Zonta International has partnered with UNICEF to eradicate child marriage worldwide. Victoria Pilotti, CWNY President, facilitated a discussion on April 30 with local Zonta club leaders regarding ending child marriage in the US. The campaign aims to set 18 as the minimum marriage age. In 2018 Delaware and New Jersey became the first two states to end child marriage followed by Pennsylvania in 2020. Child marriage remains legal in 47 states, including New York. In 2017 New York State raised its minimum age to 18 with a loophole of age 17 with judicial consent. In 2019 a bill was introduced to end marriage before 18 and is pending in NYS legislature. Click states on U.S. map for state marriage laws and pending legislation at unchainedatlast.org/laws-to-end-child-marriage. You can take action by writing to your state legislators at act.unicefusa.org/childmarriage. Go to zontausa.org/stopchildmarriages-psa-toolkit for Zonta/UNICEF PSA billboard campaign to stop child marriages.
Victoria voiced her concern with forced marriage to Zonta leaders and shared an anecdote of a young woman from Pakistan who sought help from CWNY in late 2019. Her parents beat her and kept her locked in the basement of their home because she would not marry an older man they had selected for her. There is a fine line between an arranged marriage (with supposed consent) and a forced marriage (unchainedatlast.org).
Zonta USA advocates for Equal Rights Amendment, End Human Trafficking, Zonta Says No! to Violence, and Cities for CEDAW (Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). To learn more about Zonta USA campaigns to empower and advocate for women and girls, visit zontausa.org. Visit zonta.org for information on international campaigns.
Victoria Pilotti, CWNY President, and Malini Shah, CWNY Board Member, co-facilitated the South Asian Women's Issues Roundtable phone conference on May 7th. Another Roundtable is tentatively scheduled for early June.
Tasnia Ahamed of Turning Point for Women and Families who addressed domestic violence in the Muslim community
Urmila Sharma & Anu Khada of GPK Foundation, fostering science, health education & promotion of peace, who discussed issues related to the Nepali community
Nyma Lhamo of Ghyalsumdo Sewa Samaj America
Mazeda Uddin of South Asian Fund for Education, promoting job training & civic engagement, refers domestic violence survivors to Sakhi, and refers to SNAP program
Chonzom Chonzom Lama of Federation of Indigenous People of Nepal - principal of non-violence and respect for human rights
Kavita Mehra of Sakhi for South Asian Women - domestic violence support