U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan’s Remarks
at the Zonta Club of Accra
Golden Jubilee and Fundraising Ntama Gala
Safeguarding the Rights of the Voiceless Woman and Girl
Saturday March 7, 2020 4:00 pm
Madam President of the Zonta Club of Accra, – Florence Ohene-Kyei;
Vice Preisdent of the Zonta Club of Accra, – Vivienne Idun-Ogde;
District 18 Governor, – Zontian Yvonne Kouloufoua;
Charter Members Mrs Rachel Phillips and Barbara Baeta,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed:
I’m happy to join you at my first Zonta event on this eve of International Women’s Day 2020. I returned from Kumasi to participate in a different women’s mentoring event as well as for this celebration with all of you, the Lipstick band, and the menu from the Zonta cookbook!
My team and I at the U.S. Embassy here in Ghana congratulate the Zonta Club of Accra on achieving this momentous Golden Jubilee milestone. For half a century, the Zonta Club of Accra has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to improve the wellbeing or women in Ghana.
As you all know, one hundred years ago, a small group of pioneering women came together in Buffalo, New York (not the town but the state in which I grew up) with a vision to help all women realize greater equality, while using their individual and collective expertise in service to their community. Their vision became Zonta International, an organization whose members work to make gender equality a reality for women and girls worldwide.
November 8, 2019 marked Zonta’s centennial anniversary, for which celebrations will culminate this July at the 2020 International Convention in Chicago, under the Theme: Zonta:100 Years of Empowering Women.”
Every year, the United States government marks International Women’s Day by recognizing a remarkable group of women from around the world, who exemplify exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk.
Last year, U.S. Embassy Accra awarded this prize to Stella Saaka, in recognition of her resiliency in promoting the voice of women in decision-making and enhancing their wellbeing in northern Ghana. Stella is a powerful force for women’s rights in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. When receiving her award, she told us that she starts her audiences with chiefs and local government officials saying, “I come in peace, but I mean business!” Now this is an approach worth emulating!
As U.S. First Lady Melania Trump (who visited Ghana in October 2018) stated at the 2017 Awards for the International Women of Courage, in Washington, DC: “We must continue to fight injustice in all its forms, in whatever scale or shape it takes in our lives. Together, we must declare that the era of allowing the brutality against women and children is over, while affirming that the time for empowering around the world is now. For wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them. However, wherever women are empowered, towns and villages, schools and economies, are empowered, and together we are all made stronger with them. We must begin now to challenge old fears, fight long-held prejudices and stand up against evil and injustice wherever it may be.”
Indeed, the world needs women who continue to be willing to take risks and summon courage. By your participation in the efforts of the Zonta Club, you are all living examples of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Each for Equal!” Each of you is engaged and committed to advancing gender equality, and you are part of a larger international community. Thank you all for your leadership and all that you continue to do to advance women’s empowerment in Ghana.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s honor the achievements made by members of organizations like the Zonta Club of Accra like you, and continue the important work of uplifting women throughout the world. Ayikoo!
Happy 50th Anniversary to you!