Zonta International


Mid-Biennium message to
District Advocacy Committee Chairman

Dear Zontians,

Zonta’s mission
Zonta International is empowering women worldwide. Our tools are service and advocacy, as established in our first Object, and in our Mission Statement.
We focus on the status of women in accordance with Articles 1-16 of CEDAW, the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Where do we stand? What do we do next?
One year of the 2014-2016 biennium has passed. It’s time to check where we are and make plans to reach the Biennial Goals, unanimously approved at Convention. Please take time to reread the Goals, easily found in Issue One of The Zontian.
I trust that districts and clubs developed their own goals adapted to local conditions.

Governors’ reports to the ZI Board for its June 2015 meeting gave an overview of all districts. Zontians feel strongly about women’s issues but good intentions are not enough, it takes action. There has been progress but it has been uneven, across and within districts.

Awareness is an important first step and it has grown in a promising way. Nearly all districts have identified the most important women’s issues in their parts of the Zonta world. The identified issues are all in line with Zonta’s Objects and our strategic plan: violence against women, education, jobs and pay equity, (sexual and reproductive) health, migrating women and trafficking, and – not least – equality and women’s human rights.

Training and planning are the next steps. Districts and clubs have started these processes with the help of knowledgeable members.Inter-District Meetings have been informative and inspirational.
However, much remains to be done.
Clubs/districts must learn How-To and decide on What-Where-When-Who.
We should assess where more knowledge is needed.
Advocacy Tools are provided on the ZI website.
Issue Two of The Zontian contains an article on the Istanbul Convention, and an interview with Carolyn Hannan, who gave good ideas for our work.

Plans for training at upcoming district conferences and area meetings were reported. I hope that such training will take place in all districts.
With my message 5 May, you received guidelines for workshops on the WEPs and on Violence Against Women.
If not already done, it’s high time to start planning for the 2015 Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign. You find tools on the separate website – a revised version will be live very soon. Also, please use the Council of Europe Tools on the ZI website.
If you need further support, please get in touch with me or your contact persons on the ZI Advocacy Committee.

Advocacy actions with impact are our aim.
Club actions can play an important role at community level, for example for the implementation of existing laws, for gender-sensitive allocation / coordination of resources, for planning of safe cities, for training of staff in the public sector, and for raising local issues and influencing general attitudes.
District / area actions are needed to coordinate efforts at national and state levels. We want to hold governments accountable for commitments they made internationally. We want toinfluence the making of laws and ordinances, and inform our governments on women’s conditions.
For improved impact, finding and requesting gender data and statistics can be part of our efforts.

Evaluation of actions is necessary. We have limited resources and must use them effectively. Encourage clubs to discuss what worked and what didn’t. Impact of advocacy cannot always be measured exactly, but it can be done more often than we think. And there are indicators by which we can estimate the effect of our efforts. Defining such indicators should be part of initial planning.

Reporting is also essential. Please encourage clubs to share their stories within districts and with Zonta International. By doing that, they will help each other to improve the work, and to fulfill the Zonta mission.
Please prepare to inform on district actions, and to summarize club actions.

Due date for your next report to your Governor and to me is November 15.

I wish you success as you work to reach Advocacy Goals in your district with
Conviction – Commitment – Courage

July 12, 2015

Margit Webjörn
ZI Advocacy Committee Chairman



Guidelines for
Zonta Advocacy workshops
at 2015 District Conferences and/or Area Meetings

Violence Against Women – The Istanbul Convention

Advise clubs to
• read the article in issue two of The Zontian.
• visit the Council of Europe website, to learn about the Istanbul Convention. To make it simple, they can scroll down the list to the left. Under Read more, they find a leaflet in various languages.

Suggested questions, related to the Convention:
– Does our country work actively to change attitudes to violence against women?
– Are officials in the police, health care and court systems properly trained?
– Is treatment available for men who wish to change their behavior?
– Is prevention of gender-based violence included in school curricula?
– Do women get the support they need to leave an abusive partner?
– Is support easy to find in communities (phone, website)
– Is community support coordinated (one-stop-centers)?
– Are there enough shelters, also for women bringing children?
– Are all kinds of violence against women criminalized?
– Do processes focus on the perpetrator, not on the behavior of victims?
– Are excuses on grounds of culture, religion or so-called ‘honor’ dismissed?
– How do we raise public awareness about violence against women?
– What actions are needed to make our country ratify or accede to the Convention?
– After that, how can we follow up the implementation of the Convention?

Finally, discuss how to base the 2015 Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign on the Istanbul Convention.

May 5, 2015
Margit Webjörn
ZI Advocacy Committee Chairman

Guidelines for
Zonta Advocacy workshops
at 2015 District Conferences and/or Area Meetings

Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) –
Equality Means Business

Advise clubs to
– read information about WEPs on www.zonta.org under Member Resources,
Advocacy Tools, including the report from the2015 WEPs Annual Event.
– visit http://weprinciples.org to learn more.
Under Tools & Resources is a WEPs Booklet in various languages.
For inspiration, listen to speakers at the2015 Annual Event such as Hilary Clinton and Mary Robinson (video titled ‘Partners for Gender Equality’).
Ideas for discussions:
The 7 Principles and proven results
– Present the principles and discuss them, each one and as a whole.
– Note Principle 7, what does that mean in a company?
– Discuss proven results of equality in business.
Internal awareness raising
– Do we need translations of the WEPs? If so, by whom?
– How do we inform our members? On websites? In newsletters?
– How do we present WEPs at club meetings?
External awareness raising
– How do we inform about the WEPs?
– Can we organize events to present WEPs to companies? To people in general?
– Can we introduce WEPs also in the public sector?
CEO Statements of Support
– Are there CEOs among Zontians who may want to spearhead actions?
– Discuss how to approach companies as individual Zontians, as clubs (local companies), as areas (national companies), as a district (international/global companies).
– Do we want to launch a ‘CEO Statement of Support signature’ drive?
Action planning
– Do we suggest a district working group?
– Do we need area working groups?
– What will be draft steps in action planning?
– Do we seek cooperation? With National Committees for UN Women? With others?

May 5, 2015
Margit Webjörn
ZI Advocacy Committee Chairman

Zonta International Advocacy