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UN Committee expresses concern about status of women in NZ

19 July 2012

Media Release

UN Committee expresses concern about the status of women in New Zealand

The UN committee which monitors discrimination against women today expressed concern about the current status of women in New Zealand

Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon. Jo Goodhew, presented New Zealand’s seventh report to the UN under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in New York – and she faced a number of tricky questions.

The Committee noted that given New Zealand’s position as a world leader in achieving equality for women in many areas - such as giving women the vote - they were concerned about the present situation.

Speaking from New York, National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) representative, Beryl Anderson, commented: “The Committee arrowed in on several issues that are hampering progress towards equality for women including the gender pay gap; the lack of maternal mental health services; the restrictions on abortion under New Zealand law; the low rate of women’s participation on boards and in other leadership roles; the lack of an action plan for New Zealand women; the low level of Paid Parental Leave entitlements compared to other developed countries; and neglect of issues faced by ethnic women.

“The Minister also faced questions about the impact of recent changes to the Family Court and legal aid and whether this will impact on women’s access to justice.”

Julie Radford-Poupard, Director of Women's Health Action Trust, added: “The committee raised many important issues today and it is clear that committed government action is needed to progress equality for women. The committee's report will give good guidance on priority areas.”


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