Napier lawyer Alison McEwan says she won't be going to the Law Society's Christmas do at the Hawke's Bay Club this year as the club "does not allow female members".
The lawyer, who refused to comment further yesterday after sending the message via Twitter last month, said in earlier reports women had to "fight to get the vote"and she would not " take that for granted".
The society's Hawke's Bay branch will hold its annual end-of-year function at the club, which has not had any female members since it was founded in 1863.
New club president Alan Cooper yesterday said although there were no female members, there had never been any rule to stop women from membership.
Like many chartered clubs, membership is at the behest of existing members. People do not apply for membership, and must be proposed by a member, seconded by a member, and endorsed by the membership.
Mr Cooper said many women visited the club as guests, most often as wives, partners or family of members; proposals for individual women to become members had been rare.
As yet, none had been accepted.
One bar at the club is a members' only facility and once a year the club stages a members' only function, a traditional black tie dinner.
Mr Cooper had been a member for about 20 years and his wife attends regularly with him.
It's not the first time he's been faced the issue of female membership in chartered clubs, having previously been on a committee at the Napier Club just 100 metres away on Napier's Marine Parade when it agreed to open membership to women in the 1980s.
It had little effect on that club's position in struggling for members, and ultimately it had to sell its premises to stay afloat.
The legal fraternity has had a long association with the Hawke's Bay club, holding numerous functions there attended by women.
Law Society Hawke's Bay branch spokesman Jonathan Krebs has said about half of those expected at this month's function would be women.
New Zealand Law Society spokeswoman Donna Buckingham said that although the society opposed discrimination on the basis of gender or "anything related to a person's physical or mental qualities or beliefs," the Napier function was open to all lawyers.
Women's Affairs Minister Jo Goodhew said male-only clubs were outdated, which was evident by the fact there were few left.
The Government's role was to promote lawful and anti-discriminatory practices in public life, but some private organisations could still have restrictions based on gender.
"However, I believe these clubs miss out by not including women," she said.