Oz men's club witnesses row over women's inclusion

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Melbourne, Nov 17 : Granting admission to women has created a furore in the all men's Richmond Rotary Club in Sydney.

Members of the club have been unhappy with the club's decision to overturn its ban on women.

While two members have quit, many have put a curb on all volunteering after the new president took the decision to invite women as members without taking it to a vote.

However, livid members claim that it's not about the inclusion of women, but the "under-handed" way the president took the decision without debate.

The members even challenged the board's decision, but fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority required to overturn it.

"It was a devious way of doing it and it has disgusted a lot of members to the point of leaving. It was an ego-driven philosophical move, it had nothing to do with women, it was to destroy Richmond Rotary as an all-male club," News.com,au quoted management consultant Tony Miller as saying.

On the other hand, president-elect of neighbouring Hawkesbury Rotary Di Finch has claimed that it was wrong that the fight over female members was hurting the organisation.

"It has tarnished the good name of Rotary because some clubs choose not to admit women. A woman has to work twice as hard to prove that she is half as successful as a man. Fortunately that's not difficult," said Finch.

The former Hawkesbury City Council deputy mayor said that the club should not gauge someone's ability to serve the community by the gender.

"I don't think it matters whether you are a man or a woman, it is about the best person to do the job. Physically we can do as much as men," she said.

However, solicitor Don Shaddick, who quit after 34 years at the club, said that his decision was not guided by the inclusion of women but it was the breach of trust.

He said: "My resignation had nothing to do with women being admitted as members to the club and everything to do with the Machiavellian way it had been achieved. There was a spirit of understanding in the club that no one would nominate a woman for membership unless they had consulted the club in open meeting first."

But, Richmond Rotary president Ian Jordan refused to discuss the row, and directed all inquiries to publicity officer Peter Chidgey.

Chidgey declared it a "nil event," saying: "Those women won't be joining to my knowledge. It's inappropriate to comment further."

ANI

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