Gender equality will come only with courage: Rotarians

In celebration of International Women's Day on March 4, 2017 at Newlands Golf and Country Club, Langley.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 4, 2017 at Newlands Golf and Country Club, Langley.

Everyone must “be bold for change,” and four Langley women were thrown into the spotlight this weekend for leading by example.
In her own words, Langley Rotarian and South African-born entrepreneur Dean Rohrs spoke of the need for equality and the courage it is going to take to make it happen, she said, pointing a finger of responsibility at everyone during the 6th annual Rotary International Women’s Day Saturday afternoon at Newlands Golf and Country Club.
“Our whole social structure, that has been so slow to change from a very male-dominated society where women have to fight for equality. I wish I could say something different, but patriarchy is prevalent around the world – the same as racism and homophobia are. We can’t hide from it, not even here,” said told the crowd of about 160.
“It takes great courage to have men change from this model and accept equality of all sexes,” she added. She and her husband Rhino emigrated to Canada from South Africa in their 50s, and started their life all over again and she spoke of several times when she overcame fear to push for equality on both continents.
“There’s still a glass ceiling for many of us, but we do have the chance to break through it and to become our own,” said Rohrs, who late in life (at age 60) pursued her childhood goal of becoming an African game ranger.
It was that experience in Africa that prompted her to draw on her own courage to do something to help make a difference for young girls in a northern village there, where she’s helped build four schools that educate, feed, and offer safety as many as 2,000 children.
“Our walk to bring peace and equality to this world is never over until the job is done. Our task to eradicate violence and injustice against both men and women in any form is never done,” said Rohrs, who started her career as a nurse in Africa, and now works alongside her husband Rhino in supplying soil stabilization products for road construction .
Women’s rights are basic human rights, insisted the woman who became a Rotarian in Africa and joined the Rotary Club of Langley Central (the event’s hosts) four years ago.
She said that quest for equality is not restricted to women in Third World countries, but right here in Canada, maybe even right there in the room.
“We know what needs to be done, and we need to do it. Every single person on this earth can walk their freedom walk… if they have the courage to work together to bring to the world what it really needs: peace, equality, and opportunity for all, said Rohrs, who is also incoming vice-president for Rotary International.
“Each of us needs to draw on our courage to make the changes needed,” she concluded, receiving a standing ovation.

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