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Women's Convention Not Representative

Women's Convention Not Representative

Today a group of women met in Wellington to discuss their concerns about the United Women's Convention. The convention claims that it celebrates women's achievements and will offer directions for the future for women in New Zealand.

The meeting felt that the convention did not represent the reality of women's lives in New Zealand. The cost of attending the convention, $200 per delegate, excluded women who could not afford to pay this cost. Only 550 women are attending the convention, far fewer than the 2,000 expected. It also felt the convention's program did not reflect the issues that are relevant to many New Zealand women today.

Women at the meeting said that the organisation of the convention had actively excluded many women, by ignoring their requests to present workshops, and failing to reply to letters and emails.

The meeting identified issues that were relevant to women's lives and that urgently need to be addressed. These issues included the status of unpaid work, discrimination, poverty and violence.

"Women's work in the home and community is not valued, we are told that we only contribute to society by being in paid employment" said Jasmine Freemantle, one of the organisers of the meeting.

"Women are still fighting to access good health care, education and welfare services. These issues are particularly important for rural and low-income women, " said Nikki Burrows, another of the meeting's organisers.

The convention did not address the concerns women had about the discrimination they faced in their lives. Women still felt discriminated against on the basis of their race, sexuality, ability, class and work-status.

The commodification of women's bodies and the sexualisation of children were another concern raised.

These issues need to be prioritised in government policy, and given more resources to make real changes to women' lives. The meeting recognises the contributions of feminists but maintains that the convention should not be seen to represent the views of all women in Aotearoa/New Zealand.


For more information contact
Jasmine Freemantle: 027 - 552 - 4224

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