Workshop: 25 years of making a difference

Women: 25 years of
making a difference with
more to come!
January 21, 1915
• The first Kiwanis Club is established in
Detroit, Michigan
1920’s the earlier years
• 1924 - Kiwanis established and inserted
into the Constitution and Bylaws the
specific requirements for membership –
including male gender
Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro,
North Carolina
• May 6, 1921 – Ms. Leah Slaughter is given
an honorary Kiwanis membership for her
assistance with the musical and social
programs of the club.
Expansion of the
Kiwanis Family
• May 1925 - Kiwanis charters the first Key
• October 1955 - CKI joins the Kiwanis
Kiwanis family leads
the way
• 1973 – CKI membership is open to women
• 1977 – Key Club membership is open to
women everywhere
Before women were
allowed to be members…
1973 Montreal
International Convention
• Kiwanis Club of Olympus-Salt Lake City,
Utah submits a proposal to amend the
male only standard for membership.
• The proposal is rejected.
1974 Denver
International Convention
• 1974 – similar amendment to the
Montreal convention meets defeat
April 1977
• New York Court of Appeals upholds that
Kiwanis International falls within the
“private club” exception to
discrimination claims.
• Maintains male-only membership.
• The organization has the right to revoke
the charter of clubs that violate the policy.
June 1978
• Lawsuit filed against Rotary International
• Duarte Rotary Club has charter revoked for
women being included on club roster, club
fills suit
• Club aided by the American Civil Liberties
• Duarte lost case in California on appeal,
ruling is overturned
January 1984
• Kiwanianne Clubs are chartered by
Kiwanis International for the wives and
widows of Kiwanians in an effort to
address the issue of female members.
• 1,500 women join the first year!
June 24, 1986
Houston International
• The Board of Trustees introduces an amendment to
allow women, co-sponsored by nine Kiwanis clubs
• Amendment is debated then defeated – 2,295 ayes, 2,555
nays – receiving 47% of the vote
“To admit women to become members of Kiwanis harms no one: to
prohibit women from becoming members harms us all. The Kiwanis
name will suffer by their inclusion; indeed, it will probably suffer
more from their exclusion.”
Judge Sarokin
Defying the decision
• By 1986 estimated 40 clubs were defying the male-only
Stephanie Pearlman Pangaro - Passaic, New Jersey
Carol Slocum - Del Mar-Solana Beach, California
Marlene Perrin and Lollie Eggers – Iowa City, Iowa
Sandy Pina - Boyle Heights, California
Lorillie Thompson - Olympia, Washington
May 1987
U.S. Supreme Court ruling
• Rotary International appealed to the U.S.
Supreme Court - the overruling was upheld.
• Rotary club charters that had been revoked due
to the membership requirements were
• All Rotary International clubs are opened to
female members
July 7, 1987
Washington D.C.
International Convention
• Amendment 2 was introduced by Chairman Wil Blechman
“Gentlemen, the purpose of this amendment is to permit women to
become members of Kiwanis”
• 14 clubs and the Board sponsor the amendment
• Amendment 2 allowing women into membership in all countries
passed by 2/3 majority taken by standing vote
Clubs lead the way
• September 22, 1987 - the first women’s club in Taiwan, Taipei-Diana
October 23, 1987 - the first women’s club in Europe forms, the
Kiwanis Club Skien Nora. In the Norden District after a few
three years there were nine female clubs.
• October 1988 - the first women’s club in Latin America, La
Renovación in Bogotá, Colombia
Growth of Kiwanis
• First 6 months - more than 3,000 women join
• By September 1988 - 8,500 women join
• By 1994, 40,000 women were serving as
• By 1997, 49,000 women were Kiwanians making
up nearly 15% of the total membership
• Now, women make-up 26% of the membership
Women lead the way
Michelle McMillen, Key Club
Marycel L. Carreon-Engracia, Philippine South
Patricia Rust, Rocky Mountain
Lisa McCoy, Texas-Oklahoma
Grete Hvardal, Norden
Hui Wan “Michelle” Wu, Taiwan
Grete Hvardal, Norden
Jane Erickson, Nebraska-Iowa
We have benefited
this very significant change both internationally,
nationally and locally, women have added a welcome
point of view to our clubs. They have become leaders
and very willing workers in our many public service
activities and programs. Everyone is pleased and
have generally forgotten the controversy of 20 years
ago. They are treated as equals which is and was
their rightful place.”
Don Ernst, past trustee
Olympia Kiwanis Club (May 2006)
Much more to come
• Honor women in your club and community
• Reach out to other women to join
• Mentor women in leadership
Celebrate women!
Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

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