Zonta International statement on International Women's Day 2022

Each year on 8 March, the global community celebrates International Women's Day, recognizing women for their achievements regardless of national, ethnic, linguistic, economic or political divisions. The Zonta International community also celebrates Zonta Rose Day on 8 March, a time to reflect and give tribute to the women who have empowered us.

"This is a special day for Zontians as we celebrate those who have had an impact on our lives while recognizing the women around the world who are working for gender equality," said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck.

This year's International Women's Day theme, "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow," acknowledges the contributions of women and girls who are "leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for us all," UN Women states.

"Climate change is a human rights issue, and we must act now to create a sustainable and gender-equal future," Langenbeck said.

In a statement released on World Environment Day, Zonta International called for action in favor of a fair and human rights-based approach to solve the climate change crisis in the post-pandemic world and achieve greener, cleaner and equal societies.

The statement also calls on Zonta's members to increase their awareness of climate change; include gendered climate change advocacy actions in their advocacy plans, promote girls' education and the inclusion of climate literacy in schools, and more.

Following the release of the statement, Zonta International welcomed a panel of experts for a virtual conversation on climate change and its unique impacts for women and girls. The panel included: Fleur Newman, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gender focal point and focal point for women at the UN Climate Change Secretariat; Alicia Godsberg, assistant director of global programs for UNICEF USA; Mabel Mak, a member of the Zonta Club of New Territories, Hong Kong; and Carole Theobald, a member of the Zonta Club of Perth, Australia.

"Since many women are social leaders, we can take the lead to make changes toward carbon neutrality and support government and international initiatives to combat climate change," Mak said.

There are many women leading the effort to combat climate change, including Zonta International Honorary Member Sylvia Earle, Ph.D. Dr. Earle is a marine biologist and oceanographer who has dedicated her life to protecting and preserving our oceans against climate change. Her advice to those who do not feel like they can make a difference for our planet: "Well, if you think there's nothing you can do to make a difference, get over it, because think about whoever in history has made a difference."

The International Women's Day theme this year is also aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66): "Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs."

Zonta International 2020 YWPA Awardee E Wen Wong will participate in Zonta's CSW66 parallel event with UNICEF USA. E Wen founded Plastic Solution for Our Beaches at the age of 13, with a view to improving education and action on plastic pollution. The charity facilitates youth-oriented conferences, clean-ups, and workshops, using art and technology to amplify impact. E Wen is a lead citizen scientist with Litter Intelligence, a TEDx speaker, and a three-time Future Problem Solving national champion. She was recently named New Zealand's top scholar in geography and a member of Bow Seat's Future Blue Youth Council.

Visit our CSW page to find out how Zonta is participating in CSW66 and how you can join us virtually.

To find out how you can participate in our Rose Day campaign and make an honor or memorial tribute to the Zonta Foundation for Women, visit https://www.zonta.org/roseday.

8 MARCH 2022