*International Women’s Day Celebration:* *Women in Rotary, A Defining Moment*


By Precious Werner Ahiakwo

As more women are been celebrated around the World to commemorate the World International Women’s Day, President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Rebisi Kingdom, Sofiri Gladstone-Dappa PHF, says the Rotary International 1989 Council on Legislation vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remains a defining moment in the history of Rotary.


President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Rebisi Kingdom, Sofiri Gladstone-Dappa PHF, said this during the presentation of a lecture titled “The Emerging Women in Rotary” at an event organize by the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City to mark the World International Women’s Day in Port Harcourt.

Sofiri Gladstone-Dappa said “I believe that the addition of women represents the single greatest force for Rotary growth since the chartering of the first international club in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1912. Not only have women added to our membership growth, but they’ve helped inject new life into Rotary clubs through their ideas and enthusiasm.”


The Rotarian President while recounting the History of how Women emerged in Rotary said the vote followed the decades-long efforts of men and women from all over the Rotary world to allow the admission of women into Rotary clubs, and several close votes at previous Council meetings.


“The response to the decision was overwhelming: By June 1990, the number of female Rotarians had skyrocketed to over 20,000. The number of women members worldwide reached 195,000 in July 2010 (about 16% of Rotarians) and surpassed 277,000 in July 2020 (about 23%). In our district, 9141 and country at large, we have had amazing and inspiring women trailblazing and pace setting both in Rotary and Beyond, we have Rotary Ambassador Ijeoma Pearl Okoro, a past district governor, she was named among the five Rotary Women in the World leading the fight to end Polio Worldwide. And so many others”, he recounted


Sofiri Gladstone-Dappa while advocating for more women in Rotary, said “As we consciously await the new Rotary Year with a Woman as our president for the very first time, there must be a progressive and positive appraisal of the women folk especially in the new dispensation that is fast unfolding in Rotary today. They must shake their selves off the shackles of intimidation. To my male colleagues too, we must accept that women are active agents of progress and development; hence, we must do everything possible to help enhance leadership potentials and be the true change agents they are. Get more women involved in the business of Rotary, numbers are very important in decision making’’.


On her part, the President of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie said “Providing leadership opportunities to women has been a recurring theme for the Rotary International District 9141 Governor, Andy Uwejeyan, who included women wherever possible as he assembled his committees and task forces for this Rotary year 2021-2022. She said the advancement of women within Rotary, based on their abilities, will do much to assist in the recruitment of more women by the clubs.


“Women make up half of the world’s population, and an organization that strives to benefit all of humanity should mirror that fact, Rotarian Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie said.


Highlight of the event includes birthday celebration of the Past President and first female President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Tonye Nria-Dappa. A renowned Journalist who has a breaking record of sponsoring over fifty percent women membership in the club.