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Convention Gains Speaker of International Renown

Media Release

21 September 2004

New Zealand’s Women’s Convention Gains Speaker of International Renown

The Hon. Margaret Shields, Convenor of the National Women’s Convention to be held in Wellington in June 2005, today announced the keynote speaker at the Conference will be Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway’s first women Prime Minister and a person who has made a significant contribution to health and environmental issues internationally.

Dr. Brundtland, a physician, was Prime Minister of Norway in 1981, 1986 – 1989, 1990 – 1996. She chaired the World Commission of Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), developing the broad political concept of sustainable development, and she was elected Director-General of the World Health Organization in May 1998 and completed her term in July 2003.

The New Zealand Women’s Convention: Learn from the Past, Look to the Future, is being held 30 years after the convention, which was held in Wellington in1975, International Women’s Year.

Margaret Shields said: “The conference will address many issues that are fundamental for New Zealand, aligning the achievements and aspirations of women with the country’s social and economic development, and setting a path for the next 30 years.”

The purpose of the convention is to review and evaluate the progress made for and by women over the last 30 years in terms of demographics, and work and home life along with the growth in understanding of the imperatives of environmental sustainability, and peace. It will look at the situations of young women today and the different society that they are part of, and identify achievable policy objectives to accommodate the changing needs of women and men in today’s world.

Research papers will be distributed to participants before the conference to help inform discussions on issues, provide background material on the trends in New Zealand today, and assist in developing objectives and strategies for building communities for the 21st Century. The Action Plan for New Zealand Women launched this year by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs will also be used as a base document.

“The convention will be based on a several outstanding lead speakers. However, the core of the meeting will be the workshops where participants will debate, discuss and reflect on the key issues identified. As with the 1975 convention we will have groups of people with particular expertise, knowledge and experience organising and facilitating the workshops.

“We are absolutely delighted that a person of Dr Brundtland’s international standing and experience has agreed to come and address this important meeting. She will speak of sustainable development, in the broadest sense – being physical, social and economic, looking at the changes over the past 30 years. Dr Brundtland will prepare us for looking forward to the next 30 years.

“She will be able to provide enormous insight into health and environmental issues and the changing roles of women. The latter is particularly apposite given Dr Brundtland’s broad personal experience and also because, in some important ways, Norway and New Zealand are very similar,” Margaret Shields said.

The convention will be held in Wellington on 4 – 6 June 2005. Any parties who would like more information should contact:


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