With the support of Anne Spiegel, Minister for Family, Women, Youth and Integration of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Zonta Club of Mainz, Germany, held multiple activities on 25 November 2020 to kick off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.
Along the most remarkable landmarks of the city illuminated in orange, Zonta members brought attention to the issue of gender-based violence with posters and roll ups advocating for combating this human rights violation.
In a joint venture with the Zonta Club of Wiesbaden, the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge over the broad River Rhine was lighted in bright orange. Not only a symbol of connecting the two neighboring cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden, but also connecting the two neighboring Zonta Clubs in a common statement to say NO to violence against women in an unforgettable visualized moment. Together with the two Soroptimist International clubs in Mainz there were other awareness raising actions, like posters in buses and billboards throughout the city.
To draw attention to the personal story behind a case of violence, a special activity took place in front of the theater: Under the initiative of the club’s Young Women in Public Affairs winner, Lucia Wagner, students had collected personal stories, an activity which had been announced in the social media. More than 30 slips of paper with personal stories hung from a leash and made passersby aware to the fact that violence against women is a prevalent violation of human rights.
A week later, a follow-up event took place with Minister Spiegel dealing with the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention tracing how well the requirements of the Convention have been implemented in Germany, with focus on the situation in Rhineland-Palatinate and with another view under the pandemic lens of COVID-19.
The Zonta Club of Mainz invited members and guests to this remote event, which highlighted the various measures of the Istanbul Convention, the achievements and gaps in an open and motivated discussion. Even though there are quite a number of satisfying and positive results, the Zonta Club of Mainz calls on all parties to do their utmost to ensure service provision and to keep offering support for and protection to women and girls at risk of violence and domestic violence—all the more in the pandemic crisis.