A LOT has changed since Val Sarah was the founding charter president of Zonta Club of Ballarat 35 years ago.
In 1978, women were not allowed to march in Anzac Day parades in Australia and it was 11 years before the National Foundation for Australian Women was even launched.
“There wasn’t the same freedom for women as there is now,” Ms Sarah said.
“Zonta came to a community where there was quite a lot of need in Ballarat.”
Zonta was first founded in Ballarat on October 24, 1978, having been established in America in 1919.
To this day it exists to advance the status of women in society through a group of business executives and professionals.
The Ballarat chapter of the worldwide organisation celebrated its 35th birthday at The Barkly last night, where the club celebrated its contribution to the community over the past 35 years.
Ms Sarah said with clubs across the world compiling history for the centenary celebration in 2019, it was as good a time as ever to celebrate the club’s birthday.
“We have people from different cultures, different backgrounds and expertise all coming together for the same purpose.”
Ms Sarah said two key initiatives stood out in her time at the club.
The first was the Zonta Art Collection at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which has been running since 1979.
The second was the sensory garden in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, that gives blind people the chance to experience a garden through touch and smell.