Zonta Club of Christchurch South prepares its annual Zonta Says NO breakfast event

Amping up for the 2022 Zonta Says NO Against Violence to Women campaign, the Zonta Club of Christchurch South, New Zealand, is getting ready to plan their annual Zonta Says NO breakfast.

Every year since 2009, the club and its Golden Z clubs deck out in orange apparel and rally their community to attend the special breakfast. Always boasting more than 100 hungry patrons and supporters from local community and service groups, it is the largest specific Zonta Says NO event in their city.

Not only does the club provide a meal, but they also invite an inspirational speaker. Past speakers included Louise Nicholas, Officer of the New Zealand of Merit, Judge Jane McMeekan, former Minister of Justice Amy Adams and Leanne McSkimming from the New Zealand Police. After breakfast, everyone marches through Christchurch carrying large orange cut-out dolls and displaying Zonta Says NO banners in Cathedral Square to mark White Ribbon Day.

Since 2015, the club has initiated illuminating various public structures in orange on the first day of Zonta International’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Orange-lit buildings in their city have included the Christchurch International Airport’s control tower and terminal building and the Isaac Theatre Royal. The club actively supports White Ribbon and UN Women events, and they are constantly looking for opportunities to display our banners and orange cut-outs.

Zonta Club of New Taipei uses scholarship award ceremony to say NO to violence together

The Zonta Club of New Taipei, Republic of China (Taiwan), recently held their annual scholarship ceremony at the Caesars Hotel Banqiao. The club handed out three scholarships to 16 students this year. Governor Vivienne Shen attended the event and encouraged the students.

Ms. Li Zimei, the scholarship committee chairman, awarded scholarships to newly immigrated students with unique talents coming from lower-income households this year.

Representatives from the students’ schools attended the event, including the Hungkuo Delin University of Technology chairman, the dean of academic affairs Li Jiande and Jinshuan High School Lai Laizhan.

One student, whose mother is of Maori descent and their father is from New Zealand, gave a speech in the Maori language, English and Chinese. Their speech won unanimous praise from the audience.

Other students also gave a sincere acceptance speech, and they wrote thank you cards to the club members.

The club combined the award ceremony and the Zonta Says NO campaign. The club, students and school representatives all pledged to say NO to violence against women together.

The club looks forward to making society better through Zonta’s announcement and determination.

Saint Michael’s College of Laguna Golden Z and Z Club hosts A Safe Space Begins with Me webinar

The Saint Michael’s College of Laguna Golden Z and Z Clubs, Philippines, spearheaded the A Safe Space Begins with Me webinar to culminate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The engaging webinar had almost 500 live viewers on Facebook and over 200 attendees on Zoom.

Attorney Terese Tra Aquino, a senior partner at Estrada Aquino Law, did a comprehensive and insightful lecture during culminating activity observing the club’s 18-day campaign against violence against women and children. Terese discussed online sexual harassment, cyberbullying, voyeurism and child pornography and the legal repercussions of such crimes.

The virtual participants took a pledge of support to stand with women and girls worldwide and take action to end gender-based violence.

The webinar was created in partnership with the Zonta Club of Laguna and the participation of Z and Golden Z clubs from other schools.

The clubs also chartered inclusive local and international webinars, social media campaigns, virtual assemblies, shared informative videos and more to advocate ending violence against women.

Zonta Clubs in Ghana say NO on the streets

The Zonta Club of Accra, Ghana, and five other clubs made a bold statement saying NO to Violence against Women and Girls. On 27 November, the clubs painted some streets in Cantonments orange and yellow with placards.

Some of them read “Stop Violence against Women” and “NO means NO” as they embarked on an early morning health walk to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Zonta Club of Cleveland Observes 16 Days of Activism

The Zonta Club of Cleveland, USA, had two events to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

The first event took place on 18 November, with Ms. Teresa Stafford, Chief Program Officer at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center as their keynote speaker. The club found her presentation Creating an Equitable Response for Women of Color revealing and captivating.

Following that, they completed our first service project. Ms. Megan Williams, Director of Outreach and Education, was very grateful to the club for their donation.

The Terminal Tower lit up with the Zonta Says No color for the second time on 14 December.

Zonta Club of Cebu II tackles misogyny in a webinar

A haze of misconceptions obscures the topic of misogyny. Some define it as a deep hatred towards women and girls, while others view it as sexism caused by our society’s history of patriarchy.

On 30 November, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, Philippines, celebrated the 5th Day of its 18 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women with a webinar called “What Does Misogyny Look Like and Why Should We Care?”.

Zontian Marietta Malinao welcomed the audience with an empowering statement on the dangers of normalizing misogyny.

“The normalization and pervasiveness of sexism are apparent daily that people fail to notice,” Ms. Malinao said.

Resource speaker, Deputy Director for Research and Publication Center for Women and Gender Studies of the University of the Philippines (UP), Dr. Marby Villaceran, started her discussion through an interactive activity where participants gave three impressions on being a man and woman. Dr. Villaceran then discussed that sex and gender are two different concepts that are greatly interchanged. Society socializes men and women, boys and girls, to conform to assigned sex-characteristic roles and responsibilities.

“These contracts are unwritten, but they are generally understood an,d followed,” Dr. Villaceran added.

Women continuously experience discrimination, exploitation, marginalization, oppression, and subordination (DEMOS). Gender relations are hierarchal, and when accepted as the norm, it preserves the asymmetric power struggle. The efforts of the club and other various organizations advocating for women’s rights and empowerment have made progress towards reducing DEMOS. International instruments are actively coming together to put an end to these observances, namely the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPA), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UPCWGS).

“Violence against women is the most egregious manifestation of women’s subordinate position in society,” Dr. Villaceran argues.

Violence Against Women (VAW) is gender-based and systematic, predominantly about male power and control over women. It is a key feature in patriarchy and abuse that takes many forms. In addition, rape culture is a manifestation of a patriarchal order maintained through violence against women.

As her talk ended, Dr. Villaceran presented the Gender and Development Program or Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710). The program seeks to achieve gender equality and transform society’s social, economic, and political structures. Both men and women benefit from a perspective that does not limit them to be who they want to be.

The Misogyny webinar concluded with the sharing of personal experiences by Celine German Lagundi, one of the founders of Gabriella Youth of the University of San Carlos (USC), and Charlene Virlouvet, a performer from Vagina Monologues.

Women supporters and activists attended the webinar. District Governor Chavali Pamela “Pam” Osathanugrah was also in attendance.

Zonta Club of Tokyo II meets together for Zonta Says NO

The Zonta Club of Tokyo II, Japan, held its monthly meeting in December as Zonta Says NO Day. The club held a study session to give the members a better understanding of its activities. They also went through the information from the November newsletter and had a report from a member who participated in Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women virtual summit.

Although the club is still having online meetings due to COVID-19, they are making an effort to continue their activities for women and girls around the world.

Frankfurt am Main lights up in orange

In a concerted effort, the Zonta Club of Frankfurt am Main and the Zonta Club of Frankfurt II Rhein-Main, Germany, managed to “orange” over 30 buildings in Frankfurt am Main on 25 November. These included landmark buildings such as Paulskirche, Alte Oper and many business skyscrapers.

The clubs cooperated with the city’s Frauenreferat (Department of Women’s Affairs of Frankfurt am Main) to raise awareness about the violence that affects women and girls. Zonta’s voice was also heard during a demonstration throughout the city center. Renate Mack, vice president of the Zonta Club of Frankfurt am Main, highlighted the 2020 violence crime figures and advocated for the implementation of the Istanbul convention by creating a central coordinating infrastructure for all efforts in combatting violence against women.

Additionally, banners on four bridges over central streets in Frankfurt drew attention to the Zonta says NO Campaign and advertised the general emergency phone number for women seeking support. The clubs also used social media in their Zonta Says NO campaign. On Instagram, all joining buildings were welcomed, and further information was published. Thus, sharing with friends and associations awareness was furthered about the violence that affects women and girls.

The clubs thank all their partners and look forward to the next Zonta says NO campaign in 2022.

The SkyWheel of Myrtle Beach Goes Orange

The Zonta Club of Myrtle Beach, USA, asked the owner of the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel and the ferris wheel to light up both wheels in orange on 10 December in honor of Human Rights Day.

The day is also the last day of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, observed by Zonta International. By lighting up the shoreline orange, the people of the Myrtle Beach area, including those on ships and boats sailing the Atlantic, will become energetic and filled with happiness rather than despair.

The UN chose the color orange as it symbolizes peace. It brings out the best in people, and humanity, as it shines its light on human rights enjoyed by all, as we are all one family.

The owner agreed to the club’s request and supports the Zonta Says NO message.

Zonta Club of Findlay plans activities to say NO

The Zonta Club of Findlay, USA, was thrilled to successfully organize two major events for this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November – 10 December. 

Of course, there were other more minor daily activities for club members to support. Here are the highlights from those 16 Days. 

Event 1 

On 29 November, the club held a public event to release orange balloons in front of the main courthouse in downtown Findlay. Findlay’s Mayor and a City Commissioner, friends and family attended the event.

Following a brief introduction by the Advocacy Chair, who cited domestic violence statistics on local and national levels, there was a moment of silence to honor all victims of gender-based violence. Against the bright blue sky, the attendees solemnly released the balloons to soar up and away. The local newspaper reported the event on the front page news. 

Event 2

On 1 December, the club partnered with the Hancock County Chapter of the Northwest Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition to host a free community event on human trafficking. The two-hour event took place at Ritz Auditorium on the University of Findlay campus. 

The club blanketed Findlay with flyers and invitations by email, mailings and handouts. The invitees ranged from school counselors, community leaders and businesses to other District 5 Clubs and local service organizations. 

Noted speakers included Ohio’s State Senator Theresa Fedor, who has been working for 16 years to address the rescued and recovered victims of human trafficking and their traffickers. In addition, leaders from Findlay’s Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Truckers Against Trafficking, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, a forensic anthropology professor and seminary students presented staggering information during this impactful evening of education. 

The biggest challenge in trafficking is the lack of facilities for victims to reside while undergoing reeducation and support to pursue a different life. Many of them learned life skills such as creating a resume and dressing for an interview – skills that traffickers denied them. 

The club also hosted several smaller Zonta Says NO activities:

  • They set up a Zonta Says NO to Domestic Violence display at the local library. 
  • Members used an orange lightbulb inside or outside the house every night. 
  • They distributed domestic violence, child marriage and other informational packets to passersby on the city’s main street. 
  • Mailings sent to local restaurants and bars included information on implementing the Angel Shot program to support female patrons who felt unsafe and needed help. The program consists of a poster placed inside women’s restroom stalls with domestic violence hotline contacts and three code words to use with waitstaff to signal what type of help was needed, i.e., escort out, call for an Uber, or call the police. 
  • They requested that local places of worship include a moment of silence on 28 November to remember domestic abuse victims.