Dryden Rotary is unique among District 5550’s forty-six clubs because it has more women than any other club. Of the club’s 63 members 32 are male and 31 are female. However, when It comes to leadership within our organization women are more likely to serve on our Board of Directors and the Board of The Dryden Rotary Foundation. The latter is a separate body which determines the grants we distribute.
At present, the Club’s Executive Board of fifteen Directors is composed of 9 women and 6 men.  The President, although presently on a medical leave is Mardi Plomp, while the eight members of the Rotary Foundation Board is comprised of 6 women and 2 men with the chair held by Rena Madden.
 
 
On November 14th, The Toronto Star ran a headline titled “In the Boardrooms of Some of Toronto’s Most Vital Institutions the Future is Female” for an article by Bruce DeMara and I wondered to what extent is this true of a northern community like Dryden as it has certainly been true for Dryden Rotary for the past decade.
 
To find out I did a quick survey of some of Dryden’s “most vital institutions” and here are the results:
 
 
ORGANIZATION
BOARD SIZE
 
WOMEN
VACANT SEATS*
%
WOMEN
Rotary Club of Dryden Board
15
9
0
60.0
Rotary Club of Dryden Foundation Board
8
6
0
75.0
City of Dryden Council
7
1
0
14.2
Dryden Police Services Board
7
2
0
28.6
Dryden Library Board
6
3
1
50.0
Dryden Museum Advisory Board
9
4
3
44.4
Dryden Regional Health Centre
12
6
0
50.0
Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
11
5
0
45.5
Northwest Catholic District School Board
9
5
0
55.6
Patricia Gardens Services Board (2017-18)
8
3
0
37.5
Kenora District Services Board
13
0
0
00.0
Dryden Entertainment Series Board
11
7
0
63.6
All
116
51
4
44.0
*Vacant seats not counted in Board size
 
The Toronto Star chose 25 organizations with a total Board size of 529 of which 172 were women for a 40.1% proportion. At first glance it would certainly appear that Board Rooms in both Dryden and Toronto are trending in the same direction.  Much has been made of the rural – urban divide in the country as a result of our fall election, however, women as community leaders based on this comparison is not part of the that cultural divide.
 
Quoting Kate Marshall, chair of the Toronto Heritage Board, the Star writes:
“Like all business and societal-based organizations, there’s empirical evidence
that diverse boards equal improved results. Organizations of all types benefit
from a variety of viewpoints and ideas, especially public organizations which
serve wide and diverse audiences.
 
Women of all ages, ethnicity, creeds and experiences can help organizations think
about old and new problems and challenges in new ways. Overall, women are proven
to be more empathetic and collaborative in their approach to problem-solving and
business.”
 
The dynamism of the two organizations with the highest involvement of women board members, the Dryden Rotary Club and Foundation and the Dryden Entertainment Series, year after year is a testament to that viewpoint.
 
Certainly, our social service organizations such as the school boards, hospital, library and museum have similar rates of women’s involvement as their counter parts in the big city. And just as the city has a couple of all male Boards, we have one too; interestingly, in the same proportion of the size of the total sampled.
 
In both Toronto and Dryden, most Directors get no pay; they are volunteers giving of their time and skills to improve their community. Rotarians traditional motto is “Service Above Self”. But we have another growing motto “People of Action”. Put them together and women and men with those two characteristics working together sitting on the Boards of our “vital institutions” are what make a community a success.
 
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