District 6 Advocacy News and Events

Kankakee Wrap a Truck Human Trafficking/Zonta Says No

Zonta Club of Kankakee celebrated its 60th anniversary this spring by unveiling a new approach to stop human trafficking. Unveiled at their Anniversary Dinner was a 55-foot semi-truck, wrapped in full color with imagery, text and a toll-free help number as part of Zonta’s anti-violence against women campaign.
Z truck
This new campaign was made possible through support of Hoekstra Transportation of St. Anne Illinois. Hoekstra donated three of its trucks to be wrapped, each spreading the word while traveling thousands of miles over seven Midwest states. “The purpose of these trucks is to get peoples’ attention to how prolific the problem [of sex trafficking] is,” said Jake Lee, of Hoekstra Transportation.


The Wisconsin Women’s Network on May 7th features “Faces of Human Trafficking Today,”  led by JoAnn Gruber-Hagen, Chair of SlaveFree Madison

SlaveFree Madison was formed in 2009 by the Zonta Club of Madison and other citizens committed to promoting awareness of and response to human trafficking in Dane County. JoAnn is also a member of the Wisconsin Human Trafficking Consortium, co-chair of the Dane County Coordinated Community Response Team for Sexual Assault and its subcommittee addressing Commercially Sexually Assaulted Children. Read JoAnn’s full bio at this link.
The “Women on Topic” Brown Bag Series offers members and the public a unique opportunity to hear the timely perspective of women leaders from a variety of fields as we assess the status of women and girls in Wisconsin and determine how we can work together to improve women’s lives.
The May  Brown Bag will take place on May 7th at Noon in the WWN Conference Room, located in the Center for Change, 612 W. Main St., Suite 200, Madison.

International Women’s Day Advocacy Action by Area 2 Clubs

This year’s International Women’s Day observance in Area 2 took place in Madison, WI on Friday March 8th.  It was produced by a committee from the Zonta Clubs of Beloit, Janesville, Milwaukee and Madison.  The theme utilized Zonta International’s anti-violence campaign  “ZONTA Says No to Violence”.

The day included inspirational quotes from participants; presentations of issues on Domestic Violence by Tony Gibart of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on Sexual Assault by Kelly Anderson of the Dane County Rape Crisis Center, and on Human Trafficking by Zontian JoAnn Gruber-Hagen; Advocacy Training by Sabrina Gentile of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families; one-on-one visits with our legislators or their staffs; and a Rally in the Capitol Rotunda.  We also celebrated the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act signed by President Obama that day.

Rally - Diane at Rally

The event had 27 registrants, 23 of whom were Zontians, 3 were students in the UWM School of Social Welfare, and the President of the Madison Chapter of the International League for Peace and Freedom.  We also accommodated a surprise visit by 15 women from ARC Community Services, Inc., a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency that provides innovative, women responsive, strengths-based, family focused, community-based wraparound services since 1976, to women and their children/families.

Members of the Zonta Club of Madison were instrumental in making this event so successful, locating an excellent meeting room provided at no cost by Boardman & Clark LLP Law Firm across the street from the Capitol as well as developing training and informational materials.

The attendance and outcomes exceeded our expectations.  Participants gained insights into three major advocacy issues and developed their advocacy skills through training and speaking with legislators or their staff. Each participant received a copy of the “Legislative Advocacy Guide” prepared by the WI Council on Children & Families. In turn, the legislators and staff learned more about International Women’s Day and Zonta International.

Workshop 1 copy


The Zonta Club of Columbus, IN and International Women’s Day

On March 7th and 8th, the Zonta Club of Columbus celebrated International Women’s Day by inviting Loung Ung to speak. Loung was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia. Her parents and baby sister were executed and another sister died from starvation related diseases. She shared her story about the violence during the conflict which lasted over 4 years and how she has taken her anger and doing good for her country. She and others started a foundation that raises money for prostheses for Cambodians who lose limbs from the land mines planted during the conflict. There are over 40,000 mines still planted and about 18,000 Cambodians lose limbs each year from stepping on them. These were planted in fields, woods etc to keep people from trying to escape to other countries. Loung spoke to both of our High Schools’ History students March 8th sharing her story but also discussed bullying, hate and other acts of violence. She spoke to the public on March 7th.

Cindy Felsten, District 6 Indiana Advocacy Liaison


February 28, 2013:  International Women’s Day Breakfast at ZI Headquarters

District 6 Governor Linda Hiltabrand and ZI Foundation Development Director Jacqueline Beaudry enjoying the breakfast and celebrating the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act


February 14, 2013: One Billion Rising Event

Here is a photo taken at the One Billion Rising event held on Monument Circle in Indianapolis on 2-14.  Joy Brinduse was the only Zontian there, but her granddaughter,  Alanna and her daughter Rachel (both friends of Zonta) were there. Alanna’s mother is a Zontian.  As you can see from the pictures, they were also advocating for the Violence against Women Act. They have whistles in our mouths that they passed out at the event!


Feb. 6th The Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) held a Women’s Day at the Statehouse

The Indiana Commission for Women held listening sessions around the state 2 years ago about what are the big issues concerning women. There were 5 top issues that came out of the sessions consistently:

Work Based Issues – especially the wage gap

Health Based Issues

Care Giving

Violence Against Women


All women’s organizations were invited to attend Feb. 6th. Each issue was presented by a expert in the area and questions/answers followed each session. Zonta was represented with members from Indianapolis and Columbus. Indiana has some very good laws concerning Violence Against Women but we need to work toward more funding for agencies and we need to work educating our communities about the issue.

Cindy Felsten, Zonta District 6 Indiana Advocacy Liaison


CEDAW image

January 3, 2013

 Contact:  June Zeitlin, 917-841-0702, zeitlin@civilrights.org
Don Kraus, 202-365-0890, dkraus@globalsolutions.org

More Than 100 Organizations Urge Senate to Ratify Treaty on the Rights of Women

Record Number of Senate Women Fuels Momentum for Ratification of UN Treaty Declaring Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

WASHINGTON – With a historic number of women elected to the U.S. Senate, more than 100 organizations today co-signed a letter to Senators and urged them to make ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a priority in the 113th Congress. CEDAW, a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world, has the strong support of President Obama. The letter, spearheaded by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and GlobalSolutions.org, was hand-delivered to all Senate offices on the first day of the new session of Congress.

Below is the full text of the letter:

January 3, 2013

To the Honorable Members of the United States Senate:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to make ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) a priority for the United States Senate in the 113th session of Congress.

The record breaking number of women who will serve in the 113th Congress lends significant momentum for the United States to increase its global leadership role on women’s rights issues. Twenty female Senators will either return to or take office in the Senate—a truly historic accomplishment.

CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. It is a practical blueprint for each country to achieve progress for women and girls.

CEDAW is already making a difference for women and girls worldwide, specifically by strengthening civil society’s efforts to persuade governments to respect women’s human rights and adopt policies to reduce sex trafficking and domestic violence, provide access to education and vocational training, ensure the right to vote, end forced and child marriages, secure inheritance rights, and ensure the right to work and own a business without discrimination.

Ratification of CEDAW would strengthen the United States’ standing as a global leader in standing up for women and girls. To date, the United States is one of only seven countries that have not yet ratified CEDAW. It is essential that the U.S. ratify CEDAW and continue to play a leadership role in advancing women’s and girls’ rights globally.

The signatories of this letter call on the U.S. Senate to advance women’s human rights, not just for women in the United States but for all women worldwide, by ratifying this convention now.


Zonta International


Beginning August 1, 2012, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, making preventive care more accessible and affordable for 47 million women. Women enrolled in new or renewed insurance plans will be able to access a wide range of preventive health services without co-pays or additional out-of-pocket costs. The new package of health benefits for women includes access to contraceptive services; requires insurers to cover mammograms, pap tests and screening for gestational diabetes; domestic violence screening and counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; HPV testing; screening for sexually transmitted infections and counseling for sexually-active women; and HIV screening and counseling. And beginning in 2014, women can no longer be charged more than men for the same health plans and can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.


On January 31, 2012, The Mayor and City Council of Berkeley, California adopted the “Operative Principles of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”.  This was no mere resolution.  It established Chapter 13.20 in the Berkeley Municipal Code “to protect the public health, safety and welfare.  It does this by seeking to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women within the city.”  To read that ordinance, see: http://www.mcli.org/CEDAW%20Ordinance%202012-02-14.pdf


In 1998, the City of San Francisco passed their CEDAW ordinance.  To learn more, see the City & County of San Francisco’s Dept. on the Status of Women:  http://www.sfgov3.org/index.aspx?page=2904




Women’s March on Washington

The Women’s March on Washington D.C. will take place on Saturday, January 21, the day after the inauguration. This is an opportunity to show support for women’s issues and women’s rights, regardless of political persuasion. This event is supported by Zonta International. Further information and registration can be found at https://www.womensmarch.com/ . If you plan to go, please e-mail the D6 Advocacy Chair, Gail Zalewski, at gailzale@mwwb.net. She will put you in touch with other Zontians who are going from throughout the US so that Zonta can have a combined presence at the March.

For anyone who’s seriously considering traveling to Washington DC, the group helping to assemble the event, “It’s Time to Network”, is hosting a conference call on Wednesday evening, 1/11/2017, to deal with the safety and security aspects of the event. You must download Zoom and pre-registration is required; you may do that by following this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/75f3493afbffed5834538d7d4481ef37

If you are unable to attend the Women’s March in Washington DC, many states and cities are holding events to coincide with the national march. Here is information on the state-wide events being held in District 6:

Women’s March – Chicago, IL
January 21, 2017 11:00 AM CST
Petrillo Band Shell, Chicago, IL 60601

Info & RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1636331719994244??ti=ia

RSVP: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/

Women’s March – Indianapolis, IN
January 21, 2017 11:00 AM EST
Indiana State House, 200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/337517963271272/

Women’s March — Madison, WI
January 21, 2017 12:00 PM CST
Library Mall, 728 State St, Madison, WI 53706

Info/RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/womens-march-madison-wi-2?source=email

To connect with Wisconsinites heading to the national march in Washington, info is at: https://www.facebook.com/events/208275672945652/?source=email

These Women’s Marches represent the collective voices of advocates for equality and inclusion, who are committed to fighting for the safety, health, and success of their communities. Let no voice go unheard. Let no one live in fear. Let all of us rise for equal opportunity. EVERYONE who supports women’s rights is welcome. If you are looking for information on a march in another state or location, see: https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters.
Additional information for those attending the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, DC:

From many cities throughout our District, Rally buses will convey participants to and from Washington. This site will let you see if your city or town is on the list and perhaps you’ll consider collecting members from your cub to participate. http://rallybus.net/womens-march-on-washington

The official webpage for the march has an especially helpful resource page: http://resources.womensmarch.com/ Anyone who’s taking a rally bus should consider buying a Metro pass in advance, for instance, as that will be a huge time saver. The drop-off point for the buses is at least a 40-minute walk from the start of the rally so you’ll want to save your energy. The group putting the event together is also asking participants to help with their headcount. In terms of facilities and crowd control, this will help them enormously.

Another useful series of tips from a blogger mentions what to wear, what to bring, etc. What to Wear to a Protest March – Wardrobe Oxygen


Gail Zalewski
D6 Advocacy Chair

Sue Barton
Member, Oak Brook Club

District 6 February 2014 Advocacy Committee Report

Report to the District Board by Diane S. Lindsley, District 6 Advocacy Chair

National Issues: According to www.govtrack.us, the 113th Congress passed the fewest bills in any first year of a Congress since 1973.  Out of 5,913 bills introduced, 72 bills were passed. The highlight for women was the passage of S.47: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act 0f 2013.

Coming up for discussion in Washington is the 5th Anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced on Jan. 23, 2013 by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is still in the Senate Health, Education, labor and Pensions Committee. This bill has 207 co-sponsors in the House and 50 in the Senate and would, according to Lily Ledbetter, “help create stronger incentives for employers to pay workers fairly, empower women to negotiate for equal pay and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.”  Continuing on in her Jan. 17th OpEd in The Washington Post, “As AAUW has recommended, the president could start by issuing an executive order that would ban federal contractors from retaliating against workers who ask about wage practices or share salary information. This is a critical element of the stalled Paycheck Fairness Act. And the president doesn’t need to wait for Congress; he has the power to put it in place with another history-making stroke of his pen. Even better, this action would help dismantle what was my largest barrier all those years ago — not knowing that I was being paid unfairly and having no way to find out.”

A second national concern is sexual assault in the military and at the military academies. Although Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 19th which changes the way the military handles sexual assaults, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013, a bill that would remove responsibility for prosecuting sex crimes out of the military’s chain of command.

A third national concern is widespread sexual assaults on college campuses.  According to The White House Council on Women and Girls’ report “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” issues January, 2014, 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted in college but only 12 percent of student victims report the assault. On Jan. 22nd, President Obama announced the creation of a task force to recommend measures for colleges to prevent sexual violence, raise public awareness of campus policies and hold schools accountable if they do not address sexual violence problems; they have a 90 day deadline.

Several Human Trafficking bills and resolutions have been introduced.: H.R. 3530 & S. 1738: Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013, S.Con.Res. 29: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that children trafficked in the United States be treated as victims of crime, and not as perpetrators., H.R. 3344: Fraudulent Overseas Recruitment and Trafficking Elimination Act of 2013, S. 1878: Protecting Youth At-Risk for Sex Trafficking Act, S. 1733 & H.R. 3610: Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013, S. 1823: Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2013, and H.Res. 387: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding sexually exploited and trafficked girls in the United States.

There is always the challenge of ratification and implementation of CEDAW.  At the 58th Session (March 10-21, 2014 at UN Headquarters in NYC) of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women which will address the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, there will be a special session entitled “Cities for CEDAW”.  According to the concept paper of Dec. 11, 2013, “The audience will be composed of senior government officials from UN member states and leaders of international NGOs working on gender issues. The purpose of the campaign is to “make the global local”—by promoting the adoption of CEDAW as a municipal ordinance in cities large and small. Multiple stakeholders will be engaged, including the media, business, youth, NGOs, local and state Commissions on the Status of Women, faith communities and women leaders. The campaign will initially focus on a few major cities. Mayors from New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, along with San Francisco, are invited to launch the Cities for CEDAW Campaign at a UN CSW58 Forum in March 2014. A US grass-roots campaign organizing committee will engage other US mayors.”  Zonta International’s Advocacy Chair Kay Meyer is planning to attend this session.

Secondly, “A Western Regional Summit is scheduled for August 23, 2014 for Women’s Equality Day in San Francisco as a CALL TO ACTION in preparation for Beijing + 20. Western states will bring their Plans for Action to the Summit, including best local practices on CEDAW. We expect other US regions to also mobilize for a collective US Women’s Plan of Action. The Cities for CEDAW Campaign will serve as the framework for defining a US Women’s Agenda in the post-Millennium Development Goals era and will culminate at the 83rd National Conference of Mayors to be held in San Francisco in June 2015 with a statement urging local actions in support of municipal CEDAW ordinances and implementation.”

Last, but certainly not least, are the Congressional anti-abortion bills.  House Republicans are currently advancing the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” or HR 7, a measure that would impose sweeping restrictions on abortion coverage that could make the procedure less affordable for Americans across the country. It not only prevents low-income women from using their Medicaid coverage to access abortion, it eliminates medical-expense deductions for abortion care, essentially raising taxes on the women who opt to have an abortion. Although this provision includes an exemption for victims of rape and incest, as well as women who encounter life-threatening complications from their pregnancies, in order to enforce those exceptions, the IRS would have to verify that the women who are claiming a medical-expense deduction for an abortion fall into one of those three categories, to ensure they’re not committing tax fraud.  There is a similar bill introduced in the Senate last May – S. 946 – still in the Senate Finance Committee.

State Issues: For those Zontians wishing to search for bills addressing certain issues in their state, they can easily use www.billtrack50.com.  Registration is free and the search function lists all pertinent bills for which one can bring up details and status.

On January 20th, Cindy Felsten sent out a 6 page summary of legislation relating to women’s issues introduced at the 2014 Indiana General Assembly.  She also forwarded event information from the Indiana Commission for Women’s 2nd Annual Women’s Day at the Statehouse on January 29th.  Attendees will receive updates on the five priorities (Health-related issues, Work-based issues, Leadership, Care Giving and Violence against Women) identified during ICW’s Hoosier Women Speak listening sessions. Presenters from partner organizations, including NAWBO-Indianapolis, will discuss future activities and opportunities for collaboration.

In November, 2013, JoAnn Gruber-Hagen sent out a report by the Center for American Progress on the State of Women in America.  States were graded on economics, leadership and health.  Wisconsin received a C- in economics and leadership and a D+ in health.  Indiana received an F in economics and health and a C+ in leadership.  Illinois received an A in leadership, a B in economics and a B- in health.  The report can be viewed at: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/news/2013/09/25/75188/mapping-the-state-of-women-in-america/

She also forwarded a link to the GoldieBlox commercial inspiring girls to become engineers.  That can be viewed at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/11/19/goldieblox_commercial_rewrites_the_beastie_boys_urges_young_girls_to_pursue.html

Lastly, she has kept me and the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee appraised of pending human trafficking legislation (5 bills) in Wisconsin as well as Domestic Violence legislation (7 bills).

Unfortunately, Zonta clubs in Illinois have no advocacy liaison and I have no clue what legislation has been proposed or passed.

Zonta Says No Campaign: The Campaign was embraced enthusiastically by those attending Fall Conference last October.  Results of Zontian efforts in District 6 are still being compiled and communicated. From the club newsletters I’ve received, I’ve noted the following:

Alton-Wood River: Mayors of five communities issued Zonta Says No proclamations.

Beloit: The Beloit Daily News featured an article and WGEZ aired morning radio messages through De. 10th; their Facebook page also featured the Campaign.

Lebanon: Their Z Club produced an outstanding Campaign video for students & the public; it will be featured in the next ZI Advocacy Newsletter.

Madison: p. 4 of their January newsletter has a detailed listing of the personal accomplishments of members.

Milwaukee: Their December newsletter has a similar list of member and club efforts; Messages were posted on the club Facebook pages.

Mascoutah: Their December newsletter noted that members used the Campaign materials during ladies Night Out in Nov, used the poster & ribbons at their fashion show, and got the Mayor of Mascoutah to sign a Campaign proclamation.

Stevens Point: Put together a display board and their newsletter featured a list of Campaign ideas for members

International Women’s Day 2014:  Clubs in Area 2 have planned an IWD event in the Wisconsin State Capitol for March 4th.  Indiana clubs as stated above had an Annual Women’s Day at the Statehouse. I have not heard from other areas or clubs.

Why Gender Equality Stalled by Stephanie Coontz,The New York Times

February 17, 2013 

THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. Readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But “The Feminine Mystique” had the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness. In 1963, most Americans did not yet believe that gender equality was possible or even desirable. Conventional wisdom held that a woman could not pursue a career and still be a fulfilled wife or successful mother. Normal women, psychiatrists proclaimed, renounced all aspirations outside the home to meet their feminine need for dependence. In 1962, more than two-thirds of the women surveyed by University of Michigan researchers agreed that most important family decisions “should be made by the man of the house.” Continue reading

House of Representatives Committee Holds Hearing on Human Trafficking

On May 7, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing, “Local and Private Sector Initiatives to Combat International Human Trafficking.” Chair Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) heard testimony regarding government and private sector efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking within the U.S. and globally.  You can view the hearing archived video at: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-local-and-private-sector-initiatives-combat-international-human-trafficking

Joint Resolution to Extend ERA Ratification Deadline

Sen. Ben Cardin has decided to join others in a Resolution to extend the Equal Rights Amendment ratification deadline rather than pursue his three-state strategy.  Please see Sen. Mikulski’s website for the full details:

Here are lists of  Representatives and Senators in District 6 who have endorsed this Resolution thus far:
Gutierrez, Luis [D-IL4], Moore, Gwen [D-WI4] and Schakowsky, Janice “Jan” [D-IL9]

SENATORS: Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI], Durbin, Richard [D-IL] and Kirk, Mark [R-IL]

The article goes on to say that “numerous groups have endorsed the Cardin-Kirk resolution, including United 4 Equality, National Council of Women’s Organizations, American Association of University Women, Business & Professional Women’s Foundation (BPWF), Federally Employed Women (FEW) and US Women’s Chamber Commerce (USWCC).