Zonta International Advocacy Initiatives
Zonta International, districts and clubs advocate at the international, national and local levels on issues related to human rights and gender equality. At the international level, Zonta International advocates on global issues primarily through the United Nations (UN) and Council of Europe. At the national level, Zonta districts, areas and clubs take action in support of, or in opposition to, legislation on issues affecting women and girls. At the local level, Zonta clubs monitor laws and policies and their impact on women, participate in hearings and public meetings with local politicians and administrators, and host speakers and panels to raise awareness about issues affecting women in their local communities.
Zonta and the United Nations
The Zonta International UN Committee teams represent Zonta in New York at UN Headquarters; in Geneva at the UN Office and ILO headquarters; in Vienna at the UN Office; and in Paris at UNESCO. The teams ensure that Zonta’s priorities are presented, and that the Zonta voice is clear in mission-related meetings at their respective sites. They meet and work with decision-makers from UN agencies and countries where Zonta has funded projects and/or where Zonta clubs reside. The current priority area of focus is the Sustainable Development Goals, which set the UN agenda for the next 15 years, concentrating on Goal 5 and areas that relate to women’s empowerment. The teams also monitor and report on ongoing issues such as human trafficking, women’s employment, human rights, the gender pay gap, and much more. Team members work in coalition with other like-minded organizations on issues of mutual concern, such as early and child marriage.
Zonta and the Council of Europe
Zonta International is a member of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), a group of all INGOs with participatory status at the Council of Europe. In 2015, the work of the Council of Europe team focused primarily on the Istanbul Convention, which is the strongest international agreement on ending violence against women. The team has encouraged Zonta districts and clubs both within and outside Europe to learn more about the Convention and to advocate for their governments to sign, ratify or accede to the Convention as appropriate.