We have been in communication with our Zonta members in Ukraine and are inspired by their strength and resilience as evident in the excerpt of their message below.
“We are calm and resolute; we keep in touch with family and friends. The main thing is that we maintain our strength of spirit — then we will not be defeated.
Today, Ukraine needs us, and we are called on to give a part of ourselves if we are to live in a democratic country governed by the rule of law.”
As a global organization dedicated to working for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of members and promoting justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, we strongly condemn foreign aggression and acts of war, as are being witnessed in Ukraine.
We know that in times of conflict and war, women and girls, especially those who are displaced from their homes, are at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Women also bear the primary burden of keeping their families together, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their children and addressing the long-term emotional and physical damage inflicted by war.
As women and children move from Ukraine into neighboring countries, we encourage our global membership to use their voices to advocate to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of women and girls are at the forefront of the humanitarian response.
We also know that our members are generous and want to directly support Ukrainians and their immediate needs. While Zonta International is not positioned to respond to emergencies, we encourage our members to direct their support to relief organizations like our long-time partners at UNFPA and UNICEF that are already working on the ground in Ukraine and in nearby countries that are accepting refugees. We also acknowledge that Zonta District 27, of which Ukraine is a part, are also working with local Zontians to assess and respond to local needs.
As I said in my earlier statement, Zonta International will continue to build and support a global community of individuals who share a common commitment to equality and peace for all.
Sharon Langenbeck, Ph.D.
Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women