Zonta Club of Kungälv partners with sports teams to stand up against gender-based violence

In the middle of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Kungälv community in Sweden was shocked by several attacks against women.

A group of young men allegedly attacked three women walking their dogs during early evening, in the middle of the small town. After the third attack, the Zonta Club of Kungälv spoke with several local hockey, soccer and handball teams to ask them to join forces against the violence and to create security in the area.

The teams were asked to move their training sessions to the area and to exercise outdoors during a couple of weeks and the Zontians made COVID-19-safe power walks. Several sports teams joined and two companies sponsored vests for the Zonta club.

The local media wrote two articles and the Zontians have continued the power walks once a week and will continue during the pandemic, of course while following all safety regulations. The police have increased their presence in the area and no more attacks have been noticed since.

In the news: Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley receives proclamation from the city for its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign

The 16 days of activism took place between Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, according to Zonta Club officials.  

Due to the pandemic, club officials showed support against violence via Facebook and Instagram during the 16 day period.  

Topics that were covered by Zonta included Orange Day, Bullying, Zonta Says No, Gender Equality, #HeForShe, Ending Child Marriage, Domestic Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, Human Trafficking, Human Slavery, the Red Dress Project and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, according to officials. 

The Santa Clarita Zonta Club’s website blog page also shared valuable information that mirrored the social media campaign. 

Advocating with the City of Santa Clarita on an annual basis is an important part of the club’s 16 Days of Activism. 

Once again, the club received a proclamation from the City of Santa Clarita in 2021, according to officials. 

Club members wore orange shirts to signify “Orange the World,” with the color orange being used for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which is on November 25, according to officials. 

The Santa Clarita Valley Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women banner was prominently displayed on McBean Parkway at Sunset Hills Drive, according to officials.


University of Jamestown Golden Z Club hosts virtual event featuring policewoman and sex abuse survivor

On 10 December 2020, the University of Jamestown Golden Z Club, North Dakota, completed their 16 Days of Activism activities by hosting a Zoom event.

Transformational speaker Kel Humphries, a native of Queensland, Australia, shared her story of surviving childhood sexual abuse by a family member. Kel, who is now a policewoman, delivered a powerful message of self-discovery, forgiveness and redemption. She answered questions from participants afterwards. The event was free and open to all Zontians within District 7.

Zonta Club of Mainz advocates ending violence against women with various activities during 16 Days of Activism

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.

Bridge over the Rhine, (c) W. Weichselbaum

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.

Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II educates men on dangers of gender-based violence

The Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II, Philippines, decided to involve men in its Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women activities.

On 13 December 2020, the club held an event in an economically disadvantaged area in Towerville, San Jose del Monte—a community where the prevalence of latent/tacit and overt violence against women is high.

At least 100 men attended the “Men Only” session that was facilitated by a certified male speaker on the role and responsibility of men in the family and society. The speaker highlighted how men have degraded the dignity of women through violence inflicted on them verbally, psychologically, physically and even denial of economic advantages.

Participants were educated on the Philippine law on violence against women and children (VAWC), which would imprison men convicted of violation. One of the participants, visibly affected by the discussion, commented, “I did not know that what I am doing to my wife is being violent to her. I thought that it was being manly.”

At the end of the session, participants requested another seminar that will tackle behavioral change for any one of them that would need assistance on how to deal with violent behaviors against their wives. Club organizers were inspired by this development because the event was considered an important step in minimizing, if not eradicating, violence against women in the area.

Zonta Club of Punta del Este-Maldonado uses bus ads to encourage female violence survivors to seek help

The Zonta Club of Punta del Este-Maldonado, Uruguay, made an agreement with local bus companies to place Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women posters in their buses during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The posters reference the Zonta Center for free attention to women victims of violence that the club maintains and encourage female survivors of violence to seek help.

Zonta Club of Northwest Wayne County hosts virtual event on human trafficking education and awareness

The Zonta Club of Northwest Wayne County, USA, hosted a presentation on human trafficking education and awareness on 2 December. The club partnered with their local library for the virtual presentation, which was attended by 40 people.

Dr. Laura Starzynski, one of the club’s newest members, led the presentation. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wayne State University and a member of the Southeast Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce, which is dedicated to spreading education and awareness about human trafficking in our communities.

Information provided during the lecture gave participants an understanding of local resources for victims, how to identify situations of human trafficking, and helped reduce misinformation that commonly surrounds this topic.

Zonta Club of Dhaka IV shares with community how its sewing program saved girl from early marriage

On 10 December, the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV, Bangladesh, arranged an advocacy program with students, teachers, club members, lawyers and other community leaders at Ajompur Government Primary School, Uttara, to share innovative ideas to fight against gender-based violence in this pandemic.

During the program Antara, an underprivileged girl from the project, shared her success story of how she gained knowledge and raised her voice against any kind of women violence through the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV’s sewing training program. In 2018, when Antara was in her primary education at Azompur Government Primary School, she learned about the Zonta club’s sewing training program. Her family was in distress since her father was paralyzed and her mother was a nurse in Bangladesh Medical. As the eldest daughter of the family, she wanted to learn how to work and gain skills to earn for the family. That same year, she joined the club’s sewing training to gain expertise in sewing so she could start earning for her family.

During her training, Antara’s family wanted her to get married when she was 14 years old. However, she wanted to learn and continue her education. She shared this with the training’s sewing instructor, who then told her family about the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV’s program, convincing them that if she continues the training, she would get a certificate and a sewing machine, which she could use to earn a living.

This stopped the early marriage of the girl and, through the training program from the Zonta Club of Dhaka IV, she became confident and had eventually found a way to earn with the help of her new skill. Now, she is an example for girls around her to continue education and learn to work and not get married at an early age. Furthermore, she got a certificate of course completion and a sewing machine, which she uses to make orders.

Zonta clubs of Bombay I and Bombay III host multiple activities throughout 16 Days of Activism

The Zonta clubs of Bombay I and Bombay III were active in advocating to end violence against women and girls during the 16 Days of Activism.

On 26 November, the clubs held a virtual activism session with Save the Children India (STCI). The resource personnel and three alumni shared their stories of losing their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and then joining the formal sector after training from STCI. Zontians at these sessions had interactive discussions with these girls. The girls were congratulated that in spite of facing challenges, they did not give up but got trained and were now doing jobs in the formal sector.

On 30 November, members from the clubs attended another virtual session by STCI about domestic violence. Survivors were shown how to stand on their own feet and  gain respect and status in society. Counseling and legal terms (civil laws) were also explained. Various ideas and solutions were shared like ringing the doorbell. District 25 Governor Errick Elavia and the participating Zontians also shared their views on the same.

On 2 December, the clubs hosted a webinar, “Say NO to Violence – focus on Prevention of Child Marriage” for eighth- and ninth-grade students of Lady Engineer High School. The guest speaker for the webinar was Kamal Damania, chief operating officer of the Light of Life Trust (LoLT), founded by Ms. Willy Doctor, with a vision to develop rural communities through education, empowerment and employability.

Kamal shared a presentation about their projects, Anondo and Jagruti, describing that the basic issue in rural India is that the girls drop out from school, the moment they reach puberty or due to early marriage. So they are unable to complete their school education. Also, the highest percentage of out-of-school children are mainly girls in the ages of 11-16. LoLT comes to their aid by preventing drop-outs, counseling them, guiding them to choose appropriate careers, giving them livelihood training programs, an environment conservation program and assisting their all-round development.

The webinar ended with the children and Zontians taking a pledge, “Say NO to all types of gender violence, speak up against any violence be it at home, at school or in your neighborhood.’

On 4 December, the Zonta Club of Bombay I organized a virtual self-defense demonstration for female students of Lady Engineer High School. The workshop was conducted by Sensei Hoshang Batliwala, an eight degree Black Belt (Kyoshi), who is the chief instructor and technical director of Okinawan Goji-ryu karate. He was assisted by Shandai Percy Shroff, a third degree Black Belt.

The students were introduced to unarmed martial arts discipline, employing kicking and defensive blocking with arms and legs. Various ‘Kata’ or forms of basic martial art moves and postures were demonstrated, including punches kicks and blocks aimed to help keep  themselves safe from difficult situations. Overall, it was an informative and helpful workshop for students.

On 8 December, members of the clubs attended another session conducted by STCI. Reshma Naykodi, manager of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives, oriented the participants about the formal sector and explained in details about sexual harassment at workplace and the measures for its prevention. She stressed that every victim has a right to complain and getting a satisfactory result/solution was her right.

Zonta Club of Bangkok I partners with ASA Wittaya Z Club for ‘STOP Cyberbullying’ event

The Zonta Club of Bangkok I, and ASA Wittaya Z Club, Thailand, arranged a lecture titled “STOP Cyberbullying” at ASA Wittaya School 7 December 7 as an advocacy activity during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. There were 120 secondary school students who attended the session.

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. It has become an increasingly common and serious issue in recent years—largely due to the easy access to, and in some cases the anonymity of, digital devices. As children and teens spend more time online during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete virtual schoolwork and keep in touch with friends, cyberbullying may increase.

One of the best ways to protect the child from bullying is to talk openly about it. The club also gave funds to the school and appointed two Z club students as the school’s stop violence ambassadors to promote the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign in the school and community.