As part of the activities marking the 16 Days if Activism, the Zonta Club of Lagos 1, Nigeria—in collaboration with AWANI Films and the Queens College Z Club—organized a screening of the thought-provoking documentary, Awani, in the Queens College Girls School, Yaba, Lagos.
More than 115 girls, four teachers and other guests viewed the documentary that examines the evolution of the role of Nigerian women, starting from pre-colonial Nigeria to the present day.
The documentary uses a blend of archival footage and expert commentary to make the case that the role women play is not due to any one individual or specific time period but a mixture of economic incidences and colonialism that shape political and social attitudes towards women. The documentary aims to simply answer the question, “how did we get here?” This was a particularly important question considering the high rate of violence against women and girls and the absence of adequate laws and policies that protect them.
Afterwards, during the interactive session, students asked questions about leadership and societal perceptions around gender equality, women leadership and challenges of patriarchy and gender-based violence in Nigeria. More than 70 percent of the girls in attendance signified their interest in joining the Z club in the school and were encouraged to sign up.
Participants were enlightened on Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women and girls’ campaign as well as other activities of the club. They were encouraged to be active members of the club and use the platform provided by Zonta to continue to challenge violence against women and girls in school, at home and within their communities.
On 25 November, the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of Makati & Environs in the Phillippines, and their Z and Golden Z clubs from Taguig City University and Philippine Women’s University joined the other clubs from District 17, Area 5 in taking a stand and calling attention to this cause.
The Zontians and students spent the afternoon at the historic Intramuros grounds in Manila. One by one, the different groups came forward to entertain the crowd with a talent show of song, dance, and drama numbers.
The all-female Philippine National Police led the audience in a lively Zumba number that got everybody moving on their feet. Odiraa Aghanya, charter president of the Philippine Women’s University Golden Z Club, spoke, followed by an essay-writing, slogan-making, and on-the-spot painting contest.
The afternoon ended with a solemn candle-lighting ceremony wherein the participants formed the letters: NO to VAWC.
The Zonta Club of Taipei II co-sponsored a walk in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, on 8 December to advocate gender equality, ending child marriage and the importance of family love and harmony.
Led by club president Diana Cheng (center in red), club members and their families as well as District 31 Governor May Wen (center left), joined the event. The Zonta drum team and flute team performed to kick off the 3-kilometer (1.86-mile) walk, organized by a local biochemical company, which attracted some 3,650 people.
Placards which read “Girls Not Brides,” “Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women” and “Honor and Empower”—the slogan for Zonta’s centennial anniversary—were displayed on the stage.
Club members spread the Zonta message to the crowds and called for more awareness on better protection of women-and-girls’ rights and greater compassion for the plight of child brides and the less fortunate.
Photo: Giessener Anzeiger/Wissner
The Zonta Club of Burg Staufenberg/Giessen Area in Germany, District 28, set up an information booth in the center of town and distributed balloons to children and little bags containing sweets and information about the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign and Zonta’s project to end child marriage.
About 20 members were present and they all wore orange scarves. The event, which was covered in the local media, increase the visibility of Zonta in the region. It also brought the Zontians in direct contact with the public and gave them the opportunity to explain how Zonta is working to eliminate gender-based violence and end child marriage.
“The action ‘Orange Your City’ draws attention to this problem and the victims. With the color orange together we say no to violence against women and girls and thus set a mark like many other cities,” Ursula Herrmann, the club’s president, told Giessener Anzeiger.
The Zonta Club of Lahti in Finland, District 20, advocated ending violence against women at a professional ice hockey game.
Club members wore orange and displayed a Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women sign at the Isku Areena during a Lahti Pelicans vs. Oulun Kärpäts game.
Members of the Zonta Club of Kauai, Hawaii, USA, in District 9, created a Zonta Say NO to Violence Against Women display at their local shopping mall on Thursday, 6 December.
Visitors of the Kukui Grove Center Street Fair learned about the campaign issues, upcoming scholarship fundraiser Heroine’s Song, networking and membership.
The Zonta Clubs of Bombay I and Bombay III in India, District 25, joined together for many activities during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
On 27 November, the senior students of a high school participated in an art competition focused on Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women. The drawings were very imaginative and colorful and the message was well-conveyed.
On 28 November, Zontians, students and teachers of Lady Engineer High School had a peace march carrying placards – Say NO to Violence against Women, Stop Child Marriages, Enhance Status of Women and Importance of Education. The march ended with a street play by the children depicting all types of violence against women and raising their voices against them. The event was covered by the media on a local news channel.
On 30 November a talk was organized for the Zonta club members, teachers and higher grade school students on the topic of Judicial Rights of Women in India. The speaker was Ms. Faranaz Karbhari, an eminent advocate of the Bombay High Court. In a one-hour presentation, she explained the various social, economic, civil and criminal laws for women for women to seek justice. Special emphasis was given to female infanticide and child marriage.
On 4 December, the Zontians, along with the NGO Save the Children India, held a workshop on saying no to violence against women for 32 girls from the slums of Mumbai and survivors of human trafficking.
The Zonta Club of Alytus, Lithuania, District 13, co-organized a screening of the documentary A Better Man, followed by an open discussion about domestic violence.
The film revealed hard consequences of physical abuse and a long and painful way towards healing. In the discussion, they talked about the differences between incidental and systematic violence and how to help victims.
Every year, 50,000 calls for help are received in Lithuania and 1,500 cases reach the court. The most important thing is not to remain indifferent, try to help, to ask, to inquire.
The club organized the event with Human Rights Portal, Lithuanian Center for Human Rights, Center for Equal Opportunities Development and Alytus City Women’s Crisis Center.
When it comes to child marriage, there is not free and full consent from the intending spouses. This makes child marriage a violation of human rights and it must end.
If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030. We must take action to stop this number from rising.