ZONTA – The Organization

What is Zonta International?

Founded in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

What does Zonta International do?

Zonta International seeks to:

  • improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women through service and advocacy
  • work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions
  • promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, implement service programs, and provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations, and the world

How does Zonta International work to advance the status of women?

Zonta International works to advance the status of women by:

  • leading advocacy efforts and acting to improve the lives of women
  • promoting strategies to eradicate violence against women and children
  • funding scholarships and awards for women of exceptional ability and talent through the Zonta International Foundation
  • supporting programs aimed at improving women’s health, safety, and economic and political status through funding by the Zonta International Foundation
  • encouraging mentorship, friendship and networking among members

How is Zonta International structured?

An individual, a Zontian, is a member of a Zonta Club. Zonta Clubs are members of Zonta International. To ease administration, Zonta International is divided into Districts. Clubs are assigned to Districts based on their geographical location and usually grouped into areas.

Zonta International is governed on a biennial (two-year) basis. Democratically elected directors lead the organization at the Club, District and International levels.

What is the origin of the word Zonta?

The word is derived from a Lakhota (Teton Dakota) word, a language of the Native-American Sioux peoples, meaning honest and trustworthy. It was adopted in 1919 to symbolize the combined qualities of honesty and trust, inspiration and the ability to work together for service and world understanding.

What do Zontians actually DO?

  • Advance the status of women through service action and advocacy
  • Fund award and scholarship programs for women of exceptional ability
  • Support self-help and development programs for women in the local and global communities
  • Support and fund innovative approaches to eliminate violence against women and girls