A Short History of Zonta Says NOW
Zonta Says NOW started in 2020 in District 23 (that covers a large proportion of Australia) and gathered momentum internationally following the release of the Zonta International Statement on Climate Change in 2021.
Zontians in Australia have experienced extreme climate-driven events for a long time, with severe heat, storms, floods, drought, and huge bushfires affecting much of the continent.
When Zontians in District 23 realized the links between climate change and gender inequality, they developed three tools:
- A website containing extensive tools and resources to inform and motivate members and the public about how climate change was impacting gender equality and actions that could make a difference;
- A Think Tank where Zontians from around the district meet online every two months to raise awareness, share information, inspire action, and learn from guest speakers; and
- A framework for action to guide members through five steps: gather the facts, lead by example, add our voice by talking with family and friends, advocate in our clubs, and collaborate with like-minded organizations.
The Think Tank’s work has contributed to a nationwide shift in attitudes that resulted in overturning a government with poor records on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and gender equality - to a newly elected government that prioritizes climate action and women’s rights.
The Journey to the Global Rollout of Zonta Says NOW
The District 23 Think Tank brought together interested Zontians from clubs across many areas for a common purpose and the Zonta International Seminar on Climate Action introduced Zonta Says NOW to the wider Zonta world.
Following the seminar, Zontians from different countries visited the District 23 Think Tank meetings to learn more, including members of the USA Caucus. The USA Caucus adopted Zonta Says NOW in 2022 and hosts online Think Tank events.
Meanwhile, District 25 (India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka) held a competition to raise awareness of the links between climate change and its impact on women and girls. Zonta International publicized the competition on its website. After this, District 25 joined District 23 and the USA Caucus to present Zonta Says NOW at CSW 66 and the Zonta International Convention in Hamburg.
Following CSW 66, Zontians from District 27 and District 21 joined Zontians from District 23, District 25, and the USA Caucus to form an International Zonta Says NOW Working Group.
In October 2022, the Working Group set up an Intercontinental Zonta Says NOW Think Tank with members from all continents. The Intercontinental Think Tank will develop resources and host events to promote gender-equal climate action.