This decade is characterized by much change. It had a tumultuous start with 9/11 which lead to the Gulf War in response. Several Major financial institutions fell: Arthur Anderson, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Sterns. A recession started taking root. Internet and social media platforms grew by leaps and bounds. Google redefined the internet and social platforms like YouTube and blogging expanded civil liberties related to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The Human Genome Project was completed allowing for an expansion in genetic engineering and therapies to cure genetic disorders. Barack Obama was elected as the first American black President. Women continued to achieve ever more powerful roles in politics, business, and society:
• Kathleen A. McGrath became the first woman to command a U.S. Navy warship (U.S.S. Jarrett).
• Gale Norton is the first female Secretary of the Interior.
• Ann Veneman is the first female Secretary of Agriculture.
• Halle Berry was the first black woman to win an Academy Award for her role in Monster’s Ball.
• Shirin Ebadi becomes the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts supporting democracy, especially focusing on the struggle for women and children.
• Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black woman to serve as Secretary of State.
• Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor of Germany.
• Michelle Bachelet becomes the first female President of Chile.
• Cristina Fernândez de Kirchner is elected as the first woman President of Argentina.
• Sarah Palin becomes the first woman to run on the Republican ticket for Vice President.
• Nancy Lieberman becomes the first female head coach of an NBA-affiliated team. The Zonta Club of St. Louis continued with their fundraising hosting Trivia Night and Fashion Shows as primary fundraising events. In 2000 they added the Yellow Rose Award as a way to recognize women for their service to others or that have achieved success in their professions. Extra money was raised from the sale of lottery tickets and/or themed baskets. Throughout this decade, the fashion show was phased out and the Yellow Rose Luncheon became a primary fundraiser.
Other Zontian Club endeavors:
• In 2002 the Club hosted a Zonta Day at the Ball Game with a buffet. Ticket sales were to benefit the WAC scholarship fund.
• In 2003 the Club supported the county’s Prodigy Program benefitting high school juniors and seniors in training for the health services sector. Hopes were that these students would continue their studies to become nurses and doctors.
• Our partnership with Merchandise Pickup grew (now Charity Clothing Pickup). Club members helped lobby for a charity exemption from the “no-call” laws that had been passed.
• The Zest Ecology Corner was phased out. In its place, the Computer Corner was introduced. Helpful advice like “DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS” and using extra punctuation (!!!!!!!!!) could convey a strong emotion that you don’t intend. How to check your email, save attachments, and cell phone etiquette was also discussed.
• The Irene Geer Art Award was established at UMSL-St. Louis (now at Maryville University).
• In 2006 a Casino Night Fundraiser was trialed. Casino Night fundraisers continued for a few years.
• We formed a relationship with Santa’s Helpers.
• We established a scholarship fund at St. Louis University ($25,000) for science majors.
• In 2007 a Z Club was established at Marian Middle School.
• Interesting Zest topics include women’s health issues related to oral contraceptives, water bottles, and cancer.
• A $1 fine was initiated for club members that forgot to wear their badge.
The 2010s saw great strides in women’s and LGBTQ rights and other social issues. The #BlackLivesMatter campaign was born in 2013. The #MeToo movement which began in 2006 was embraced in 2018. The 2010s were marred by events that divide: mass shootings calling into question gun control; several natural disasters as related to fires and hurricanes calling into question climate change; and oil spills calling into question environmental safety issues. However, this decade brought even more female success stories! Women of note include:
• Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won a Nobel Peace Prize and was the first democratically
elected female President of Africa.
• Leymah Gbowee won a Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership in founding the Women of Liberia Mass action for Peace.
• Tawakkul Karman won a Nobel Peace Prize as a journalist that created the Woman Journalists Without Chains Organization.
• Katy Perry was the first female recipient of the Billboard Spotlight Award for having 5 consecutive #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from one album.
• Mary Barra became the first female CEO of a major automaker (GM).
• Thirteen-year-old Móne Davis becomes the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series.
• Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up to the Taliban and defended her right to an education, won a Nobel Peace Prize.
• Sarah Thomas becomes the first female NFL referee.
• Hillary Clinton becomes the first female Presidential nominee of a major party.
• Peggy Whiston breaks the record for the most days in space.
• Women in Saudi Arabia earn the right to drive.
• Greta Thunberg arrives in New York after an emissions-free voyage across the
The Club continued to raise funding through the Yellow Rose Luncheon, Trivia Night, and Merchandise Pickup Service (now Charity Clothing Pickup). By the close of the decade, Charity Clothing became a primary source of income. Women’s health issues remained a topic of support. The Club participated for several years helping to register guests at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held in St. Louis. In 2010 the Club supported the Girls Leadership Camp at UMSL- St. Louis. The purpose of this event was to expose high school girls with diverse backgrounds to educational and leadership opportunities to fulfill their career goals. Other events of note include:
• Partnering with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri in their April Showers drives collecting hygiene products for women in need.
• In 2013 the Cape Girardeau Club invited us to come with them to Haiti. The purpose of the trip was to see the school and meet students we were helping to support through our District 7 Service Project.
• We also began to address the issue of human trafficking. In 2013 we were a major funder of UMSL’s Human Trafficking symposium in collaboration with Zonta International’s Zonta Says NO campaign.
• In 2013 we started offering the Life Skills Training session for our WAC Students. Subjects included paying bills, staying organized, saving, and early retirement planning.
• 2014 Missouri Governor Jay Nixon presented us with the 2014 Award of Distinction from the Missouri Women’s Council. This award is usually given to individuals and the Zonta Club of St. Louis is the first organization to be given this honor. The award cited the service the club gives to the community.
• We also got involved with Diane’s House/Teen Challenge of St. Louis. This faith-based program assists women coming out of addiction. Their goal is to offer women the opportunity to get their lives together and be able to become a productive member of society.
• The Club partnered with The EMPOWER Club at Maryville University to show the Little Stones movie as part of a fundraiser benefitting Gateway Human Trafficking, Crisis Aid International, and Safe Connections. Twenty organizations from the St. Louis area set up informational booths about the services they offered as related to the fight against human trafficking. The event was a great success.
• The Maryville University EMPOWER Club joined Zonta as a Golden Z Club.