Posted by Peter Roaf on Aug 14, 2021
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a top priority for Rotary International as well as District 5040. It underscores our core values as a foundation for how members interact with each other and their communities. Rotary was based on Diversity in 1905 and has grown globally on that foundation. Yet, our Rotary clubs can learn more and do more to support that commitment to DEI as our communities and our world transform around us. We want to welcome more people with diverse abilities and from diverse backgrounds, as people of action, in our cause of service above self.

By its very nature, with 1.2 million members, in clubs all over the world, Rotary certainly has for a long time been diverse, equitable and inclusive in its shared purpose of doing good in the world. Our communities and our world are transforming more and more in the direction of DEI. Our Rotary clubs, built on their values and commitments to service, are transforming as well.
Within our clubs, DEI began with the start of Rotary in 1905 when members from different occupations were invited to join to represent a cross-section of the business and professional community. It was men only, however, for many decades. Eventually the transformation from this occupational male only “classification” system towards more DEI began when women became members of this, the oldest service club in the world. Recent District 5040 Conferences among our 50 clubs involved the Lil’wat First Nation in Whistler and Nisga’a First Nation in Terrace were more steps in this transformation. There is much more for Rotary to achieve.
In 2019 Rotary's Board of Directors adopted a statement that affirms its commitment to DEI and recognizes that welcoming people with differing perspectives and ideas enhances Rotary's ability to create lasting change in communities worldwide. It's crucial that everyone who engages with Rotary -- no matter who they are in the world, or how long they have been connected with Rotary – feel valued, respected, and welcomed. Rotary's capacity for doing good is amplified when we not only welcome, but actively invite, a variety of experiences, cultures, and perspective.
The Rotary District 5040 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee aims to determine the current level of practice and opinion of members and clubs in relation to DEI through a survey of members. The Committee will act on the survey results to develop with clubs and district leaders a program to support and encourage DEI throughout the District.