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Award an honour

Zonta Club of Brisbane’s education awards are there to help women reach their academic and career goals.

They are also the key focus of our fundraising activities. So it was great to meet the 2021 Dr Helen Row Memorial Award winner Dr Sarah Cameron who attended our club dinner meeting in April.

Sarah is working at The Prince Charles Hospital as a resident and is passionate about mental health issues especially for young people.

At our dinner she talked about friends, fellow students she knows are grappling with severe anxieties and depression. And numbers are very high. 

Sarah, pictured above with Zonta Club of Brisbane’s Lesley Chenoweth,  admitted she studied very hard but never saw herself as an academic high achiever. She worked hard to make sure she passed! 

So, she was really thrilled and honoured to win this award. 

As yet, she is not sure how she will spend the $3000 award. First-year residents have no leave for professional development, so she plans to use her five weeks leave in November at the end of her first-year term to undertake further earning opportunities and is  looking at conferences and seminars already.

Sarah attended Sommerville House in Brisbane and she is aware of Zonta and our support for women internationally. She was involved with Zonta’s birthing kits as a student.

Sarah is the eldest of three girls and brought her mum Margaret to the dinner as a guest.   

The Dr Helen Row Zonta Memorial Prize was established by the Zonta Club of Brisbane in 1992 to honour Dr Row’s contribution as a pioneer in the field of child psychiatry in Queensland and as a charter member of the Club.

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Helen Row legacy

Flashback to 2001 and our Dr Helen Row Award winner was Professor James Scott, then a graduate: fast forward to 2021 and Prof Scott is a leading researcher working to free young people from the burden of severe mental illness such as psychosis.

Over the past 20 years he has made some ground breaking discoveries, notably leading the first study correlating exposure to child maltreatment with severity of psychosis symptoms. His story is told on the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH)  website alongside many other stories of ground-breaking research led by Queenslanders. The story link is here – scroll down the page!

We would like to think our award set him on his path to research success, with additional research grants providing the clinician researcher with valuable time needed to solve questions they come across almost every day.
“Grants bridge the gap between asking an important clinical question and doing the work to answer it. They enable researchers to employ an extra staff member to collect data, to get the ethics in, to keep everything in order so that you’re complying with research integrity – all those things which if you area busy clinician you just don’t have time to do.”
Zonta Club of Brisbane established the Dr Helen Row Award in 1992 and since then we have been awarding an annual prize of $3000 which goes to the University of Queensland medical student, male or female, with the highest combined marks in the paediatrics and mental health clinical rotations.

We are very proud to award this year’s prize to Sarah Cameron, who achieved the highest combined marks in the Paediatrics and Mental Health clinical rotations for her year, which is an outstanding effort given the challenges many faced in 2020. 

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Film night a pearler!

Fundraising for Zonta Club of Brisbane education awards received a boost thanks to a successful film night where over 150 Zontians and friends saw a private screening of Beneath the Surface, a documentary about the Australian pearling industry and in particular the pioneering Ellies family.

Aje Ellies (pictured with Margo McKinney and Barbara Kent), who now manages the family business in Broome attended along with Margot McKinney,  also in the documentary and uses the pearls in her stunning jewellery. The film was a family affair for Zonta Club of Brisbane member Susan Hocking whose son-in-law Sam Thies shot the film which was done on location in the Northern Territory around Broome.

The aim of the event was to raise funds for our Education awards and this was assisted due to a donation by Margot of a pearl bracelet which was raffled on the night. These proceeds will support our ZONTA Club of Brisbane TAFE and high school education awards. Last year we supported seven high school students to ensure they continued and completed their education. 

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Project gold star!

Banks don’t lend to older women – it’s a truism that is part of the homelessness risk for older women. Diving deep about the reasons behind it will be the subject of a research grant won jointly by Zonta and QShelter, the Queensland peak body for community housing with whom Zonta is affiliated.

Called the Gold Star Project, it’s part of Zonta’s advocacy push to reduce the homelessness risk amongst older women, currently growing at 50% every four years. The $18 000 Mercy Foundation grant will fund a project officer to investigate current finance “products” and possible new one to assist older women.

The collaborative action research approach of the Gold Star Project will invite cross sector participation from government and private financial institutions, researchers, community organisations inclusive of housing providers and support. The HOW Movement (Housing for Older Women) under the auspices of QShelter has established connections with supporters from organisations and other relevant stakeholders will also be asked to contribute to the Gold Star Project.The aim of documentation of the Gold Star Project including its processes and outcomes will provide valuable information to others across Australia who are keen similar products available in their states. Stakeholders with the authority to drive new product development will be targeted in the action research processes of the Project.

Key personnel are Q Shelter’s Maggie Shambrook and Zonta District 22’s Susan Davies (Zonta Club of Brisbane Advocacy chairperson).

The Gold Star report will be delivered in October this year.

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Housing helping hand

Over 100,000 women 55+ in Queensland are living every day at risk of being homeless.

Sharing with Friends is looking to change this terrible statistic.

Sharing with Friends i a not-for-profit foundation set up by three Zontians (all members of the Brisbane Club) in response to the Zonta Advocacy issue of Homelessness in Older Women. Its original inspiration was the Zonta Area Meeting in Noosa in 2019.

It is holding a free workshop March 6 about co-housing and affordable home ownership in retirement. It’s a two-hour interactive experience with two highly experienced facilitators Zontians Anne Landsberg and Adrienne Irvine.

Through the District HOWZ-ing newsletter, Zontians know the terrible statistics about older women who are 55+, single, renting, and unemployed. Over 100,000 are living every day at risk of being homeless.

An underlying opportunity with the workshops is for people to bring a friend who fits this profile so they can assess for themselves whether Sharing with Friends (or other options that will be showcased) might be an answer. We all know someone – an auntie, neighbour, colleague, friend – who is NOT homeless, but is paying a huge percentage of their income in rent. As a result, they are one crisis away from couch surfing or sleeping in their car. You are our secret weapon – because such women would never identify themselves at-risk, nor come alone, they need a personal invitation by a trusted friend.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about homelessness

When: Saturday March 6 at 3-5pm (introductory workshop)

Where: Albion Peace Centre, 102 McDonald Street, Albion

RSVP: by March 4


Phone: 0412 336 759

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Lacie graduates!

Another milestone moment for  Lacie Malcomson, one of our Zonta Club of Brisbane education award winners. Lacie won our Kingston Learning College award in 2019. Now Lacie has graduated from TAFE and she is about to start studies at Griffith University where she is going to study social work. It has been a story of determination and joy for Lacie, who has also been mentored by Club member Anne Landsberg.

Lacie has juggled study this year with on-line learning and juggling home schooling for her children. She completed her Diploma at TAFE and is now right on track to do her social work degree at Griffith. Lacie has many connections to Zonta – she enrolled at Kingston Learning College after reading an article about Margaret O’Hare winning a Zonta Education Award. She embodies the reasons why we are in Zonta and why we work hard to raise funds for young women and girls.

Our education awards go to state school, TAFE and university students and we know they play a key role in enabling them to have an education that will help them secure a safe and successful future for them and their loved ones.

For more information on our Education Awards go here

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Coercive control step

Zonta Club of Brisbane member the Hon Margaret McMurdo AC has been chosen to chair a new independent task force to examine the issue of taking action against coercive control.

The Queensland Government has established the task force, just days before the one year anniversary of the tragic death of Hannah Clarke and her three children who were killed by her partner.

The taskforce has a role to recommend how best to legislate against coercive control as a form of domestic and family violence.

Legislating against coercive control was a commitment made by the Queensland Government before the 2020 State Election.

The Government is seeking to consult with a wide range of survivors, domestic and sexual violence service providers, legal and domestic violence experts and the community.

That includes Hannah Clarke’s parents Lloyd and Sue, in the development of a new approach to coercive control.

Coercive control is a significant risk factor for escalating violence and intimate partner homicide and can include tactics such as isolating women and surveillance.

Tasmania is the only Australian jurisdiction that has introduced specific criminal offences covering elements of coercive control, while new offences of coercive control have been introduced in Scotland, England and Wales.

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Super six education winners

We are very proud to announce our Zonta education award prize winners for 2020.

This award, valued at $500, was provided to six young girls at Brisbane high schools with the intent to provide encouragement to financially disadvantaged young women to complete Year 12; to encourage young women to enter professions in maths, science, technology and engineering; to improve the status of younger women in educational institutions and in society at large; and to introduce young women and the wider community to the aims and goals of Zonta.

Zonta Club of Brisbane has been awarding this prize for more than 20 years and in that time has given it to more than 255 female students.

These awards are integral to the work that Zonta does here in Brisbane and across the world to empower women and girls so they can have equal opportunity to succeed and be safe.

The winners of this year’s awards are:

Aviation High    Francella Gabuogi

Bundamba State High School Piper-Marie Rose

Glenala State High School Lisa Pham

Mable Park State High School Jemma Attard

Marsden State High School Farida Rezaie

Yeronga State High School  Aleena Eapen.

Also, a retrospective award was provided to Alanna Beaumanis, Year 11, Aviation High.

Congratulations to all winners!

For more information on our education awards go here

Our fundraising provides funds for these awards – if you want to donate to Zonta Club of Brisbane to support these activities please email – we would love to hear from you!

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Foundation funding

Vulnerable women and girls in PNG and Timor Leste will benefit from US$1 million in funding under new Zonta Foundation for Women 20-22 projects.

 Zonta Foundation for Women has a globally recognized mission and commitment to women and girls worldwide.

The US$1 million grant will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help ensure that all women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste live life free from violence.  It will provide funds to help survivors of DFV in these two countries which both have some of the world’s highest number of domestic violence victims.

For Zonta Club of Brisbane this funding marks a continuation of a strong link with PNG which began way back in 2003 through the club’s association with Monica Otto.

Zonta Club of Brisbane sponsored her women in agriculture NGO for many years, providing funds to support coconut oil presses so that the women could “downstream” making coconut oil creams and soaps; then we sponsored containers for the products next and more presses and some funding for education. More than 17 years later it’s good to know that good deeds done together are never forgotten!  

Overall the 2020-2022 grant cycle from Zonta Foundation for Women will provide US$5,280,000 for programs that address the root causes of gender discrimination and have the potential to bring about positive and sustainable societal changes.

• Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection in Peru: A US$1 million grant to UNICEF USA will help improve the capacity of services to respond to the health needs of adolescents.

• Delivering Survivor-Centered Response to Gender-Based Violence Survivors in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste: A US$1 million grant to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will help ensure that all women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste live life free from violence.

  • Let Us Learn Madagascar:  US$500,000 grant to UNICEF USA will address education and gender inequity in Madagascar through approaches targeted toward adolescent girls.

• The Global Programme to End Child Marriage: A US$1.5 million grant to the joint UNFPA and UNICEF program will address the complex sociocultural and structural factors underpinning early marriage and engage adolescent girls as key agents of change in 12 countries with high prevalence of child marriage.

• The Amelia Earhart Fellowship: US$700,000 (70 Fellowships of US$10,000 each)

• The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship: US$224,000 (12 international scholarships of US$8,000 each and up to 64 district scholarships of US$2,000 each)

 • The Women in Technology Scholarship: US$160,000 (20 international scholarships of US$8,000 each)

• The Young Women in Public Affairs Award: US$196,000 (20 international awards of US$5,000 each and up to 64 district scholarships of US$1,500 each)

Zonta Foundation for Women is the fundraising arm of Zonta International, a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. 

Photo courtesy Partners For Prevention

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Zonta says no

The UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence activities, from 25 November to 10 December, will take place under our 2020 global theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Zonta Club of Brisbane will use this activity to advocate for both the end of violence against women but also to shine a light on how the club’s work has contributed to  increasing equal opportunity for women, ending domestic violence and assisting those in need to escape from violence and assisting in the need to find solutions for older women at risk of homelessness. It will also be joining other clubs during this time in activities that shine a light on these issues that continue to impact on women around the world.

On November 24 we will be joining other Zonta members in a march to mark #16daysofactivism. To find out more go to zontabrisbane@gmail address, or follow us on social media Zonta Club of Brisbane.

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