• Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

Celebrating World Rural Women's Day today, the Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Hon Deborah Morris said that the contribution rural women make to New Zealand society is often over-looked and certainly underestimated.

"Rural women in New Zealand more often than not work simultaneously as business partners, mothers, farm workers, accountants, and community workers and hold down a day job.

"Because of the physical and social isolation many rural women live with, the rest of us don't get to see the enormous amount of work they do in a day. Rural Women's Day is an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge these incredibly resourceful women."

"Rural women make a very real contribution to the effective running of our communities and our economy. That this work is largely unseen and unpaid makes it no less valuable."

Ms Morris said the ability to measure the value of rural women's work is yet another reason why the Time Use Survey being carried out next year by the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Statistics New Zealand is so important.

The Time Use Survey will be run over a twelve month period and provide researchers with information to enable the value of unpaid work in New Zealand to be assessed and measured. "This means we will be able to measure seasonal differences in how New Zealanders spend their time, something that is crucial to the lives of rural women," said Ms Morris.