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Statement on the 100th Anniversary of Zonta Clubs

Honourable Senators, I rise today with the honour of marking the one hundredth anniversary of Zonta clubs.

Zonta International is a global volunteer organization, empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy for the recognition of women's rights as human rights and a world where every woman is able to achieve her full potential without fear of gender-based violence.

Zonta International has consultative status with the UN on issues pertaining to women & girls.

Founded by women in Buffalo, NY in November 1919, Toronto became the first international club in 1929.

Today there are approximately 1200 clubs in 63 countries with over 29,000 members, including 20 clubs in Canada from BC to Halifax. 

Canadian clubs engage in service and advocacy around violence, health, and women’s education.  

A few examples: Zonta clubs raise funds for women’s employment training, support for women in precarious housing, immigrant and refugee women’s organization, and assembling and birthing kits to the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

In Toronto, Zonta partners with the White Ribbon campaign to raise awareness of violence against women, and just last week were found fitting men on Bay Street into high heel shoes for the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” annual event.

Zonta funds dozens of scholarships for women worldwide but today I wish to focus on the Amelia Earhart Fellowship for women pursuing doctoral studies in aerospace science and engineering.

The Amelia Earhart Fellowship was established in 1938 in honour of famed pilot and Zontian, Amelia Earhart. 

I am pleased to report that this year Canadian, Katherine Kokmanian, from Montreal won for her work in on supersonic flows, which as the name suggests, travel faster than the speed of sound. 

In 2018, local Ottawa woman, Emily Gleeson, won the award for her work on navigation and control techniques needed to explore Mars. 

Ms. Gleeson’s “wings” were awarded to her by the President of the Toronto Zonta Club, a former Amelia Earhart winner herself, my neighbour and friend, Holly Anderson.

Honourable Senators, please join me in congratulating these award winners and the Zonta organization as it celebrates its centennial year.