MINISTER AND ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF WOMEN'S AFFAIRS HIGHLIGHT PROGRESS FOR WOMEN

  • Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

Prime Minister and Minister of Women's Affairs Jenny Shipley and Associate Minister of Women's Affairs Deborah Morris today reiterated the achievements highlighted in the Government's report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Ministers said the CEDAW report, which was publicly released by the Government in March, will be presented to the United Nations on 8 July 1998, in New York.

The CEDAW Report is part of New Zealand's international obligation to report progress to the United Nations in eliminating discrimination made between January 1994 to February 1998. It is also a valuable resource on the advancement of the status of women in New Zealand and was prepared in consultation with government agencies and non-government organisations.

Mrs Shipley and Ms Morris said the New Zealand report to the United Nations outlines significant advancements for women in a wide range of areas including justice, education, health and participation.

"We are especially pleased that New Zealand is able to report significant advancements for women, including progress on implementing the Beijing Platform for Action.

The Government has achieved a number of landmarks for women in recent years, including:

  • funding for a diary-based Time Use Survey
  • introduction of the Domestic Violence Act 1995
  • appointment of the Health and Disability Commissioner
  • implementation of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993
  • an increase in the number of women appointed to government boards and committees
  • employment programmes for Maori women
  • an increase in women graduates from tertiary education
  • 40% of new businesses are now started up by women
  • introduction of a sexual and reproductive health strategy and free oral contraception
  • increased funding for out-of-school care
  • New Zealand Law Commission's Women's Access to Justice Project
  • planned legislative change on matrimonial property and the introduction of legislation on property rights for those in de facto relationships
  • implementation of a national breast screening programme.
  • appointment of a Women's Commissioner for human rights

The Ministers said the report issued this week by Non Governmental Organisations outlined areas where some women's groups still had concerns and the Government has a continued commitment to working with them on an ongoing basis.

"It is also important to remember that Non Governmental Organisations and other women's groups were extensively consulted and indeed commented on the Government's report. Many commented that the report is balanced and honest," the Ministers said.

The Ministers said they were looking forward to building on the initiatives outlined in the CEDAW report.

"We can be rightly proud of the achievements and legal protections New Zealand women enjoy," concluded the Ministers.