Paul Harris founded Rotary International in Chicago Illinois in 1905 and within 10 years it had spread to the British Isles.
The first Rotary Clubs in Great Britain & Ireland were founded in 1914 and by the early 1920s there were many well established Clubs working to help those in need. Women were frequently involved in this work informally and as a result friendships made led to further service on their own account. Discrimination prevented them from becoming members in their own right, so in 1923, Margarette Golding, the wife of a Rotarian in Manchester, persuaded 26 other wives to meet with her at the local Turkish Baths.
With Rotary’s help, they decided to set up their own partner organisation, which they called the Inner Wheel Club of Manchester. When women in other towns became interested they started their own groups using the Manchester model and the national Association of Inner Wheel Clubs was born. Later these Clubs were organised into Districts using the boundaries drawn by Rotary.
By the 1930s, Inner Wheel had spread to other countries. International Inner Wheel was founded in 1967 and expanded until it became what it is today – one of the largest Women’s voluntary service organisations in the world, with more than 108 000 members of more than 3800 Clubs in 104 different countries. IIW holds a Global Convention every 3 years and January 10th is celebrated annually as ‘Inner Wheel Day’ around the World.
For more information on International Inner Wheel visit: www.internationalinnerwheel.org