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Alliance releases Women’s Policy

11 July 2002

Alliance leader and Women’s Affairs Minister Laila Harré has released a women’s policy aimed at improving women’s health and wellbeing, and progressing their economic equality and educational outcomes.

The 2002 policy also makes a clear case for a package of initiatives to help working mothers strike a more comfortable balance between work and family life.

“Alliance policy reflects the fact that women are a diverse group, and some groups of women face greater barriers to full participation than others.

“Mothers, Maori and Pacific Island women, refugee and migrant women, rural women, lesbians and women with disabilities face particular barriers to full participation.

“An important part of strengthening families and communities is making sure women are well connected and supported, whatever their role is, and this policy promotes a range of ways to make this happen.”

The Alliance will:

- Ensure equal education, training and employment opportunities for women and girls
- Provide opportunities for women to participate in the full range of occupations for the same pay as men
- Recognise the contribution women make in unpaid work, particularly as carers
- Address physical violence against women and promote access to justice
- Actively promote sexual and reproductive health options and adopt the Abortion Supervisory Committee’s recommendations
- Promote women centred mental health services
- Decriminalise prostitution
- Implement Te Rito, the Family Violence Prevention Strategy
- Ensure the engagement of Maori women in all areas affecting their lives

Laila Harre said while New Zealand has rid the statute books of clearly discriminatory legislation, women remain on the back foot when it comes to the gender pay gap and the way their work is valued.

“Initiatives like paid parental leave and steps taken recently to generate discussion around pay equity are a great start, but we need to keep the momentum up if we are to see a real shift in the status of women.”

For a full copy of the policy check out www.alliance.org.nz

Policy 2002
Women’s Policy Summary

The Issues

Nearly 110 years after New Zealand women became the first in the world with the right to vote there is still a considerable way to go until women have real equality.
 Women take home significantly less pay than men,
 Although women are participating in paid work in ever increasing numbers there has been very little adaptation by the rest of society to their roles as employee/mother/family carer,
 Women shoulder the burden of the bulk of unpaid and caring work done in our society,
 Women live longer than men, but have poorer physical and mental health,
 Women are under-represented at all levels of key decision-making in New Zealand,
 The brunt of sexual and physical violence in the home and the workplace continues to be borne by women
 Women experience barriers in accessing justice.

Women are a diverse group. The daily and lifetime situations and conditions that women experience mean that some groups, including mothers, Maori and Pacific Island women, refugee and migrant women, rural women, lesbians and women with disabilities face particular barriers to achieving equality. The Alliance promotes substantive equality for all women.

The Goals

The Alliance will address critical work and education issues for women and girls by:
 ensuring equal education, training and employment opportunities exist inside and outside the formal education system
 providing opportunities for women to participate at all levels in the full range of occupations at an adequate and reliable income
 recognising the contributions made by women in their unpaid work
 ensuring that women receive equal pay for work of equal value
 extending the coverage, duration and payment rate for paid parental leave
 amending the ‘good faith’ provisions of the Employment Relations Act to require employers to directly address workers’ family responsibilities
 introducing universal and free childcare, beginning with 15 hours a week for 3 and 4 year olds
 investigating the feasibility of a universal basic income for all.

In health, the Alliance will:
 operate effective national cervical and breast screening programmes that are accessible, and culturally sensitive
 promote a choice of qualified birth attendants for women and adequate post-natal care
 encourage women-centred mental health services
 provide positive information on sexual and reproductive health and free contraception
 adopt the Abortion Supervisory Committee's recommendation that all medical practitioners may become certifying consultants for termination purposes.

In addition the Alliance will:
 ensure more effective strategies and increased funding to protect women from violence,
 decriminalise prostitution,
 ensure observance of the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi principles of partnership, participation and protection and promote active engagement with Maori women to ensure their involvement in all areas affecting their lives.

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