Table of Contents
Highlights from the Governor * Save the Date for D12 Conference *  Betty Edwards * Area Happenings * Membership   * ZI Service Awards  *  JMK Scholarship* 2015 YWPA Winner * Forming a Z or Golden Z Club * New D12 Brochures * Bylaws Update * Advocacy
Spring is a very busy time in the Zonta community! Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Area Meetings were held in April for Areas 1, 2 and 4. (Area 3 held its Area Meeting in January, with a combined Amelia Earhart event.). All of the Area Meetings were fun, informative and a great chance to meet new Zontians!
  • New club officers are being installed during the month of May. I've installed officers for Pikes Peak, Greeley and Denver.
  • Reporting is in progress, not only for the Clubs (due May 22nd), but also the Governor's report to International (due May 31st). Take this opportunity to brag about all the good things we do.  Also, the club report is used to select the District 12 Advocacy and Service awards during the District 12 Conference.
  • Planning for the new Zonta year is underway, not only for the clubs, but also for District. The District leadership team meeting will be held in Denver from June 5 - 7, 2015. (Once completed, the District leadership team status reports will be posted on the District 12 website in the Members Only section.)
The District Leadership planning team is working on training for Club Officers and Club Boards. We will be providing conference calls with Powerpoint presentations during the month of June. Put these dates on your calendars:
  • President / Vice President June 16 & June 25th. Trainers are Area Directors (Theresa Forbes (A1); Michelle Ammerman (A2); Ann Hodgson (A3), and Linda Hawkins (A4.)
    • We will also be providing a "new" Presidents manual, outlining best practices / calendar events * all in one location.
  • Secretary June 2 & June 11th Deedee Boysen, District 12 Secretary, will  be conducting the training.
  • Treasurer June 4 & June 9th. Terri Otley, District 12 Treasurer, will be training the Club Treasurers, and
  • (NEW) Club Board Training June 18 & June 23 hosted by Michelle Ammerman, Area 2 Director and myself.  This new training will cover full Club boards, which consist of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Directors.  If you hold any of these offices, please attend the Club Board training. 
I will continue to be very busy for the remainder of the summer with the North American Inter-District meeting June 12-14 in Minneapolis, MN and planning for the 2015 District Conference the weekend of  September 25 - 27, 2015 in Boulder, CO. The District Conference will be co-hosted by the Zonta Club of Foothills/Boulder and the Zonta Club of Boulder County. Our theme is "HerStory of Heroes." Please join me for a fun-filled event!
Enjoy the rest of the summer,
Marcy O'Toole


Zontian Betty Edwards Honored

On Thursday, March 26th, I traveled to Kansas City, MO. Why would one choose to go to a city on a river where the weather is that in between winter and spring cold chills to the bone? The occasion was the 78th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society. I went there because my dear friend Betty Edwards, mentor, sister Zontian and the founder of the Southern Colorado Human Trafficking Task Force was honored for founding the task force. On Friday Betty was awarded the Jane Addams Outstanding Service Award. Jane Addams was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Jane Addams received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work in Chicago. Betty was nominated by Dr. Aditi Mitra from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. It is so gratifying to see recognition given to someone who genuinely cares about her fellow human being and has given her heart and soul to such a worthy cause. On Saturday Betty, Dr. Mitra, and Dr. Mac Z-Zurawski from the Chicago State University gave a workshop, Human Trafficking: A Global Issue. It was a good workshop, there is always something to learn. All in all it was a busy, wonderful weekend.

~Mary Benoit

Area 1 Meeting
Teresa Forbes, Area 1 Director

On April 24th and 25th, thirty Zontians brought their passion, inspiration, and energy to the Area 1 annual meeting hosted by the Zonta Club of Sturgis. Saturday morning's meeting began with South Dakota's Attorney General Marty Jackley presenting on human trafficking. His remarks focused on procedures and operations used to catch predators, particularly in large events like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the changing landscape resulting from the oil boom in North Dakota. He was clear that advocacy and service organizations like Zonta can make an impact. His department's primary focus is to prosecute crimes after the harm has been done but advocacy programs can play a role to serve victims and monitor internet sites where the illicit activity thrives.  Potential advocacy opportunities may be monitoring and, or contacting the websites Backpage.com, Craigslist and Facebook and looking at South Dakota laws designating certain crimes involving prostitution as a misdemeanor.   Our organization can be looking at ways to support strengthen penalties for those involved in the sale of women and girls. 

District 12 leaders presented the members with the latest information from Zonta International including details of the branding campaign, Net Plus One for membership growth and sustainment, Zonta Says No, and many ways to contribute to the Zonta International Foundation. A letter was read from Samantha Johnson, Jane M. Klausman scholarship recipient. Samantha received an award from the Spearfish club, District 12, and from International.   We can be proud of Samantha and grateful to the Spearfish club members for their work in putting forward such an outstanding candidate. 

Attendees were generous and brought donations of cleaning supplies and light tools to give women transitioning from shelter to their own home. Some ’€œtools’€ to live an empowered life free from violence. The project resulted in a significant donation to the Crisis Intervention Shelter Service the local domestic and sexual violence shelter program. A beautiful raffle basket with items donated by Geo's, Akela Spa, and Wheeler Farms Candy raised just over $200 for the District 12 scholarships. 

The meeting ended with club updates. It is amazing to know that tens of thousands of dollars are raised and given back to community programs changing the lives of women and girls throughout Area 1. There is a lot of service and advocacy going on in Area 1 Zonta clubs including; Art Shows, the BH Zonta Expo, a Zonta Rose Garden project, a Women's Movie Festival, the showing of "It's a Girl" documentary and so much more.     

The Friday evening social and the Saturday meeting offered many opportunities to reconnect with long-time Zonta friends and meet several "first-timers." This was truly a gathering of inspiring women with a strong commitment to equality and justice for women and girls everywhere.

Area 2 Meeting "Making a Difference - We can! We will! We Are!"
Michelle Ammerman, Area 2 Director

Area 2 of Zonta District 12 held their annual area meeting in Greeley, CO on April 17-18, 2015. The theme of the meeting, "Making a Difference - ¶We can!  We will!  We are!" focused on "how a Zontian can grow. Seed packets were used to align attendees in teams, and "growth" was prevalent throughout the full meeting. Hosted by the Zonta Club of Greeley, the meeting started Friday evening, and continued on Saturday with thirty-two members attending. The cost of the meeting was $40.
The Friday Night event, held at Kenny's Steakhouse, provided an opportunity for networking and meeting other Zontians from Area 2 clubs. Delicious hors d'oeuvres were provided.
The meeting was held at the Medical Center of the Rockies from 8:30 to 3:30 on Saturday. Most speakers were Zonta District 12 leaders, providing updates on District 12 initiatives, membership, advocacy (CSW and Beijing +20), and Zonta International foundation. Each club president also provided a round table of club activities - what worked well and future opportunities on the horizon. Anna Smoot, the lunchtime key note speaker, spoke about fundraising. Also, Cara Chambers spoke about human trafficking.
Other exciting details included a District 12 Scholarship basket that netted $71.00, and the overall Area meeting had a surplus of $105.10 that was provided to the District 12 conference fund.
The 2015 Area 2 meeting will be hosted by the Zonta Club of Fort Collins and will be held in Ft. Collins, CO.

Area 3 Happenings
Ann Hodgson, Area 3 Director

Area 3 clubs are close enough that we can hold our Presidents' meetings face to face. At our first meeting Beth Robertson, the D12 Archivist, attended and explained what reports are required by the clubs for eventual input into a book Zonta International is publishing for the 2019 one hundred year anniversary of Zonta. At another meeting Deb Beatty went over the need for clubs to update their bylaws to comply with changes ZI has made in the International bylaws. At every meeting each President shares what her club is doing for advocacy, fundraising, membership and service.

The Zonta Says No Empty Shoes Art Show

All six clubs in Area 3 worked together to put on the second annual Zonta Says No Empty Shoes Art Show and Sale which took place November 8, 2014 at the Posner Center in Denver. Members collected art, put together a catalog for the show, did PR, arranged for refreshments, and volunteered to set up and run the event. Michelle Mèdal of Boulder Foothills chaired the committee this year. Organizations that are working to end violence against women and are supported by our clubs had display tables and shared information about the important work they do. Over $10,000 was raised. One third was donated to ZISVAW with the credit for the donation split between the clubs. Each club also received over $1,000 which they donated to a local organization working to end violence against women. 

The ZSN Empty Shoes committee

The Area 3 calendar on the D12 website is being updated with the events planned by our clubs for 2014-2015.   It is a very busy, fun filled spring with Foothills' Zing for Zonta, Denver's Film Festival, Douglas County's Trivia Night, Boulder's Women and Girls Rock, Denver II's Wine Tasting and Denver's Garage Sale. Later in the summer Denver II will host the annual Candy Meininger-John's Golf Tournament and Lakewood/Golden puts on a Day at the Races at Bandimere Speedway.

Area 4 Meeting

Linda Hawkins, Area 4 Director

Twenty Zontians from Area 4 met on March 27-28, 2015 in Canon City, Colorado for the Area 4 meeting. Hosted by the Zonta Club of Royal Gorge, the program started Friday night  with wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres at the Abbey.

A full program was provided on Saturday, providing Zonta International and District Updates by Governor, Marcy O'Toole, membership progress and retention strategies by Lt. Governor, Renee Coppock, and Advocacy - CSW & Beijiing+20 by Renee Coppock.

Each club provided club updates, with Vicki Bonds of Prowers County providing a report on all the great work in Prowers County. The Royal Gorge club provided an update on all of the projects.

A highlight of the program included a presentation by historian & writer Sherry Johns portraying infamous women convicts at the prison in Canon City.

An overview of the Zonta International programs & Zonta International Foundation was presented after lunch, and then the members broke into groups to learn more about international projects, followed by discussions.
Overall, the Area Meeting was a very successful event, raising $101 for the District 12 scholarship fund, and a surplus of $19.98 was provided to the District 12 Conference fund.

A BIG THANK YOU goes to the Zonta Club of Royal Gorge for their hard work.
Club Presidents
Area 1
Billings                                           Darcie Howard
Black Hills                                      Mary Kaiser
Glendive                                        Sherry Corneliusen
Pierre-Fort Pierre                           Laurie Schultz
Southern Black Hills                      Ramona Flaig
Spearfish                                       Andrea Parker
Sturgis Area                                  TBD
Area 2
Cheyenne                                     Kathy Cathcart
Converse County                         Jacque Pollock
Fort Collins                                   Andrea O'Connell
Greeley                                        Susan Bromley
Laramie                                        Tasha Bauman
Area 3
Boulder County                              Debbie Squires
Denver                                           Judy Allen
Denver II                                        Carol Leffler
Douglas County                             Judy Nesavich
Foothills of Boulder County            Lora Blakeslee Atkinson
Lakewood-Golden                          Deb Beatty
Area 4
Pikes Peak Area                            RoxAnne Krute
Prowers County                             Rosemary Marrin
Royal Gorge                                  Stacey Cline
Thank you for your Leadership!

A review of membership
Renee Coppock, Lt. Governor

By now, you are all familiar with the Net +1 Goal term. This relates to not only recruiting new members, but also retaining your experienced ones.  The chart below puts the numbers in perspective. HOWEVER, as you can see, the members reported to District by the clubs do not agree with the number of members reflected in Zonta International records. We need to figure this out. I am asking each club to send a list of members to me and a list of members who did not renew, along with a note if any members have not yet paid dues.  Please send the information to me by May 22, 2015.  

Clubs Paid Members as of 01 June 2014
(used to create goals)
Paid Members as of 30 April 2015 Goal
by 01 June 2015
(net 1 per year)
Members According to
Area 1        
   Billings 47 58 48 52
   Black Hills 62 80 63 76
   Glendive 17 17 18 18
   Pierre-Ft. Pierre 27 27 28 27
   So. Black Hills 16 16 17 16
   Spearfish 43 43 44 43
   Sturgis 19 20 20 20
Area 2        
   Cheyenne 37 39 38 38
   Converse County 17 18 18 17
   Fort Collins 20 28 21 25
   Greely 16 16 17 20
   Laramie 43 50 44 48
Area 3        
   Boulder County 13 18 14 14
   Denver 30 34 31 32
   Denver II 21 25 22 24
   Douglas County 22 24 23 23
   Foothills-Boulder 23 23 24 23
   Lakewood-Golden 9 10 10 10
Area 4        
   Royal Gorge 17 18 18 18
   Pikes Peak 20 26 21 23
   Prowers County 27 39 28 36

On a more positive note, kudos to the Zonta Club of Black Hills for the great increase in membership numbers.  Black Hills has been recognized by ZI as one of the clubs in the WORLD with the most growth. Way to go, ladies!  You can see from the chart that there are some clubs that need to do some recruiting. I also ask that you call some of those members who have missed meetings to keep them engaged, a key to membership retention.
The District Membership Manual is complete and ready for each club to personalize. I will e-mail a template to each club president and membership chair in the next coming week. It will also be available on the District website. 
In order to meet our goal of forming an e-club this year, we need a sponsoring, organizing and mentoring committee (SOM). To date, we have no committee, and we are half way through the biennium. Ideally, the SOM Committee is comprised of 4-6 members: 
Members of the SOM Committee can belong to the same or to different Zonta clubs. Effective SOM committees are typically comprised of four - six members:
One or two members with extensive knowledge of Zonta's organization at club, area, district and international levels, including Zonta's role at the UN and Council of Europe. A member with extensive knowledge of Zonta's advocacy initiatives and tools. A member with extensive knowledge of Zonta's programs and project - with both a local and international impact. A member with knowledge about finances, including dues payments. A member willing to tell her personal story of "why I am a Zontian."
The Committee is responsible for finding potential members, meeting with potential members, and educating the potential members about Zonta. Because the new club must have 20 members, many contacts need to be made.  The formation of a new club should be viewed as a service project. Those members who are on the SOM Committee should be relieved from some of the local club duties in order to have time to devote to the successful organization of the new club. Club Presidents, please send to me a list of members who are willing to help formulate the e-club. It is an opportunity to make contacts all over the region. 
 With membership in service organizations on a decline worldwide, there have been many studies and surveys completed in an attempt to reverse the trend. The studies showed that retaining members, experienced and new, is problematic across organizations. Many members drop out of their clubs for perfectly understandable reasons: death, sickness, economic hardship, and transfer to an area without a club. Others lack the commitment required of a true active member. But most leave for reasons that could have been prevented by a club with a strong membership retention program -- a club determined to retain its members. Some of the reasons listed were poor club leadership, inadequate orientation of new members, no participation or involvement, no meaningful club projects, and lack of encouragement to members (new and old) to attend international conventions, district conferences, area meetings, training seminars, etc.
No matter how many of the above are true for your club, there are simple, basic solutions that can be implemented to retain members. Research shows that membership engagement is key to retention. Member engagement builds loyalty and creates "ambassador members" - those members who renew automatically, engage consistently and spread the word to others.  But what is "membership engagement?" Essentially, it is members taking action on behalf of the club's causes, working on service and advocacy, making telephone calls, sending correspondence, attending meetings and events, donating money.  In other words, when members interact and relate to Zonta, and to one another, they are more inclined to renew their memberships and become ambassadors for the club. There are other benefits, too, such as increased visibility and success for the club's objectives.  A few ways to engage membership include leadership training at the club level and district levels; education or orientation of new members on Zonta history, culture and objectives; mentoring; find opportunities to make members feel needed and wanted; and reorientation and motivation of old members.
The Zonta International Membership Committee is working on membership issues. In a recent poll of governors and lieutenant governors, the following were identified as problematic to Zonta membership:
  • Retention
  • Leadership Development
  • Recruitment
  • Visibility 
  • Administrative Support
A ZI North American Membership Task Force has been formed to work with governors and lieutenant governors to find real solutions to the most pressing membership issues. The subcommittees of the task force have completed their review of the root causes of the membership decline. Reports have been submitted to the Task Force and a report will be generated for the North American Inter-District Meeting. Stay tuned for more information.
If you have questions about membership, be sure to contact me at rcoppock@crowleyfleck.com or 406-255-7287.

Zonta International Service Awards
Ann Hefenieder, District 12 Service Chair

Did you know that ZI sponsors service awards in two categories for club projects and for district service projects? Awards are presented to clubs and districts at the ZI Convention every other year.
Two categories of projects will be considered for Awards during the 2014-2016 biennium. A club or district project must either: "empower women and girls in general to achieve equal rights and to secure access to all legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional resources;" OR focus on "prevention of the root causes of violence against women and girls through education."
Each club may nominate up to two projects, one in each category. Club projects that won in Orlando cannot be resubmitted. Each district may submit one project, in either category. For this biennium, Governor Marcy wants to focus on "prevention of the root causes of violence against women and girls through education." This is a perfect topic for a combined Service-Advocacy project. To do that, I am working in conjunction with District Advocacy Chair Dedi Larue to prepare a guideline for your club's participation in this exciting project.
All the details have not been determined; I expect to have more information out to Club Service chairs this summer. The project will be a "Silent Witness" event combining the silhouettes and stories of victims of violence in your communities with community educational activities. 
I am excited about the possibilities of a district-wide project of this scope, and I hope you will be, too!

Jane M. Klausman Scholarship
Kathy Hyzer, JMK Coordinator

It is that time of year again, and hopefully your club will be considering submitting a JMK applicant for the District Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to women enrolled in at least the second year of a undergraduate program through the final year of a Master's program in Business. If you don't yet offer a scholarship, please consider offering one. If your club budget does not allow for money for a local scholarship, I hope your club will submit applications from any qualified young woman who inquires about the scholarship.
Remember, it is not required that a club award a local scholarship to have an application considered at the District level. However, applications must be submitted by clubs. We cannot consider an application submitted directly to District.
Everything a club needs is on the Zonta International web site. Go to www.zonta.org and click on member resources - click on Tools - click on Awards, Scholarships. The JMK Scholarship will be there. The website also contains sample news releases, Certificates for Clubs, Evaluation Criteria Scoring Sheet, and sample letter for applicants not selected.  
In addition to any money awarded at the club level, the District JMK scholarship winner will receive $1,500 ($1,000 from International and $500 from District). International awards 12 $7,000 scholarships to District winners, which are  pretty good odds - better than one in three.
Please submit your club's selection for Jane M Klausman Scholarship by July 1 to my email address:  kathyhyzer@comcast.net. Remember that applications must be complete and sent in PDF. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Kathy Hyzer, JMK Coordinator
Email -  kathyhyzer@comcast.net
Cell - 303-886-7803 
Home -  303-282-1062

Young Women in Public Affairs
Debbie Sundberg, 
YWPA Coordinator
The goal of the ZI Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) program is to encourage more young women to participate in public affairs by recognizing a commitment to the volunteer sector, as evidenced by volunteer leadership achievements and the dedication to the empowerment of women through service and advocacy.
In order for more women to be represented in key decision-making positions worldwide, we must continue to encourage young women to pursue leadership positions in public policy or governmental organizations.
YWPA recipients demonstrate
  • A commitment to volunteerism
  • Experience in local or student government
  • Volunteer leadership achievements
  • Knowledge of Zonta International and its programs
  • Advocating in Zonta International's mission of empowering women through service and advocacy.
 By April 1, 2015, 9 clubs submitted YWPA award winners for consideration of the District award. The scholarship committee completed its review and forwarded its selection to the Governor, and this winner was forwarded to Zonta International on May 1, 2015. Zonta International will select the 10 winners of the International award on July 1st, 2015.
On behalf of the District 12 board and the District 12 YWPA selection committee, it is with extreme pride that we announce this year's District 12 YWPA Award Recipient:
Annalese Warner
Nominated by the Zonta Club of Billings

Forming a Z or Golden Z Club
by Deedee Boysen, Z and Golden Z Club Coordinator

Several clubs have expressed an interest in starting a Z Club or Golden Z Club this year, and at least one club is getting close to chartering!  In addition, District 12 home to 4 Z clubs, which are located in Glendive, Laramie, Cheyenne, and Foothills Boulder County  We have learned a lot from these clubs.
For the novice, the Z Club is formed on secondary school campuses or in the community (high school), and Golden Z clubs are established on college and university campuses. Both are organizations that provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, explore career alternatives, and to improve international understanding through service projects and advocacy. If you are interested in forming a Z or Golden Z Club, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Sponsorship.  A Z or Golden Z club is sponsored by a Zonta Club, with the sponsoring club paying the charter registration fee and the yearly renewal fee to Zonta International. The sponsoring club serves as the link between the Z Club and Zonta International, and handles the responsibility of sharing international information and programs with the Z Club or Golden Z Club.
Organization.  Following approval by the club, a champion  within the club should be identified. This person should be someone willing to make a 2-3 year commitment to stay with the project in a leadership position. Next, identify a potential high school to partner with. The champion will arrange to meet with a representative of the secondary school or college to determine if a partnership is a good fit. The champion should also provide a venue for students to become Z Club or Golden Z club members, provide a place to meet, select a teacher as advisor to the Z Club or Golden Z Club members, provide assistance to the advisor if/when necessary, and complete the New Z Club Authorization Form, which is found on the ZI website. Please note that the selection of an advisor within the school is very important. Qualifications of a good advisor include an interest in youth, and the ability to guide and encourage members to participate actively in club projects.
More Information.  The information provided above is available on the Zonta International website (www.zonta.org) as well as on our District 12 website (www.zontadistrict12.org) under the topic of leadership training. Please contact Deedee Boysen at boysen.deedee@gmail.com for more information about forming a Z or Golden Z Club and, if you have already formed one of these clubs and your Zonta Club isn't listed above, please let me know so I can touch bases with your leadership. I think there is much to be gained in the coming year through information sharing and it is my hope to connect the club advisors so they can share service project ideas as well as their advocacy projects. I also hope to gather information from the clubs to include in our Outreach newsletter.
New District 12 Brochures
are HERE!

District 12 brochures have been updated and are available to purchase. 
Cost:  50 for $25.00
Contact: Marcy O'Toole (motoole48@comcast.net)
Note: Booth in a Box will have the new brochures so you are ready to go to your next event!

Update from your Bylaws chair

Deb Beatty

Greetings from your Bylaws and Resolutions chair. My responsibilities include updating the District Policies and Procedures manual and making sure all clubs in our district have updated and current governing documents. 
I hope all the club presidents received my email about updating your bylaws. I have received responses from many, but not all clubs. Zonta International made some fairly significant changes to the bylaws at the last international convention, so it's important that the clubs update theirs as well.
There is a very useful template on the Zonta website for clubs that are updating their bylaws. If you go to ZI's website and click on "Member Resources" and then on "Forms" you will find a document entitled "Club Bylaws Template." This is an easily editable Word document that has all the latest language approved by Zonta International.
If your club would like help with this process, please don't hesitate to email me at debbeatty423@comcast.net.
Advocacy:  Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) & Beijing + 20 - What is it?  What are next steps?
By Renee Coppock 

The Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995 resulted in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA) by 189 member States of the United Nations that had 12 Critical Areas of Concern to guide the mainstreaming of gender in policies, strategies and programs. The Declaration called upon member States to commit to the advancement of the goals of equality, development and peace for all women, while reaffirming the fundamental principal that the rights of women and girls are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The accountability framework for the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action requires member States of the United Nations to meet on a five-yearly basis to review their implementation, at both regional and global levels, of the Platform for Action with a view to fine tuning, remapping progress and reactivating commitment, taking into account prevailing global and local conditions.
Fast forward 20 years - Beijing + 20. The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It is part of the UN, specifically through the Economic and Social Council. The CSW is instrumental in promoting women's rights and was given a mandate in 1996 to take the leading role in monitoring, reviewing and reporting on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and in mainstreaming a gender perspective in UN activities.
The Commission meets 2 weeks each year in NY.  UN member states, NGOs and UN entities gather at the UN headquarters in NY to discuss progress and gaps in the Declaration's implementation, as well as emerging issues that affect gender equality and the empowerment of women. The member states agree on further actions to accelerate the progress and promote women's rights in political, economic and social fields. These outcomes and recommendations are forwarded to ECOSOC for follow-up. 
Every 5 years, the CSW has to make a thorough review and adopt a political declaration for the UN's member states to follow. In other years an outcome document is produced, after reviewing how member states are progressing in the implementation of the Beijing Platform. This is a negotiated process, taking place on the UN floor and often in side meetings or discussions. Rather than rely on the CSW to bear the entire burden, organizations in each country track the Beijing Platform and other women's rights issues. This is often done by NGOs. Caucuses also meet to keep NGOs informed about the progress of women's rights.
How does Zonta fit in?  There are 4,000 NGOs with consultative status at the UN.  However, only 146 have General Consultative Status, the highest status an NGO can have. ZI has General Consultative Status, so it can participate directly in the CSW by making written statements and speak during sessions.  
Before we can really understand what the CSW is all about, we have to understand the commitments under the Beijing Platform. The Platform contains 12 Areas of Critical concern. These concerns include:
  • Women and Poverty
  • Education and Training
  • Women and Health
  • Violence against Women
  • Women and Armed Conflict
  • Women and Economy
  • Women in Power and Decision-Making
  • Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women
  • Human Rights of Women
  • Women and the Media
  • Women and the Environment
  • The Girl Child.
CSW comments on these concerns on each year and thoroughly reviews every 5 years. The Platform for Action imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, go to school, participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work.
In addition to CSW, there are also other UN organizations that look at women's issues. Last November, the UN Economic Commission for Europe conducted a regions review and recommended 5 focus areas for CSW 59:
  • Women in the Labor market
  • Women's representation in policy and decision making
  • Preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls, governance and gender justice, and
  • The way forward - gender equality for inclusive and sustainable societies.
The CSW also discusses the Millennium Development Goals, which will expire in Sept. of this year. There are 8 MDGs that dovetail with the Beijing Platform:
  • Goal 1:  Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2:  Achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3:  Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4:  Reduce child mortality
  • Goal 5:  Improve maternal health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Goal 7:  Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8:  Develop a global partnership for development
Using indicators, the UN has stated that enormous progress has been made toward achieving the MDGs: World leaders have called for an ambitious, long term agenda, tentatively called the post - 2015 development agenda, hoping to tackle the most relevant issues. The Agenda is expected to be adopted at the Special Summit on Sustainable Development in NY, in September, 2015.
This year marked the 59th session of the CSW, with took place March 9 - 20 at the UN.  Representatives of the Member States, UN entities and ECOSOC accredited NGOs from all regions of the world attended. The main focus was the Beijing Declaration, including current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women.  Pay equity was included in those discussions. The progress of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was reviewed. The session also addressed opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Post -2015 development agenda. The end result is a group of resolutions and the Political Declaration passed after discussion and debate.  The first draft that received substantial comment from NGOs was published on January 26.
 Zonta joined in with 341 NGOs stating that the proposed declaration represents a bland reaffirmation of existing commitments that fails to match the level of ambition in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and in fact threatens a major step backwards. The comment demanded an accelerated implementation and accountability for governments, among other items. A revised version of the Political Declaration was circulated March 5, just days before the CSW.  Zonta and other NGOs made statements.  Zonta International (ZI) demanded:
  • A Political declaration that expressed a commitment to realizing full gender equality and the empowerment of women of all ages.
  • A commitment to creation of enabling environments and resources to make gender equality happen.
  • Commitment to universal ratification and implementation of CEDAW.
  • Recognition of the link between gender equality and long-term sustainable development.
ZI also requested increased participation by NGOs, invitation to expert group meetings and the ability to nominate panelists. 
It appears that the adopted Political Declaration is not as firm as ZI would like. One of the most important aspects is that the Declaration is striving for full realization of gender equality and empowerment of women by 2030. 
The most useful tools at the CSW to most Zontians are the parallel sessions. This year  there were over 60 Zontians in attendance, along with over 9,000 other participants. Over 1,300 NGOs were active in the 450 parallel events. The events, called the NGO CSW Forum, are coordinated by NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY). In its work with the NGO Committees on the Status of Women in Geneva and Vienna, NGO CSW/NY supports the Beijing Platform for Action, UN Security Resolution 1325, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  Members of NGO CSW/NY represent approximately 100 organizations that monitor and actively participate in the daily UN events in New York. Every year NGO CSW/NY organizes the NGO Consultation Day in preparation for the UN Commission on the Status of Women sessions.
In bringing together activists from around the world for two weeks at the UN, NGO CSW/NY enables members to network, share strategies and best practices, and lobby governments to implement resolutions and treaties they have signed.  The 2 week Forum is kicked off by Consultation Day, which was held this year at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. After Consultation Day, participants participated in the International Women's Day March, hosted by UN Women. The March started at the UN Women's HQ and walked to Time Square. There were over 10,000 participants, with speakers following the March.
At the end of the March, UN Women officially kicked of its Step It Up for Gender Equality Campaign, which has a slogan of Planet 50-50 by 2030. "Planet 50-50 by 2030:  Step It UP for Gender Equality" asks governments to make national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential. 

Important Dates

Spring District 12 Leadership meeting - June 5-7, 2015, Denver, CO
North American Inter-district Meeting - June 12 - 14, 2015, Minneapolis, MN
2015 District 12 Conference - September 25 - 27, 2015, Boulder, CO
Copyright © 2015 Zonta District 12, All rights reserved.

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