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Census ‘food for thought’ for young women

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Youth Affairs, Minister of Local Government, Minister of Customs, Associate Minister for the Environment, Associate Minister of Tourism,
MP for Tainui

31 March 2008
Media Statement

Census ‘food for thought’ for young women

Local Government and Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today said the 2008 Census of Women’s Participation should motivate young women to keep driving for parity.

Nanaia Mahuta welcomed the release of the Census – a biennial report produced by the Human Rights Commission - which provides a benchmark on the position of New Zealand women within areas of the public and private sectors, particularly in business leadership.

“The Census gives us all food for thought, and a base to ensure the best way forward,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

Among the Human Rights Commission’s key points is the need for a greater whole-of-government approach to reach the self-imposed target of 50 per cent representation by women on state sector boards and committees by 2010. Latest statistics shows New Zealand women have a 42 per cent participation rate.

“While there is clearly a message that more needs to be done to achieve greater equality for women all round, it is also heartening to note that women hold the highest constitutional positions in New Zealand.

“This should be a source of motivation for young women who are starting out in their careers. We need to provide them with the best opportunities possible, so they have the confidence to push for leadership roles in future,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“I’m also heartened that for the first time, there is information on the status of Maori women, which is being discussed. There is still some way to go to engage further with Maori women, but with statistics showing that Maori women make up 42 per cent of representation at board level and 27 per cent in management, it is a positive start.”

Nanaia Mahuta said the Labour-led government is committed to advocating for women and increasing their participation in leadership roles.

“As Minister of Local government, I realise there needs to be more concrete action taken to increase the number of women in decision-making positions in the local government area, and I welcome feedback on the ways this could be achieved,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“The Labour-led government is a great supporter for women’s participation in the work force, and ensuring they have what is needed to be able to do this, through initiatives like the “Working for Families” package that assists families in meeting the costs of childcare, and 20 hours free education for three and four-year-olds. We are committed to the drive for greater equality for women across all sectors of society.”

ENDS

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