“When women take higher positions, they bring significant changes. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies with more women on executive boards outperform those without executives in terms of revenue and sales. That is why U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said investing in women is not only the right thing to do; it’s the ‘smart thing’ to do.”
Lynn McKenzie, the International President of International Zonta Club stated in a press conference held in the Intercontinental Hotel, Samsung-dong, Seoul on October 25, “Women’s participation in government ministries and agencies, as well as in businesses should be encouraged. Because men and women hold different views on policies, greater female participation can bring about better policies as they reflect diverse perspectives.”
“I also see eye to eye with Silvia Cartwright who said that by ensuring that women are in senior roles, we can make sure that the ladder is down so others can keep coming up,” she added, citing words of Dame Silvia Cartwright, the former Governor-General of New Zealand to stress the roles of women leaders.
She also said, “While Korea is one of the major economies in the world, it ranked among the lowest in gender equality index, which demonstrates that Korea is underutilizing women. Korea has got huge potential. So Korea should concentrate its capacity on creating a safe and happy world in which girls can realize their dreams without any social prejudices against them.”
Since last November, International Zonta Club has been running “Zonta Says NO” campaign to prevent violence against women. This campaign aims to stop and prevent all possible kinds of violence against women and girls. McKenzie explained, “Zonta is working to build a world that guarantees reasonable treatment for women and girls across the world. In that sense, “Zonta Says NO” conveys a clear message and seeks to banish violence against women. This will bring huge changes in the lives of women and girls not only in the local communities but also in the world.”
She called for attention saying, “Violence against women is prevalent in many countries around the world, but is not reflected in numbers since it happens silently.” To illustrate her point, she cited the case of Malala Yousafzai, the symbol of female education and once a strong candidate for Nobel Peace Prize as an example. Campaign website http://zontasaysno.com
Assembly of Korean Chapter (32nd chapter) of International Zonta Club was held from October 26 to 27 at COEX Intercontinental Hotel in Samsung-dong, Seoul. Currently chaired by President Yoo Eun-ok, it obtained official authorization from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in order to expand its activities.
Zonta International, a global service organization of professional women and female managers, was founded in Buffalo, U.S., in 1919. The headquarters is in Chicago, and the number of registered members in 65 countries stands at 32,000. For Korea, Seoul 1 Club was first established in 1966, and currently there are around 400 members in 21 clubs nationwide.
President Yoo Eun-ok said in her welcoming remarks, “Although women’s participation is more active than ever with a woman president, 7 out of 10 elderly residents in Seoul, aged over 65, are women, and they are living in more vulnerable economic conditions compared to men. There are a lot of works to be done, not only advancing social∙economic status of women, but also erasing gender discrimination and abolishing violence. Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia, experienced gender discrimination, and in Saudi Arabia, women are banned to drive a car, not to mention their participation in voting and politics. I hope to see more Zontians (members of Zonta Club) who are dedicated, passionate, and active in taking part in this effort.”
The theme of Zonta International workshop held in Korea was “Eradicating Violence against Women,” during which discussants shared ideas to address the issues of domestic and sexual violence. Choe Keum-sook, the President of Korean Women’s Development Institute, Lee Kumhyung, the President of Korean National Police University, Moon Kyung-ran, the Chairperson of Seoul City Human Rights Committee, and Representative Gil Jeong-woo from Saenuri Party joined the discussion, presenting their thoughts.
President Choe Keum-sook said, “Ways to ensure early police intervention are necessary for domestic violence. It is recommended that in such cases, the victim stay in the house and the attacker leave. For this, relevant laws should be revised so that restrictions on the offenders’ use of joint residences could be added to the domestic violence victim protection order system.”
President Lee Kumhyung emphasized, “There should be more one-stop support centers to protect victims. Especially, we should put in place a system that provides professional treatment and diagnosis to victims of sex crimes so that their “trauma” could be utilized as leads during investigation or as viable evidence in court.”