Women in Y's Men International

8 March 2013 Y’s Men International was founded as a luncheon club in Toledo, Ohio, USA in 1922. At that time, membership of the organisation was reserved exclusively for men.

The wives of the Y’s Men members were traditionally known as Y’s Menettes. While they could not be members of Y’s Men clubs, they soon began creating auxiliary clubs to the local Y's Men's Clubs and the first Y's Menettes’ Club was established in 1924 in Vancouver, Canada.

In 1972 the Constitution was amended to admit women as members of the Association. Soon after this decision, women began to fulfil senior leadership roles that had been the sole domain of men for more than 50 years.

In 1978, Ariani Brenner became the first female Regional Director (Midwest Region). The first female Area President and Council member, Edna Beckett (Latin America/Caribbean Area), was appointed in that same year. However, it would take a further 12 years until a woman would occupy the highest position in Y’s Men - International President.

PIP Rachelle Reeg

Mrs Rachelle Reeg, after serving as the first female president of Area USA in 1987, was installed as the first woman International President at the International Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 1990. She remains the only female to have served in this position.

In 1987-88, the decision was made to recognise the Y’s Menettes Movement as full partners of Y’s Men International and the growth of the Y’s Menettes organisation accelerated worldwide.

Since 1982, the Y’s Menettes have raised money to support a number of international projects and today a Y's Menettes' Club is no longer an auxiliary to a Y's Men's Club but has its own programme to support the local Y's Men's Club, YMCA and the community.

In 2013/14, five women will hold seats on the 21-seat International Council. While this is a modest figure, it is the highest female representation seen in the more than 90-year history of the Movement.

Joan Wilson, Canada/Caribbean
Olga Vozchikova, Europe
Susy Mathew, India
Jennifer Jones, South Pacific
Debbie Redmond, USA

Although the name Y’s Men International has always been retained, the alternate name of 'Y Service Clubs International' was approved in 2009 and is now widely used, especially in English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, Kenya and the USA.

In 2012/13, a proposal to change the name of the organisation to 'Y Clubs International' was defeated in a club vote, however, the International Council approved a new official emblem with the words 'Men's Club' removed.

Former emblem
New emblem
 

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