• 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 marked International Women's Day by releasing the Government's report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

"This is a major report highlighting progress for women in New Zealand since our previous presentation to the Committee in 1994," the Ministers said.

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

Mrs Shipley said the Government had 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
- 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
- free visits to General Practitioners for children under-six
- 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.

Mrs Shipley and Ms Morris said they were looking forward to building on these initiatives.

"However, we must remember that legislation is only one way to achieve progress. We must also change attitudes through information and education.

"With this in mind, the Ministry of Women's Affairs is to be commended in developing a gender analysis framework that has been mainstreamed into policy advice."

The Ministers said the CEDAW report fulfills our international obligation to report progress in eliminating discrimnation made between January 1994 to February 1998.

The Report 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.

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