"The COVID-19 pandemic and anti-racism solidarity demonstrations are calling out global inequities and the need for social justice. It is even more important that Rotary be an organization inclusive of all cultures, experiences, and identities.” -- from the introduction to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Rotary: How are we Doing?
Rotary is committed to putting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the core of the Rotary experience. “It is time for Rotary to create a new future for the organization, one that is more open and inclusive, fair to all, builds goodwill, and is beneficial to all of Rotary.” said 2018-19 President Barry Rassin when Rotary’s diversity, equity, and inclusion statement was adopted.
Does this mean that Rotarians and our clubs never discriminate? Of course not, because unconscious bias is happening every day, everywhere. What is does mean is that, at our best, we proactively seek out and seize opportunities to leverage organizational diversity and inclusion.
2018-19 President Barry Rassin observed “We keep telling Rotarians to find a way to bring in young people, when we have them already and we seem to forget them.” Not anymore! This year we celebrate the expansion of Rotary membership to include Rotaract clubs and removing the upper age limit of membership. In our district many Rotaractors are moving from university-based clubs to community-based ones.
In 1912 the Rotary Convention discussed the admission of women and rejected the idea. After that Rotarians’ wives formed official and informal auxiliaries, “Rotary Ann” and “Inner Wheel”. That changed in 1989 when membership was opened to women. Now the Board has set a goal to increase the number of women in Rotary, as members and as leaders, to 30% worldwide by 2023.
Diversity and inclusion mean much more. “Whatever brought each of us to Rotary, we stay because we find value in Rotary membership and believe that our service has value to the world. By building clubs that reflect that world in all its diversity, we will build even more enduring value in Rotary: Making a Difference.” -- 2017-18 President Ian Riseley
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