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Greens launch Women's Policy

Green Party Women's Affairs spokesperson Sue Kedgley will launch the Women's Policy in Auckland today at noon, together with Sue Bradford and high-placed list candidates Metiria Turei and Meriel Watts. Ms Kedgley said the Greens are putting three new issues firmly on the political agenda:
* establishing a Pay Equity Commission
* more flexibility in workplaces
* recognising unpaid work in our national accounts

Ms Kedgley said there had been a lot of rhetoric about equal pay over the years, but women still earn approximately 20 percent less than men. A Pay Equity Commission would aim to reduce the gender pay gap by 50 percent within five years.

"One of the biggest challenges facing women today is balancing paid work and family life. Many women are forced to pretend their children don't exist as soon as they walk into their workplace. That kind of anti-family culture has to change, and workplaces need to become much more flexible.

"The Green Party wants to see laws introduced, similar to new laws in the UK, which would allow women with families to negotiate flexible working hours with their employers.

"We also want better facilities for working mothers, including breast-feeding breaks, access to phones in a family emergency and time off to look after sick children," she said.

Ms Kedgley said national accounts need to start counting the contribution of unpaid and community work to our economy, most of which is done by women.

The Women's Policy also includes setting up a National Infertility Prevention strategy, and funding for shelters which provide support for women and their children living in violent situations.

The Green Party has already announced under the Children's Policy that paying a Universal Child Benefit for each child, payable to the primary caregiver (usually the mother), would also be a priority.


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