accomplished this year:


Goal:  Strongly encouraged to participate in SIA’s Dream Programs:  Live Your Dream, Training & Education Awards for Women and Dream It, Be It, career support for girls who face obstacles to success.

Live Your Dream…we awarded 8 deserving women, who are heads of household enrolled in an undergraduate program, with a total of $12,500.  Our club received 12 applications, sharing the ones we did not choose with other clubs who needed applicants.  The 4 we shared were chosen by those clubs as awardees.  One of our honorees advanced to the region level and received an additional grant.

In addition, we took this program a little further and adopted our first Beyond the Cash Award recipient, Allison Cuff.

Dream It, Be It...in the summer, when most clubs go dark, our club presented the program to 6 teenage girls at Olive Crest’s Transitional Housing Program.  These foster youths will not be reunited with their families.  We also delivered this program, in partnership with SI Newport Harbor Area, to female students at Back Bay High School in the fall.  As a club, we invested 120 hours in mentoring the girls.  


Goal:  To have a net change in membership of not more than -1%.

Our club grew 13.2%.  We added 15 new members for a total of 60 members.  These members contributed to our club by being part of the board and joining one of our 18 committees.  From the region, we received the Governor’s Cup for the largest number of new members in the region for the club year.  12 members attended the Winter District meeting, and 3 members attended the Desert Coast Region 2019 Spring Conference.  


Goal:  To focus on fundraising events that will help to maximize the number of women and girls that we serve.

Through various events such as Wine Tasting, Bunco’s, Paint Night, Derby Day, Walk to Make a Difference and the Holiday Fundraiser as well as donations made by many of our generous members and organizations in our community like AES, HB Auto Dealers, Walmart, Baci Restaurant and Jersey Mike’s, we raised approximately $38,000 to fund our programs. 


Goal:  To increase recognition in the community

SIHB a website with a blog, FB page and a Twitter account.  We have partnered with the Assistance League of Huntington Beach, who not only supported us but also helped us promote our Day of Empowerment. We were featured on HB News, a local channel, regarding our Day of Empowerment.  We reached out to community organizations for grants and in-kind donations, creating awareness as well as donations.  For the second year in a row, we received a badge from Great Non-Profits as people gave testimonials about our club.  We secured our first local corporate sponsor, AES.

We would like to thank everyone for helping us make this year a success!

Marcelle Capps, President


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Cathy Standiford featured on Giving Back Podcast


Cathy Standiford, a retired City Manager and Local Government Consultant, a volunteer mentor for Write Girl, is a 30-year member of Soroptimist International and a member of our club, Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach. As a woman of faith, Cathy believes it is her purpose to serve, mentor, and empower young women. On the Giving Back Podcast,  Cathy discusses the two organizations that are close to her heart and how it inspires her every day post-retirement! 

Cathy’s interview will be on the home page until Monday next week, and then it will be available in the podcast archives.

Congratulations to our very own, Cathy Standiford!

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About the show:

“For people who want to hear about great work being performed by charities, personal stories of how and why our guests support their favorite charity, and learn different ways each of us can take action and get involved in a cause we are passionate about, this is the right place.”

The Giving Back podcast celebrates their heartfelt commitment and the great work of the charities they support. We’ll have three shows a week and you can expect three things on every show:

First, we shine the spotlight on a charity. We talk about both the problem they are solving and the impact they have on the people they serve.

Second, our guests talk about how and why they got involved with a charity or cause. They have some pretty amazing stories.

Third, we focus on you, our listener. You’ll walk away from each show with ideas and resources you can use to make a difference on a cause you feel passionate about.”

To hear Cathy and others, go to http://givingbackpodcast.com/


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Empowered Women in History – April


It always amazes me how many empowered women in history I discover each month. (Thank you Google.) April is no different.

Here are a few of the women in history who have made a difference in changing how women are viewed.

Florence A. Blanchfield, U.S. Army Colonel and superintendent of the Army Nursing Corps from 1943 to 1947.

April 01, 1940COURTESY: TED
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize-winning Kenyan political and environmental activist.

Emmylou Harris, singer-songwriter and 13-time Grammy winner.

April 03, 1934© KARL AMMANN/CORBIS
Jane Goodall, legendary primatologist

April 04, 1928COURTESY: BET
Maya Angelou, acclaimed poet and civil rights activist.

Dolores Huerta, labor leader, civil rights activist and, along with Cesar Chavez, co-founder of United Farm Workers.

To see more movers and shakers born in April, go to 50 Badass Women Born in April.

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9 Empowered Women Who Defied The Odds


They believed they could…and they did….9 Empowered women who defied the odds and succeeded in making a difference or changing the status quo…from Oprah Winfrey to Lydie Hakizimana.

“DESPITE the voices of skepticism, she believed in her instinct. She set up a book store despite the talk that it would not survive its first birthday in a country with a poor reading culture. But Lydie Hakizimana did not give up on her dream and indeed she stood out of the crowd. Today her book store serves over 3000 schools across the country.” (source:The New Times Rwanda’s Leading Daily)

Gaudence Mushimiyimana's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and closeup

“Gaudence Mushimiyimana, co-founder and the executive director of a Rwandan organisation of women with disabilities (UNAB), shared her experience and how far UNAB has gone in empowering more than 500 women with disabilities.

“Taking a bold action needs a strong reason to do so, seeing disabled women chasing their goals always motivates me to help disabled women wherever they are because I know behind their disability there is ability. That’s why I started a private company that provides them with skills to succeed. I would like you to take a bold action to help a disabled person as well,” she said.”  (source:The New Times Rwanda’s Leading Daily)

“Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American medical school, after overcoming several odds against her – including admittance to an all-male institution and financing medical school. With Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, and her sister Emily, who also became a doctor, she opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1856.” (source: one.org)

“Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa when she took office as the President of Liberia in January 2006. She signed a Freedom of Information bill (the first of its kind in West Africa) and made reduction of the national debt a cornerstone of her Presidency. To investigate crimes committed during Liberia’s civil war, she established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and became a global icon with her commitment to fighting dictators, corruption and poverty through empowerment of women and girls.” (source one.org)

“Wangari Muaathai was a Kenyan scientist, professor, environmental and political activist. She was the first woman in East or Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and is credited with founding the Green Belt Movement, a community initiative that seeks to empower women through civic education and environmental stewardship. In 2004, for her work on sustainable development, democracy and peace, she became the first African woman, and first environmentalist, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.”(source: one.org)

“Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, human rights activist, and the first female judge in Iran. After Khomeini’s revolution in 1979 she was dismissed as a judge. She then opened a legal practice to defend people being persecuted by the authorities. In 2000 she herself was imprisoned for having criticized her country’s hierocracy. She won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially those of women, children and refugees. She is the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the prize.” (source: one.org)

“Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani advocate for girls education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. In 2009, when Malala was just eleven she began blogging about life under the Taliban, speaking out directly against their threats to close girls’ schools. (Pakistan has the second highest number of children out of school and two-thirds of them are female.) The blog on BBC Urdu garnered international attention while also making her the target of death threats. In October 2012, a gunman shot her and two other girls as they were coming home from school. Malala survived the attack and in 2013 published an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.” (source:0ne.org)

Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history.

Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history.  Born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee, she has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.[15]

Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school. By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news. Winfrey’s often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place,[16]she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

In 2004, Winfrey and her team filmed an episode of her show, Oprah’s Christmas Kindness, in which Winfrey traveled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS. During the 21-day trip, Winfrey and her crew visited schools and orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and distributed Christmas presents to 50,000 children,[209] with dolls for the girls and soccer balls for the boys, and school supplies. Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate money to Oprah’s Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa.

From that show alone, viewers around the world donated over $7,000,000. Winfrey invested $40 million and some of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The school set over 22 acres, opened in January 2007 with an enrollment of 150 pupils (increasing to 450) and features state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science laboratories, a library, theatre, and beauty salon. Nelson Mandela praised Winfrey for overcoming her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others. Winfrey, who has no surviving biological children, described maternal feelings towards the girls at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.[211][212] Winfrey teaches a class at the school via satellite. (source: wikipedia)


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Soroptimist Huntington Beach’s Day of Empowerment


On Saturday, January 26, 2019, Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach hosted 19 women to a Day of Empowerment.  The “day” included a continental breakfast, a shopping spree compliments of The Assistance League of Huntington Beach’s Operation New Beginnings, a workshop on balancing stress, lunch compliments of Jersey Mike’s in Westminster, sharing and a “swag” bag! Childcare, for those who needed it was provided by a licensed childcare provider.
To sum up our annual event in a sentence…Empowered women empowering women.Amazing volunteers and supporters….Soroptimist Huntington Beach, Soroptimist Westminster, Soroptimist Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs, The Assistance League of Huntington Beach, Golden West College Cosmetology Department, Golden West College CARE Program, Jersey Mikes, Joanne Filippi, professional hairdresser, Cindy Wortman, volunteer-at-large…We thank you all!!



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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month


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January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Join with Soroptimists all around the globe in putting an end to human trafficking…especially women!

This January learn how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and where to report it.

We, at Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach, invite you to join us at our January 24th Program Meeting and listen to the experts talk about the demand right here in Orange County and what we can do as concerned citizens.  For more information, go to our Meetings & Events page or email us at info@soroptimisthuntingtonbeach.org.

Here are some of the indicators:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

“Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.”
(source: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/indicators-human-trafficking).

Knowing the key indicators and taking action may save someone’s life.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - January 11


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Why Gender Equality Matters for ALL 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals


Gender Equality needs to be the norm globally not the exception and our work as Soroptimists to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment does make a difference.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That has been shortened to “2030 Agenda.” (source: Wikipedia)

“Turning promises into action” is UN Women’s global report on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It makes an urgent call to step up efforts to end discrimination against women and girls everywhere. (source: unwomen.org.)

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 1

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 2

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 3

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 4

For a complete listing of all 17 SDG’s and why our work to transform the lives of women and girls, please go to http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2018/7/infographic-why-gender-equality-matters-to-achieving-all-17-sdgs.

Thank you Cathy Standiford for submitting this information and for connecting us with the Women’s UN Report Network. 

The Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN) “addresses the human rights, oppression, and empowerment of women and girls all over the globe.”




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Counting My Blessings


Counting my blessings is something I do on a daily basis…I even own a “blessings” bracelet.  And, it seemed to me, at this “giving” time of year to share some thoughts and blessings with you.

But…before I begin, I want to take a few moments to thank some special people and companies whose generous giving to our club is enabling us to support more women and girls through our “dream” programs, our Dolly Wakeham, “adopted mom” program, our Day of Empowerment and more.

In no particular order…thank you:
Weikko Wirta & AES Huntington Beach
Alisa Armstrong & Big Bear Cool Cabins
Diana Perna & PK Real Estate
Jennifer Klein
Mary Sue Bowden
Walmart Huntington Beach
The Shenkman’s
The Huntington Beach Assistance League
Matt Liffreing Marketworks
Dan Ciscel & Jersey Mike’s
Christine Soresi
Cathy Standiford
Heather Menchine
and all of the other members of SI Huntington Beach, not mentioned above,  who devote time, energy and funds to make a difference in the lives of women and girls!

Our donation to Project Self Sufficiency’s Christmas Party 2018 – 6 Giraffe Big Wheels

And so…my blessings…again, in no particular order:
My health
My husband who supports me in everything I do
My friends…both near and far
My Soroptimist club whose generosity in all ways at all times never ceases to amaze me
My “fur baby”, Spirit, who constantly lives up to her name
All of the women who have come into my life because, I am a Soroptimist
All of the women we have served and their successes
Being able to laugh…even at myself
Our club’s belief in the Soroptimist Dream Programs: Live Your Dream & Dream It,
Be It and our knowing that our investment in these programs does make a difference in the lives we touch
I know I could go on and on with my list but will finish with what’s in my heart: I may not be a wealthy woman but, I am rich in blessings!

So, as we get ready to ring in a new year, instead of asking you what your resolutions are, I will leave you with this:



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