Female presidents in Rotary Clubs

While the 84-year-old Rotary Club of Singapore, one of more than 20 Rotary Clubs here, is to be congratulated for having a female president ("1st female president for S'pore Rotary Club"; Monday), it must be pointed out that the Serangoon Gardens and Orchard Road clubs already had female presidents in 1992 ("Two women presidents for male-dominated Rotary Clubs"; April 19, 1992).

Since then, there have been many female Rotary presidents in Singapore. Indeed, the Rotary Club of Serangoon Gardens admitted women in 1989 even before the Council on Legislation of Rotary International passed a ruling to this effect later that same year.

Until then, Rotary had been an all-male domain since its founding in 1905.

Rather interestingly, Rotary International took a Rotary club in the United States to court in 1987 for admitting women, and lost the case in the Supreme Court at a cost of US$700,000 - an expensive lesson for saying "no" to women.

Mukundan Nair (Dr)


1990 Rotary Club of Serangoon Gardens

This article was first published on July 2, 2014.
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