Women Lions Walk the Walk

The New Voices Initiative celebrates the extraordinary achievements of and contributions by women in Lions Clubs International.

The following four women have been chosen by IP Yngvadottir for their significant accomplishments in the areas of service, growth, leadership, and marketing.

As you celebrate these four women, consider the important role that you played in supporting and empowering the women of Lions. Together, Lions are doing so much to make the world a better place. Together, Lions' voices are inspiring people everywhere.


Zeynep Kocasinan

CA4 Europa, District 118-R

Fethiye Muğla Lions Club

Muğla, Turkey



Over the years, Zeynep Kocasinan has given away countless copies of the autobiography of Helen Keller. “Discovering how a family and a teacher can open up the world to a child who cannot see or hear amazed me,” she says. As she read more about those with disabilities, she realized that it wasn’t only them who struggled, but their mothers as well.

“The lives of the children were difficult, and that difficulty was obvious,” she says. “However, the mothers were under other, different pressures.”

"My focus is on a peaceful world—one in which women can lead and speak without fear. As Lions, we are leading the way to a better world for all.”

Kocasinan has dedicated herself to empowering women in her community and raising environmental awareness across the region. Her focus on women’s issues has led her to organize several ambitious programs, including a district-wide symposium and an award-winning project called “Non- Violent Communication—Communication for Peace.”

Both projects emphasize ending violence against women and empowering them through legal rights education. Her vision has helped create many opportunities for women, especially for mothers of disabled children.

In all her work, Kocasinan is focused on non-violence and peace.

“I believe that supporting the environment is an act of peace; is an act of kindness and compassion,” she says. “It creates a feeling of respect for life. It makes us aware that we cannot survive on our own. It makes us aware that we are a part of a bigger life. We are connected.”

Kocasinan embodies the innovative leadership and global perspective that helps Lions overcome obstacles every day. “To be able to support anyone, we need to come from a space of acceptance,” she says.

Her initiative as a Lion, in civic organizations, and professionally has made her a role model for many young men and women in her community and across her district. Her influence has empowered many women throughout Turkey to speak out on environmental causes. And her emphasis on peace and international relations demonstrates to the world what Lions can accomplish.

Her voice speaks guidance to those who share our vision.

On the importance of gender balance

As an industrial engineer, Kocasinan is used to being the only woman in the room. “There were times people would address me as Mr. Zeynep just because they were not used to having a female boss or a female engineer and they did not know where to place me or how to address me,” she says.

Having attended an all-girls high school and serving in an all-women Lions club, she is also familiar with what it’s like to be working only with women. “I have experienced the plusses and minuses of working and serving in gender unbalanced environments,” she says. “Men and women need to work together to create a sustainable safe space, not limited by the perspective of one gender only.”


Mi Yang

CA5 OSEAL, District 356-C

Jeonju Dong Haeng Lions Club

Jeonju, Korea



There were days when Mi Yang would pull a blanket over her head so that no one would hear, and then cry and scream curses. She was watching her son, who had severe autism, close his mind against the world, locking himself away. She blamed the world for her situation.

“We should spread our work far and wide, not to show off, but to inspire more people to participate in service.”

“But one day I suddenly began to question myself,” she says. “What kind of help have I given to the world? What kind of effort have I made for other people and my neighbors? I felt ashamed of myself and realized I should help others first to change the world toward the direction where I wish to be.”

And so she joined Lions.

She focuses on projects that help seniors living alone and children without parents, recognizing that socially marginalized people struggle not just with poverty but with a lack of emotional support. “I would like to give them hope and love by letting them feel that they are not alone and we are with them,” she says.

Since becoming a Lion, Yang has been surprised to discover that despite her service to others, she is actually receiving more help than ever before. “Lions has helped me become a person who contributes toward building a harmonious and balanced world for us to live in together. I have learned the joy of sharing. I have met good people. I have also gained self-respect because I felt I was needed by other people.”

Her spirit and encouragement have inspired many to begin their own service journey with Lions. Within four months of chartering a club, she grew its membership from 84 charter members to 200 Lions, becoming the largest club in her district. With so many contributing to the good of their community, they have made an incredible impact on their neighbors’ lives and continue to inspire others to action.

Her voice speaks comfort to those who need hope.


Shyana Jayalath

CA6 ISAAME, District 306-A1

Colombo Host Lions Club

Ratmalana, Sri Lanka



Shyana Jayalath feels strongly that no one should be in danger of cyber exploitation, and those disproportionately affected are women and girls.

She created the #StopShaming initiative to create awareness about the controversial issue of cyber exploitation and violence against young women.

“The act of blaming a woman for any sort of harassment is not limited to Sri Lanka,” says Jayalath. “It is a constant thorn in my side that women who are victims of any form of violence or harassment are shamed.”

“I am inspired by the strength, resilience and generosity of the human spirit!”

The innovative campaign proved to be so successful in her community that it was included in the district plan for the upcoming year. Building on the success of this campaign, Jayalath is planning a broader effort to highlight violence against women. Implementing social media, workshops, and coverage on traditional media, she is encouraging her club to speak out on behalf of those without a voice.

“Service is so much more than we have grown up with,” she says. “It's no longer only charity. Service encompasses any action we do to help another person and addresses issues which are often swept under the carpet.”

Jayalath champions the vigilant advocacy and adaptability of Lions defending their communities from injustice.

Her voice speaks for those who cannot.

On Role Models

Jayalath shares a memory of her mother, sitting on a hospital bed coordinating the purchase of medicine to donate to children with cancer while she herself was being prepped for surgery to remove a tumor. While not a Lion, Jayalath calls her mother “one hell of a contributor,” and a very important role model to her growing up.

“A good role model,” says Jayalath “is someone who walks the talk, inspires and sets the standards.”


Maria José Rodrigues Pinto

CA3 FOLAC, District LA-3

Maceió Panalto da Jacutinga Lions Club

Maceió, Brazil


Maria José Rodrigues Pinto PHOTO BY FERNANDO MELLO

Maria José Rodrigues Pinto leads a group at her parish every other month called “Coffee for Friends.” The trust she builds with them ensures they will listen when she most needs them to. “I want to promote their health and well-being,” she says.

A diabetic herself, Pinto knows the importance of selfcare in managing the condition. And she’s seen first-hand how little some people in her country know about how to care for themselves.

Recognizing the need for diabetes education, Pinto wrote a book titled “Alimente-se Bem para Viver Bem” (“Eat Well to Live Well”), which illustrates the benefits of healthy lifestyles, especially for those living with diabetes.

“My journey in Lions has been full of wonderful experiences and successes, but mostly of dreams come true.”

Her enthusiasm has inspired many around her to action. Her club and her church group are quick to mobilize and serve. Pinto has launched several educational programs and more than 200 participants have already signed up for an initiative to prevent the accidental administering of glucose serum to diabetics.

Pinto envisions chartering a specialty club for diabetics and building an educational and resource center that will serve as the standard of service within her district.

Her voice speaks for those who need our help.

Hear from New Voices leaders around the world about why we need these (and other) great women in Lions.