Today is International Women's Day - a day to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and, at the same time, reckon with the gaps to be closed.
According to The World Economic Forum, the gender gap is not predicted to close entirely in the world until 2186... 169 years from now! If you ask me, that's completely unacceptable!
While the road ahead seems long, I believe its these challenges that inspire us to do what we do, and live the spirit of Service Above Self. I am also a big believer in leading by example, and as I reflect on our club, I am so pleased to be surrounded by such strong individuals that lead the way in addressing these gaps.
To see the formidable achievements of women, one does not need to look further than the leadership of members of our own club. To share a personal anecdote: when I started as president, no one could remember the last time the Rotaract Club of Toronto did not have a female president. This goes back beyond any recent memory of the past several years - Sarah, Neisely, Kelly, Netila, Chialing... I think this is truly telling of the leadership, passion and energy of the women in our club. Their impact has been so tremendous, I think to myself, "how on earth do I follow that?!" Let's not forget about the formidable cast that makes up the board of directors as well - Catherine, Heather, Jessica, Katherine, Sarah, & Quincy!
According to my rough math, nearly two-thirds of our club members are women. These are women who are current or future leaders in their fields of work or study, and in the community. The tireless efforts of our members who engage in community service, fellowship, and sharing of professional development best practices make an immeasurable impact on the world we share.
Last fall, the club, with the leadership of Catherine and Kallan, partnered with Fred Victor to establish an opportunity to serve underprivileged women in Toronto. Every month, members of the Rotaract Club of Toronto have volunteered at a downtown women's hostel and held celebratory parties for the residents, to give those residents an opportunity for something everyone deserves: good old fashioned fun!
While I'm pleased with the contributions and achievements of our club, there's always more to be done (apparently 169 years worth!). But, I'm so proud to stand here with such an amazing group in living the International Women's Day call to #BeBoldForChange.
President, Rotaract Club of Toronto