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Draft report on discrimination against women

December 12 2001 Media Statement

Draft report released on discrimination against women

Women’s Affairs Minister Laila Harré has released for public consultation a draft report on New Zealand’s progress towards implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

This will be New Zealand’s fifth report to the UN committee, and the draft is based on consultation with government departments, feedback from regional workshops held with women and girls and input from non-government organisations.

Laila Harré says she hopes the draft report will promote wider public discussion of the issues raised in preliminary consultations, as well as those identified by the UN committee in response to New Zealand’s last report.

“Many of the committee’s comments made at that time revealed the serious impact that the economic and social restructuring of the late 80s and early 90s was having on New Zealand women. Examples raised by the committee included the Employment Contracts Act and the privatisation of social services.

“The committee also expressed serious concern over New Zealand’s lack of paid maternity leave, and the impact that this was having on women’s equal pay and career opportunities.”

The draft report shows that a number of legislative changes implemented by the Labour-Alliance Coalition directly address some of the committee’s key concerns.

These include:

- The announcement of paid parental leave

- Introduction of the Employment Relations Act

- Introduction of the Property (Relationships) Act

- Increases to the adult and youth minimum wage

Other areas of progress include improvements to childcare subsidies and the childcare review, the introduction of a National Health Strategy, the ongoing development of a Women’s Strategy and a major pay equity project.

“These are all important changes, and now we need to hear from women and girls around the country about the issues that are important to them, and how the government can do even better when it comes to ensuring that gender isn’t a barrier to their participation in, and enjoyment of all aspects of life in New Zealand,” Laila Harré said.

The draft report will be circulated widely for public comment until February 28 2002. Submissions will then be analysed and the final report put before cabinet for submission to the CEDAW committee in May next year.

A copy of the draft report is available on the Ministry of Women’s Affairs website (under “What’s New”) – www.mwa.govt.nz.

To be emailed a copy of the report contact claire.hall@parliament.govt.nz

Submissions can be emailed to mwa@mwa.govt.nz or posted to:
Communications Unit
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
PO Box 10-049
Wellington

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