Picture a community-minded female volunteer from the past. Perhaps you think of a hatted and gloved lady pouring tea at a charity luncheon, or a farm woman teaching teenaged girls how to sew curtains. Maybe it’s an image of capable women from 70 years ago organizing a campaign for the Ross Memorial Hospital or Academy Theatre … and then handing over the proceeds to a largely male board of directors.
Whether or not those pictures were ever true to life, it’s increasingly clear that they aren’t any more. Women volunteers have long been the backbone of a wide range of community initiatives, but their involvement is changing.