Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 or Email ALL news to:newsvino@outlook.com; ads call 1-284-440-6666

Of Rotary & Women! A reflection on the then gender issue in the VI

The acceptance of women into membership was an issue among a number of the charter members of the Rotary Club of Tortola since some had felt that it should have remained a “men’s thing”. The issue was debated and the club decided that ladies should be admitted. Ms. Delma Maduro (right) would became the first woman to serve in the capacity of president (2005-2006). Photo: VINO
Past President of Rotary Club of Tortola, Mrs Lorna Smith (left) at the club's 45th anniversary dinner on January 5, 2013. Photo: VINO
Past President of Rotary Club of Tortola, Mrs Lorna Smith (left) at the club's 45th anniversary dinner on January 5, 2013. Photo: VINO
Rotarians Lynette Harrigan (left) and Ron Potter at the 45th anniversary dinner of the Rotary Club of Tortola. Photo: VINO
Rotarians Lynette Harrigan (left) and Ron Potter at the 45th anniversary dinner of the Rotary Club of Tortola. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In retrospect, charter members of the Rotary club of Tortola discovered that one of their biggest debated challenges was whether or not women should have been allowed to join the club. The affirmative would prevail, however, and Ms. Delma Maduro became the first woman to serve in the capacity of president.

The acceptance of women into membership was an issue among a number of the charter members of the club since some had felt that it should have remained a “men’s thing”.

This was revealed at the 45th anniversary celebrations of the Rotary Club of Tortola, when it paid special tribute to its charter members on January 5, 2013. Three of the twenty charter members were present; past president Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, Dr. Robin Tattersal and Mr. Michael Helm. The other seventeen members were represented by relatives or close friends.

“It took us time to get organized and to understand more about Rotary, since most of us did not know anything about It,” admitted Hon. O’Neal while delivering his address at the ceremony. He said since Rotary International had agreed to admit ladies to the Club, the Club has been revived and refreshed and the new outburst of energy is all for the good.

“When the question of admitting ladies came up, there was some difficulty in getting a decision from the Club and so the President decided that he would have a debate on the matter.  He directed me to lead one part of the debate, not to admit ladies in the Club and I think that Brother Big Clarence would lead the other side to take ladies into the Club,” reflected Mr. O’Neal. 

It was debated and the Club decided that ladies should be admitted. The ladies were admitted and scaled the ladder very quickly and Rotarian Ms. Delma Maduro became the first lady President. “It did not bother me when it came to me that I was against ladies becoming Rotarians.  I did what the President directed me to do and that was that,” Hon. said. “If I was against ladies in the club and did not want them, all I had to do was leave the club but we must learn to be tolerant and today we can brag or boast on the good work that ladies are doing.”

Ms. Maduro will ascend to the position of Deputy District Governor starting June 2013, a position which runs for a three year period.   

Other women who have held positions as president of the Rotary Club of Tortola are Ms. Mary Jones for 2007-2008, she no longer resides in the Virgin Islands; and Lorna Smith 2010 -2011, wife of Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith.

Several other persons who took to the podium that night had a bit to say on the topic of women’s acceptance into the club as they even pointed out members who were for or against. But reflecting on the transition and advancement of the club over the years with women’s involvement, they all agreed that the final decision was the best.

Hon. O’Neal said that he found Rotary a pleasant change from the weekly routine and he was able for some time to record a hundred percent attendance.

The First 7020 District Governor Mr. Vance Lewis, in his remarks said, “Yes, today members of the Rotary Club of Tortola have much to be proud of. Because of its proud history, it remains the envy of many clubs.”  He added, “As District Governor of Rotary International District 7020 for the Rotary Year 2012-2013, I am both pleased and proud to offer my profound congratulations to members of the Rotary Club of Tortola on their achievement of 45 years of responsible leadership and excellent service to humanity.”

10 Responses to “Of Rotary & Women! A reflection on the then gender issue in the VI”

  • so so (07/01/2013, 09:34) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    But the ladies were all wives of already rotary members they just wanted to go the club with their husbands!!!
  • me waz dey (07/01/2013, 11:28) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I must say, the crowd at the Rotary event was...WOW...I myself was very surprised
    • wish upon a star (07/01/2013, 15:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      yea fill up with the want to bess and which I was someone in the BVI!!!
      • 69 (07/01/2013, 23:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Given the low esteem of thoes what-to-bess the place must have been filled!
  • Nice (07/01/2013, 15:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Delma still looking like a spring chicken mehson...good thing that man jogging to keep up!!!
  • facts man (07/01/2013, 16:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lynett girl you looking dapper but the NDP aint going promote you..lol
  • Observation (07/01/2013, 20:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Damn ! tola people mean to each other meh boy. This was a really nice event people dont be so mean
    • with (08/01/2013, 07:04) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with your observation many of these comentors/blogers are entertaining. Full of gamma radiated Horse manure but never a dull moment.

      Why can’t you all just say, congratulations to the Rotary club for a job well done after 45 years?


Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.