Rotary Club of Plimmerton
Category: Stories About People
Category: Stories About People
Wendy Betteridge offered her Viewpoint to the Club on 9 October 2018. She said:
'Labelling, or stereotyping, for the sole purpose of proving superiority is something I really dislike. Black/white,
'My viewpoint is about valuing differences.
'I’m sure that intolerance for
'Playing international sport meant working alongside and competing against other athletes from all walks of life, all persuasions, all creeds, all
'When I was studying for a
'On May 4, 1987, the US Supreme Court ruled that Rotary Clubs could no longer exclude women from membership on the basis of gender. In February 1993, after trying unsuccessfully to invite several other women to join, the Rotary Club of Plimmerton invited me. Randall Shaw was the President and he warned me that seven members had threatened to resign if a woman joined the club. He also said that he would be fined heavily as he was one of the seven!
'Clearly, the other six weren’t named and I did feel anxious as I looked around the room for averted eyes and furrowed brows. Remarkably, however, five of those six men sought me out within just a few weeks, identified themselves and said they were glad to welcome me. I was blown away and humbled. I knew that I would affect the dynamic of ‘men only’. Men in Rotary clubs had been comfortable in each other’s company since February 1903 when Chicago lawyer, Paul Harris, encouraged professionals with diverse backgrounds to meet to exchange ideas, form meaningful lifelong friendships and give back to their communities. We all know that men act differently within a group of men just as women act differently within a group of women. Same-sex time together is important. I was breaking into their world.
'Be that as it may, the welcome and inclusion I experienced from the lovely men of this club was heart-warming. I was working alone on our farm in my new training consultancy after years spent with over 150 partners and staff at Chapman Tripp. The weekly stimulation I received from the intelligent minds at Plimmerton Rotary probably saved my sanity.
'But I had to paddle hard below the surface to contribute equally and I’ll finish with a poem I wrote in 1997. I’d been given the job of Secretary in 1995, following on from Ross Garner who kindly mentored me into the role. My lovely friend, Alan Roberts, was the Treasurer and he and I had a great working relationship. It was at that time that Rotary decided to introduce a software package called Club Mate. It was a nightmare. Each member had to be entered on a digital form, item by item.
'So, I thought I’d repeat
For the women holding office
It can be hard, you see,
To juggle all the myriad tasks -
(I'm speaking personally)
There's still the house to clean and shine
The meals to cook and clear
The shopping, often dead at night,
(There's no more butter, dear)
The garden to be dug and pruned
The lawns mowed frequently
The stock to move, the dogs to train
And all with urgency
And into this array of tasks
Career and clients squeeze
Meetings – what a breeze
But still there's more, there's mail to sort
There's Club Mate to install
Records to keep, minutes to send
Quick, lest I drop a ball
We hold the babe, we stir the soup
We kick wolves from the door
This juggling ability
Can sometimes be a bore
I know the work-load borne by men
Needs competence and grit
The difference I'm
No wives at home! We're it!