Girls Empowerment Initiative

“I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard … we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." - Malala Yousafza

Welcome to March! It was in 1987 that Congress declared this month National Women’s Month, celebrating the vital role that women and girls have played in American history. 

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. You already know that Women are active participants in Rotary, serving their communities in increasing numbers and serving in leadership positions in Rotary. The 1989 Council on Legislation vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remains 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 the admission of women into Rotary clubs, and several close votes at previous Council meetings.

Rotary International also celebrates women and girls through the Girls’ Empowerment Initiative which debuted in 2022 and has continued today.  Rotary Clubs are encouraged to engage in projects that empower girls, through education, health, clean water, disease prevention, community and economic development, the environment or peace and conflict prevention-Rotary’s seven areas of focus. 

Our District has a team of committed volunteers from Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai who meet monthly via zoom to discuss potential girl’s empowerment projects and share ideas for speakers that clubs can use as a resource for girls’ empowerment issues (the speakers and projects are listed on the District's Girls Empowerment page -  CLICK HERE to go to the sitepage). Continue reading to learn about upcoming events.

Additionally, each of the four islands will host a Women and Girls in Rotary tea or luncheon with speakers and fun activities. The Hawaii event (March 5 at the ARC of Hilo) will be a very special tea.  Kathleen McGilvray (CEO of the YWCA of Hawaii), Brandee Menino (CEO Hope Services Hawaii), Bethany Hall (Ho`ola Na Pua), Jade Toma (Hilo Intermediate School Health/PE Teacher), and Sandy Schuffler, (Special Needs) will speak on bullying, sex trafficking, special needs girls and houselessness.  Contact Connie Ichinose ( for more information.   Oahu will have a luncheon on April 15 and feature Kumu Malina Kaulukukui and the groundbreaking, award-winning work that she has done with women.  Contact Nalani Flinn ( for information.  The Maui event (May 6) will focus on non-traditional careers for women and will extend the invitation to Rotary women and young girls (contact Joanne Laird- Kauai’s event will be held on a Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. later in the spring and will focus on leadership development for girls and women.  Please contact Marjorie Bennett ( if interested. 

We encourage all ladies to join us for these special inaugural events.  This is a terrific opportunity to bring our Interact and Rotaract members together for fellowship, leadership, and empowerment training!

Check back on the website for additional information or contact the individuals listed above.

In October 2022, The StarAdvertiser printed an article about the extreme need for feminine hygiene products for many young girls in Hawaii, particularly at-risk youth, and homeless girls. The Girls’ Empowerment committee is therefore requesting that all attendees at the above events bring feminine hygiene products to the events as they will assemble them into “Girls’ Empowerment Packs” as a special service project.  The “packs” will be distributed to selected organizations.

  • Items include Individually wrapped wipes
  • Individually wrapped feminine pads
  • Individually wrapped panty liners
  • Small packs of Kleenex
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo

I do hope that your Rotary Club will engage in a girl’s empowerment project during the month of March if you have not already done so.  Even doing a “Girls’ Empowerment Pack” project with your club would be wonderful. 

If your club has already done a Girls’ Empowerment Project this year or will be doing one, please send me a note so that I can get your club recognized for its good work on this website (

Now…let’s lift up our hands together in celebration of girls and women-for all they do for our Rotary and our world.

With Rotary Aloha,
Nancy Pace
Rotary Club of Honolulu, 2011-13 Past President
Hawai'i Rotary District 5000 Roles:
2014 Peace Forum Grants Chair
2014-2016, 2017-18 D5000 International Service Chair
2020-21 Strategic Planning Chair
2022-23 D5000 Girl’s Empowerment Chair