Women’s impact remembered in ‘Rising Through Adversity’

Arrion Smith

A white board containing visitor responses to “What woman has inspired you?” is displayed at the Zonta Club of Fort Collins’ exhibit “Inspirational Women ~ Rising Through Adversity” at the Global Village Museum. The exhibit will run through Feb. 22, 2020. (Colin Shepherd | The Collegian)

The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures is bringing the accomplishments of women to the forefront of history. 

The “Inspirational Women ~ Rising Through Adversity” gallery, curated by the Zonta Club of Fort Collins, honors and recognizes women who have paved the way for the success of women, especially in the face of struggle and hardship. 


Zonta International’s mission is to globally empower women through service and advocacy for women. Zonta is reaching for a world that recognizes women’s human rights and that allows women to live a life without fear of violence and mistreatment. There are 29,000 members located in 63 countries, all trying to achieve success for women. 

“The Global Village Museum is delighted that Zonta Club of Fort Collins chose our museum to showcase inspirational women as a part of the 100th anniversary of Zonta International,” said Leisa Taylor, community outreach coordinator at the Global Village Museum. “The stories of these women are truly amazing and inspiring. I hope everyone in Northern Colorado has an opportunity to visit and read about incredible individuals who overcame obstacles to make a difference in the lives of others.” 

“Globally, we are seeing more and more women exercise their voices to be heard and understood and respected. I think it’s our voices that create, maintain and expand global feminism.” -Julie Trone, event chair for the local Zonta Club

The exhibit displays pictures of influential women throughout history, accompanied by descriptions of their contributions to society, to recognize the important work they have done. Featured women include some of the most prominent figures in history, from well-known Amelia Earhart to the lesser-known, but just as influential, Helen Frances “Fanny” Garrison Villard and Rigoberta Menchú.

“Many visitors have commented on how they are inspired, empowered and touched by these personal stories,” said Gayle Warner, the executive director of the Global Village Museum. 

Earhart herself was a member of Zonta, and in honor of the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Zonta established a fellowship in 1938: the Amelia Earhart Fellowship. Fanny had the title of the 1914 Women’s Peace Parade Committee and represented and fought for women of all races; she then went on to co-found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Menchú is a Nobel Peace Prize winner known for her book “I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala.” In 1992, she was given a Nobel Peace Prize for her social justice work and contributions to reclaiming Guatemala for Indigenous people. 

Zonta was founded in Buffalo, New York, at the Statler Hotel in 1919. Their first mission was to offer women leadership opportunities. The word “Zonta” originates from the Lakota or Teton Sioux tribe and means trustworthy or honest. This continues to be a virtue that they follow in their work. Now, the organization is celebrating 100 years of working toward civil rights and improving and advocating for health, education and much more. 

”Women around the globe are fighting for different causes but also for the same thing — respect for their mind, body and spirit, proper healthcare, the right to choose their lifestyle, equal pay, equal educational opportunities, safety and understanding,” said Julie Trone, the event chair for the local Zonta Club. “Globally, we are seeing more and more women exercise their voices to be heard and understood and respected. I think it’s our voices that create, maintain and expand global feminism.” 

Arrion Smith can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @arriesmith__.