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Call to action to combat gender discrimination

6 December 2012

Media Release
Call to action to combat gender discrimination

“Discrimination against women in New Zealand will be tackled by working groups set up to review and help drive change in several priority areas,” National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) President Barbara Arnold said today.

Barbara Arnold was commenting on the development of an action plan designed to address key areas identified by the UN committee monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) following its meeting in New York in July this year.

“Although the Committee recognises that New Zealand has been a world leader in achieving equality for women in many sectors, it is concerned about the current situation particularly in justice, health, employment and welfare," Barbara Arnold said.

“The Committee has asked the Government to take action on a number of issues including the gender pay gap; restrictions on abortion under New Zealand law; the low rate of women’s participation on boards and in other leadership roles; the lack of an action plan for New Zealand women; the low level of paid parental leave entitlements compared to other developed countries; and neglect of issues faced by ethnic women.

“Last month NCWNZ organised a seminar in Wellington which brought together organisations from the NGO sector to establish working groups as part of an action plan to ensure the Committee’s recommendations are implemented. Our role is to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to tackle the persistent inequalities that exist in New Zealand.

“NCWNZ is keen to hear from other groups and individuals who are interested in being involved in this process,” said Barbara Arnold.

• Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty and rights based framework which was adopted in 1979 as one of the six primary international documents for the protection and promotion of human rights.
• New Zealand ratified the convention in 1985.
• The New Zealand Government presented its seventh report to the CEDAW committee in July 2012.
• NCWNZ co-ordinated the Aotearoa New Zealand Non-Governmental Organisations Report to the CEDAW committee and presented this report in July 2012.
• Organisations represented at the NCWNZ Seminar include: ALRANZ, Business and Professional Women New Zealand, Girl Guiding New Zealand, NZ Federation of Graduate Women, NZ Federation of Women's Institutes, Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand, Rural Women New Zealand, The Salvation Army, UN Women, Women in Leadership Aotearoa, Women's Refuge and Zonta International.

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