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LEGISLATIVE AWARENESS AND ADVOCACY Denise Conroy Chairman Zonta International LAA Committee March 2009. A WORKING DEFINITION OF ADVOCACY. Advocacy is an action directed at change.
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Zonta International LAA Committee
Advocacy is an action directed at change.
It is putting a problem on the agenda, providing a solution to that problem, building support for that solution and for the action necessary to implement that solution.
Social justice advocacy is public advocacy, which draws attention to an injustice and promotes the public good. It focuses attention on improving the well-being of the poor and marginalised members of the community. For example, social justice public advocacy efforts take up issues relating to women, children, workers, the disabled, etc. For Zonta International, the focus must be on women and the girl child.
As adopted by the Zonta International Board, at its February 2000 meeting; as last amended by the Zonta International Board, January 2009. (Refer to the Zonta International Website – LAA Page).
Advocacy is the expression of support for or opposition to a cause, argument or proposal. Advocacy may include influencing laws, legislation or attitudes.
Zonta International, its districts, and its clubs are urged to express themselves about and become involved in issues which:
*Improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women;
*Advance understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions; and
*Promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
2. Zonta International, its districts, and its clubs are encouraged to support legislation submitted to a legislative body for its consideration, which advances the implementation of the Objects of Zonta, the mandates of Zonta International Resolutions (current), the Beijing Declaration from the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and its updates and the Millennium Development Goals and their updates.
5. When Zonta International, its districts, and its clubs host or sponsor educative activities, every effort should be made for a well-balanced presentation of the facts and viewpoints.
c. Individual Zonta members shall not otherwise express positions on issues involving a country other than their own except with prior approval of the International President through the International United Nations Chairman.
Individual members may express their personal views on issues which have not been given prior approval by the International President, through the International UN Chairman, onlyas private citizens, but must not attribute them to a Zonta club or District or to Zonta International.
10. Districts may include guidelines for the process for determining their advocacy activity in their district rules of procedure providing that such guidelines conform to the International Guidelines.
Contacts ( See International Directory)
Chairman, LAA Committee: Denise Conroy
(email : [email protected])
** Chairman, UN Committee: Jackie Shapiro
(email : [email protected] )
AMELIA EARHART improving education,
economic, political status of women
JANE M. KLAUSMAN
AWARDS - AE
HUMAN/WOMEN’S RIGHTS,CONVENTIONS, PROTOCOLS
SERVICE – CLUB/AREA/DISTRICT (eg. women’s shelters)
INTERNATIONAL SERVICE PROJECTS:
Refer to ZI Website LAA Page
International projects are linked to Zonta’s Objects, Beijing +10 Goals and MDG Goals
LINKING ADVOCACY WITH SERVICE and AWARDS
Lobbying is an organised attempt by an individual, an organisation or groups of individuals and/or organisations to influence on behalf of a particular interest all the stakeholders involved in preparing and passing legislation. Such stakeholders include ministerial advisers and staff, legislative drafters, policy makers, members of Parliament, portfolio committee members, select committees, the staff of various committees, experts and consultants serving those committees, etc.
It also means seeking the support of an influential person or persons and providing accurate information which legislators can use in their decision-making. Lobbying is a give-and-take process that also involves gathering new information and analysis, which enables lobbyists to strengthen their own strategies.
Lobbying is only one part of advocacy – one tool amongst many. The difference between advocacy and lobbying can be explained as follows:
We must not use the ‘L’ word – lobby. Zonta MUST be non-partisan and non-sectarian (Bylaw Article III, Section I)
We must remain independent of all political parties and lobby groups in order to maintain our non-partisan stance AND to avoid being ‘used’ by other organisations to further their own ends.
Lobbying ‘tactics’ usually involve giving support – either money, votes, endorsement or suggesting that support will be directed elsewhere. It is a ‘political’ tactic and NOT one endorsed by Zonta International.
We must use the wordadvocate in all correspondence and presentations.
The Zonta International Foundation (and some Zonta Clubs) in the USA has tax deductible status.
There is some provision in the law for advocacy to influence legislation – Section 501(h) which promotes balance in the presentation of conflicting views and eases the burden of administration of Section 501[c](3).
Any charitable body can (‘lobby’) advocate legally, using one of 2 standards by which their compliance with the IRS Code is measured.
(i) insubstantial part test (1934)
(ii) Section 501 (h) expenditure test (1976) (called the 20% rule)
In the USA ‘direct lobbying’ is defined as communication with either a legislator, an employee of a legislative body or any other government employee who may participate in the formulation of the legislation.
There is usually a reference to a specific piece of legislation, and a view on it is taken/expressed.
This action is NOT to be undertaken in Zonta’s name unless agreed to by the LAA/UN Chairman.
All Zonta Clubs in the US are regarded as tax exempt (Section 501[c](4)), and any Zonta Clubs with tax deductible status (Section 501[c](3)), should seek professional advice from tax advisors BEFORE undertaking any activity which meets the IRS/Treasury definition of ‘direct lobbying’ as this can affect your status in these categories.
LEGISLATIVE AWARENESS means that we know the process by which laws are created at the local, state and federal (national) level of government, from the first mention/thought on the issue through to the passage or defeat of a law.
LEGISLATIVE AWARENESS also means educating yourself about the ‘Division of Powers’ in your country – that is, what each level of government is responsible for.
You also need to know whether each level of government has co-equal powers, or whether one level is ‘superior’ to (ie. can over-rule) another level.
(* See www.mkogy.hu/world.parliaments.htm)
Ensure that the Club/District is in agreement about the issue as one suitable for ZONTA ADVOCACY
ie. AVOID -partisan/sectarian issues
-issues which may ‘divide’ the membership (eg. abortion, euthanasia, legalised prostitution, genetic research, etc.)
Issues where there is no majority (95%+) agreement should be pursued as INDIVIDUAL advocacy (i.e. in one’s own name NOT in Zonta’s name).
Definitions of these terms are given in the IBL (now Governing Documents) Booklet.
Item 8 of the Advocacy Policy requires that we nominate persons ONLY FOR NON PARTISAN positions (ie. NON-POLITICAL positions – not influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interest or policies of any persons or party)
The same would apply to SECTARIAN organisations (affiliation with any particular religion or sect).
Zonta must, at all times, be seen to be totally impartial with respect to religious, sectarian or political organisations, and to not favour any one particular ‘belief’ over another with respect to ideology or dogma. These are matters for PERSONAL CHOICE.
RESOURCES ON THE Z.I. WEBSITE – LAA PAGE:
APPLYING ZONTA’S SCORECARD TO THE INTERNATIONAL SERVICE/ZISVAW 2008-2010 PROJECTS (plus Beijing + 10 Goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Millennium Summit + 5)
This demonstrates our connectivity to key platforms
for women (including CEDAW) and enhances our
consultative status with the United Nations.
At its 162nd session (Windhoek, 11 April 1998), the Inter-Parliamentary Council took a special decision on the recommendation of women parliamentarians entitled “Parliamentary action for national follow-up to international agreements and treaties regarding women”.
Access this information at www.ipu.org/wmn-e/law.htm
BEIJING DECLARATION AND PLATFORM FOR ACTION
BEIJING + 5 (2000) AND +10 (2005) CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN
www.un.org/womenwatch/forum/index.html (Report E/CN.6/2000/PC/CRP.1)
www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw49/documents.html (Report E/CN.6/2005/2)
MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (2000)
MILLENNIUM + 5 SUMMIT (2005)