The Zonta Club of Mitchell's Orange Lady makes a visit to Pyalong during last year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

By Colin MacGillivray

ZONTA Club of Mitchell has won national recognition for its innovative Orange Lady social media campaign during last year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Zonta International is an organisation dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide, and has clubs around the globe.

The Mitchell Shire club took out the top award in the programs and projects category at the recent district 23 awards night.

President Robin Audehm said it was fantastic recognition for the club, which started less than five years ago.

“Every two years there is a biennial conference for the whole of our Zonta district. Our district covers Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania,” she said.

“At these conferences they have awards for PR and communications.

“We submitted our Orange Lady project, which happened during the 16 Days of Activism last November and December, and we won for the whole of our district.

“We’ve only been going for just under five years and it’s the first time we’ve entered anything for any of these awards, so we thought we would just put in for the social media award, but took out the whole category of programs and projects.”

Ms Audehm said the group had taken a creative approach to the Orange Lady campaign.

“The Orange Lady signifies saying no to violence against women,” she said.

“We made an Orange Lady that a bit over a metre high and she was taken to 16 of the towns around Mitchell Shire and photographed.

“On each of the 16 Days of Activism, a photo was posted on our social media of the Orange Lady in a recognisable spot in each of the towns. She was in front of town signs at the entrance to the towns in a lot of cases.”

Ms Audehm said the club would continue to advocate for women and girls across Mitchell Shire in the wake of the awards.

“The 16 Days of Activism will be happening again starting in November,” she said.

“We have a scholarship that we’ll give out at the end of the year to a girl in a local secondary college to help her continue on with her studies.

“There is an art and craft show we’re hoping to be able to run at the St Matthew’s Church hall in Broadford to help us raise money and raise our profile.

“And we have our ongoing projects like making breast cushions and emergency toiletry bags for women and girls who find themselves suddenly out of home. This year between the various lockdowns we also managed to get 200 birthing kits done.”

Ms Audehm said the club was always on the lookout for new members and encouraged people to join.

“It’s been difficult with membership while you can’t have physical meetings and you’re not seeing people face-to-face. It’s hard to encourage people to become members in a Zoom meeting,” she said.

“Anyone who wants to find out more about our projects or anyone who may be interested in membership is welcome to contact us.

“It’s not just for women. Although our club’s membership is all women at the moment, there are male members of Zonta.”

People interested in joining or finding out more about the club can make contact by emailing zontaclubmitchell@gmail.com, or visiting www.facebook.com/zontaclubofmitchell.

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