Morris to Present CEDAW Report to UN

  • Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

Associate Minister of Women's Affairs Deborah Morris goes to New York on 5 July to present the Government's report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Deborah Morris will be representing the Government on the Prime Minister's behalf and a series of official engagements are also planned.

"New Zealand's report was prepared in consultation with government agencies and non-government organisations and fulfils our obligations to the international convention."

"Our report highlights the progress New Zealand has made in eliminating discrimination since our last report to the UN in 1994, and we have much to be proud of.

"New Zealand has achieved a number of advances for women, in legislative reform, policy development, health, education and employment outcomes including:

- introduction of the Domestic Violence Act 1995
- funding for a Time Use Survey
- the appointment of the Health and Disability Commissioner
- implementation of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993
- an increase from 25% in 1994 to 31% in 1998 in the number of women appointed to government boards and committees
- an increase in women entering and graduating 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
- New Zealand Law Commissioner's Women's Access to Justice Project
- planned legislative change on matrimonial property and the introduction of legislation on property rights for those in defacto relationships

"Legislation is one way of making change to women's lives but I consider that attitudinal change is equally important, and that is an area where all New Zealanders have a role," said Deborah Morris.

As well as presenting the CEDAW report, Deborah Morris also has a number of other official engagements in New York and Washington DC. These include:

- a roundtable discussion at the Population Council
- meetings with the Executive Director of UNICEF and the Executive Director of the YWCA
- visits to Sasha Bruce Youth Works and Global Kids (youth programmes)
- a roundtable discussion with youth and community leaders
- an Open Forum speaking engagement meetings at the White House with the First Lady's Chief of Staff and the Senior Adviser on women's issues

"I also welcome the opportunity this visit affords to observe initiatives in my Youth Affairs and Women's Affairs portfolios, and seek new innovations and ideas from other countries," concluded Deborah Morris.