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Wellingtonians Celebrate International Women’s Day

9 March, 2014

Wellingtonians Celebrate International Women’s Day

A Breakfast was held at Parliament on Friday to celebrate International Women’s Day. The event was organized by UN Women in partnership with the Zonta Club of Wellington and was fully subscribed. Women from across the city breakfasted with girls from nine colleges throughout the region.

Sue Kedgley, President of the National Committee for UN Women New Zealand welcomed everyone and opened the proceedings. Liz Brown, Secretary UN Women introduced the impressive array of speakers, notably, the Hon Jo Goodhew, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dame Anne Salmond, Distinguished Professor of Maori Studies and Anthropology at the University of Auckland, and Lynn McKenzie, Zonta International President.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year was “Women and Democracy”. This subject was chosen to highlight the fact that it is election year and that only one third of our MPs are women – a gure that has remained static for the past decade. In the wider Pacic Region political participation by women is the lowest of any region in the world.

Lynn McKenzie says, “Yes, women in New Zealand have many rights; however, that is not the case everywhere. Last year, we celebrated 120 years of women’s suffrage here in New Zealand. As the first country to grant women the right to vote, we can be proud of our place in history; however, we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. Women and men fought for women’s right to vote. They were not given the right; they fought for this right. How do we now exercise this right to promote gender equality and empower women?

“The last election here in New Zealand had the lowest voter turnout since 1887 – well before women had even gained the right to vote. What is even more concerning is that voters under 30, who account for 22 percent of the eligible voting population, accounted for more than 75% of eligible voters who were not enrolled to vote in 2011.

“As we approach elections later this year, we should be encouraging all young people, but especially young women, throughout New Zealand to use the most valuable resource they have to inspire change for women here in New Zealand and around the world. It starts with the simple act of registering to vote, but it is a commitment to using that right to vote to speak up for women’s rights and women’s advancement in all aspects of life. We need to encourage ALL WOMEN TO VOTE”.

www.zonta.org.nz

ENDS

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