Members of the Zonta Club are on the planning committee for an International Women’s Day celebration, March 18 in Burlington. L-R Jennifer Smith, Barbara Ziemann, Nancy Shambaugh, and Medina Maric.

Celebrate International Women’s Day

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Thursday March 16, 2017

Zonta Club, along with The Caroline Fund, The Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund, and The Peace and Justice Center are sponsoring an International Women’s Day celebration Saturday, March 18, 1 to 3 p.m. at the King Street Center, 87 King Street, in Burlington. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. International Women’s Day fell on March 8 this year and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. According to the United Nations, the day is a time to not only reflect on progress made but also a call for change that would ensure gender equality and an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls worldwide.

South Burlington resident and Zonta Club president Barbara Ziemann says, “This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #Be Bold For Change. The event is a great opportunity for all of us to show support for women’s advancement and to recognize people in our community who work so hard on behalf of women of all ages.”

This year’s event features presentations by young women from the Young Writers Project and Muslim Girls Making Change. Nepali dancers will perform and a community lunch will be provided. Each year, three women, who have distinguished themselves through their work with women and girls in the community, are honored. This year’s honorees are Armina Medic, a victim’s advocate with the Chittenden Unit Special Investigations, Aftaba Mezetovic, an advocate for Bosnian and other minorities in the areas of housing, jobs and education, and Wanda Hines from the Joint Urban Ministry Project.

Ziemann says that being part of this annual celebration perfectly fits the Zonta Club’s main objectives, to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women. She notes, “Which is how we became involved with International Women’s Day in Burlington. It’s allowed us to get to know some of the people who work so hard to make our community better for everyone.”

There is currently only one Zonta Club in Vermont, which has members from as far away as Brandon and Hyde Park. A worldwide organization, established in 1919, Zonta envisions a world where “women’s rights are recognized as human rights.” The local Zonta Club was chartered in 1930 and meets on the third Wednesday of every month at PC Construction on Tilley Drive.

While Zonta Club members finish preparations for the March 18 event, they are already at work on their next project, their largest fundraising effort, a community spelling bee that benefits the Single Parent Program at Champlain College. According to Ziemann, “Over the last 20 years, Zonta Club of Burlington has raised over $110,000 to support the program. More than 600 single parent scholars have earned their degree since the program began.” The Zonta bee features teams of three spellers from corporate sponsors which compete against other corporate teams. Additionally, Zonta will put together teams of volunteer spellers, if the sponsor prefers. This year’s bee will be held Wednesday, May 24, at Champlain College. Ziemann notes that sponsors are still needed for this fun annual event where all proceeds go towards scholarships. For more information, contact Zonta president Barbara Ziemann at 802-658-1570.