16,000 Women Abandon Veterans’ Charity Over ‘Sexism’

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By Kieran Corcoran | 3:34 am, December 30, 2016

Sixteen thousand women are abandoning a major veterans’ charity in a bitter power struggle which has seen its male leaders accused of sexism.

Half of the female members of the Royal British Legion – the UK’s best-known military charity, whose patron is Her Majesty the Queen – will have quit by this time next year, slashing its female membership from 32,000 to 16,000.

The exodus has been prompted by a major reorganisation, which will close the separate organisation for women and fold it into the main legion, which is for men.

According to the Daily Maildroves of war widows and army wives – many in their 60s and 70s – have decided to quit, and branded the charity’s leadership “dictatorial”.

One member, 69-year-old Rita Orange, told the newspaper: “It is definitely like the pre-Suffragette era. Men are ordering the women around.

“People are so upset. I think the branch I’m in will close next year.”

The changes – due to come into full effect in November 2017 – will see the Women’s Section of the RBL demoted to a “district” of the organisation, rather than a standalone body.

It will lose the ability to administer parts of its own funding, and annual membership fees will double from £8.50 to £17 ($21).

Leaders at the charity – famous for its annual poppy appeal – have reportedly tried to smooth over the damage, but have alienated so many members that the mass departure is now inevitable.

A spokesman told the Mail: “We worked closely with the Women’s Section, taking on board feedback from Women’s Section and Legion membership annual conferences this spring.”