Satistics Show Good Progress For Women

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Women's Affairs

"A new Statistics New Zealand publication shows women in New Zealand are making good progress," the Minister of Women's Affairs, Hon Georgina te Heuheu, said today.

Speaking at the launch of New Zealand Now: Women a significant new profile of women in New Zealand by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Mrs te Heuheu says the document shows improvements in the status of women while also acting as a reminder that progress must continue to be made.

"The document shows for example increased participation in education and in the workforce, but I would still like to see more women training and taking up occupations traditionally dominated by men.

"Good statistical information is essential to good decision making. "Women are slightly more than half of the population. We need good information about women's lives, and about different groups of women's lives, in order to have policies and services that meet the needs of women and their families," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Following the 1995 Beijing Women's Conference the Government identified the need for improved gender statistics and information about women's lives as a key area to follow-up from the Beijing Platform for Action to improve understanding of the barriers to equality for women.

Mrs te Heuheu said "Since that time we have taken some significant steps to address gaps in statistical information including the Time Use Survey, the 1996 Household Disability Survey, a survey on childcare and a longitudinal survey on income dynamics."

"New Zealand Now: Women provides valuable information on the diverse conditions and experiences of New Zealand women. Where possible separate data has been presented for Maori women because their life experiences and chances are often different from those of other groups of women."

"New Zealand Now: Women is a significant resource that will be widely used by those interested in the status of women including politicians, researchers, analysts, lobbyists, teachers and students" said Mrs te Heuheu.

Mrs te Heuheu said launching this publication on International Women's Day provides a good opportunity to look at the landmarks the Government has achieved for women in recent years. These include:

  • increase in the number of women appointed to government boards and committees from 25 percent in 1993 to 35 percent in 1998 self-employment and business programmes for Maori women 
  • 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 
  • free health care for under-6's 
  • 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 
  • 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. 
  • establishment of a Women's Commissioner for human rights.