At Rotary, we're committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect, allowing everyone's voice to be heard, and providing equitable opportunities for fellowship, service, and leadership.
Our members want and expect Rotary to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. Although the Rotary experience may differ from country to country, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are globally relevant.
We embrace the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We recognize that being a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization will enhance the experience that members have in Rotary, allow us to carry out more meaningful and effective service efforts, and create open, welcoming environments that appeal to people who want to connect with us. Through the work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council, we are taking action to follow these principles in everything we do.
Understanding DEI at Rotary
In 2021, we used the responses from 31,000 members around the world who reported their experiences with DEI in Rotary through our first diversity, equity, and inclusion survey to develop our DEI framework.
We are currently using the findings from our second DEI survey to strengthen our established framework and continue to drive our work forward.
How we're committed to DEI
The foundation of our focus is our DEI commitment statement.
The DEI code of conduct provides a supportive framework for how Rotary members can create and maintain an environment that is collaborative, positive, and healthy for everyone. It asks Rotary members to:
- Use respectful language
- Be supportive
- Foster a welcoming and inclusive environment
- Celebrate diversity
Although free expression is important, what we say and how we behave matter. Rotary does not tolerate speech or behavior that promotes bias, discrimination, prejudice, or hatred because of age, ethnicity, race, color, disabilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
All Rotary leaders, from club presidents and district governors to directors and trustees, are expected to apply the DEI code of conduct uniformly by taking responsibility for how their words and actions may affect others, while also holding others accountable for what they say and/or do.
If you hear something or observe behavior that doesn't align with the DEI code of conduct, you have several options for addressing it:
- If the situation can be resolved through discussion, talk to the person directly. Very often, a person who said something or acted in a way that made you/others feel excluded, marginalized, or targeted did not do so intentionally. Although there might be mistakes, missteps, and uncomfortable conversations along the way, there is also the opportunity for learning and growth and the end result is a better, stronger Rotary.
- If a discussion is not possible, report the incident to your club or district leadership. If the situation involves someone in a leadership role or from another club, contact Club and District Support staff, who will review the information and follow up appropriately.
- If anyone is in danger or their safety is in doubt, contact local law enforcement and notify Rotary’s Club and District Support staff.
Support DEI in your club, programs and community
- Expand your knowledge and increase your ability to facilitate positive discussions about DEI issues with courses available in the Learning Center:
- Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in your club by:
- Talking about the benefits of a diverse and inclusive club with your fellow club members and using the Diversifying Your Club assessment to create a member diversity and inclusion plan.
- Inviting local diversity, equity, and inclusion experts to speak to your club.
To connect with your District DEI Chair or a member of the Rotary Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Connecting with organizations that support DEI efforts and working with them on projects or events.
- Seeking out new voices when you're making appointments and encouraging people who have been underrepresented in these roles to take on leadership positions.
- Holding conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It's important to acknowledge that this can be uncomfortable and very personal. Establish the expectation that everyone must remain respectful so each person can learn and be heard.
- Appointing a DEI Chair or creating a club DEI committee that focuses on identifying collaborative learning, sharing, and service opportunities.
- Design inclusive youth programs that instill long-term belonging in Rotary by:
- Supporting Rotary Youth Exchange students of varying sexual orientations with the guide: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Rotary Youth Exchange: Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Exchange Students
- Increasing youth voice by learning how to create a youth advisory council for your district or zone in these 10 steps (PDF).
- Incorporating the DEI tips highlighted throughout the Interact and RYLA handbooks into your local Interact and RYLA programs.
- Applying the concepts of youth voice and positive youth-adult partnerships from our webinar recording, Expanding Reach: Partner with Youth in Service.