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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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Life-changing win

When Julie Matthews left high school at 17, she only had one career in mind – to be a social worker. Now she is well on the way to achieving her dream as the 2020 winner of the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship enabling her to continue with her social work studies at Griffith University.

“Receiving the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship means the world to me,” Julie says. “It has enabled me to buy my textbooks and pay my bills without having to have constant financial stress. I am able to achieve my goals of completing my Bachelor of Social Work without the added anxieties of worrying about how I am going to be able to pay for my expenses.”

The $2000 Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship is named in recognition of the esteem in which Leneen Forde AC – former Governor of Queensland and Chancellor Griffith University – is held within Zonta Club of Brisbane, as well as her legacy to Zonta, both nationally and internationally as a past International President.

Julie, who lives in Springfield Lakes, says she first started her journey to be a social worker when she left school. However it has not been a straightforward journey to achieve her goal, with Julie having to interrupt her studies to support herself.

“I had a high Tertiary Entrance score and was accepted into the University of Queensland,’ Julie says. “ I was not living at home at the time and felt that I had to defer from uni to be able to support myself.

“I ended up working at Expo ’88 then worked at a video duplication company. In my early Twenties I was promoted to General Manager and continued with this company, even though it changed hands for the next 18 years.

“My position shifted to product and acquisitions manager. Due to film and audio streaming my job was made redundant and I worked for a further 10 years as a corrections officer while studying a criminology degree.”

The world of working in the prison system was somewhat cathartic for Julie, and it steered her down a more humanistic road.

“Once again, I was drawn to do social work. This has been my choice and I have learnt so much about the empowerment of women and also the oppression of women.

This is my life goal to make a difference.”

Asked what winning the scholarship meant to her, Julie said: “Education for women is paramount to gaining independence. I believe that we unfortunately still live in a patriarchal society and things need to change for women. I watched my Mum working in low paid jobs and she lived in an oppressive home environment as she felt that she had no other options. My education will enable me to pursue a career within the Human Services field and I am determined to make a positive change in the world. This may be on an individual assisting role, or in a larger societal context. Nonetheless, changes will happen. I consider myself as an independent woman, and I think this inspires a feeling of freedom within.”

Leneen Forde had this to say about the scholarship in her name and why education is so important as a potential life changer for women.

“Having been chancellor of Griffith university was both an honour and an eye opener for me,” Leneen says.

“It is a place that gives opportunity for life changing experiences to many people who may not otherwise be in a position for an education that can change their lives. Julie’s story is only one of many. 

“The first time I officiated at a Logan campus graduation in the year 2000 every single graduate was ‘a first in family’ to have attended university. Having an education can never be taken away from you and it changes lives and families for ever.

“I was a widowed mother of five young children with little support  when I got my  law degree. So for me, supporting scholarships for disadvantaged women, is payback time for the opportunities I’ve had in my life”

 Congratulations Julie – you are a most worthy winner of our Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship.

You can donate to the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship and play a part in a life changing opportunity for women. For more information please go here
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Meeting of the minds!

It was a happy accidental meeting of the minds for Zonta Club of Brisbane education award winners Molly Kenworthy and Louise Ryan at a recent dinner meeting.

Molly was there to receive her certificate as the club’s Jane M Klausman Award winner for 2020, while Louise had by chance arranged to attend the meeting after contacting the club with an interest to join.

Louise was a Zonta Club of Brisbane education award winner almost a decade ago when she was studying communications, history and political science at the University of Queensland.

Molly is a third-year student at UQ studying a Bachelor of Business Management majoring in marketing and digital management. The Jane M Klausman scholarship operates at the Zonta Club level, district and international levels.  Both were delighted to meet up at the Club dinner, acknowledging that winning the Zonta award helped them when they needed it and that the university years of learning were to be cherished.

To find out more about Zonta’s education awards go to

Education Awards

Zonta International Awards

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Vale Mary Magee

Zonta Club of Brisbane is mourning the loss of Mary Magee, a long time club member and Zonta International President.

Mary joined Zonta in December 1973 at the invitation of Leneen Forde, also a former former International President and former Governor of Queensland.

Five years later Mary was elected as club president and then went on to serve as Area Director, chairman of various district committees, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.

She was elected to the Zonta International Board in 1994 and, for the next eight years, served in successive positions in the hierarchy until she was elected as International President in 2000, the third Australian to be elected to that position – and the second from the Zonta Club of Brisbane (the first being Leneen who brought her into the club!).

Throughout those first 30 years in Zonta, Mary drove the establishment of new clubs with her trademark passion and exuberance. She was directly involved in establishing 20 clubs in Australia and a further 20 elsewhere in the Zonta world.  Born in 1936, she was a true trailblazer, the first woman to own a pharmacy in the Brisbane CBD (she first needed a male to act as guarantor for a loan and then paid it off within a year). Mary went on to be named Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 1998 and in 1999, she was appointed to the Queensland Premier’s Council for Women, advising on women’s health and violence against women and children.

Mary was a brilliant Zontian and indeed a formidable role model who will be forever missed!

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We are honoured!

Zonta Club of Brisbane has been inducted to the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Honour Roll, a first to be established by the Queensland Government.

The Club has been working to support women and their children whose lives have been affected by domestic violence for much of its 50-year history. The two key projects have been its involvement with Windana in providing comfort bags for children, bedding and dressing gowns as well as Christmas presents. The club has also supported DV Safety Cards, a wallet sized card with key information for women to find support, since 2001, working with Queensland Police and community organisations.

The Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Honour Roll is a recognition program to honour Queenslanders who are walking the talk on domestic and family violence prevention.

“Most of us are familiar with people and businesses who are helping to create a Queensland free from domestic and violence,” said Minister for Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer.  

“This is a chance to recognise them and get the message out there that they are changing other people’s lives for the better.”

The Club was inducted “in recognition of your action to prevent domestic and family violence, raise awareness and support people impacted by domestic and family violence in Australia.”

As Zontians, we are honoured to be named on the Roll and will continue to work to keep women safe across the world.

You can read our nomination here.

You can see our Honour Roll certificate here.


We want action

Zonta District 22’s HOWZing project that seeks to reduce homelessness in older women is ramping up its efforts to push politicians to find solutions.

In the run up to the Queensland Government State election on 31 October, the HOWZing Committee is calling Queensland Zonta clubs to put homelessness in older women front and centre for all candidates. Zonta District 22 has approved the campaign to write to all contesting candidates and to provide them with a series of questions.

Zonta Club of Brisbane’s Advocacy Chair Susan Davies, who is on the HOWZing committee with Glynnis Gartside, said this action was vital with over a quarter of a million older women set to become the unseen victims of the post-pandemic recession in Queensland. The number of older women at risk of homelessness is now at 282,601 (ABS 2018) and rising at an alarming rate.

In the media release for the Queensland State Election 2020 District Governor Bridget Mather urges all candidates to place the scourge of escalating homelessness among older women front and centre in their housing platform for the upcoming election.

District Governor Mather called for measures specifically tailored to helping the “Hidden Homeless” – an Information Call Centre, increased expenditure on social housing, and local and state government support for new innovative housing models.

Media release

Howzing Newsletter

Questions to candidates

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Sisters across the ocean

Zonta Club of Brisbane member and University of Queensland academic Dr Sam Hollingworth went to Ghana in January 2020, a country she has long had an affection for.

When she was there she met with Aba Qianoo, the president of Zonta Club Accra II. She was immediately invited to lunch with the Club and was delighted to attend where she was made welcome by the women of the club.

On her return to Brisbane Sam gave a talk to our Brisbane club in March 2020 about her work in Ghana and meeting the ladies from Accra II club. It was wonderful to see the work being done by our Zonta sisters across the ocean.

The club was asked to consider if we could be a Sister Club with Zonta Club Accra II and this idea was immediately endorsed at both clubs in June and July 2020.

Now the two clubs are very much in touch with each other via email and WhatsApp sending pictures, newsletters and updates on activities. In the future, we will continue this link and see what develops and when she is able Sam plans to visit the Zonta Club Accra II when she can once more travel to Ghana.

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Living on the edge

More than 400 people heard from an impressive line-up of speakers from near and far as part of the milestone Lady Musgrave Trust Forum on Homelessness and Older Women.

Zonta Club of Brisbane member and Advocacy Committee Chair Susan Davies (above) was one of many who tuned in to hear the speakers who had a keen awareness of the severity of homelessness in older women, from Dr Kay Patterson, Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner to the QUT Women’s Butterfly Project the focus was fully on the issue. Innovative ideas were put forward by Jeanette Large,  Women’s Property Initiative (Victoria), and Maria Brenton, of the Co-Housing Network UK (available post-seminar from the Trust’s website).

The Trust trialled an ambitious technological method of delivery for the webinar– YouTube, live studio chat, lived experience video, pre-taped interviews and live Chat questions. Most(!) things worked and glitches were dealt with seamlessly.

The forum  was a call to action for the 400 plus people logged on. Representatives from many women’s activist groups including 10 different Zonta clubs followed the program.       It also marked the launch of the new Handy Guide for Older Women, sponsored by the Zonta Club of Brisbane.   

Here are some of the quotes from key speakers –

“Homelessness is a Human Rights issue” – Kay Patterson Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner

“We need a re-set switch” – Kay Patterson

One in 8 women in regional areas is experiencing homelessness” – Charlotte Dillon YWCA

Life is about relationships” – Hon Luke Howarth, Fed Asst Minister for Housing

Homeless older  women don’t have complex needs, they have had traditional housing histories and just need safe, secure and affordable housing” – Kobi Maglen, HAAG Victoria

Everyone knows an older woman at risk of homelessness” – Jenny Clark, Lady Musgrave Trust director

“We found over-50’s housing is a viable option for older women” – Rachel Watson , Watson and Associates

The ABS statistics say homelessness in older women increased by 31% between censuses, but in Victoria it increased by 67%” – Jeanette Large, Women’s Property Initiative, (Victoria)

High Touch/High Tech” – Professor Melissa Bull, Women’s Butterfly Project

For those who missed the live webinar, here is the link to watch it at your leisure (including the missing pieces from the live version) –

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Molly’s in business

Brisbane university student Molly Kenworthy (pictured) has a dream to travel overseas one day to teach English as a second language. COVID-19 travel restrictions aside, she is a step closer after being chosen as the Zonta Club of Brisbane’s nominee for the Jane M Klausman scholarship.

Molly wins $500 and is then the Club’s nominee for the Zonta District award of $2000 – the winner of this award is then put forward for a Zonta International Award of $8000USD.

Molly is a third-year student at The University of Queensland, Molly is doing a Bachelor of Business Management majoring in marketing and digital management achieving strong academic grades.

As well as her university study, Molly works part time and plays an active role in university clubs and groups. She is passionate about education for women volunteering as a tutor at her local school and is also studying for her TESOL certificate so she can be qualified in teaching English as a second language overseas. Molly hopes to be a volunteer teaching in Indonesia in 2021. 

The Jane M Klausman scholarship operates at the Zonta club, district/region and international levels. Zonta annually awards up  to 32 scholarships of $US2000 and has awarded more than 428 scholarships since its inception. For more information go here

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Virtually magic!

These COVID times have caused us all to do things a little differently, and learn a few new skills along the way. So it was with our first Zonta Club of Brisbane virtual  seminar held on 14 June to raise funds to prevent domestic violence.

Club member Dr Caroline Heim joined forces with her husband Dr Christian Heim to deliver a warm and revealing seminar about managing mental health and navigating tricky times with the younger women in our lives searching for how to find their way in the world. Just over 50 people logged in to watch the seminar which saw Caroline tap into her skills as an actress, delving into Shakespeare to throw some light on what it means to show gratitude and be human and then some Hamlet with that meaningful line by Polonius … “To thine own self  be true”.

There was much to learn and love about the seminar which gave us all food for thought on how to be motivated and feel fulfilled. We also heard of the Indigenous word Dadirri which means “deep listening” (here’s a Ted Talk if you want to know more ).

The seminar closed with their special THANKS mantra to live a more meaningful, stress free life. Here it is!

Think how precious life is

H is to help someone every day

A is appreciate people

Notice beauty to get goodness

K is to keep a gratitude journal to see things that go right

S is to say thank you whenever you can

A big thank you to Caroline and Christian for donating their services. To see where the funds raised will go check out our Domestic Violence Cards