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The Rotary Club of White Plains is Club 5043, District 7230, Zone 32, Region USCB, Federal tax ID 13-6111471.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1712, White Plains NY 10602.

Our "Foundation of the Rotary Club of White Plains" is tax exempt, New York State #219346, tax ID 13-6165380.

Website created August 2001.

The Rotary Club of White Plains was chartered October 1, 1919, charter number 540.

Women in Rotary – How it Happened

On March 7, 2017, the Rotary Club of White Plains celebrated women in Rotary by calling on our members who, more than 30 years before, had played key roles in opening up Rotary membership to women worldwide.

Rich Scanlan was living in NYC in 1970. He became a founding member of the Rotary Club of Upper Manhattan (Now RC Harlem) with the express purpose of spearheading a proposal to allow women to join Rotary. Rich prepared gender neutral changes to the Rotary Constitution and Bylaws, and this proposal was submitted to the Rotary Council on Legislation in 1970. It was roundly defeated. The proposal was submitted again and again at subsequent Councils on Legislation but never gained traction.

Rich joined the Rotary Club of White Plains in 1973 and tried to get our Club to support the change. Rich faced huge resistance from a few Rotarians, so he proposed a formal debate at a Club meeting. Club President Charlie Goldberger turned the tables by switching the positions of the debaters: he required the debater against women to take the PRO side and Rich to take the CON side of the argument.

In 1977, the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, admitted women as members in violation of the RI Constitution and Standard Rotary Club Constitution. Because of this violation, that club's membership in Rotary International was terminated.

The Duarte club members filed suit under the Civil Rights Act of the State of California (not the 1964 Civil Rights Act of Congress).  In 1983, the California Superior Court ruled in favor of Rotary International, upholding gender-based qualification for membership in California Rotary clubs. In 1986, the California Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's decision, preventing the enforcement of the provision in California. The California Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so it was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case finally reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and resulted in a unanimous decision on May 4, 1987, in favor of admitting women, with the opinion of the Court written by Justice Powell. Even Justice Scalia voted with the majority.

Andrew Morzello was President of our club at the time. Andy invited his friend (who was his former college advisor) RI President MAT Caparas to visit our Club. MAT did so in June 1987 and, in the presence of 500 Rotarians who attended the meeting, he inducted Josephine Falcone as first female member of the White Plains Rotary. Jo's induction was the first time a President of R.I. inducted a female member.

In 1989, at its first meeting after the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Council on Legislation voted to eliminate the requirement in the RI Constitution that membership in Rotary clubs be limited to men. Women were officially welcomed into Rotary clubs around the world.

By June, 1990, there were 20,000 female Rotarians worldwide. By 2010, 200,000.

Jo invited other women to join RCWP and initially they formed a group unto themselves, known as "RCU" and "Cornucopia." It wasn’t long, however, before Jo became the first female president of the club and called herself the "Queen." As we all know, women really put their shoulders to the wheel and have sparked our club in a magical manner.

Now you know the rest of the story.  

 Andrew M. Morzello

Josephine Falcone, first woman in RCWP and first woman ever inducted by a President of Rotary International

Website comments to tnygreen@alumni.princeton.edu. Page last saved 19-Mar-2017. Today is 8/16/2018 11:57:08 AM ET