Legislative Council: Wednesday, April 10, 2024



Zonta Club

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:57): I move:

That this council—

1. Notes that 2024 marks the 55th year of the Zonta Club of Adelaide;

2. Recognises the significant contribution the Zonta Club has made to empowering the women of South Australia; and

3. Congratulates all those who have contributed to the work of the Zonta Club over the last 55 years.

This year, 2024, marks the 55th anniversary of the Zonta Club of Adelaide. Zonta International is a global service organisation of professionals empowering women and girls worldwide through advocacy and service. Zonta's vision is to realise a world in which women's rights are recognised as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

Over a century ago, Marian de Forest of Buffalo, New York, conceived the idea of an organisation that would bring together women in professional positions. This was at a time when women rarely occupied leadership roles across business and professional landscapes. In November 1919, Zonta was founded as a service organisation of professional women working to improve the status of women and girls worldwide.

The name 'Zonta' is derived from a word in the Lakota language, a language of the Sioux First Nations people of North America, meaning 'honest and trustworthy'. The word was adopted in 1919 to symbolise the combined qualities of honesty and trust, inspiration and the ability to work together for service and world understanding. There are now more than 28,000 Zontians across more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 63 countries. The Zonta Club here in Adelaide was chartered 55 years ago in 1969. It was the first Zonta Club established in South Australia.

Members of the Zonta Club of Adelaide come from all parts of the metropolitan area. Currently, the membership comprises more than 40 Zontians of all ages, from all walks of life, and hailing from many different professions. Zonta International and the Zonta Club of Adelaide advocate across a broad range of issues affecting women and girls both locally and globally. They do this through advocacy, through service, through scholarships and awards, and through supporting international projects.

Time will only permit me to briefly outline some of the important work undertaken by the Zonta Club of Adelaide. One key priority is to end violence against women. For many years, Zonta has been involved with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, a global campaign led by UN Women that runs each year from 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until Human Rights Day on 10 December. The Zonta Club of Adelaide takes part in this campaign each year, running programs and events to raise awareness about gender-based violence, and all year round the club takes an active role in advocacy for measures to reduce and eliminate violence against women and girls.

Zonta also advocates and raises awareness around homelessness, especially among the fast-growing group of older women. The Zonta Club of Adelaide runs forums to inform members on the issue, as well as inviting guest speakers, including people within the human services sector and members of parliament, to engage in discussions around the issue of homelessness in our community.

The Zonta Club of Adelaide runs the Zonta Young Women's Leadership Program, a program initiated by the club in 2019 as a partnership between the club, the Leaders Institute of South Australia and two schools: Adelaide High School and Mitcham Girls High School. The program comprises two days of training followed by project work over a period of eight weeks, undertaken in small groups with a Zonta member as a mentor. The culmination of the program is the presentation of the projects by the students at their graduation and to their peers, to mentors, to Zonta members, to teachers and their family and friends.

The club also runs scholarships and leadership programs and offers awards for young women. Each year, four scholarships of $1,000 each are awarded to two girls at both Adelaide and Mitcham Girls high schools. Criteria for selection include academic effort and achievement as well as personal commitment to community service.

They also run the Zonta Club of Adelaide Community Development Award at the University of South Australia. This grant of $3,000 assists full-time women students at UniSA to contribute to community development projects in Australia and overseas, especially to projects in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities, in South-East Asia or in a Pacific Island nation.

This is only a sample of their truly commendable range of work, and I congratulate the Zonta Club of Adelaide, its executive, its board and its membership on 55 years of service. I wish them all the best for continued success and achievement into the future.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. B.R. Hood.