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Call for a New Women’s Charter on International Women’s Day


7 March 2017


Feminist and writer Sandra Coney is calling for a new Women’s Charter that would spell out an agreed agenda for change for women and girls in New Zealand.

“A bit like a Working Women’s Charter updated to the 21stCentury”. Women everywhere could work on this and it “might just bring us back together as a powerful force for change”, she says.

Sandra made the call at a sell-out International Women’s Day Breakfast at Parliament in Wellington, attended by the Governor General, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy.

The breakfast is jointly organised by the Wellington Zonta Club and UN Women New Zealand, and is hosted by the Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister for Women and Deputy Prime Minister.

Sandra pointed out that almost a half century after the women’s liberation movement arrived in New Zealand, there is no strong, organized feminist network to spearhead change, and wide and worsening inequality in our society. Women suffer most in this unequal type of society, directly and indirectly, she says.

Sandra argues that women’s progress can be measured not by how women are doing at the top, but how well they are doing at the bottom. She said introducing a living wage and raising benefits were important changes needed to improve conditions for women in New Zealand.


Background on Sandra Coney
Sandra Coney is a local government politician, writer, health activist and feminist. She co-founded the feminist magazine, Broadsheet, and with Phillida Bunkle wrote the Metro article that led to sweeping reforms in health consumers’ rights and the formation of the National Cervical Screening Programme. Since 2001, she has had roles as a councillor on the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Council, and is currently a member of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.

She has particular interests in provision of parks, historic heritage, the natural environment, restoration projects and biosecurity. She is in her third term as a member of the Waitemata District Health Board and is a member of the feminist Cartwright Collective. She has written or edited 18 books and is currently working on two books on the First World War.

International Women’s Day
Since 1911 International Women's Day, also known as United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace, has been celebrated on March 8th. All around the world the achievements of women are celebrated, while, at the same time, calling for greater equality.

Background on Zonta International
The Zonta Club of Wellington is one of 28 clubs in New Zealand and is a member of Zonta International which was founded in 1919 in the USA. Zonta is a global organization of business and professionals working together across political boundaries to empower women globally through service and advocacy.

There are over 30,000 members belonging to just under 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries. Membership is both a personal and professional benefit and a responsibility that requires time, resources and financial commitment.

For more information about Zonta in Wellington email wellington@zonta.org.nz and refer to the New Zealand website www.zonta.org.nz or international www.zonta.org

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