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Women Need A Voice - National Council of Women

5 November 2003

Women Need A Voice

Mr Brash has announced that he plans to become Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2005. How can he imagine that he will achieve this when possibly 50% of the voting population will be unlikely to support him and his party following the appointment of the shadow portfolios?

His decision not to appoint a spokesperson for Women's Affairs raises questions about his appreciation of the role and contributions of women. Added to that, the announcement in the New Zealand Herald quoted him as saying that "given the chance he would like to abolish the Ministry of Women's Affairs". This is evidence of his ignorance of the discrimination against women that still exists in New Zealand.

Certainly women have come a long way since the suffragists, under Kate Sheppard, fought for the vote for women 110 years ago. But as recently as July 2003, the New Zealand Government was reminded by the CEDAW Monitoring Committee of the areas of discrimination and disadvantage against women that still need to be addressed.

Clearly the new Leader of the National Party is unaware of these issues and, by dismissing the idea of a spokesperson for women, displays both ignorance and discrimination.


About National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ)

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) was formed in 1896 and emerged directly from the successful campaign for women’s suffrage.

NCWNZ’s key role now, as in former years, is as an advocacy group, focusing on improving the total environment for women, children and society in general. The core business is to inform women’s organisations on issues affecting women, children and society; encourage debate on the issues at a local, national and international level; collect and collate women’s opinions on the issues and refer them to decision makers.

NCWNZ membership includes 33 branches ranging from Whangarei to Southland, and 42 Nationally Organised Societies jointly speaking for approximately 150,000 women. Many of these member organisations provide social services in local communities particularly for families. NCWNZ also has Individual members and National members. There are over 150 organisations affiliated to NCWNZ Branches.

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