15th Anniversary of Admission of Women to Club

October 19, 1988 12:00pm
Don Sterling; Gretchen Kafoury

Today we acknowledge our own special people who have brought change and possibly a piece of salvation to the City Club.

It began when Doug Myers chatted with George Casterline in 1969 about how the Club was organized "to provide a common meeting ground for congenial, forward-looking men...," and the need for change. A petition was delivered to the Board of Governors on May 16, 1970, signed by Douglas C. Myers, George Casterline, Laird Kirkpatrick, Earl Klapstein, Sidney Lezak, and Paul S. Wright, asking that the Club Constitution be changed to remove the baron the admission of women to membership.

An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting was required to effect this change. First formal consideration was on January 8, 1971. The debate attracted much public attention and press headlines when only 50.2 percent of the members voting supported the petition.

An organization called Politically Oriented Women (POW) took an interest in the issue, urging speakers to refuse to speak at the Club, asking members to resign, and occasionally picketing meetings. POW members were joined by Club members and former members who vigorously sought change. By October 26, 1973, sufficient numbers of members had been convinced that 69 percent of those attending the meeting that day voted to change the Club Constitution, removing restrictions to women joining  the Club.

Since that time, women have participated in every Club leadership position and now comprise 41 percent of the membership. Don Sterling, Assistant to the Publisher of the Oregonian and Club President in 1973, will talk about what was happening in the Club at the time of the vote. Gretchen Kafoury; a POW leader and now a Multnomah Co. Commissioner, will discuss what it was like to press the Club for this decision. Other key players in that historic event will be introduced and make comments.

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Tags and Keywords

  • diversity
  • history
  • human rights