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Budget 2024 Offers Very Little For Gender Equality In New Zealand

The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women New Zealand (BPW NZ) believes women will be adversely affected by the announcements in Budget 2024 this week.

“BPW NZ is concerned that many of the budget 2024 announcements will lead to further gender inequality and disempower women,” says President Janet Gibb.

“Last year, the 2023 budget used a gender-lens for the first time, however this does not appear to be the case for this budget, despite academic and international best practice.

“The Minister for Women is no longer in cabinet which is a huge concern for progressing many issues relating to gender equality.

“We are especially shocked with the cuts to initiatives to address family violence at a time when New Zealand is ranked as the worst developed country in the OECD for family violence,” says Gibb.

However, BPW NZ acknowledges the investment to gradually extend free breast screening to 60,000 women aged 70 to 74, which aligns with BPW NZ policy for expanded breast screening services and addresses the adverse impact that Covid-19 had on take-up of screening.

“We have long advocated for the importance of addressing poverty, yet this budget offers very little for minimum wage workers, who are more likely to be women,” says Vice President Siobhan Dilly.

Further, because of the persistent gender pay gap in New Zealand, women retire with about 30% lower savings then men and are more likely to be in a vulnerable position financially as they get older.

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Budget 2024 offers minimal support for superannuants, who are also more likely to be women due to their expected longer life span.

There is no obvious alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, one of which is about gender equality.

“Added to the lack of support for women in Budget 2024, and due to a range of government policies announced by this coalition government since the election, we are particularly concerned about the impact on wāhine Māori and vulnerable women, such as those with disabilities,” says Dill

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