Recognising the women of war

Zonta’s Advocacy Committee member Bev Chesney said the wreath which will be lay on Monday in...
Zonta’s Advocacy Committee member Bev Chesney said the wreath which will be lay on Monday in Invercargill will have yellow and blue flowers to homage the women suffering in Ukraine. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
An Invercargill group wants to pay homage to the women who were often overlooked in war histories.

On Anzac Day, the Zonta Club of Invercargill will lay a wreath for all the women and children impacted by wars — especially the women of Ukraine.

Club president Sandra Prebble said this was the first time the club had done something like this in the city.

She believed the ongoing Ukraine conflict meant the time had never been so appropriate to talk about the important roles women played in difficult times.

"We are seeing that women and children are the first to be affected in tragedies like these. They are often very vulnerable."

The Zonta Club, formed for and by women, was established in the US and has members across the globe.

Mrs Prebble said it was set up after World War 1 and one of the driving factors was the recognition that if women were in a position of power at the time, the story could have been different.

"They created a group aiming to encourage women to take power and have their voices heard.

"And here we are — 102 years later and still needing the same thing to happen."

It was paramount to remember the soldiers but also the many wives, mothers, aunts, girlfriends, sisters and daughters whose role on the home front was just as important, she said.

"It is important to recognise the commitment women made during the war who picked up the pieces left by the war and carried on.

"Many had to assume responsibilities previously undertaken by their men folk and learned to do jobs which they had no clue. And they were never considered heroes."

Zonta advocacy committee member Bev Chesney agreed.

"This is us just using our voices locally. [The more] we speak up, the more we can change."

Zonta members will meet at the Invercargill Cenotaph at 10am on Monday for a brief ceremony before laying the wreath.

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