Members who attended the District 1 Fall Conference in Burlington , Vermont this past October will recall attending the workshop on Advocacy presented by Jo Ann Higgins and Marie McCully Collier, Co-Chairs of the District 1 Advocacy Committee. Jo Ann and Marie provided important updates and encouraged discussion. Their main objective was to challenge Club members to embrace advocacy and to make it a real activity in their Clubs. Everyone was strongly encouraged to visit this blog and become familiar with the resources and reports of the District Clubs describing their advocacy work. There was spirited discussion on Zonta and Actions for equal pay

All governors and district advocacy chairmen should have received an email with materials for advocacy actions on equal pay. Please use those materials to advocate for equal pay worldwide. If you did not receive the materials, please email Megan Radavich, Director of Programs and Advocacy, at mradavich@ zonta.org.

“Service” versus Zonta and “Advocacy”. Clubs were encouraged to develop unique, stand-alone advocacy initiatives in their communities and to recognize that while advocacy is an important component of “Service” there was important work to achieve by engaging in the public expression of support for or opposition to a cause, argument or proposal, including direct efforts to influence laws or policies regarding the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women and to promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Club Advocacy Chairs/representatives: Please review your Advocacy projects and submit a Club report to post on this Advocacy Blog by or before the end of February 2016. Add it yourself or forward it to advocacy@ zontadistrict1.org (with your club name in the subject line). Your report should include a description of any activities carried out for the “Zonta Says No – 16 Days of Activism” but is not limited to that topic. Please report on any other unique advocacy actions and results achieved or projects undertaken since July 1, 2015. Pictures are welcome. Tell us about your challenges and what you are learning as you work to advance your skills as advocates. What you share in your reports will help us all to learn from and support each other as we continue our work to expand our roles as advocates in our communities.  Your reports will also help us prepare a Spring 2016 Report for the Zonta International Advocacy Committee. We would like to hear from every Club and look forward to your reports.

Key Updates at Conference Included the following (Please note, there are actions requested or suggested in each item):

Zonta International Advocacy Committee Chairman, Margit Webjörn’s – Mid Biennium Message July 12, 2015. Please review this report. It is posted with Tools and Resources, under Zonta International Advocacy Newsletters/updates. In November 2015 Margit also wrote “November reports from many of you, and club reports to HQ, indicate increasing advocacy efforts in the Zonta world. The Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign inspired more clubs to take part, and some of them took steps from awareness to real action. In 2016, let us join in support of our members to reach our Biennial Goals”.

November 25 – December 10, 2015 Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women, 16 Days of Advocacy Campaign. Nov. 25 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Get the Facts http://wp.me/P2THyp-ux ; and via twitter @zontaintl , and 25 November was the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which ran until 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year, the United Nations commemoration, led by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, focused on prevention of violence against women and girls. Through specialized programmes and comprehensive policy, we can put an end to violence against women and girls – but not without a global movement united under the colour orange, which symbolizes a brighter future without violence.

Voices Against Violence: Non-Formal Education Curriculum for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on Ending Violence against Women and Girls andGuidelines for Zonta District and Club Participation. During the 2014-2016 Biennium, Zonta International is partnering with UN Women to support Voices against Violence: a non-formal education curriculum for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) on ending violence against women and girls. Zonta International is funding the project in only 12 countries. Clubs not in one of the 12 countries are outside the scope of the partnership between Zonta International, UN Women and WAGGGS and it is only in the project countries that they will be able to work with and from the Voices against Violence curriculum. Local initiatives must be administered by the local Zonta district or club and the local Girl Guide or Girl Scout organization. Such collaboration will be based on local interest and capacity. Zonta International, UN Women and WAGGGS will not monitor or evaluate any local projects or activities.

Zonta International Statement on Women’s Rights and Non-State Terrorist Groups. Zonta International has issued this statement and sent it out through the UN listserv with a call for sign-ons by other NGOs. News reports from UN special rapporteurs and special representatives, including those of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict describe the atrocities faced specifically by women and girls. Abduction, rape, torture and murder of women and girls have become methods of terrorizing people and forcing them to leave their homes to survive. In issuing this statement, is proposing specific action by UN member states. Hopefully knowing of such advocacy efforts by Zonta at the international level will inspire District 1 Zonta Clubs to initiate their own advocacy activities at the local and state (province in Canada) level. Zonta Clubs are asked to share this statement, promote it to their members and with any like-minded organizations who may wish to sign on and support it with an email authorizing the use of the name of their organization on communications with the UN system and member states in respect to this issue.

Women’s Rights at Home and Abroad: A Call to Action (Leadership Conference Report), The US Administration submitted this report to the UN on US progress regarding Beijing +20 and the Sustainable Development Goals. In September 2015, the Leadership Conference and CHANGE issued this Civil Society Shadow Report with additional suggestions for US action in the coming year. Many of these are areas where Zonta Districts and Clubs in the United States may wish to focus their advocacy efforts. You will note that one of the major suggestions is to make ratification of CEDAW a priority in the US (p.2, p22-24.) We (Bobbee Cardillo and Sherrill Mulhern, Zonta International Advocacy Committee) encourage you to continue your efforts to advocate for CEDAW and support any complementary Cities for CEDAW effort in your localities! Other suggestions are to support passage of IVAWA (p15), the Equal Rights Amendment (p22) and the Raise the Wage Act (p6), about which you have already received supporting information from us. We will shortly provide additional information on IVAWA and the ERA as well. If your clubs have already been involved in other issues, you can probably find suggestions of additional actions in this report, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act (p6), sexual assault on college campuses (p7) and human trafficking (p23-4.) Just be aware that there are also suggestions in the Women and Health (p9-10) and Girl Child (p28-29) chapters that relate to abortion. No actions should be taken in Zonta’s name which are either pro or con abortion. If you have any questions on how to use this report, please feel free to contact members, Sherrill Mulhern zontaconnect@yahoo.com or Bobbee Cardillo bobbeelcardillo@gmail.com directly.

Consider these suggestions and guidelines for Zonta Advocacy workshops at your District Conferences and/or Area Meetings

Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – Equality Means Business. Suggested Preparations and ideas for discussion. Clubs can read information about WEPs on www.zonta.org under Member Resources, Advocacy Tools, including the report from the 2015 WEPs Annual Event; visit http://weprinciples.org to learn more. For inspiration, listen to speakers at the 2015 Annual Event such as Hilary Clinton and Mary Robinson (video titled ‘Partners for Gender Equality’).

Advocacy Workshop VAW – – Violence Against Women – The Istanbul Convention
Suggested preparations and ideas for discussion. Clubs can read the article in issue two of The Zontian; visit the Council of Europe website, http://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home 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.

Other Resources – Note a list of videos and organizations, external to Zonta is posted on the Tools and Resources page