Lioness Clubs began in America as a result of the success of the auxiliary clubs which were started for the wives of the all-male Lions Clubs. The Lioness emblem and name were approved in 1975 and membership was open to any lady over the age of 18, whether or not she was married to a Lion. The first Club to be formed was the Mount Pleasant Club, North Carolina on 24 December 1975.
The first Lioness Club in Great Britain and Ireland was formed in Pontefract in 1977. The success of the Lioness Clubs and the growth of Clubs has been impressive and there are now many Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland, with many more, mostly based in English speaking countries around the world.
What do Lionesses do? Lioness Clubs work in their communities voluntarily, with support from friends and family. They give help by donating time and financial resources wherever the need arises. The cost of administering the Clubs at all levels is covered by the members themselves. Every penny raised for charitable purposes is used to assist others and Lionesses keep accounts which are available to anyone wishing to examine them.
Lioness Clubs are sponsored by their local Lions Club who support the activities of the Lioness Club.
Interested in joining? Membership is by invitation, however anyone, (male or female) wishing to devote some of their time to serving others and wishing to join in with the fun and friendship of a Lioness Club, is eligible.
Lionesses do not have to be married to, or have Lions as partners, in fact many Lionesses are single. They come from all walks of life from housewives, to teachers, doctors, care assistants, factory workers and range from 18 years of age and upwards. There is no criteria for membership, however if you like having fun during your spare time then you are well on the way to becoming a Lioness.
The Lioness Club Program evolved from Women’s Auxiliaries supporting activities and goals of the local Lions Clubs. In 1975, the Lions Clubs International Board of Directors voted to recognize these women who had been serving in Lion’s Club auxiliaries all over the world. Some of the auxiliaries had been in existance and serving Lionism for nearly 50 years. For the first time, these women’s groups were united under one name, one banner, one emblem, and one constitution. The Lioness Club Program was launced. The first club organized under this program was the Mount Pleasant Lioness Club of North Carolina, USA.
In 1987, Lions International Board of Directors amended the Lioness Club Constitution to admit both women and men to become Lioness Club members.
In 1991, Lions International removed Lioness Clubs from their activities.
On December 24, 1975, the Mount Pleasant Lions Auxiliary of North Carolina was certified as the Mount Pleasant Lioness Club. In six months over 496 Lioness Clubs were formed worldwide with over 12 400 members. In 1987, the Lions Constitution was changed to allow women to become Lions and men to become Lionesses. In response to this change, in 1989, International President William Woolard was inducted into the Mount Pleasant Lioness Club. In 1992 the directors of Lions International withdrew recognition of the Lioness Clubs. The Lions Clubs made it known they supported the Lioness Clubs. In District A-5 the Lionesses are still going strong.
The relationship of the Lioness CLub with its sponsoring Lions Club is one of mutual support and cooperation without loss of identity, one of individuality without competition, as well as a way to “work together” in serving others. The Lions motto, WE SERVE, is joined by the Lioness motto, WE SERVE, TOO!
Lioness Clubs are organized by Lions Clubs and are considered a program of their sponsoring Lions Club. However they are governed Lioness Club Constitution and individual club by-laws.
In 1917, in Chicago, Melvin Jones, Secretary of The Business Circle, a men’s business club, met with other men’s groups and Lionism was officially launched. Within a few short years the Lions Club became truly international when Clubs were formed in Windsor, and in Mexico. Along with Lionism, grew the Auxiliary of Lions, made up of wives and friends of the Lions. In October 1975, the Directors of Lions International gave international recognition to the women who had been serving in Lions Club Auxiliaries all over the world.
The Lionesses are sponsored by the Lions Club and follow the same format as the Lions except no dues to Lions International and no voting rights for district officers. Lioness Clubs are made up of women interested in helping their fellow man. We support Homes for the Deaf, Sight Conservation, CNIB, and Drug Awareness.
Our emblem if the letter “L” standing for Law, Liberty, Labour, Loyalty, Love, and Lions. The “L” is placed on a circle with two lion profiles looking two ways representing a Lion or Lioness looking in every direction for an opportunity to give unselfish service.
Lionesses continue to work for the betterment of society, believing strongly in our Motto,
“WE SERVE TOO”.