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Women’s Affairs Briefing Paper Released

3 September 2002

Women’s Affairs Briefing Paper Released

Women are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve economic independence while meeting society’s expectations that they carry the major responsibility for unpaid work, Women’s Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

Releasing the Women’s Affairs briefing to the incoming minister, Ms Dyson said the status and well-being of women continue to need government attention.

“Maori and Pacific women face particular stresses because of their broader family responsibilities, concentration in low paid work, higher level of community work, and younger age structure of their population groups,” she said.

Ruth Dyson said the briefing sets out key opportunities for the government to improve outcomes for women. These include:

- developing the Women’s Strategy, a cross-government framework to address women’s issues, by June 2003;

- consulting on the discussion document, Next Steps to Pay Equity, by 30 November 2002;

- assessing the implementation and effect of paid parental leave, introduced in July 2002;

- providing advice on work/family/community balance which acknowledges paid and unpaid work;

- using the 1999 Time Use Survey to develop new policy initiatives, and developing a measure for the value of unpaid work;

- implementing Te Rito, the Family Violence Prevention Strategy; and

- addressing health workforce issues, including those relating to homecare workers and caregivers.

Ms Dyson said a national action plan is essential to address Maori women’s priorities for leadership, safety and wellbeing, and economic autonomy. She said the special needs of Pacific women, women with disabilities and older women also need to be addressed.

“As the new Minister of Women’s Affairs, I am looking forward to working with women all around the country on these issues, so that we can remove the structural barriers that prevent women participating fully in society.”

The briefing paper is available from Women’s Affairs, PO Box 10 049, Wellington, phone 04 473 4112, fax (04) 472 0961, email:mwa@mwa.govt.nz, or on the websites: www.beehive.govt.nz/briefings/index.cfm, and www.mwa.govt.nz

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