Our club will be celebrating International Women’s Day at this week's meeting.  Our celebration will occur three weeks after the official International Women’s Day on March 8, but Mother Nature decided to dump several inches of snow on our area resulting in cancellation of our meeting that day.

As part of this year’s event, Deb Geiger of Bethlehem Rotary Club and Jennifer Kunes Driscoll of Lily’s Hope Foundation will receive our club’s inaugural International Women’s Day Celebration Awards.  These two outstanding women will be honored for their impactful service and have the opportunity to speak about their work in our community.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911.  It continues to be a powerful platform globally that unifies and drives action for gender parity while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. 

As most of you know, Rotary did not admit female members until the late 1980's.  But, the organization has come a long way in the last thirty years.  Of today’s 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide, about 250,000 are women.  These women are from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.  They demonstrate teamwork, persistence, determination, creativity, enthusiasm, generosity, self-confidence and compassion.  And, they are tireless advocates for education and new opportunities for children, youth and young adults.

Current Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley has called upon Rotary clubs to seek even more diversity in their membership, including improving the gender balance. In his address at last year’s Rotary International Assembly, Riseley noted that 103 of the incoming 539 district governors for the 2017-2018 Rotary year were women “who will help Rotary connect with, and represent, and better serve, all the members of all our communities.”

I want to thank Alicia Ruiz-Orbin for suggesting an International Women’s Day Celebration for our club over a year ago.  Alicia and her committee - comprised of Dee Eng, David Dunn and Rose Galeano-Phillips – have done an outstanding job in organizing this event which will be celebrated annually going forward.

I look forward to seeing you all at this year’s celebration on Thursday morning.

Yours in Rotary-