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International Women’s Day – a time for celebration

Media Advisory

5 March 2001

International Women’s Day – a time for celebration and concern

Activities addressing women’s rights will take place around the country on Thursday 8 March, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The Human Rights Commission is encouraging local groups to promote United Nations treaties that advance the rights of women, such as the Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol. The Honourable Justice Dame Silvia Cartwright, a former UN CEDAW Committee member, has sent a message to New Zealand women (transcript available from 0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS or infoline@hrc.co.nz).

Women’s groups all over the country are organising their own events, highlighting issues of importance in their own communities. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the National Council of Women are supporting these activities.

Events celebrating International Women’s Day are planned in Hamilton, Whangarei, Wanganui, Rotorua, Hokitika, Putaruru and Gisborne, as well as the major urban centres.

Shakti Migrant Resource Centre in Auckland is hosting “Celebrating Migrant Women in New Zealand”, which will feature a range of workshops addressing different aspects of women’s lives.

“The workshops will give migrant women an opportunity for their voices to be heard. We hope the day will highlight the special problems that migrant women face and provide direction on how to overcome those barriers,” said Sou Chiam, Head of the Human Rights Policy Unit at the Human Rights Commission.

Commissioner Areta Koopu said she was impressed with the energy and initiative being shown.

“International Women’s Day is not only a celebration of women’s history and achievements – it is also a recognition of the shared obstacles that still lie ahead,” Mrs Koopu said.

“For the Commission, the obstacles include discrimination against women such as sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and the gender pay gap. Other areas of concern are the lack of paid parental leave and prostitution reform.”

“Local women’s groups will be addressing the issues of most concern to their communities,” Mrs Koopu said.

For details of activities taking place in your town or province, please contact 0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS).

Note to journalists: for further information please contact Glyn Walters, Communications Officer, Human Rights Commission on 09 375 8627.

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