The Glass Ceiling is Shattered!
Once the glass ceiling is shattered, there’s no going back. As women advance in society, they pave the way for others who should never have to face the same discrimination as those strong women who came before them. In the absence of barriers, we forget that the barriers were still in place not too long ago.
1980, for many people, does not seem like that long ago, but believe it or not, women were not permitted to join the Rotary Club of Stephenville until 1980. While they possessed skills such as leadership, organization, financial management, public relations but despite their skills, women were....well, women were women and that made some people very uncomfortable.
The Rotary Club of Stephenville was formed in 1971 and chartered in October of that year. The charter members would have been business leaders and professionals from the local area. From the beginning, there was a commitment to community service, projects, and support for the community. There was a recognition of the valuable contribution of women, however rather than being full members, the women, typically the partner of a member, played a secondary role and were known as “Rotari-anns.” Excluding women from membership, while now seen as discriminatory was an acceptable process for many service organizations at that time. However, society was changing and women were taking their rightful place.
By 1980, there was an expectation that the Rotary Club of Stephenville , would follow the global movement of Rotary International and welcome women to the club. According to a Rotarian in the club at that time, for the most part, the male members had no issue with changing the criteria for membership. The first female to join was Carmel Turpin who was the Editor of the Georgian, the community newspaper. So, once the glass ceiling was shattered, women continued to join.
Today, most leadership roles in the club are filled by women, and gender issues are more of a history lesson than current battles.