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Zonta International 100th Anniversary

November 8, 2019

ZI History

The founding of Zonta International occupies a unique moment in women's history. Established in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1919, early members were among the first generation of college-educated women, the first generation of North American women to vote, and a part of the growing, though still comparatively small, legion of women entering the workforce.

Inspiration and Founder

While working in a prominent role at the Buffalo Express at a time when women rarely held leadership positions, playwright and journalist Marian de Forest conceived the idea of an organization that would bring together women in executive positions. She envisioned a strong network that would help women reach their rightful places in the professions.

Zonta's first club was chartered in Buffalo, New York on November 8,1919. Membership grew rapidly. By 1920, a confederation of nine Zonta clubs had formed with 600 members.

Over the decades, Zonta International has grown into a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women. There are more than 30,000 members in more than 1,200 clubs in 67 countries all over the world.