The word “Soroptimist” is derived from two Latin words, soror meaning “sister” and optima meaning “best”. Soroptimism stands for “women at their best helping others to be their best”. From the founding of the first Soroptimist club in Oakland, California, in 1921, through to the present day where there are over 3000 clubs worldwide, Soroptimists have continued to strive to achieve ‘the best for women’ in every aspect of their lives.
Soroptimism came to Malaysia in December 1991, when Soroptimist International of Kuala Lumpur was chartered.
In August 1993, a Forum was convened as part of the Programme of the Convention held at the Burau Bay Resort in Langkawi, organised by Soroptimist International of Kuala Lumpur, to establish the Region Status for SI Clubs in Malaysia. The idea of a Soroptimist Region of Malaysia was mooted and subsequently necessary arrangements made and submitted to the Registrar of Societies, Malaysia. SIROM was chartered on 3 October 1993 and subsequently registered on 12 August 1995.
Y Bhg Puan Sri Fatimah Hamidon became the first President of SI Region of Malaysia. Joanne V. Fernandez and Dr. Katherine Tan of SI Bangsar, became the first two Federation Councillors to represent SIROM at the Federation Council Meetings held in Australia and New Zealand. Malaysia then had the first Federation President to be elected from outside the main member countries of Australia and New Zealand. Having also held other Federation Positions, Joanne Fernandez was elected to become the Federation President of SISWP for the Biennium of 2000 to 2002.
Since then, members of SI Petaling Jaya, Y Bhg Puan Sri Siew Yong Ganalingam, has served as the Federation President of SISWP for the Biennium of 2012-2014 and Y Bhg Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam is currently serving as Federation President-Elect of SISWP for the Biennium 2016-2018.
Soroptimist Region of Malaysia is governed under the region-constitution (approved in 2013).