From Susanne's Desk: Universal declaration of Human Rights

70 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This was a true milestone in the history of humankind.

Zonta, as the first women’s service organization that partnered with the United Nations, celebrates it also as a milestone in our efforts to promote women‘s rights as human rights.

If you have time, take a few moments and have a look at the Declaration’s 30 articles.

You will find that, for its time, the document is remarkably free of sexist language.

And, by the way, in an almost entirely male-led government world, it was a woman who chaired the draft committee: Eleanor Roosevelt.

Today, we can look back at many successful efforts worldwide, but still, every day, human rights are violated to an extent that is unacceptable. Gender inequality is a violation of human rights. Not to speak of acts of gender-based violence that affect women and girls in their domestic environment, or already dire situations of wars, migration and natural disasters.

That is why working to prevent and eliminate violence against women is an area of focus for Zonta. Promoting universal respect for human rights is listed as one of Zonta’s objects in our Bylaws.

Consequently, women’s rights remain the guideline and the red thread for our international projects such as addressing early marriage, refugee women, human trafficking and girls‘ education. Together, we will remain fully committed to continue our work.


Susanne von Bassewitz
President 2018-2020
Zonta International and Zonta International Foundation