International women's organization Zonta charters first club since then 1970s in Skaneateles

Members of the newly-chartered Zonta Club in Skaneateles and their guests stand on the steps of Eileen Price's home where the ceremony took place on Tuesday evening.

SKANEATELES — Zonta? It is a Lakota word meaning honesty, integrity and trustworthy that since Nov. 4, 1914 is also the name of a women’s club centered on empowering women and girls worldwide. The newest club in Zonta International District 2 was chartered Tuesday night at the home of Eileen Price in Skaneateles.

“This is the first club to be chartered since the 1970s,” newly appointed president Christine Alexander said.

Members as far away as Saratoga and Buffalo crossed the state to join the 23 new members in the celebration. Zonta has 30,000 members in 67 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

“We are delighted to advance the cause of women worldwide,” district governor Marjorie Lavin said. “I know we have very dedicated leaders standing right before us, and all of the members tonight will be termed founding charter members.”

“Zonta says 'No' to violence against women,” said Gloria Wrister, a Zonta member since 1989 and past club president and immediate past governor of the district. 

There are 18 clubs in District 2 from Auburn to Vermont and up into Canada including Montreal and Ottawa.

“This is truly an international district,” Wrister said.

During the induction ceremony each charter member, agreed to attend and actively participate at the monthly board meetings.

“May your mark be one of unity,” Zonta International Chairman Candace Edwards said.

The genesis of the Skaneateles Club started with four Auburn Zonta Club members who wanted to focus more on international advocacy for women and girls. Empowering youth is vitality important. Some clubs focus entirely on local projects. Each club has its own priorities. 

The club doesn’t get into politics but instead has worked with the United Nations since its inception in 1944. This year, Zonta International is donating $4 million to the United Nations for projects.

“We would like to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in different countries," Alexander said.

Alexander said they went to the United Nations and want to push the United Nations' 2030 agenda of equal rights and equal pay worldwide by 2030.

“We are pushing that thought process in this club,” she said.

Each member of the new charter was given a yellow rose as a sign of their commitment to fellowship.

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Ellen Leahy can be reached at ellen.leahy@lee.net or (315) 282-2230. Follow her on Twitter @WOC_Leahy.