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ZONTA CLUB NEWS: Zonta Club of the Adirondacks goes to the UN

May 18, 2018
By DEBRA WHITSON - Zonta Club of the Adirondacks , Lake Placid News

Five members of the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks recently spent three days in New York City attending the 62nd annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held at the U.N. Headquarters in March.

The people who went to the U.N. were Amy Quinn, Petra Weber, Debra Whitson, Alexandra Harden and Nicole Bureau.

The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. This year's priority issue was "Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls." We knew we couldn't miss this opportunity to represent the rural Adirondacks at such an important event.

Article Photos

From left are Debra Whitson, Petra Weber and Amy Quinn.
(Photo provided)

Our experience began with a tour of the U.N. Headquarters, followed by a reception for Zonta International hosted by UNICEF. Zonta International funds UNICEF's "Let Us Learn" program which helps ensure families and communities in Madagascar protect girls from early marriage and keep them in school. We attended a panel discussion with eight international women judges discussing the unique challenges that rural women and girls face in accessing and achieving justice. We also attended a panel discussion on Women and the Media. Led by women in journalism and public relations careers, the members of a very diverse audience explored how we can change the portrayal of women in the media, as well as ways women can shatter the glass ceiling in traditionally male-dominated media/journalism careers. Over dinner at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, we were treated to a presentation, "Men of Quality Want Women's Equality," by Fred Sullivan, co-founder of the Man Up campaign, and James Byarugaba, Man Up Ugandan delegate to the U.N. CSW.

On our drive back north, we discussed the impact this experience had on us and shared our unique individual perspectives - as a business owner, a media professional, a court attorney, and a town justice.

We left New York City feeling more connected to our rural sisters all across the globe knowing that we all face similar challenges in overcoming poverty, isolation, gender discrimination, domestic violence, access to services, and access to justice.

At the same time, we were struck with the sobering reality that, although we have much to do right here in our rural Adirondack communities to eradicate gender inequality, there are women in other countries with far more work ahead of them.

In many countries, married women have no rights over their bodies; their bodies are the property of their husband. In many countries, women have no rights to own property and no inheritance rights. In many countries, women are subjected to early and forced marriage. In many countries, girls lack access to education. The list goes on.

We came back from our U.N. CSW experience more committed to our Zonta Club mission and programs, both locally and globally.

To learn more about the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks, visit



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