John Farrow introduced our speaker Martha Weaver who was District Governor in 2018-19.  She is a member of the Chateaugay Rotary Club in Northern New York where she lives.  She is leading the District committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity and Accessibility.
  • Martha is part of the Rotary LGBTQ Fellowship, so this led to her being asked to chair the DEI Committee for the District.  Next year she will be co-chairing it with a Rotaracter, Heather Taylor.  Martha noted that it’s very important to include Rotaracters in everything we do.  Everyone is welcome to attend these committee meetings which are once a month.
  • District 7040 has a lot of cultural diversity within it, but for the most part it is very subtle. We have 2 nations and 2 languages.
  • It is key to allow people to make mistakes because this is necessary for dialogue.
  • Rotary has formed a task force to look at how we can implement diversity, equity inclusion and accessibility.  This is complicated in an organization that is world wide.  The goal of having 1/3 of our membership to be women is a challenge because of cultural differences.  In our District it is about 40%.
  • The conversation about women in Rotary began in the 1950’s, but it didn’t become open to women until 1989.   
  • Membership by invitation has been a problem for diversity because people tend to ask others who are like themselves.
  • The RI website has a lot of information and webinars.  These can be found easily at the Learning Centre. 
  • Our District is taking a lead in integrating Rotaracters.
  • Some clubs are taking an active role in getting involved in Pride events.
  • Accessibility is the first step to inclusion.  Our District is multi-lingual, and although half are Francophones, we haven’t been successful in getting translators for meetings, and most things take place in English.
  • The key to inclusion starts with awareness.
  • How do you increase diversity in a club without having a person feel like they are a token?  You aren’t inviting someone because they are filling a slot, you are inviting them because they are a person.
  • Greg Mumford thanked Martha for her presentation, noting that diversity makes our clubs richer.  Diversity benefits all of us.
Members only can see Martha's Power Point presentation at