Today, the Zonta clubs in Sweden hosted a joint webinar with UN Women Sweden on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The aim of the webinar was to create awareness that violence against women is still common in Sweden and has even gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic with victims being locked in with their perpetrators.
Four prominent speakers shared their knowledge and experience of working with these issues within Swedish organizations and politics, including Juno Blom, Party Secretary for Liberalerna and Member of Parliament, Jonas Trolle, Head of Center Against Pro-Violence Extremism, Maria Björsson, Business Developer at Unizon Girl and Women Shelters, and Omar Makram, Expert and Project Manager at the GAPF Association.
The webinar provided participants with useful tools and knowledge about where to turn to get help to enable them to commit to acting against gender-based violence. Since the webinar was free, the clubs urged participants to instead donate to Zonta International’s project to end child marriage.
The Zonta Club Dendermonde, Belgium distributed 1,000 masks with the “Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women” logos. Municipalities, companies and many sympathizers and Zonta club members wear this mouth mask to make a statement against violence against women on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
As Zontians, we envision a world where no woman or girl lives in fear of violence. Together, we take a stand and say NO to gender-based violence. Learn more about how our leaders and members are taking action to end gender-based violence. Join us these next 16 days to learn more about this violation of human rights and how you too can say NO!
The Zonta Club of Birmingham began its annual Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign with a billboard on I-65. For eight weeks, it will publicize that women can get help by calling 1-800-799-7233.
This is a project of particular importance in the Birmingham area because domestic violence shelters have been challenged to provide a safe place to those abused, while also protecting against COVID-19. The club is dedicated to assisting the YWCA of Central Alabama with their efforts to address this problem that affects one in three women.
Lauren Thompson, director of domestic violence services at the YWCA Central Alabama, said facilities are pushed to the limit. Housing is full because clients who desperately need to get out of a situation have to be isolated from Coronavirus and cannot share a room with someone who might be contagious. Hotels are filling the void.
For the past several years, the Zonta Club of Geelong Inc, Australia, has displayed four Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women signs on boards provided by their local council on roadsides on major entries to the city.
The club updated the signs this year to include “Zonta Says Yes to Gender Equality.” The signs also align with a local initiative called the Barwon Month of Action – Say no to violence against women and children.
The Zonta Club of Melbourne, USA, District 11, participated in a variety of activities during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
Inspired by other Zonta clubs around the world that lit up buildings and monuments in orange, club members asked business owners to light up their storefronts in orange to show their support for the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign. They passed out fliers and were featured in the local newspaper. The club had a great response to this initiative.
The club also took out billboards along the I-95 Corridor from 25 November through 10 December. Interstate 95 is the main Interstate Highway on the East Coast of the U.S., running from Route 1 in Miami, Florida, to the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing with New Brunswick, Canada, and is used by millions of people daily.
On 24 November, the club participated in the Space Coast Basket Brigade, which provided 3,346 local families with everything they need to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Club members volunteered in their orange Zonta Says NO t-shirts, using the opportunity to spread awareness of the importance of ending violence against women.
The club also involved high school students in its efforts. Members of the Melbourne High School Z Club arranged for their school’s electronic billboard to encourage students to wear orange and coordinated a presentation with Sheriff Wayne Ivey and a human trafficking survivor to speak to the students on 10 December.
The Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast Inc in Australia, District 24, held a somber service this week to memorialize the 52 women and eight men who died from intimate partner violence.
A garland of orange flowers shaped the word NO, the color a reminder of the fifth UN sustainable development goal of equality. December 10 also marks the conclusion of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”
In Ghana, 21% of girls are married before their 18th birthday.
The Zonta Club of Tema, District 18, partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a billboard to bring awareness to child marriage during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
Naana Aboagye Asare, the club’s president, said drastic measures must be taken by stakeholders to fight against child marriage, which is destroying girls’ potentials.
“Statistics on child marriage in Ghana [were] alarming and needed to be [nipped] in the bud,” Asare said.
UNFPA Ghana Gender Programmes Analyst, Selina Owusu, who led in the unveiling of the billboard, said child marriage was a serious national issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
She called on all stakeholders and Ghanaians to join in the fight against child marriage and gender-based violence in the country.
The Zonta Club of Pampanga in the Philippines, District 17—in partnership with Angeles City and SM City Clark—convened to for their Zonta Says NO to Violence against women and children activity.
The women’s desk from the local government units, private companies’ corporate social responsibility department heads, different foundations, non-governmental organizations and students were gathered and raised the flags to join Zonta in their quest to eliminate violence.
The club also recognized three Centennial Champion Awardees and three Centennial Community Awardees for their exemplary contribution to 2019 projects of Zonta.
The highlight of the event is the dance interpretation of “Break the Silence, No to Violence” performed by four groups from different schools in Pampanga. The performances had intense messages on the issue of violence against women. Also included in the show is the Aeta children’s dance interpretation on the issue of child marriage that is commonly practiced in their community.