On May 4, 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Rotary clubs may not exclude women from membership on the basis of gender. Rotary issues a policy statement that any Rotary club in the United States can admit qualified women into membership. The Rotary Club of Marin Sunrise, California (formerly Larkspur Landing), was chartered on 28 May. It became the first club after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to have women as charter members. Sylvia Whitlock, of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, became the first female Rotary club president. The 1989 Council on Legislation voted to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remained a watershed moment in the history of Rotary. The vote followed the decades-long efforts of men and women from all over the Rotary world to allow for the admission of women into Rotary clubs, and several close votes at previous Council meetings. The response to the decision was overwhelming: By June 1990, the number of female Rotarians had skyrocketed to over 20,000. By 2010, the number of women was approaching 200,000. (Info from www.rotary.org)
In 1995, the Rotary Club of South East Nassau was the first Club to accept women as chartered members; a historic first.  In June of that year, under the presidency of Greg Lee, Rowena Bethel was inducted followed in September by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry and shortly thereafter, Linda J. Carey (wife of PP Jerome McSweeney) and Coralee McMillan.
Our female Rotarians have played a pivotal role in our Club ever since and there have been 5 female Presidents who were: Carla McCombe (2002-03) as the first female President, Annamaria DeGregory (2009-10), Rochelle Wilkinson (2012-13), Rema Martin (2013-14), our current President Bridgette Rolle (2015-16) and current President-Elect Lillian Russell (2016-17) carries on the tradition.
Today, all clubs in The Bahamas have inducted women into Rotary with exception of the Rotary Club of West Nassau.
By Peter Goudie and Azaleta Ishmael-Newry
Photo above taken from a newspaper copy of the Club’s 20-year bulletin in 1996. In the photo from left to right are: PP Richard Crawford (1998-82) Linda J. McSweeney Carey, the late   Reginald Knowles, Coralie McMillan, PP Larry Roberts (1986-87), Charter Member, Rudy Neeley, Rowena Bethel (first female Rotarian inducted in 1995), PP Ednol Smith (1996-97), Azaleta Ishmael-Newry and charter member and PP Henry “Rusty” Scates (1979-80).