Women must ‘pull to­gether’ in elec­tion year

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A 100-point women’s call for ac­tion is be­ing put for­ward to all nine po­lit­i­cal par­ties in prepa­ra­tion for the gen­eral elec­tion.

The call comes from for­mer lawyer and jour­nal­ist Ca­tri­ona Ma­cLen­nan who says she has se­ri­ous con­cerns re­gard­ing women’s rights in New Zealand.

‘‘Progress has stalled at the mo­ment. In some ar­eas we may be go­ing back­wards.’’

The 10-page doc­u­ment cov­ers a range of is­sues such as stop­ping vi­o­lence against women, clos­ing the gen­der pay gap, recog­nis­ing and re­ward­ing the im­por­tance of child-rear­ing and im­prov­ing women’s ad­vance­ment to the top of the po­lit­i­cal and spheres.

Ma­cLen­nan ex­pects the po­lit­i­cal par­ties to re­spond to her agenda, stat­ing which parts they sup­port and which poli­cies they would im­ple­ment.

‘‘Then we are go­ing to set up a web­site and do a com­par­i­son of dif­fer­ent par­ties’ poli­cies so that vot­ers, when they de­cide to give their votes, can have a look and make an in­formed de­ci­sion.’’

Ma­cLen­nan says women need to be ‘‘proac­tive and a bit more force­ful’’ than they have been in re­gards to ad­vo­cat­ing for women’s rights.

‘‘I think it’s very very im­por­tant

busi­ness for women all around New Zealand to work to­gether es­pe­cially in the elec­tion year.

‘‘We re­ally need to try and pull to­gether, and use our voting power to­gether be­cause other­wise I don’t think we are go­ing to get politi­cians and the gen­eral pub­lic to pay any at­ten­tion to us or make any changes,’’ she says.

A re­port by United Na­tions Women NZ found that one-third of New Zealand women ex­pe­ri­enced some form of vi­o­lence from men in the pe­riod 2000-2010.

Ac­cord­ing to the Green Party, men earned 12 per cent more than women at the be­gin­ning of 2013.

Auck­land Women’s Cen­tre man­ager Leonie Mor­ris says New Zealan­ders need to take ac­tion against the ‘‘ap­palling’’ in­equal­ity is­sues in so­ci­ety.

‘‘Women need to step up and recog­nise that change needs to oc­cur,’’ she says.

The doc­u­ment is be­ing sent out to women around the coun­try, who are in­vited to add additional re­quests.

‘‘We are ask­ing women if they want to add things or em­pha­sise cer­tain is­sues and then to go and talk to their lo­cal MPs or people in their lo­cal ar­eas about it,’’ she says.

Ac­tion plan: Lawyer and jour­nal­ist Ca­tri­ona Ma­cLen­nan says progress on women’s rights has stalled.

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