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Ethnic women can contribute to improving status

Ethnic women can contribute to improving status of women

Women's Affairs Minister Steve Chadwick is urging women of different ethnicities to speak up on behalf of their communities and contribute to improving the status of women in New Zealand.

Steve Chadwick is at an Ethnic Women's Forum in Christchurch today meeting women from various ethnic backgrounds; immigrants, refugees, long-term settlers and New Zealanders who identify with other ethnic heritages.

"Today's meeting gives me a valuable opportunity to hear the voices and views of a group of women of other ethnicities that make up more than 1 in 10 people in Christchurch city (2006 Census).

"I'll be interested to talk to them about the Labour-led government's 'Action Plan for New Zealand Women', which sets out a wide range of goals for women from a range of Departments, including Labour, Health and Social Development and Employment.

"The views of smaller groups of women is important in our work to improve the status of women, in terms of leadership, pay, work-life balance and well-being. Women of other ethnicities have a vital contribution to make.

"This meeting allows me to hear first hand about how life is faring for ethnic women, and how we can assist with any challenges they face."

A number of barriers exist for women of different ethnicities in New Zealand, from experiencing loneliness, especially if they don't speak English, or discrimination getting a job.

"The Ministry of Women's Affairs works closely with other government departments to remove such barriers, and I encourage women not to be afraid to come forward, and work with us to fully participate in society.

"For example, the Ministry is currently working to get more women represented on government boards and committees, and I urge women of other ethnicities to get involved."

ENDS

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