Celebrating achievements in 2017, looking forward to continued success in 2018

I wish you all a happy new Zonta year. As we begin 2018, we also enter the last six months of the 2016-2018 Biennium.

This last year has been fantastic. Here are some Zonta highlights for the year.

  • In February, 300 European Zontians met in Vienna to discuss Zonta’s role in a changing society and special European challenges for women.
  • In March, nearly 70 Zontians from more than 20 countries represented Zonta at the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.
  • In April, we launched the Global Membership Drive, which includes a comprehensive tool kit for our members and clubs to support recruitment and retention efforts.
  • In May, I visited Madagascar where I got to witness firsthand the impact we are making through Zonta’s support for UNICEF’s Let Us Learn program. Watch the video below to find out how Zonta is making a difference in the lives of girls in Madagascar.
  • In June, 145 U.S. Zontians visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for the first time to meet with their senators and representatives and advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment and the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. Click here to view USA Advocacy Day Materials at the bottom of our Advocacy Tools page.
  • In June, we also announced the winners of our Emma L. Conlon Service Award, which recognizes outstanding Z and Golden Z clubs for their work to empower women. Click here to read about the clubs and the programs they implemented.
  • In July, Zonta International hosted a panel discussion on child, early and forced marriage with the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN, UNICEF USA, Girls Not Brides, Soroptimist International, Unchained At Last and the Association for Dalit Women’s Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Zonta’s event was one of only three events focused on child marriage out of the hundreds of side events organized.
  • In September, we announced Zonta International’s support for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, a global movement that aims to mobilize 1 billion men to accelerate the achievement of gender equality. Zonta clubs are encouraged to use the HeForShe platform to engage men and boys in their communities to join Zonta as equal partners in our mission to empower women and girls and achieve gender equality. Click here for more information and resources.
President Sonja Hönig Schough meets with Felicity Appleby and Lucas Fernando Lopez from UN Women. Sonja was accompanied by her granddaughter, Alice.
  • In November, the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women organized an event about child marriage and I had the opportunity to speak about our projects in Niger and Madagascar as well as share our experience in how to reach a sustainable result.
Photo courtesy of United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna
  • Throughout the last half of the year, our 31 districts and Region South America hosted their conferences. I had the pleasure of attending five conferences in person and attended six more via Skype. From all over the world we witnessed the engagement and the commitment from all members. Click here to see photos on our Facebook page.
  • Most recently, during the 16 Days of Activism from 25 November to 10 December, Zontians worldwide mobilized for the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women.

The last 12 months have also been a time of internal growth and development for Zonta. We upgraded our membership database and online giving platform and launched online Communities for our leadership groups. These actions serve to increase our members’ experience online and improve operations at Headquarters. We also intensified our participation on social media – one way of getting our brand out – to tell the world about our mission and vision and what we are doing together to create a better world for women.

2018 is already promising to be an exciting year.

I will travel to Nepal later this month with UN Women to visit our project addressing human trafficking and foreign labor migration. I look forward to sharing with you the results of your support for this project via updates from the field and a new video. Watch our social media pages and website for more information.

In March, we will once again have a large, diverse group of Zontians from around the world together in New York City for the Commission on the Status of Women. We already have two major events confirmed inside the UN and have plans for more events underway. We will share updates regularly.

Finally, I look forward to coming together in Yokohama where we will celebrate our successes and recognize individuals, clubs and districts for achievements in membership, clubs and districts for excellence in service, and honor our generous donors at the Zonta International Foundation Donor Recognition Reception. Follow all news and program activities at convention.zonta.org.

I am confident that 2018 will be a landmark year for Zonta as we wrap up this biennium and enter into our centennial biennium. Together, we will create change.

By Sonja Hönig Schough, Zonta International President

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