Young women urged to make their voices heard

Make your voice heard because no country can truly prosper without you, is the message Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given to female school students on International Women’s Day at the opening of new buildings at Tereora College in the Cook Islands.

“Across the Pacific we still have some way to go towards achieving gender equality. This is as true in New Zealand as it is for our Pacific neighbours,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This lack of equality is holding everyone back. The sooner we release that these are not just issues that impact on women the better. No country can truly prosper if half its population is not celebrated and fully empowered.

“To the young women out there I would like to say - make your voice heard. Women need to be heard and recognised across the economy and community but especially in governance and decision-making across the Pacific and that starts with you.

“Sitting before me in the audience today are the scientists, and teachers and doctors and business people of the future. Who knows? Maybe there is even a future Prime Minister out there who will go on to lead her country?

“My hope for the future is that, across the world and our region, we continue to make progress, so that all women and young girls can learn, prosper and grow, and live with dignity, equality and basic human rights,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Due to time zones it is March 8 – International Women’s Day – in the Cook Islands.