Rotarians and guests from all over District 7070 and southern Ontario celebrated 30 Years of Women in Rotary at a fun-filled evening with great company on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at the YWCA, 87 Elm Street, Toronto M5G 0A8.  Read more for all of the details......

Did you know that on January 23, 1989,  the Council on Legislation voted to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide? This remains a watershed moment in the history of Rotary.

"My fellow delegates, I would like to remind you that the world of 1989 is very different to the world of 1905. I sincerely believe that Rotary has to adapt itself to a changing world," said Frank J. Devlyn, who would go on to become RI president in 2000-01. 

The vote followed the decades-long efforts of men and women from all over the Rotary world to allow for the admission of women into Rotary clubs and several close votes at previous Council on Legislation meetings.

Until 1989, the Constitution and Bylaws of Rotary International stated that Rotary club membership was for males only.

In 1978, the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, USA, invited three women to become members. The RI Board withdrew the charter of that club for violation of the RI constitution. The club brought suit against RI claiming a violation of a state civil rights law that prevents discrimination of any form in business establishments or public accommodations. The appeals court and the California Supreme Court supported the Duarte position that Rotary could not remove the club's charter merely for inducting women into the club. The United States Supreme Court upheld the California court indicating that Rotary clubs do have a "business purpose" and are in some ways public-type organizations.

This action in 1987 allowed women to become Rotarians in any jurisdiction having similar "public accommodation" statutes. In October of 1987, the Rotary Club of Angels-Murphys, District 5220 inducted three women and in spite of threats to quit Rotary by some of the older male members - none did. Two of these three women went on to lead the A-M Rotary Club as president and one those has just completed over two years as charter president of the Angels Camp Centennial Rotary Club (a club which which is very proud of its 50% female membership). 

The RI constitutional change was made at the 1989 Council on Legislation, with a vote to eliminate the "male only" provision for all of Rotary. Since that time, women have become members and leaders of clubs and districts throughout the world.

We are so proud of Valarie Wafer, a Past District Governor of District 7070, who will be the next Director of Rotary International for our Rotary Zones 24 and 32. 

The response to the decision was overwhelming: By June 1990, the number of female Rotarians had skyrocketed to over 20,000. By 2010, the number of women was approaching 200,000. Currently, over there are over 277,000 female Rotarians, not including the awesome women in Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Exchange etc. 

The District 7070 Celebration on January 23, 2019, was a celebration of the achievements and contributions that women in Rotary have made over the years.  

Over 100 Rotary District 7070 members and guests from many Rotary Clubs and organizations celebrated 30 Years of Women in Rotary on January 23, 2019 at the YWCA in downtown Toronto. A great time was had at the 30 Years of Women in Rotary on Wednesday night. Hope you enjoy the images that are on the Rotary District 7070 Facebook Page and also in the Photo Albums on our District 7070 Website. Please tag yourself in the photos. A very special thank you to Rotarian Amina Mohamed of the Rotary Club of Newmarket for taking these sensational photos. Feel free to share on your own feeds and please give credit to @aminamohamedphotography - if you would like a photo please PM her anytime.

Thank you to Rotary Bay-Bloor for their kind words on facebook and some of the additional fun photos!

From District Governor Mary Lou Harrison: Thank you to everyone who attended 30 Years of Women In Rotary - A Celebration! Special thanks to the YWCA Toronto for being our hosts and to the The Rotary Club of Toronto for supporting the life saving, hope giving work of the YWCA. Congratulations to Raïssa Nishimwe, Women In Rotary Event Chair and a member of the Rotaract Club of Toronto, on a fabulous evening. Thank you for making this event happen in such an awesome way."