News Release

March brings a time to celebrate women worldwide

The month of March brings two significant days to celebrate and recognise women:
International Women’s Day on the 8th, followed by the anniversary of the founding of the Relief Society on the 17th.

People across the world take this opportunity to reflect on the value and contributions of women both now and in the past. Women belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also use this opportunity to celebrate their membership in an organization dating back more than 175 years.

The Relief Society was organized on 17 March 1842 to strengthen women and families and help those in need. Emma Smith, the first president of the Relief Society, told the 20 women present at its first meeting, “We are going to do something extraordinary.” The Relief Society now boasts over seven million members worldwide.

Each year Relief Society members across Europe gather together to celebrate the founding of their
remarkable organization.

Purpose of the Relief Society

The motto of the Relief Society is found in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Charity never faileth.” The motto has reminded and encouraged all members to go forward full of charity to serve their fellow man.

Since its founding the Relief Society has participated in social, humanitarian, and community work.
President Eliza R. Snow, who served 1866-1887, focused on educating women and helped send women to medical school to become doctors and nurses. President Emmeline B. Wells, who served 1910-1921, was a fierce advocate for women’s suffrage and a friend of Susan B. Anthony. Through their hard work, Utah women were the first women to vote in a national election.

For a hundred years, starting in 1876, Relief Society members grew wheat, stored it, and provided it to the needy. They were able to donate wheat to survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, World Wars I and II, and people in their own communities. The wheat program became part of the Welfare Program of the Church in 1976.

Jean B. Bingham, the current president of the Relief Society, is an advocate for humanitarian aid,
interfaith dialogue, and international women’s rights. Her first counselor, Sharon Eubank, works as
Director of LDS Charities, the worldwide humanitarian organization of the Church. Her second
counselor, Reyna I. Aburto, was born in Nicaragua, where she survived a war and a massive earthquake.
Since joining the Church at age 26, she has worked to serve her community, youth, and the Church.



Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.