Home' Rotary Down Under : October 2017 Contents MAILBOX
| 12 | ISSUE 599 OCTOBER 2017
Women missing at
peak of Rotary
Justin Trudeau’s Canadian government has 34
ministers; 17 of them women. Here’s the status
quo in Rotary International: 20 directors, only
one of them a woman, Hendreen Dean Rohrs,
of British Columbia. And of the 16 trustees there
are only two women, Brenda Cressey and Mary
Beth Growney Selene of the USA... why?
In Australia, one district has 20 on the board,
but only one of them is a woman. Our best
district in regard to gender is 26 per cent females
good, but a long way short of balance.
Surely Rotary can lift its game? Total
membership has been static for 25 years. That’s
from growth in developing countries offsetting
a serious decline in Western countries. Could
greater gender balance at the top be a catalyst
for real growth and community involvement/
representation? Would that example encourage
more women to join us?
I’m not talking symbolism: any number of
studies have shown that top teams, with strong
female input create significant gains to the
organisation, better than a single-sexed board!
Nor am I disparaging the calibre and
dedication of the RI Board members. The
problem is partly that we Rotarians at grass roots
have NOT nominated and accelerated women to
high positions – especially women with corporate
leadership experience. Women started joining
Rotary in 1987, so it is not surprising that men
with both corporate skills and many decades
experience in Rotary, heavily outnumber their
female counterparts. Some affirmative action is
needed to offset this historic fault.
Just encourage and support women to take
on these leadership positions and watch the
New Zealand is leading the pack, with six
district governors, of which three are female.
So, Australia, take a leaf out of Canada’s and
New Zealand’s book and bring Rotary into the
21st Century on gender balance in
Kerry Kornhauser OAM
Rotary Club of Melbourne, Vic
Time for a female
The announcement of Mark Maloney’s nomination as
Rotary International president for 2019-20, and the
article in the May issue of Rotary Down Under, where
Nick Krayacich credits his then RI vice president wife
for encouraging him into Rotary 10 years after she
had joined, got me thinking.
It is 30 years since women were welcomed into
Rotary and by the end of Mark’s year as RI president
it will be 33 years. Isn’t it time we had a woman
nominated for president?
Rotary Club of Maleny, Qld
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
The number of women in senior leadership positions in
Rotary has become a conversation piece at various club and
district meetings and at both Zone Institutes recently. I am
very supportive of having women on the board of Rotary
International, as trustees of The Rotary Foundation and as
president of Rotary International, providing they are the best
person for the job.
However, in order to change the present imbalance, people
need to understand how it happened and what you can
do to address it. Rotarians selected to the board of Rotary
International have been selected by district representatives
from the Zone they represent. Rotary International does not
elect or appoint people to the board of Rotary International.
Therefore, it is up to each district to develop and mentor
not only talented women to progress up the ladder, but all
Rotarians with the skills and talent by giving them a variety
of roles. We need to develop these leaders’ skills to be
board members at all levels of Rotary, including the
I will celebrate the day when we have our first female
Rotary International president, but it is in our interest
to ensure we have the best person for any job in Rotary,
regardless of their gender. We would be doing a disservice to
any person and, indeed, to Rotary if we were to appoint any
person to any role just because of their gender.
We have had women put their names forward to the
nominating committee for the role of president of Rotary
International. I believe it will be very soon when we do have
our first female president. I can understand how some people
are frustrated at how long it seems to be taking, but it
In our region, 26 per cent of our members in Australian
districts and 24 per cent in New Zealand districts are women.
District 9710 leads the way, with 31 per cent of its
Director, Rotary International
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