March 8th is International Women’s Day.
 
Rotary celebrates the day with special significance.
 
Until 1987 and following a series of court cases in the USA, women had not been allowed to be members of Rotary clubs. This was not uncommon for service and social clubs.
 
Thirty-four years ago, the Rotary Club of Duarte (California) elected the first women into a Rotary club. Duarte had led the fight to allow women to join and in fact had been deregistered as a club because they had allowed a woman to become a member some years earlier.
 
That is the past.  Today, Rotary celebrates its women and the difference they have made, not only to Rotary clubs, but to the world.
The first woman to join the Rotary Club of Geelong East was Irene Plumridge a Bursar as Geelong High School. Irene joined in the Rotary year 1993/94.
 
The club’s first female President was Anna Fletcher, General Manager Community & Mental Health at Barwon Health, in 2001. The club has had four Presidents including the current President, Yannick Le Gall, IT Manager at Target Australia.
 
The first woman President of a club in Australia, was Cathy Roth who formed the Rotary Club of Geelong Central and was inducted by the Rotary International President, Royce Abbey, Australia’s third Rotary International President.
 
The current International President-Elect is Jennifer Jones, who will be the first woman to lead the organisation when she becomes RI President in 2022/23. Jennifer is Canadian. Joining Jennifer’s Board will be Dr. Jessie Harman of the Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast, Australia’s first female Rotary International Director.
 
With women being welcomed into Rotary Clubs around the world, there are today well over 200,000 female Rotarians, working alongside their male club mates, to serve their community.
The Geelong East Rotary Club can boast 20 female Rotarians with Dorothy Sinclair as our longest current active serving female member (25 years).
 
Rotarians - Celebrating the Women in Rotary