Rotary President, Barry Rassin, has vowed to turn the tide by seeing more women in the organisation in leadership positions.
Speaking on the opening day of the convention at the Hamburg Messe und Congress, the Bahamian revealed that the Rotary Board had set a target of increasing female representation at the highest level by 30% by 2023.
There has never been a female President of Rotary International, although in Great Britain & Ireland, the current President in these isles, Debbie Hodge, will be followed by Donna Wallbank next month – two years after Eve Conway finished her term as Rotary GBI President in 2016-17.
— Rotary International (@Rotary) June 2, 2019
Barry Rassin told Rotarians: “We believe in diversity, because Rotary at its best unites the world, and therefore must reflect every part of humanity.
“You cannot properly serve the world unless you can see and hear that world accurately.
“Diversity ensures that Rotary represents all voices and speaks in every language. That includes age, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity and abilities. We must ensure that more women join Rotary and attain positions of leadership.
“That is why, this year, the Rotary Board set a goal to increase the number of women in Rotary and in leadership positions to 30% June 2023.
“We are committed to taking action to reach these goals, and I hope we can attain them sooner.”
The Rotary International President pointed to the fact that during the 2020-21 Rotary year, six women will serve on the Rotary Board for the first time ever.
We believe in diversity, because Rotary at its best unites the world, and therefore must reflect every part of humanity.”
And Californian Brenda Cressey is the first chairwoman of The Rotary Foundation for the new Rotary year, which begins next month.
The Rotary Convention opened on Sunday and runs through to Wednesday. The opening ceremony had a strong Bahamian flavour with artist Jamaal Rolle and musician Julien Believe from the Atlantic Ocean archipelago performing to the audience.
There was also break-dancing from a German group, DDC Breakdance and a solo performance from Sungbong Choi, abandoned as a child, who was forced to live a life of crime on the streets of Daejeon before singing his way to the runners-up slot on Korea’s Got Talent.
Barry Rassin used a wide-ranging address to hail the progress of developing more Rotaract clubs globally, describing them as “Rotary’s rock stars who inspire us”.
He added: “They inspire us with big dreams and even bigger actions.
“I call on all of the greying Rotary leaders, who have given so much to this organisation through the years, to take heed of what Rotaractors say and do. They are Rotary’s future.
— Rotary International (@Rotary) June 3, 2019
“People of diverse backgrounds, leading and following people from different generations – fellowship auto that’s what fellowship is all about. Through our service, we grow closer together and learn to use each other’s skills more effectively.
“By working together, we open up unlimited potential. It’s our fellowship that transcends all boundaries and makes Rotary a force for peace worldwide.”
Using the words of Rotary founder, Paul Harris, “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the to the world it will be known by the results it achieves”, Barry Rassin turned the spotlight onto polio, describing its elimination as the final mile of a marathon.
I call on all of the greying Rotary leaders, who have given so much to this organisation through the years, to take heed of what Rotaractors say and do. They are Rotary’s future.”
“We’ve brought the world to the brink of polio eradication,” he explained. “Now, along with our global polio partners, we’re launching a new strategy to take it over the finish line and deliver a polio-free world.
“Despite all of our impressive progress, the last steps to eradication have proven to be the most difficult.
“This strategy will succeed, but only if it is fully implemented with sufficient resources.
“Your service brought us this far – and we’ll need you now more than ever to bring this great Rotary mission to a happy conclusion for all the world’s children.
“We must fulfil our promise to the children of the world.”