Zonta on the Fleurieu has 31 members and has respected volunteers such as president Margaret Stephens

CARING FOR WOMEN: Margaret Stephens is president of the Fleurieu Peninsula Zonta Club.
CARING FOR WOMEN: Margaret Stephens is president of the Fleurieu Peninsula Zonta Club.

Zonta International is a global organisation founded 100-years-ago and their charter envisions a world in which women's rights are recognised as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

The Zonta Club of Fleurieu Peninsula was chartered in 1978 and members have worked tirelessly since then to care for, support and empower women and girls within this region.

The local Zonta group have been involved in projects such as the breast care cushion campaign, the birthing kit foundation, white ribbon day and Bradley's Place (an initiative run in conjunction with Childhood Cancer), to name a few of their ongoing projects.

The local Zonta club currently has 31 members and is headed by president Margaret Stephens from Inman Valley. Margaret has been a member of the local Zonta club for 39 years.

She said the organisation has many plans for the future. "We have ideas in the pipeline to help empower young women in our community as well as working with other Zonta clubs in South Australia in advocacy and women's issues; for example homelessness for older women is something that we will address, " Margaret said.

Margaret was born in Largs Bay, but her father who was serving in the RAAF in New Guinea and then other Australian RAAF bases, didn't see his baby daughter until she was five-months-old when he was discharged from the services nearing the end of World War II.

The oldest of four, with three younger brothers, Margaret enjoyed a very happy childhood.

Margaret was educated at Woodville Primary School and later at Findon High where she was a member of the debating team and participated in many forms of sport including netball, athletics and tennis.

Tennis is a sport that she still enjoys and plays socially to this day. She also enjoys music, reading, gardening, and keeps fit at a gym.

After her formal schooling, Margaret studied part time at Adelaide University while working full time as a library assistant at the State Library in Adelaide and here, she achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English and history, as well as a Library Association of Australia registration certificate and later a Bachelor of Education degree.

As an adult she continued her studies at TAFE in subjects of writing and accountancy.

"I am a great believer in life-long learning," Margaret said.

Margaret married Paul Stephens in 1966 and spent a year living in the South East where she taught at Naracoorte High school until Paul was transferred through his job to the Adelaide office of the Department of Agriculture. So she then took up a teaching position at Woodville High School.

Margaret and Paul welcomed their baby daughter Elke in 1972 and Margaret later began part-time work at the Panorama TAFE Campus until 1974 when they moved to Inman Valley, as Paul had joined the family grazing business that ran both sheep and cattle.

She worked at the Victor Harbor TAFE Campus in library management and teaching roles from 1975 until 2008.

Margaret and Paul have three grandchildren and they love to spend time regularly with them when they visit their family's farm in the South East or when the children stay with their grandparents at Inman Valley.

In 1992 wool prices crashed so they bought a grazing property at Parndana on Kangaroo Island as they needed more land to be viable. They still manage both properties today.

During her days as a young mother, Margaret joined the newly formed Zonta club in this region and she has been a board member several times and secretary but, never president before now due to her continual travel to and from Kangaroo Island.

"I am proud to be president in such an important milestone year for Zonta (100 years) and the club has plans in the pipeline for the future of our vibrant community club," Margaret said.

Zonta is always looking for new members to be involved in the positive lives of women and girls right throughout the world.

A fashion and music extravaganza titled 'Leap Back in Time' will be held at the McCracken Country Club on Saturday February 29.

The event will feature fashions and music from the 1960's with proceeds going to Zonta International projects and Junction which focuses on women, domestic violence, homelessness and families in the local area.

Tickets can be purchased from Swans Pharmacy on Victoria Road and Raine & Horne, Ocean Street Victor Harbor, as well as online at www.trybooking.com.BGXBV