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Report Highlights Women's Gains in Education

Report Highlights Women's Gains in Education

Young women today are more likely to leave school with a qualification than young men, and they are more highly represented in tertiary education than ever before, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand publication, Focusing on Women 2005. The publication is intended to inform policy makers, community groups, students and the public.

The report compares the present status of women with that of men, and with women in the past. A detailed timeline outlines important events, from 1893 when women won the right to vote, to the present day. Topics covered in the report include population, education, families and households, work, income, health and crime.

The release of Focusing on Women 2005 coincides with the New Zealand Women's Convention, held in Wellington over Queen's Birthday weekend. It will inform discussions at the convention by providing accurate information on the demographic and social changes experienced by women over the 30 years since the last New Zealand Women's Convention, and fits well with the convention’s theme, “Titiro Whakamuri, Haere Whakamua: Looking Back, Moving Forward”.

The report shows that women's labour force participation rate increased from 30 percent to 60 percent between 1971 and 2001, but it is still considerably lower than that of men (74 percent in 2001). Women are three times more likely than men to work part time, and they have higher rates of participation than men in all categories of unpaid work within and outside the household.

Women continue to outlive men. On average, a newborn baby girl can expect to live to 81.1 years of age. This compares with 76.3 years for a newborn baby boy. As a result of their longer life expectancy, women today comprise two-thirds of the population aged 80 years and over. Women today are more likely to live alone than men, and they are marrying later and having fewer children than they did in the past.

Focusing on Women 2005 is part of a range of reports which shed light on social issues and trends by drawing on official statistics. It can be downloaded from Statistics New Zealand's website ( or viewed at major public libraries throughout New Zealand.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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