Zonta Club of Kowloon addresses workplace sexual harassment

Under the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities task force, the Zonta Club of Kowloon, Hong Kong, met with seven other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the Equal Opportunities Commission in November. The Equal Opportunities Commission is a statutory body set up by the Hong Kong government. It is responsible for implementing the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, and the Race Discrimination Ordinance in Hong Kong.

A Survey on Sexual Harassment in Hong Kong from 2021 showed that one in eight ( 11.8%) of the 5,027 respondents reported being sexually harassed at the workplace in the past 24 months. Most victims were harassed by men (66.7%). They were harassed by colleagues of the same rank (44.6%), but more female victims were sexually harassed by someone more senior in rank (30.5%) or by clients. (15.9%).

The meeting focused on sexual harassment in the workplace, and the club explored how NGOs can contribute to solving this issue. The groups agreed that we should encourage corporations, especially Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), to establish sexual harassment policies, set up frameworks for internal complaints and investigation and establish staff training in their own companies. They also discussed the issue of how to generate more awareness on this issue in their community, as well as organizing public educational programs. There will likely be joint advocacy activities on this issue during International Women’s Day in March 2023.

The photo above shows participants of the Equal Opportunities Commission meeting, with Ricky Chu Man-Kin, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunity Commission and his team, Winnie Teoh, Chair of Advocacy Committee of Zonta Club of Kowloon and other Zontians, as well as Sisi Liu together with the seven NGOs under the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities – Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres, Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers in Hong Kong, The Association of the Advancement of Feminism, Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association, Hong Kon Young Women’s Christian Association, Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women.

Zonta Club Bunbury participates in ‘Choose Respect, Expect Respect’ poster competition

Leading up to this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of Bunbury, Australia, invited local schools to participate in its ‘Choose Respect, Expect Respect’ poster competition as a strategy to focus on respect.

“By talking about respect and exploring what respect looks like, sounds like and feels like through art, we believe that what is and is not acceptable will reinforce positive behavior and contribute to a positive change for the future,” said Club President Kerry Kerr.

Building on the club’s program, Kerry also said that “the Zonta Club of Bunbury is proud to support the Australian Government’s Stop it at the Start campaign and the WA Government’s Path to safety: Western Australia’s strategy to reduce family and domestic violence 2020-2030 to help create a future free from violence for women and children.”

The club received 100 competition entries, and 16 finalists from local schools were invited to attend a presentation afternoon with their parents on the 3 November. Deputy Mayor Tresslyn Smith congratulated the students and presented them with their awards.

The event was also featured in a double-page coverage in a local newspaper, which gave greater visibility to the project.

Zonta Club of Palermo Triscele says enough to violence against women

The Zonta Club of Palermo Triscele, Italy, partnered with the Zonta Club of Palermo ZYZ, the Rotary Club of the Panormus Area and the Inner Wheel Palermo Centro to promote the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign during the 16 Days of Activism.

The clubs set up an ‘Enough violence against women’ advertisement on a bus on the Amat line in Palermo from 25 November to 30 December. The ad also included a helpline for victims of violence.

Hong Kong Z clubs involve classmates in advocating for ending gender-based violence

The Zonta Club of Hong Kong’s Z clubs used unity chains to join students and their schools in making a powerful statement about uniting in the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women global campaign.

Zonta Club of Hong Kong partners with a crisis center for peer counselor program to help gender-based violence survivors

The Zonta Club of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, joined with the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Cease Crisis Center to kick off “V4V Survivor-mentors Endorsement Ceremony.” Fifteen women were appointed as peer counselors to encourage and support women who are facing domestic violence and crisis.

The V4V (Victim for Victim) project’s objective is to provide shelter and care for women who are experiencing domestic violence and support them after they have left the center so that they can adapt to the changes in their lives, rebuild their confidence and reestablish themselves in society.

Zonta Club of Naga & Camarines Sur supports local women entrepreneurs during 16 Days of Activism

District 17 Area 5 organized the Zonta Earth Store, a trade fair promoting local products made by women micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

Through its partnership with the Department of Trade and Industries of Camarines Sur, the Zonta Club of Naga & Camarines Sur, Philippines, participated by inviting 20 local women entrepreneurs, thereby promoting economic empowerment among them.

The trade fair runs for the whole 16-Day Activism Campaign from November 25 to December 10.

Zonta Club of Mitchell invites local businesses and organizations to host an “Orange Lady”

The Zonta Club of Mitchell, Australia, visited local businesses and organizations leading up to 25 November with a letter of introduction and an “Orange Lady.” The project asked local groups to collectively display the “Orange Lady” in a prominent position within their business or organization so staff, customers and passers-by could view ‘her.’

The ‘Orange Lady” will be displayed throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Every day during the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, businesses and organizations hosting the Orange Lady are featured on the club’s social media platforms.

Their business is highlighted, and they are thanked for raising awareness in our local community and being part of the solution. The project has been widely and wholeheartedly supported throughout the local area. Businesses have been very positive, keen to show their support and appreciative that they have featured their participation on social media.

The club has also gained many “followers” on Instagram, and our posts have been shared on Facebook. The project has been a great success because of its simplicity, and all members have been able to contribute, creating a high impact with a small amount of effort by everyone.

Zonta Club of Cebu II hosts a workshop for female officers on gender-responsive delivery of services to violence survivors

On 28 November, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, Philippines, held a seminar/workshop that focused on blaming the perpetrator of gender-based violence instead of the survivor, establishing a referral network, and collective efforts to stop the violence.

Female police officers assigned to the Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in different cities and municipalities of Region 7 participated in the workshop, titled “Strengthening PNP WCPU through Gender-Responsive Delivery of Service to VAWC Survivors.”

The workshop was conducted by attorney Myles Gonzales-Esquivel, executive director of Miriam College Child Rights Advocacy Center and legal consultant of Child Protection Unit-Philippine General Hospital. She is also a member of the Philippine Commission on Women.

The goal of the workshop was to equip service providers and front-line workers with techniques to provide gender-responsive delivery of services. Gender-responsive service providers practice continuum care, respect, informed consent, non-judgmental attitude and gender-fair language.

People should not engage in victim-blaming, a devaluing act that occurs when the victim or victims of a crime or an accident is held responsible, in whole or in part, for the crimes that have been committed against them, Gonzales-Esquivel emphasized.

“It is important to keep in mind that a person who has been affected by gender-based violence is never responsible for the perpetrator’s action. The responsibility and the accountability should be given to the perpetrator of violence and not to the victim-survivor,” she said.

Gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women and children (VAWC) persist because of inadequate economic resources, which creates patterns of violence and poverty among women and LGBT+ people. When unemployment and poverty affect men, this can also cause them to assert their masculinity through violence.

According to Gonzales-Esquivel, GBV is an issue involving patriarchy and relations of power and is based on a feeling of male superiority and dominance, with an intention to relegate the female to a subordinate role at home, at school and at work, in the community or in society as a whole.

During the workshop, participants were divided into groups to identify areas for improvement, and corresponding recommendations on how to ensure gender-responsive and socially-inclusive services to GBV and VAWC survivors. Since resources are limited, those who work with VAW survivors must set up a referral network involving other agencies for a more coordinated and cost-effective response to violence.

Zonta Club of Ashtabula Area kicks 16 Days and Zonta Says NO with billboards about human trafficking

The Zonta Club of Ashtabula Area, USA, purchased two billboards in their county to display the Zonta Says NO campaign and hotline information for human trafficking.

The club met at one of the billboards with fellow advocates to walk down to the city’s lift bridge. Along the way, the shared local, state and federal statistics and laws on violence and trafficking. Upon reaching their final destination, the club lit the lift bridge in orange for 16 Days of Activism. At the lighting, they invited speakers from the local Homesafe Women’s Shelter, County officials and interested community members to speak about violence and trafficking.