History 1980-1999


The 1980s saw great social, economic, and general change as wealth and production migrated to newly industrializing economies. Conservative politics and “Reganomics” held sway as the Berlin wall crumbled, new computer technologies emerged, and blockbuster movies and MTV reshaped pop culture. In 1986, over half of college graduates are women but they are not stopping there. Women are earning over half of the master’s degree and many more are entering professions such as law, medicine, and business.

Women continued to move the barriers.
• Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
• Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman nominated by a political party for vice president.
• Toni Morrison received a Pulitzer Prize for her book Beloved.
• The Oprah Winfrey Show begins airing nationwide in 1986.
• The space shuttle “Challenger” explodes, killing seven crew members including teacher, Christa McAuliffe.
• Svetlana Savitskaya is the first woman to walk on the moon.
• Jean Kirkpatrick is the first woman to serve as an Ambassador to the United Nations.
• Barbara McClintock is the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Zonta Club of St.Louis continues to support ongoing projects and add new projects as it continues its service and advocacy for the community.
• Salvation Army’s Women’s Treatment Unit at The Harbor House continued to be the club’s major service project.
• Other projects included Women’s Self-Help, an organization for helping women against violence.
• The Club purchased Bliss Symbols and Cassettes for the St. Louis Child Haven Center.
• In 1983, the Zonta Club of St. Louis received the USO Distinguished Service ward for their efforts in supporting the USO.


The 1990s are relatively peaceful outside of the Gulf War and bombings in both Centennial Olympic Park and Oklahoma City. The Hubble Telescope was launched. The Cold War ended. Nelson Mandela was freed and Harry Potter hit the bookshelves. In the1990’s, 60% of women work outside the home making up almost half of the workforce. The 1992 congressional elections double the percentage of women in Congress. As a result, 1992 is dubbed the “Year of the Woman”. By 1997, women are earning over 40% of medical, law, and doctorate degrees. The Department of Labor establishes the Glass Ceiling Commission to eliminate the barriers that block qualified women from advancements in the workplace. The concept of a “male” profession doesn’t apply by the end of the 20th century. Finally, concerns about the Y2K Bug don’t come to fruition.

Other important events include:
• The annual take your daughters to work day is introduced.
• Manon Rheaume is the first woman to play in an NHL game.
• The Viet Nam Women’s Memorial is erected.
• Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg and Attorney Janet Reno are appointed.
• Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, diplomat, and author, received the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State.
• The Violence Against Women Act is passed to combat gender-based The Zonta Club of St. Louis spent much of this decade fundraising. The Annual Fashion Show was always a big hit! They also sold Christmas wreaths, raffle tickets, coupon books, and even had an Art Auction. To celebrate the club’s 75th Anniversary the club established the Yellow Rose Award to recognize women in the St. Louis Community who exemplify good character, dedication in service to others and our community. In 1990, the club established the Women’s Another Chance Program (WAC) as the major service project.

Other Club and Zontian related tidbits include:
• Club created an endowment at Washington University to help deserving women complete their education in 1991.
• In 1992 the club held its first Annual “Another Chance” Golf tournament in Warrenton, MO.
• The Club began their relationship with the Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence by decorating a family lounge to create a homelike atmosphere.
• An Amelia Earhart Scholarship recipient, Janice Voss, became an astronaut in 1990 and flew on the Space Shuttle in 1993. She went on 5 total space missions spending 46.16 days of her life in space.
• In 1994 the Club actually invited Hillary Rodham Clinton to attend a fundraising luncheon, she was not able to come but responded with a nice letter commending our Club and our efforts to help women receive an education.
• Zonta has an International Summit on Violence Against Women.
• The 53rd Zonta International Convention was held in St. Louis!