Zonta & the United Nations
UN flag in possession of the Zonta Club of Geneva, NY
The cover of a 1995 issue of The Zontian Magazine showing Zonta President, Chief Folake Solanke, with UN Secretary General, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
According to Zonta’s 80thAnniversary Book… Zontian delegates, Elizabeth Gist Dozier (PIP 1950-52) and Georgia Boucher attended the inauguration of the United Nations in San Francisco, CA in 1945. The next year, Zonta observers were established in New York and Geneva for all UN sessions. (Paris, France and Vienna, Austria would eventually be added as Zonta locations.) In 1948 a Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted by the UN General Assembly in Paris, France.
In 1986 Zonta International became the first and largest NGO contributor to the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
For the 1998-2000 Biennium, the Prevention of Female Genital Circumcision (FGC) in cooperation with the UN was adopted.
Projects with the UN continue – The approved International Service and ZISVAW projects for 2016-2018 were: Towards Elimination of Obstetric Fistula and the Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality and Morbidity in Liberia, in partnership with UNFPA Let Us Learn Madagascar: An Integrated Program for Adolescent Girls, in partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF The Future We Want: Creating sustainable foundations for addressing human trafficking and unsafe migration of women and girls in Nepal, in partnership with UN Women Initiative for Adolescent Girls in Niger: Knowledge for Dignity, in partnership with UNFPA.
Zontians are also encouraged to take advantage of a tour of the United Nations organized by the League of Women Voters of New York State each fall. Our District has often been a co-sponsor of the event, with a speaker/topic on women’s issues (great publicity for Zonta on the program/registration and discount rate for Zontians). Several members from our district have participated in the event.
All 15 government representatives were women. From its inception, the Commission was supported by a unit of the United Nations that later became the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) in the UN Secretariat. The CSW developed a relationship with several NGOs. Those with consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)were invited to participate as observers.
Many Zontians travelled to NYC and took advantage of the offers to participate in annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) events.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
CEDAW is often a topic during District Workshops and Conferences – during the 2011 District Conference held in Buffalo a mini-workshop was presented to attendees. The purpose of these sessions is to share the facts behind CEDAW and to detail the myths as to what it means for the women in America. Sample letters to be sent to government officials encouraging the ratification of CEDAW have been distributed during the events.
Cities for CEDAW is a campaign to protect the rights of women and girls by passing ordinances establishing the principles of CEDAW in cities and towns across the United States (begun in 2013). Past District 4 Governor, Lee Fogarty, of the Zonta club of Pittsburgh was one of the presenters at the Cities for CEDAW-Buffalo event in July 2016.