Think of a moment when you were excluded .. remember those feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment and isolation?
Now let’s contrast that with when you felt you were included — what a great warm and fuzzy feeling that gave you.
Even though the current Rotary International’s Board is exclusive — as there are no women on that Board — let us work to challenge this with inclusive behaviour and gender diversity.
Why should we take up this challenge? Membership is dropping, and Rotary is no longer as prominent as it once was in our communities. Rotary needs to grow and it needs to become fore relevant… diversity of thought and inclusivity needs to be considered.
Research shows that when men and women work together on management boards, there is a 35% better net return on profits. The combination of a diverse range of skills and talents allows men and women to achieve more together than on their own: 1+1 = 3.
How diverse is your Rotary Club?.
Rotary needs to represent its community. Our community is made up equally of both men and women, so why is Rotary only 17% women? How can an organisation understand the community’s issues when it does not reflect that community?
Are you aware that volunteering trends have changed over the past decade? The rate of volunteering in men is decreasing, while at the same time volunteering amongst women is on the rise. Women represent a great pool of potential new members, particularly as women tend to be attracted to volunteering in organizations working with the community
So how do we attract women? Women sensitive projects is the key.
Contact Kerry Kornhauser for project tips or to discuss this further: firstname.lastname@example.org
How many of us have heard “bring your wives along!” or “ask your wives to make a cake”?
Oh my, it makes me shudder. And I have received emails that suggest this phrase has the same effect on many of you.
Mark Huddelsworth, Assistant Governor D9520, writes: There is nothing that grates on me more than when one of ourmembers gets up in front of the club and refers to an upcoming function, with the words “Make sure you tell your wives.”
I believe this is not a deliberate attack, but reaffirms that Rotary has not shaken off its male dominated past.
Mark continues, writing: One of our women always says, "I don't have a wife" — in fact, her husband is a member too.And the other women can be seen rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in disgust. Whilst this is a turn off to our current members, I dread to think what this message says to a younger, prospective member who has been told, "Come to Rotary, it is an organisation of men and women", and they hear a Rotarian referring to "wives".
Language is just so important. I refer to Phyllis Mindell, author of ‘How To Say if For Women’(2001): “when we speak, we exercise the power of language to transform reality. We can change our language style more easily than anything else in our lives”.
So let’s together agree to ban the word "wives", and replace it with the word "partners". This way we can recognize that we are in fact an “organization for men and women”.
Mark told me, there are a few clubs, which still have difficulty in ‘accepting’ women. Not ‘attracting’ women, not ‘being interesting to’ women, not ‘being welcoming to’ women, but we are still having problems simply ‘accepting’ women. Surely we should have passed this 10 or 15 years ago.
Nearly all clubs need new members, so why are clubs making it more difficult for themselves by looking at just half the population for future recruits? Especially given that the number of women volunteering is rapidly growing worldwide, and men decreasing, I ask why Rotary isn’t following this trend and encouraging women to join our Clubs as members .
Have an idea or a thought you would like to share? Email me at email@example.com