A Brief History of Prominent Zonta Member:
Dame Margaret Sparrow, DNZM MBE BSc MBChB DipVen FAChSHM DSc(Hon) FRANZCOG(Hon), Club of Wellington
Dame Margaret Sparrow is a third generation New Zealander, born and educated in Taranaki. After studying for a BSc at Victoria University of Wellington she went on to qualify with a medical degree (MBChB) at the University of Otago in 1963. From 1963 to 1969 she worked in Taranaki at Stratford and Hawera Hospitals and in the Health Department as a Child Health Medical Officer. From 1969 to 1981 she worked in the Student Health Service at Victoria University where she was confronted by students needing contraceptive and abortion services, neither of which was provided at that time.
This led to a special interest in sexual and reproductive health. She was one of the first medical practitioners in New Zealand to offer emergency contraceptive pills.
In 1971 she became a member of the Zonta Club of Wellington and also commenced training in family planning with the New Zealand Family Planning Association (FPA). Retiring from Family Planning in June 2005 she has continued to be an active member of Zonta and in her advocacy for women’s reproductive health
Margaret has been an active member of Zonta from the outset, demonstrating both service and advocacy. She became President in 1975, the year the Wellington Club chartered the Manawatu Club and the United Women’s Convention was held in Wellington, when she recalls making thousands of boxed lunches. Margaret is the Wellington Club’s unofficial historian remembering every former member of the Club and every significant event.
In 1987 she received the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 1993 she was awarded an Honorary DSc from Victoria University and the Suffrage Centennial Medal. In 1998 she was given an Honorary Fellowship of RANZCOG (Royal Australian and NZ college of Obstetrics & Gynaecology) and In 2002 she received the DCNZM (Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2009 her DCNZM was changed to DNZM.
In January 1991 Margaret was made an honorary life member of the Zonta Club of Wellington. Margaret was the inaugural recipient of the District 16 Zontian of the Biennium in 2003 (this award is no longer made).
In 1990 Margaret was a driving force in establishing the Wellington Zonta Club Biennial Science Award in recognition of the need to support female scientists in the early stages of their careers. Margaret still chairs the Science Award subcommittee. With a life dedicated to empowering women (and the objects of Zonta) Margaret celebrated her 80th birthday this year and in 2016 we will celebrate her 45th year as a member of our Club and of Zonta.