The Zonta Club of Bundaberg celebrated 100 years of the organisation on Saturday night, marking the occasion when women in New York first had the vision to help their community while attaining greater equality for women.
A century later, the vision from that first meeting has transformed into an international movement of 29,000 women in 63 countries who are turning gender equality into reality.
Zonta Club of Bundaberg president Tanya McLoughlin said the event recognised the efforts of everyone from the newest member Kymberly Doherty to the longest-serving member Pat Faircloth, whose contributions were all invaluable.
“It’s wonderful that we’re part of a broader movement with women across the globe,” Tanya said.
“To be part of that vision and that heritage, which benefits countless women and girls throughout the world.”
Bundaberg’s longest serving member
Pat joined the Zonta Club of Bundaberg in 1990 and said her time in the organisation had been very rewarding.
“I have loved the company of the other women at Zonta, and in particular I have enjoyed working on the international projects,” Pat said.
“We have a partnership with the United Nations of Women and do a lot of work to support this.”
Pat had a career in education and said she enjoyed mentoring younger women to take on greater roles within society.
She said when she initially joined, a lot of changes needed to be made to help women, especially in the field of education.
“There wasn’t a lot of education opportunities for girls at that time, and I remember we would have female solicitors and engineers come along and show the importance of the roles to younger women,” she said.
“But Zonta is not just about the work we do in the community, it’s also about fellowship which is very important.”
Almost three decades of help in Bundaberg
Zonta district governor Sandy Venn Brown travelled from Stanthorpe to attend the 100-year celebration and said Bundaberg was one of the older Zonta clubs in the district, being almost 30 years old.
“Zonta internationally we are in 34 countries around the world and have 30,000 members. Here in Bundaberg there are about 15 members, which is an average for all club sizes,” Sandy said.
“Our mission is purely about empowering women and girls and all our projects are related to women’s issues and range from supporting domestic violence shelters to giving bursaries and scholarships to women who need a bit of a helping hand.”
Sandy said local bursaries include giving women assistance through the STEPS program at CQUniversity, and encouraging girls to follow through with studies and helping with tuition.
Immediate past president and membership director Alex Grove said another initiative taken up by the local chapter was their help in supporting the Phoenix House Bumble Bees Therapeutic Preschool program, which helped children who had been through domestic violence.
“This program is one of the few in Queensland and we are passionate about supporting it,” Alex said.
“We are a group of like-minded women with an aim to change women and children’s lives for the better.”
Tanya said the evening was a success and she thanked everyone for their support, especially St Luke’s Anglican School Chamber Strings Group and Year 8 student Jamelia Barnes who sang on the night.
“The vision to improve the lives of women and to achieve equality that a group of inspiring women had 100 years ago has turned into a service club with branches working towards that goal across the globe,” Mrs McLoughlin said.
“The Zonta Club of Bundaberg plan to keep contributing towards that global goal by supporting and advocating for women and girls for many years to come while contributing positively to our community.”
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