The Zonta Club of Birmingham, District 11, worked with an advertising company to use a billboard to advertise this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
The billboard was placed on the busy interstate I-65, which goes through the city of Birmingham, to increase awareness of violence against women and provide a hotline number. The location of the sign allowed both the citizens of Birmingham and motorists passing through the city to become aware of Zonta’s position on violence against women.
Members said that although they will never know how many people visited their website or called the hotline, they are happy to know the billboard could have helped even just one person.
Zontians in Alabama and the rest of the United States have a special concern on the issue of child marriage. In Alabama, girls can be married at the age of 16 with a court or parental permission. The U.S. law supporting efforts by law enforcement, nonprofits and government agencies to combat sexual violence and support domestic violence victims, the Violence Against Women Act, could expire soon and there are major obstacles to reauthorization. The major federal law to combat human trafficking and assist victims expired a year ago.
The billboard, along with other action Zonta club members in Birmingham take, is all in the interest of changing existing policies and protecting more women and girls from violence.
The Zonta Club of Petoskey Area in Michigan, USA, District 15, asked its members to say no to violence by saying yes to kindness.
Members participated in the following acts of kindness:
- Made lasagna and took it to two local women’s organizations
- Took a meal to a woman recovering from surgery
- Packed treat bags with daughter and Girl Scout troop for Manna Project (the local food bank)
- Helped two women with pro-bono legal work
- Bought doughnuts for two people in line at a local bakery
- Bought lunch for someone who was having a busy day
- Helped Plunkett and Cooney law firm buy, serve and clean up at the First Presbyterian soup kitchen lunch
- Bought lunch for a cashier at a retail store
- Helped with Flowers for Friends, a local organization that takes flowers to people in the community and facilities to brighten their days (nursing homes, retirement communities, shelters, homebound individuals)
- Drove a woman with an intellectual disability to her job
- Purchased and took a plant to a woman who needed a boost.
- All members brought feminine hygiene items to donate to a local paper pantry.
The Zonta Club of Colombo I, Sri Lanka, in District 25, held an interactive session with guests on board the Colombo City Tour Bus of Ebert Silva Holidays on 10 December.
The session raised awareness about Zonta’s initiatives to end gender-based violence and a Zona Says NO to Violence Against Women banner was displayed on the bus while it toured the city.
Last weekend, the Zonta e-Club of West Africa ended the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with an appearance at an empowering event organized by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and Drama Queens Ghana, a feminist political theater organization in Ghana.
The event, held on 7 and 8 December at the AWDF Resource Center in Accra, was in three parts. Each night started with the showing of documentaries (child brides in Tanzania and Trokosi in Ghana), a stage play and an open forum/discussion with the audience on the types of violence women encountered in the documentaries and theatrical piece.
Two documentaries were shown—“Bride Trace: Fighting Tanzania’s Child Bride Tradition” and the BBC’s “My stolen childhood: investigating Trokosi in Ghana.” This was followed by the play, an excerpt of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 choreopoem: “For colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf.”
The event was attended by both the young and old, men and women, as well as professionals from the Ark Foundation/Shelter who work with battered women.
The Zonta e-club of West Africa highly commends the work of AWDF and the Drama Queens Ghana for empowering women, challenging the status quo and breaking the silence on topics once considered taboo, and keeping the conversation going. The club looks forward to collaborating with them in the future.
Members of the Zonta Club of Punta del Este-Maldonado ended their advocacy during the 16 Days of Activism campaign by posing for a photo in front of a popular monument in their city, called La Mano de Punta del Este.
Region South America Representative Graciela Maletti de Smink also went on local television on 10 December to talk about the club’s activities during the campaign.
From 25 November to 10 December, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Zonta club members embraced the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign and advocated to end violence against women and child marriage in their communities.
Watch the video below to see a few examples of how club members said NO during the campaign.
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.