November 25 is the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women
- and it marks the first of our 16 days of activism to end violence against Women.
Many female activists around the world are accomplishing wonderful tasks to
help women. And still they are only a drop in the bucket of need that exists. But
does that mean we shouldn't act because our contributions can't solve the big
problems? If you happen to be the "drop in the bucket" that was helped by
someone's activism, it can mean your ability to go to school, drink clean water,
avoid being raped and/or trafficked, have a healthy baby and survive childbirth
yourself - it can even mean the difference between life and death for you and
Our simple acts can lead us to connect with other like-minded people and/or
organizations. In one of Nicholas Kristof's articles in the New York Times, he
states, "there is a market failure - so many people who would like to help, and so
many people who would benefit from that help, but there's a shortage of channels
to connect them." Zonta International is our channel to connect us with the
people that need our help. What we can't do as individuals, we can do as a
group - and so we do our fundraisers and send at least 1/3 of our profits to the
Zonta International Foundation - and the ZIF uses already established United
Nations groups to provide services to women and children - channels.
The Zonta Club of Douglas County's 2010 campaign is directed toward educating
ourselves and others during these next 16 days about gender violence. Laurie
Anderson, our PR Chairman, is writing articles for newspapers and we are
designing a display window to be available in front of the Courthouse Parking
Garage soon. I will be forwarding information to you on each of the 16 days.
Hopefully, it will inspire you to learn other ways you as an individual can help
your sisters at home and around the world. Please share whatever you learn (or
relearn) during these next few days with at least one other person.
Much love to you and yours as we kick off the 2011 Holiday season and make
it our season of learning to be activists for women!
Mary Lou Edwards
Legislative Advocacy and Activism Chairman
Giving women of child bearing age in developing countries an education resulted
in saving the lives of more than 4.2 million children worldwide in 2009:
The British medical journal Lancet recently published a study paid for by the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation. American researchers analyzed 915 censuses
and surveys from 175 countries tracking education, economic growth, HIV rates
and child deaths from 1979 to 2009.
The researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the
death rate for children under age 5 dropped by almost 10 percent. According to
Nicholas Kristof ("Half the Sky"), around 101 million children around the world are
not attending primary school. In most developing countries, it takes very little
money to keep a child in school.
In Europe, in order to graduate from what we think of as High School, students
have to pick a social project to be involved in. One young lady from Germany
went to Africa and learned that her allowance would keep a young child she met
in school, so she dedicated that money to the child and kept her in school. The
young lady went on to developing fund raisers, getting her friends involved in
helping many other children stay in school. This young German lady won the
Zonta International YWPA Scholarship a few years ago.
Mother Teresa said, "It's not how much you give, but how much love you put into
the giving that recreates the world."
Zonta International urges us to support the Center for Women's Global
Leadership's (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ) 16 days of Activism
Against Gender Violence campaign. Since 1991 the campaign has worked to
increase the visibility of violence against women as a human rights violation, a
public health crisis and a threat to human security and peace worldwide. During
the campaign period, we are urged to share successes and struggles with one
Here are some of their suggestions for us to increase our knowledge and get
1. Volunteer to work at a Crisis Hot Line or a local women's shelter - hear some
of the stories firsthand.
2. Scan your wardrobe for going-to-work clothing that you can give to an
organization that helps women through the job-finding and interviewing process.
3. When shopping, remember to include some non-perishable food items to
donate to the local Task Force.
4. Be a good listener - you never know who might need your help. Ask for
women in your own club to share stories about women they know who have
personal knowledge of gender violence.
5. Set boundaries. Learn what you can do to improve your own chances for
safety and inform your friends.
6. Be a vocal advocate against violence towards women and for the victims of
7. Keep a list of resources - information is power - know where and how to report
your concerns if you suspect a woman or child is at risk.
8. Violent behavior starts young - find out what is being done to protect our
children from bullying behavior and get involved in preventing it.
9. Send a note of encouragement to a woman you know who is going through a
10. Hold a "non-event" party. Invite friends and neighbors to stay home, but
donate what they would have spent on clothing, food, babysitters, drink, etc. to
an organization that works to prevent and assist victims of violence.
You can join an electronic discussion about the 16 days at
Some facts about gender violence (from the book, "Half the Sky" by Nicholas
- Every year at least 2 million girls disappear because of gender discrimination.
- In America every 1 out of 6 girls is raped and forced into prostitution.
- More girls have been killed in the last 50 years because they were girls - than
men were killed in all of the battles of the 20th century.
- "Vanishing Females" - there are on average 107 men for 100 females in China;
108 men for every 100 females in India and 111 men per 100 females in
Pakistan. Female babies are not valued and so do not receive proper medical
care and nutrition; young girls are not allowed to go to school - instead they are
sold into slavery as child brides or prostitutes by their families; women are
considered chattel to be killed or bartered by their husbands or owners.
- "The Girl Effect" - females make up the majority of the factory-oriented
workplace (80% in China and 70% in East Asia) because they have smaller
fingers, are more efficient, they work harder, are more obedient and owners can
pay them less.
MAO said "Women aren't the problem - they're the solution - women hold up half
The new economic thinking is that women are the key to ending worldwide
hunger. Microfinance/micro loans are helping them become more independent in
developing countries. Empowering women disenfranchises terrorists. Strong,
independent women raise sons who respect women.
What we can do: Lobby for education and empowerment training for all girls
everywhere. Fight "Stoic Docility" - the acceptance of a decree by a man - just
because it came from a man.
The theme for this year's Center for Women's Global Leadership 16 days
campaign is "Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and
Violence Against Women." CWGL envisions that this theme will be a multi-year
project as they collect information about militarism and develop a strategy for
They believe that we, as defenders of women's human rights, have a
responsibility to look more closely at the structures in place that permit gender-
based violence to exist and persist and that militarism is one of the key structures
that perpetuates violence. Militarism is defined as "an ideology that creates a
culture of fear and supports the use of violence, aggression, and/or military
interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests."
We have all heard about rape being used as a tactic of war to drive fear and to
humiliate women and their communities. Families of militarized men and women
also experience violence in their homes as the result of soldiers' learned
behaviors or emotional trauma. In any case, we now know the disturbing trend -
that women suffer the most as targets of systematic sexual violence. Yet women
hardly have any say when peace is negotiated - less than 10% of peace
negotiators are women.
Ten years ago, the UN Security council adopted Resolution 1325 to ensure
women's equal participation in peace building, but its implementation has been
too slow. This Resolution sets forth the basic, practical steps that all
governments can take to make a real difference in women's lives, such as by
recruiting more women in police forces and peacekeeping operations, ensuring
that more women participate in peace negotiations, prosecuting perpetrators of
sexual violence, and by excluding perpetrators from armies and police forces
What we can all do today:
To protest sexual violence against women in conflict and make Security Council
resolution #1325 a reality now, sign the @SayNO_UNITE petition at
http://ht.ly/1X3D2 @ UNIFEM.
What are you passionate about? Since you joined an organization whose
mission is to improve the lives of women and children in the world, we can
assume that you want to get involved doing that. There are so many
organizations and projects out there and the need is so great - sometimes it's
hard to choose just what direction to take. Some possibilities are listed below,
but ultimately you alone need to figure out what moves you enough to get
- Trafficking of young girls and women. The Pikes Peak Club has fully
embraced this subject and has been able to use the laws in El Paso County to do
away with massage parlors. They have sponsored several seminars on the
subject in Colorado Springs that are well worth attending. Also, the
Polaris Project based in Denver transitioned into the Laboratory to Combat
Human Trafficking (LCHT) on Febr. 2, 2010. They strongly believe in the value
of research and the need for better data on human trafficking. Their niche is
community-based research and would welcome any volunteers. If you believe
you have a trafficking tip to report please call the CoNEHT hotline at 1-866-455-
5075, or contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-
- The Paycheck Fairness Act. This act would close loopholes, strengthen
incentives to prevent pay discrimination, and bring the Equal Pay Act in line with
other civil rights laws. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who
inquire about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages. Sharon
Roggy sent an e-mail with a listing of the senators in our state, and a sample
letter to write to them, urging them to vote for the Act. If you need copies of this
letter, contact me, Area 3 LAA Chairman, Alice Borodkin, or District 12 LAA
Chairman, Sharon Roggy.
- Sexism/Gender ParityThe White House Project. Female Candidates running
for public office are frequently subjected to scrutiny not given their male
counterparts, especially in the media. When women are attacked in the media
with sexist language, voters view them as less empathetic, trustworthy and
effective. Watch for the new documentary, "Miss Representation" starring Geena
Davis and Rosario Dawson, which addresses women's under-representation in
leadership positions. In an e-mail on November 1, Alice Borodkin asked us to
sign-up for White House Project e-mails and read them. Sign up at
- The intersection of militarism and violence against women - This is the
2010 theme for the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence - you can learn
more about this theme at http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/home.html. Also,
please support the UN Resolution 1325 which calls for parties in conflict to
respect women's rights and to support their participation in peace processes.
"Women in Black" is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with
justice. They are actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of
violence and they wear black when they conduct peaceful protest marches. For
more information about this network, visit http://www.womeninblack.org/.
World AIDS day exists to mobilize support for taking the steps necessary to end the global AIDS
epidemic. AIDS is one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history, and is especially
devastating to the world's most vulnerable human beings - mothers and their babies. Over 2
million children worldwide are HIV-positive and 50% of infants infected with HIV from their
mothers die before their second birthday.
The good news is that there is a proven solution for curbing mother-to-child transmission of HIV -
testing and counseling for mothers, combined with anti-retroviral drugs. But it's all about the
money - to make the solution possible, the world must demonstrate the will to fund it. Worldwide,
the funds to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS infections can't keep up with demand. There are 7,000
new infections every day, which means two people are infected with the virus for every one
starting treatment. Nations are tightening their foreign aid budgets as well as their internal
budgets, making it harder to fund treatments for this epidemic.
Some 33.3 million people worldwide are living with HIV and almost half of them need antiretroviral
treatment. Only about five million of them (1/3 of those in need) are on ARV's and the demand
for treatment is overwhelming budgets on all levels. The current treatment for AIDS consists of
taking a cocktail of three pills twice a day.
If you choose to take action to help end the AIDS epidemic there are several existing agencies
that you can contribute to:
UNAIDS - www.unaids.org. This joint UN program is the best known agency around the world. It
is currently promoting a new approach to treatment, aimed at reducing treatment
costs. Treatment 2.0 consists of taking one combination pill that is less toxic, longer-acting and
easier to use.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) - www.theglobalfund.org.
Founded in 2002, this public/private partnership attracts funds, invests them and distributes them
via grants. To receive additional funds, grantees have to demonstrate results against defined
(RED) - www.joinred.com. This organization wants to turn the world red. They want 2015 to be
an Aids Free Generation. Contributions arrive via people buying products from retailers who
contribute to the organization (i.e. Starbucks, American Express, etc.). Go to the website to see
all of the possibilities.
World AIDS Campaign - www.worldaidscampaign.org. This organization has a "Light for Rights
Campaign." They want us to dim our lights today - especially on important landmarks, to
remember the devastating affect AIDS has had on us all - and when we turn the lights back on we
illuminate the fundamental rights we all share.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation - www.aidshealth.org. This is a community based HIVAIDS
medical provider which serves patients worldwide regardless of their ability to pay.
The US Fund for UNICEF - www.unicefusa.org. This is a global humanitarian aid organization
with a mandate to provide children with humanitarian relief when they are faced with dire
It is also the International Day for Abolition of Slavery.
Nicholas Kristof, in his book "Half the Sky" identifies the three main abuses of
women worldwide right now:
1. Sex trafficking and forced prostitution - modern day slavery
2. Gender-based violence (including honor killings and mass rape). As
different cultures have emigrated into the U.S., they have brought some of these
abuses with them. Children are being genitally mutilated and young women are
being killed because of family "honor."
3. Maternal Mortality Rate. MMR now claims 1 woman per minute around the
world. Causes include children having babies when their bodies are not
developed enough; unclean birth sites; and ignorance about hygiene. In an
earlier age, Cotton Mather once wrote about women and labor: "Preparation for
death is that most reasonable and seasonable thing, to which you must now
apply yourself", but in this day and age, with all of the modern medical
possibilities, jumbo jets full of women still die during childbirth every day!
What we can do:
1. Write to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon - UN peacekeepers have been
ineffective in stopping the mass rapes using morality sanctions alone. These
crimes are not cultural mores - they are tools of war - used to terrorize in
countries at war like Darfur, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Pakistan and Iran. The worst
is Eastern Congo where girls age 3 are being raped & mutilated, often killed.
2. In the U.S. - trafficking is within the Secretary of State's purview. Hillary
Clinton has always been a strong supporter of women's rights, but she has a lot
on her plate right now. Start a letter writing campaign - be "in her face" about
making trafficking of young girls in and out of our country a primary focus.
3. Write to Eric Holden, the U.S. Attorney General about upholding the laws of
this country regarding genital mutilation and honor killings that occur in the U.S.
4. Sign up for e-mail updates on www.womensenews.org and
www.worldpulse.com. Both sites distribute information about abuses of women
and sometimes advise on actions that readers can take.
5. Volunteer at Project Cure which collects, sorts and distributes medical
supplies to the neediest countries.
6. Learn more about trafficking - attend the Pikes Peak Club's seminars.
International Day of Disabled Persons.
Some history: The year 1981 was proclaimed the International Year of Disabled
Persons by the UN. The slogan of IYDP was "a wheelchair in every home." This
prompted the formulation of the World Programme of Action Concerning
Disabled Persons adopted by the UN General Assembly in December, 1982.
The International Decade of Disabled Persons ran from 1983 to1993. December
3 of each year since 1998 is identified by the UN as the International Day of
Disabled Persons and each year has had a theme. Last year's theme was
"Making the MDGs Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their
communities around the world." This year's theme is "Keeping the promise:
Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015
Women with disabilities experience double discrimination, placing them at higher
risk of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and
exploitation. According to the UN publication, "Enable," women with disabilities
face significantly more difficulties - in both public and private spheres - in
attaining access to adequate housing, health, education, vocational training and
employment; and they are more likely to be institutionalized. The UN recognizes
the need to take into account and address the concerns of women and girls with
disabilities in all policy-making and programming, and that measures at all levels
are needed to integrate them into the mainstream of development.
We have all seen the picture of Aisha on the cover of Time Magazine. At the age
of 12, Aisha and her younger sister were given to the family of a Taliban fighter in
Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. The gift was supposed to settle a dispute with
the fighter's family - Aisha's uncle had killed a relative of the groom-to-be. Aisha
and her sister were beaten frequently as punishment for their uncle's crime.
Aisha ran away but her husband tracked her down and cut off her nose and both
ears. If the Grossman burn Foundation in Calabasas, Calif. had not agreed to
underwrite eight months of reconstructive surgery for her, Aisha would have had
to return to the father who gave her away and live with her disability in shame for
the rest of her life. She worries that her sister is now being abused in much the
Women with disabilities experience inequality in hiring, promotion rates and pay
for equal work, access to training and retraining, credit and other productive
resources, and they rarely participate in economic decision-making. The World
Bank reports that every minute more than 30 women are injured or disabled and
that those 15-50 million women generally go unnoticed. Recognizing the greater
risk these women then face both inside and outside the home, the Convention
on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) includes references to women and girls with disabilities under Rule 4
regarding Support services, Rule 6 on Education, and Rule 9 on family life and
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities tries to promote
gender equality and empowerment of women with disabilities. The UN General
Assembly recently passed two resolutions on Realizing the Millennium
Development Goals for persons with disabilities, urging states to pay special
attention to the gender specific needs of persons with disabilities (Resolution
63/150); and calls on Governments to enable persons with disabilities to
participate as agents and beneficiaries of programs and policies promoting
gender equality and empowerment of women and improving maternal health
What we can do:
1. Call our representatives in Washington and tell them we want them to support
the passing of CEDAW.
2. Join the virtual network of International Network of Women with Disabilities
firstname.lastname@example.org. Their mission is to enable women with
disabilities to share knowledge and experience, enhancing their capacity to
speak up for their rights, and empower themselves to bring about positive
change and inclusion in their communities.
3. Conduct an in-club workshop to focus on issues related to the inclusion of
persons with disabilities, highlight the progress and obstacles in implementing
disability-sensitive policies and promote public awareness of the contributions by
persons with disabilities to their communities. Perhaps show a short film to raise
awareness of disability issues.
4. Be thankful for your own good health; and be understanding of the disabilities
Most of us have read, "Three Cups of Tea," Greg Mortenson's inspiring story
about his transformation from a life of selfish-ness to self-lessness. His
adventures led him into the high mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan where
he gets lost and almost dies. People in one of the mountain villages save him
and teach him patience (the tea ritual) and respect for their culture. When he
asks how he can pay back the gift of his life, the village leaders tell him they need
schools. Mortenson takes this on as his life's mission and builds several schools
in the area, working out problems with different tribal leaders along the way. He
was there when the Taliban arrived. As the Taliban and Al Qaeda have grown
stronger over the years, one wonders whether the schools that Greg helped build
survived. We have heard that the schools for girls have been especially
vulnerable, often coming under attack while the brave girls escape to one of their
homes to continue learning.
Interestingly enough, Osama bin Laden's strategy for taking over the country
focused on education - for boys alone of course. He built schools to teach his
philosophy and paid students for their attendance and loyalty, and he ended up
with an army of men educated to his way of thinking.
In his book, "Half the Sky," Nicholas Kristof states that "the most effective change
agents aren't foreigners but local women .... who galvanize a movement." He
tells the true story of Mukhtar Mai who grew up in the village of Meerwala in
southern Punjab, Pakistan. She doesn't have a clue as to when she was born
and never attended school. When she was still young, a tribal council sentenced
Mukhtar to be gang-raped as punishment for a trumped-up charge against her
brother. The council knew that a woman humiliated by rape has no other
recourse but suicide. It is the expected way for a woman to cleanse herself and
her family of shame. Her family kept her from committing suicide and she turned
her humiliation into rage. She reported the rape to the police and demanded
prosecution. President Musharraf heard and sympathized and sent her the
equivalent of $8,300 in compensation. Mukhtar invested that money in schools.
Mukhtar told Nick (Kristof) that she believes in the redemptive quality of
education - that the best way to overcome the attitudes that led to her rape
was to spread education. Nick's articles brought Mukhtar money and too much
fame. President Musharraf was embarrassed that the world knew about the rape
and pressured her to stop talking, eventually kidnapping and isolating her.
During this time President Bush had publicly praised Musharraf's "bold
leadership" and was embarrassed by the harassment of Mukhtar. Condoleezza
Rice pressured Musharraf to release her. Soon her passport was released and
she was allowed to visit the U.S. where she was chosen by Glamour magazine to
be their "woman of the year." The U.S. media interviewed her relentlessly, but
didn't want to know anything about her school - they wanted her to tell what it
was like being "gang-raped." Back home, she was urged to move her school to a
big city, but insisted that her village was the place for it. She eventually attended
the schools she built and changed her own family's thinking about "a woman's
place" in this world.
Her constant message is for parents to keep girls in school. With the help of
contributions, Mukhtar has built a girls high school and founded a school for
boys. She obtained a herd of dairy cows to sustain the schools and bought a
school van that doubles as an ambulance to take pregnant women to a hospital.
She built a school in a gang-ridden area and the gangsters sent their own
children to it. She eventually persuaded the province to build a women's college
to absorb her high school's graduates.
What we can do:
1. Mukhtar Mai's aid group, the Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization.
This group operates a 24 hour hotline for battered women, a free legal clinic, a
public library and a shelter for victims of violence.
2. The Afghan Institute of Learning - www.creatinghope.org which operates
schools and other programs for women and girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
3. The Campaign for Female Education - www.camfed.org - which supports
schooling for girls in Africa.
4. Greg Mortenson's "Pennies" campaign to build schools in Afghanistan and
To Volunteer our time:
1. At a school near you. Schools are always in need of extra hands, mentors
2. Teach English in one of Mukhtar Mai's schools. If you stay for a few months,
she will provide room and board.
The next time I think something is just "too hard" to accomplish, I will remember
that Mukhtar Mai is still building schools in her village/province in Pakistan. What
a remarkably brave woman.
the International Day for Social & Economic Development
[Wikipedia defines Economic Development as the increase in the standard of
living in a nation's population with sustained growth from a simple, low-income
economy to a modern, high-income economy. Its scope includes the process
and policies by which a nation improves the economic, political and social well-
being of its people.]
A country's economic development is related to its social/human development
which includes health, education and quality of life.
The UN observes the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social
Development on December 5, when it recognizes the work of volunteers and the
importance of volunteering The day is meant to heighten people's awareness of
voluntary contributions and to stimulate people to offer their services as
volunteers, at home and abroad. Some UN ideas for activities on that day
- Voluntary community projects.
- Parades, marches or rallies
- Award ceremonies for volunteers who make significant contributions to their
- "Time donation" campaigns that involve people pledging hours of voluntary
service to specific projects.
The object of these activities is to promote the UN's Millennium Development
- Help eradicate poverty
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health
- Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases
- Help ensure environmental sustainability
You can participate in many of these events through the World Volunteer Web
which is operated by UN volunteers.
"Development for all is central to the United Nations' mission. Together with
security, and respect for human rights, it represents our core aspirations for a
peaceful and better world." Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN.
Advocacy suggestion for the day: Volunteer!
It is also the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
On December 6, 1989 a lone gunman entered Ecole Polytechnique (the
engineering building) at the University of Montreal. He gunned down and killed
fourteen women students, wounding 13 other students, all between the ages of
21 and 31. It was the worst single-day massacre in Canadian history - an act
labeled "gendercide" because only women were targeted.
Quebec had experienced a "quiet revolution" beginning in the 1960's when
women began making strides in non-traditional occupations and educational
programs. A growing number of them flocked to the School of Engineering at the
University. While most men accepted and even welcomed this change, a
minority felt themselves disadvantaged by attempts to encourage women's new
roles and opportunities.
Marc Lepine, a 25 year old Quebecker (and child abuse survivor) was one of
those. As an adult he was a moody loner. He was rejected by the Canadian
Armed Forces and was not accepted for admission by the School of
Engingeering. He blamed his rejection on "affirmative action" policies and, in his
suicide note, he said that "feminists have ruined my life - they want to retain the
advantages of being women while trying to grab those of men." He included a
list of 19 prominent Quebec women in non-traditional occupations (including the
province's first woman firefighter and a police captain. He stated that "these
women nearly died today - only the lack of time allowed these radical feminists to
survive." Instead, he killed the ordinary women at the School of Engineering.
The murders united many Quebeckers across generational, ethnic and gender
lines - all turned out to pay their respects during the three days of mourning.
Was Lepine's rampage the act of a "madman" as many have said, or was it a
political statement? His act has strong echoes in the numerous acts of domestic
murder and abuse still being committed by men fearful that "their" women will
assert greater independence and move beyond traditional female roles. The
group Montreal Men against Sexism spoke out, saying that "Men kill women and
children as a proprietary, vengeful and terrorist act and they do so with the
support of a sexist society and judicial system. The massacres will continue as
long as we do not end sexism and sexist violence, along with all of men's alibis
A Toronto city councilor co-founded the White Ribbon Movement in 1991 to
remember the victims of the massacre and protest against violence against
women. In 1996 the Canadian Women's Internet Association founded the
"Candlelight Vigil Across the Internet" to raise awareness of violence against
women. The Coalition for Gun Control which lobbied for gun laws was also
a direct result of the massacre.
Gendercide Watch executive, Adam Jones, said that he had never seriously
examined the gendering of violence in his society and around the world before
those 14 women died. Thankfully, Lepine did not terrorize Canadian women into
"staying put" in their traditional roles. Between 1989 and 1999, the proportion of
women enrolled in Canadian engineering facilities rose from 13 to 19 percent,
totalling nearly 9,000 women.
How do we fight the acts of violence perpetrated by men against women? Do we
loathe and denounce all men as possible abusers? Male-bashing will probably
not solve our problems. Rape, incest and murder should not be quietly
"medicalized" (treated as diseases), but should rather be openly exposed and
prosecuted for the crimes they are. The Montreal Massacre should be viewed as
a reflection of society in general and societal norms are not quickly
changed......but we should certainly keep working on them.
It is also International Civil Aviation Day.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the
UN, was created on December 7, 1944. On the 50th anniversary of that date in
1994, the ICVO established International Civil Aviation Day. Its purpose is to
create worldwide awareness of ICVO's global role in promoting the safety,
efficacy and consistency of international air transport. This organization
promotes cordial relationships and understanding among the peoples of the
world and is a major contributor to the complex structure of international
regulations that make air traffic safe.
Zonta has its own aviation hero - Amelia Earhart - who was a member of ZI in the
1920's and 1930's. As stated in the Zonta Foothills Club's invitation to our annual
Amelia Earhart luncheon (January 15, 2011), "Earhart encouraged women to
expand their horizons by exploring occupations and holding positions beyond
those traditionally held by women."
The Zonta International Foundation offers 35 $10,000 fellowships to female
Aerospace Engineering doctoral candidates each year and the CU campus in
Boulder now has six of these recipients.
What we can do:
Make a reservation to attend the 2011 Amelia Earhart luncheon in Boulder. A
part of the reservation fee goes to support the ZI Amelia Earhart Fellowship
Make a donation directly to the AE Fund through the ZI Foundation.
More than 150 million children younger than 14 years old are child laborers (one
in six children). These children do hazardous work in mines or on farms and
others work as domestic servants in homes or workshops. Another 300,000
children under 18 are child soldiers used as combatants, messengers, porters,
cooks, or sexual servants in 30 conflicts worldwide. They are most often forcibly
recruited or abducted, or feel compelled to join because they are overwhelmed
by poverty. Girls are particularly vulnerable. Some are trafficked as "mail order
brides" and nearly 90% of domestic workers trafficked in West and Central Africa
The numbers regarding child slavery and exploitation are staggering and there
are not enough people fighting back. Go to www.change.org to sign a petition
demanding that world governments finally pay attention and act to change this
**Hawaiian Starfish Parable** (I've changed the gender references):
A woman goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that
have washed up in the tide. A little girl is walking along, picking them up and
throwing them back into the water. "What are you doing little girl?" the woman
asks. "You see how many starfish there are? You'll never make a difference."
The girl paused thoughtfully and picked up another starfish and threw it into the
ocean. "It sure made a difference to that one," she said.
Advocacy suggestion for the day: Pick a starfish to save - if we all save just one,
it will make a big difference.
It is also International Human Rights Day. Human Rights defenders acting
against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their
families, are recognized and acclaimed on this day. The realisation of all human
rights by all human beings - social, economic and cultural rights as well as civil
and political rights - is hampered by discrimination. All too often, when faced with
prejudice and discrimination, political leaders, governments and ordinary citizens
are silent or complacent.
The valiant human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations
including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate
justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand
accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. By doing
so, they are often putting their own and their families' safety at risk.
Some Human Rights defenders are famous, but most are not. We have learned
about some of them during these last 16 days. Every one of us can be a human
rights defender and I'm willing to bet most of us are already!
You can make a difference by:
- advocating non-discrimination, by organizing activities, raising awareness and
reaching out to local communities on this day and all through the coming year.
It's been nice to have specific subjects to research and report to you on each
day. Maybe you'd like to know my sources for the information I've been sending:
Zonta International Foundation's service projects.
The Center for Women's Global Leadership -
"Three Cups of Tea" (and the sequel "Stones to Schools," - books by Greg
"Half The Sky" a book by Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn (thank
you Kay Meyer for recommending that I read this book!); and
www.kristof.blogs.nytimes.com for ongoing information about his efforts.
www.change.org - e-mails keep me updated on current events. I gathered info
here about child laborers.
UN Smart Briefs - www.smartbrief.com - provide lots of information.
www.UNAUSA.org - a UN group that I joined a few years ago. They send
I searched the web for titles of specific subjects like "International Day of
Disabled Persons" and I thank Diane Twining for her e-mail reminding me about
Bibi Aisha's story.
It is also International Anti-Corruption Day.
- The destruction of one's honesty or loyalty through undermining moral integrity
or acting in a way that shows a lack of integrity or honesty.
- Refers to those who use a position of power or trust for dishonest gain.
- Undermines democracy, creates unstable governments, and sets countries
- Comes in various forms (i.e. bribery, law-breaking without dealing with the
consequences in a fair manner, unfairly amending election processes and
results, and covering mistakes or silencing whistleblowers.
Resolution 58/4, passed by the UN General Assembly on October 31, 2003,
designated Dec. 9 as Anti-Corruption Day. It is the first legally binding,
international anti-corruption instrument that provides a chance to mount a global
response to corruption. Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social
and economic development in all societies - no country, region or community is
immune. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime organizes campaigns each year on
Dec. 9 to raise awareness of corruption and its negative impact on individuals
and society. All of society benefits from functioning basic services.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement recognizing
some significant achievements against corruption during the past year, lauding
G20 leaders who last month adopted a landmark Anti-Corruption Action Plan to
promote an open, rules-based environment worldwide. She stated that the U.S.
has made "unprecedented strides over the past year to enforce our own anti-
corruption laws and to ensure our companies do not practice bribery or unfair
practices in countries where they operate." She said that "corruption fosters a
culture of graft and impunity that undermines the ability to operate in our
interconnected world, and called on all countries to cooperate to advance our
anti-corruption agenda and institutionalize the highest standards of
What we can do:
Any activity that encourages people to fight against corruption and fraud in their
Make and distribute posters and other materials with the logo:
Your "NO" Counts!!