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Marilyn Waring Named Honorary Member of Zonta International

Dr. Marilyn Waring Named Honorary Member of Zonta International

Zonta International announced that it would award Dr. Marilyn Waring, Professor of Public Policy at the Institute of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, honorary membership in the organization, which seeks to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

“Dr. Marilyn Waring has and continues to play a crucial role in advancing the status of women nationally and globally,” said Zonta International President Lynn McKenzie. “She has been a battler throughout her career, and her passion and continued influence make her eminently suited for honorary membership in Zonta.”

From the time she became the youngest member of the Parliament of New Zealand in 1975 at age 23, Dr. Waring has dedicated her career to advancing the status of women internationally. In particular, she is known as the principal founder of feminist economics, which argues that women’s work has not traditionally been factored into economic study. Her 1988 book, If Women Counted, persuaded the United Nations to redefine gross domestic product and inspired new accounting methods in dozens of countries, all to make women a more significant factor in the economy.

“I was first introduced to Zonta through the work of Cherry Raymond (then Governor of Zonta in New Zealand) on domestic violence and housing in the 1970s. And in accepting this award, which is a rare honour, I am thinking about Cherry and everyone else who has educated and supported me in my work on issues of fundamental human rights for all,” said Dr Waring.

“In my life I have tried to use the privileges and skills I have, and the relative safety of my precious New Zealand passport, to unapologetically speak truth to power, to serve as a bridge and access for those who are silenced, bullied or invisible. I have had feminist friends, human rights defenders, who have disappeared, been imprisoned, and faced trumped up charges. I have never had such threats, and I have never felt able to choose an easier path while my friends literally put their lives on the line.

“My early years in Parliament were very lonely for a feminist activist. In subsequent decades I have been part of local and international inter-generational networks working for social justice, as the Zonta organisation does with its focus on stopping male violence. In my academic and international roles, I look at the creative, strategic, exciting work of the young feminists. I celebrate this, and I feel that all my efforts have been worthwhile.”

Named one of 50 people who will change the world on Wired Magazine’s 2012 Smart List, Dr. Waring’s accomplishments are vast. In the 1975 election, she became one of only four female Members of Parliament. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Since 2006, Dr. Waring has been a Professor of Public Policy at the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand, focusing on governance and public policy, political economy, gender analysis and human rights. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including the 2013 Amnesty International New Zealand’s Human Rights Defender Award, a Doctor of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University for her outstanding international contribution towards the understanding of feminism and female human rights, and the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to women and economics.

Dr. Waring has studied, lectured and consulted overseas and in New Zealand on women’s issues and has held fellowships at universities in Australia, Canada and the US. In 2010, she was appointed Technical Expert on Gender and Poverty for the United Nations Development Programme.

The Zonta International Board awards lifelong International Honorary Membership to individuals who have helped to change societal attitudes about women, or have improved conditions for women beyond the national level. Since 1970, Zonta International has recognized 34 women for their significant contributions to advancing the status of women worldwide. Dr. Waring joins another New Zealander in this illustrious group, Dame Silvia Cartwright, New Zealand’s former Governor General and first women to be appointed to the High Court and who currently serves as a judge on the Trial Chamber of the Cambodia Tribunal, a court that tries the most senior members of the Khmer Rouge for violations of international law.

Founded 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. With more than 30,000 members in 66 countries, Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talent and support to local and international service projects and educational programs directed to improving the lives of women and girls. Zonta International has Consultative Status with many United Nations agencies and Participatory Status with Council of Europe.

To learn more, visit www.zonta.org.


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