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Bleakly Sexist Future for Tertiary Women

The Government's "Bright Futures" package is sexist and will do nothing to improve the situation for women students, say women student representatives and the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA).

"It is not women who will benefit from the new scholarships announced in this package," said Karen Skinner, Co-president of NZUSA.

"Women are underrepresented in the fields on science and technology that this government seems clearly wanting to emphasise, at the expense of arts and humanities, where most women are concentrated. " said Ms Skinner.

A University of Canterbury Student's Association survey of postgraduate women indicates that they are less likely than their male counterparts to receive scholarships

"Scholarships also pose a problem for part-time study. Women do more part-time study, balancing other commitments." Said Ms Skinner. "Women only make up 29% of Doctorate students, and this is where most of these new scholarships are concentrated" said Ms Skinner.

"Once again women's concerns have been ignored. New Zealand is facing a huge student debt blow out and the majority of that is shouldered by women" said Ms Skinner.

" A women with a $20 000 debt will take 51 years to payback the debt in comparison to her male counterpart taking 17 years. We have released this statistic, only to have it fall on deaf ears" said Ms Skinner. " It is outrageous that once again we have seen issues for women students ignored. We are sick and tired of these male-centred viewpoints with the agenda to privatise education. In the coming months we will be taking action with our User-Pays Bad for All Worse for Women Campaign." Said Ms Skinner .

"This government has shown no commitment to women students and NZUSA will be encouraging women students to have no commitment to them in the elections" concluded Ms Skinner.

ENDS

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