May-June 2022, Issue 635
Suzanne Manning, President
Ngā mihi nui e te whānau o Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa.
I hope you all enjoyed Aotearoa’s first Matariki holiday, and managed to keep warm in the midwinter weather. Matariki is a time for reflection, gratitude, remembering those who have passed on, and resetting ourselves. Let’s hope that these values remain central to the holiday and that Matariki does not become over-commercialised.
ICW-CIP in Avignon 2022. Image courtesy of ARPC newsletter.
The International Council of Women – Conseil de Femmes International (ICW-CIF) held their general assembly in Avignon in France during May: check out the venue in the photo!
This meeting is generally held every three years, although this one was delayed due to COVID. Jungsook Kim from Korea ended her term as President, and Martine Marandel from France was elected as President for the next three years. Hean Bee Wee was re-elected as the Asia-Pacific Region Council (APRC) President, also for three years. The triennial theme is “Empowerment of Women: Peace and Sustainable Development”.
The mid-term Executive Committee meeting will be held in Wellington, in September 2023 – we were successful in our bid! This will create an opportunity to showcase our work both nationally and internationally, so we will look to hold a national conference alongside the Executive Committee. Following that, the next General Assembly will be in Australia in 2025.
NCWNZ Board, June 2022, Central House Wellington. (l-r) Betty Ofe-Grant, Suzanne Manning, Kerri Du Pont, Anmar Taufeek, Nina Santos, Carol Beaumont. Image courtesy of the Board.
The NCWNZ Board meeting in June was face to face, held in our rooms in Wellington. It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet, talk and work with the team. We welcomed Beryl Anderson and Eileen Brown at the end of the meeting for a social gathering, and would have welcomed Soraiya Daud, too, except she was unwell. We wanted to show our appreciation for the extensive mahi that these people do for us.
At the meeting we signed the new Constitution, passed at the March SGM and now uploaded to Charities Services – although it won’t show until we’ve filed this year’s annual report. This was the culmination of a long process of re-examining our values, structures and processes.
Now we have the task of implementing our new ways of working, and refining our processes so we can be the impactful advocate for women’s rights and gender equality that we want to be.
Suzanne Manning signing the new Constitution, June meeting 2022. Image courtesy of Nina Santos.
The Board members continue to be very busy on a range of tasks. Just as an indicator, between us we attend events such as Annual General Meetings and Award ceremonies; we liaise with Action Hubs and the Parliamentary Watch committee; we are progressing the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work; and we respond to media requests.
Have you seen Nina Santos on TV3’s AM show? She’s almost a regular on their panel, giving a gender-informed commentary. We also created a joint media release about the Roe v Wade court decision, withdrawing the federal constitutional right for women in the US to access safe abortions.
Collaborating with our member organisations on issues like this where we can find common ground, is something we’re keen to do more of.
I would also like to give a shout-out to Kerri Du Pont, who recently (among so many other things) took time out of her busy work day to help sort out some critical website issues. With our new online membership renewal system, we are relying on our website to function smoothly. We are lucky that Kerri has the tech knowledge to be able to help, but it does highlight that to be sustainable we need to invest in tech support. In our new ways of operating, this is no longer an optional extra.
Ko te tumanako ka ora ake koutou – I hope you all stay well.
NCWNZ Action Hubs
Members of the NCWNZ Education Action Hub offer "A Commentary and Annotated Bibliography: Teen Pregnancy, Success in Secondary School, and Later Life Opportunities"
Recent New Zealand research shows that young women who leave secondary school early through pregnancy, bullying or other issues, have less opportunity to gain qualifications and later life opportunities. Even though overall numbers of pregnant adolescents have been declining since the late 1990s, there are those who suffer from significant stereotyping in medical and socio-economic contexts by too many of the very professionals who are tasked to support them. This is an issue especially for under-served and under-represented minority groups.
There are proven solutions to the problem of school attrition by pregnant teens. Research has shown that those few places where teen mothers are encouraged to stay in school with the additional support and carefully designed infrastructures such as Teen Parent Units, these secondary school children feel more empowered and can persist despite many obstacles. Finding ways to continue and increase the number of well-designed Teen Parent Units needs to be examined – especially in underserved rural and coastal areas.
Adolescent pregnancy can be mitigated with comprehensive sexual education and health care. This work continues to prove ineffective in many schools, especially in those communities where women are seen primarily as childbearing vessels with few decision-making responsibilities or fiscal independence. As the NCWNZ’s Gender Attitudes survey has shown, the nation’s attitudes about women and girls, especially regarding rape culture, has not shown any downward trends despite the many different ways awareness raising campaigns have been offered. Limited access to contraception is a problem for New Zealand adolescents that can be overcome with a more thoughtful approach to the range and proactive provision of contraception and sexual health education.
With the rising inequalities in New Zealand and the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic on living standards, girls – especially young women of colour – are bearing the brunt of economic and social injustices. More work needs to be done for those young women living in dangerous or impoverished communities at risk of dropping out of school early or with low qualifications. Research has shown that teens who drop out of school early are more likely thereafter to become pregnant before they turn 20. In a post school transition with their social identities irreversibly transformed from young person to mother, their aspirations for secure and independent futures are complicated by their new caretaking responsibilities and lack of adequate resources. Researchers have shown that births to young mothers are a product of disadvantage rather than a cause: that if the young women are already socially and/or economically disadvantaged, they are more likely to become teen mothers. Additionally, the stigma associated with young parents exacerbate disadvantages they already experience. Too many of these young women are missing from the Department of Labour’s NEET statistics because they take on low-wage, flexible-hour jobs quickly and become enmired in a labour force that keeps them from attaining any further education or upward mobility in living standards. It is as if they become invisible even as they take on life-threatening burdens of pregnancy, poverty and over-work.
The following research articles support the claims of the above statements and offer many innovative solutions:
- Kaloga (2021) provided an overview of the 2020 Economic Justice Online Forum in which distributive justice, income inequality, and wealth inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand were highlighted. She emphasised that the field of social work is far behind in understanding or acting upon the fact that both income and wealth inequality have reached historically high levels. “Inequality research has demonstrated a causal link between inequality and a host of social and health issues that, while they impact society as a whole, affect the nation’s most marginalised populations to an increasingly greater degree.”
- Scott (2018) reports that adolescents’ chances of “not being in employment, education or training (NEET) are associated with their level of school achievement. He emphasises that a “long-known message of disadvantage” is for those who do not obtain qualifications at secondary school.
- McGirr (2019) states that in New Zealand two factors for people with poorest long-term employment outcomes were “being a young parent (particularly before age 19)” and “leaving school with no or low qualifications” (p. 2).
- Boden, Fergusson, and John Horwood (2008) utilised a 25-year longitudinal NZ study to establish the close links between adolescent parenthood and adverse later outcomes, including educational and economic disadvantage. This study echoes an earlier 21-year longitudinal one (Fergusson & Woodward, 2000), which found that pregnant young women left school in NZ because of pregnancy rather than becoming pregnant afterwards.
- Wylie (2009) developed a comprehensive study of nearly five hundred 16-year-olds in the Wellington region. Of the 6% who had already left school, 59% wished that they had more support with their school subjects. The female school leaver group in the 6% was noticeable as being unsettled and “the least happy in what they were doing” (p. 2). Their parents perceived that “romantic or sexual relationships, and relations with their friends as being the source of their upset” (p.3).
- Patterson (2011) identifies that of the 29 21-year-olds that she studied, all of the mothers at age 21 were not in paid work, all had left school early, and all remembered “School was not for me” (p. 3).
- Breheny and Stephens (2010) establish that pregnant teenage mothers form an artificial construct in medical literature which “constrain(s) alternative approaches” of dealing with them (p. 1).
- Māori adolescent mothers were found to be round half the total number in NZ in 2011 (Rebstock, 2011, p. 45). Ware, Breheny, and Forster (2017) assert that neo-liberal political and social approaches pathologized Māori adolescent mothers and framed them “as at risk of long-term welfare-dependency and a threat to their own children” (p. 1).
- Pio and Graham (2018) found that with Māori adolescent mothers in teen parent organisations, the “integration of indigenous knowledge opens up new avenues for a more sophisticated understanding of organisational practices” (p. 1) intertwined with their life journeys.
- Hindin-Miller (2012), a former director of a center for teen parents, focused her dissertation studies on ten young parents in which she found that sustained and ideologically sound support positively impacts their personal identity causing both educational and economic success. Rawiri (2007) found that “combining the efforts of positive social networks and social support services can improve the lives of adolescent Māori mothers and their children” (p.2).
- Clark et al. (2016) highlighted the high rate of unintended pregnancies in New Zealand adolescent women compared to other OECD countries. However, rates of pregnancy in the secondary school cohort have been declining overall since 2001, still with higher rates of pregnancy within minority ethnicities. “For Māori, particularly in low decile schools, early reproduction has been pathologized and conflated with social disadvantage and adverse risk factors” (p. 333). Commitment to a “national health strategy in relation to sexual health” needs to be launched (p. 335).
- Duncan et al (2021) worry about continued high rates of adolescent pregnancy in certain communities in New Zealand and offer a model for a proactive contraception provision. They recommend steps to be taken in New Zealand and for policymakers to consider: “the range of contraceptives that should be offered, the age range that should be approached, and finally whether to include adolescents without uteruses.”
- O’Connor (2020) described the reasons why and how a local group of Taupo residents provided their own sexual health services clinic to address the high rate of teen pregnancies there.
- Ellis et al. (2003) stated that from a USA/New Zealand study, “father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.” (p. 20) This factor was three times more likely in NZ.
- The study by France, Pukepuke, Cowie, and Mayeda (2019) at Auckland University, state that “uncertainty and insecurity in the labour market for young women have increased dramatically,” and with this and technology expansion, many more females are using university in the hope for improved opportunity (62% of university students were female in 2019). The study focuses on the imagined futures of three New Zealand female university students (NZ European, Māori and Tongan) and reminds us that the success of women’s imagined futures is dependent on past and present social, cultural, and economic ecologies.
- TVNZ, The Inside Word, Episode 2 (2018): https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/the-inside-word/episodes/s2018-e2. Interviews of Teuila Blakely, Noa Woolloff and Celine Walters revealed how these teen parents felt changed their lives for the better - but they often experienced ostracism. Teen parents continue to feel victimised with stereotypes of them as bad parents. TVNZ also aired a documentary “High School Mums” (https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/high-school-mums) featuring the Teen Parent Unit in Fraser High School, Hamilton (He Puāwai School for Teen Parents) where Virginia Crawford was Principal and Lee Marchione, Teacher-in-Charge. For a list of all the Teen Parent Schools, visit the website: https://teenparentschools.org.nz/teen-parent-schools/.
- Dr. Suzanne Manning (2022) presented on the Gender Equal NZ’s Gender Attitudes survey responses on the lack of change over the years in attitudes within the rape culture in Aotearoa. She offered suggestions on how educators can make a difference – and how well-designed early childhood education is crucial in building a more equitable and respectful society.
- McAnally, et al. (2022) studied over 600 15-year-old New Zealanders to examine the differences in experiences of children born to mothers aged 16-40 years of age. While fewer than half of the youth lived in a household with two biological parents and only 20% had ever lived in a household with just a nuclear family. Most of the youth had also experienced multiple changes of address – with six as the median change in household. The researchers also posited that policymaking and social views on young parenting for Māori reveal discrimination and colonised viewpoints on young parenting – even though the young parents themselves did not see this to be a disadvantage or to be problematic.
McAnally, H.M., Sligo, J.L., Baxter, J., et al. (2022). Changes to family structure, household composition and address among young New Zealanders: an update. Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences, 1177083X, Jun2022, Vol. 17, Issue 2.
Boden, J. M., Fergusson, D. M., & John Horwood, L. (2008). Early motherhood and subsequent life outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 49(2), 151-160. 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01830.x.
Breheny, M., & Stephens, C. (2010). Youth or disadvantage? The construction of teenage mothers in medical journals. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 12(3), 307-322. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691050903513234
Clark, T. C., Lucassen, M., Fleming, T., Peiris-John, R., Ikihile, A., Teevale, T., . . . Crengle, S. (2016). Changes in the sexual behaviours of New Zealand secondary school students 2001-12: Findings from a national survey series. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 40(4), 329-336. 10.1111/1753-6405.12543
Clinton, J. (2003). Thinking outside the square: Innovative ways to raise achievement for at risk students. Education Counts. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/5399
Duncan, R., Paterson, H., Anderson, L., Pickering, N. Proactively providing contraception to New Zealand adolescents. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. June 2021, Vol. 61 Issue 3, p484, 3 p.
Ellis, B. J., Bates, J. E., Dodge, K. A., Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., Pettit, G. S., & Woodward, L. (2003). Does father absence place daughters at special risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy? Child Development, 74(3), 801-821. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00569
Fergusson, D. M., & Woodward, L. J. (2000). Teenage pregnancy and female educational underachievement: A prospective study of a New Zealand birth cohort. Journal of Marriage & Family, 62(1), 147-. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00147.x
France, A., Pukepuke, T., Cowie, L., & Mayeda, D. (2019). 'Imagined futures' in the navigation and management of uncertainty for young women in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Journal of Sociology, 55(4), 654-669. DOI: 10.1177/1440783319888281
Hindin-Miller, J.M. (2012). Re-storying identities: Young women's narratives of teenage parenthood and educational support. (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ. https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/7228
Kaloga, M. (2021). Social work and economic justice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 33(4), 5–13.
Manning, S. (2022). Rape culture in Aotearoa: How educators can make a difference. Ipu Kererū: Blog of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Retrieved from https://nzareblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/08/rape-culture/.
McGirr, M. (2019). Not just about NEETS: A rapid review of evidence on what works for youth at risk of limited employment. Education Counts. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/194513/Not-just-about-NEETs.pdf
O’Connor, T. (2020). Providing much-needed health services in central New Zealand: The high rate of teen pregnancies and the lack of sexual health services in their area prompted a group of Taupo residents to take matters into their own hands and establish a local service. Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pages 2.
Patterson, L. (2011). Post-school experiences of 21-year-olds: The qualitative component of Competent Learners @ 20. Education Counts. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/101770/Tracks-to-Adulthood.pdf
Pio, E., & Graham, M. (2018). Transitioning to higher education: journeying with Indigenous Maori teen mothers. Gender and Education, 30(7), 846-865. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2016.1269157
Rawiri, C. (2007). Adolescent Māori mothers experiences with social support during pregnancy, birth and motherhood and their participation in education. (Master of Social Sciences, Waikato University), Retrieved from https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/2490/?sequence=1
Rebstock, P. (2011). Reducing Long-Term Benefit Dependency: Recommendations. Welfare Working Group, Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University.
Scott, D. (2018). Post-school labour market outcomes of school-based NCEA. Education Counts. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/80898/post-school-labour-market-outcomes-of-school-based-ncea.
Ware, F., Breheny, M., & Forster, M. (2017). The politics of government ‘support’ in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Reinforcing and reproducing the poor citizenship of young Māori parents. Critical Social Policy, 37(4), 499-519. 10.1177/0261018316672111
Wylie, C. (2009). On the edge of adulthood: Young people's school and out-of-school-experiences at 16 (Full Report). Education Counts. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/ECE/2567/On-the-edge-of-adulthood.
"Being a young woman in NCW"
On Monday 16 May 2022, the Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub hosted an online event to hear what is important to young women and give them a chance to share their perspectives, thoughts, barriers and interests.
This initial kōrero focused on getting to know other young women from across NCW and understanding any barriers they, or others they know, face to being involved in NCW -- both to membership in general and to taking on leadership positions. By "young women," the organisers meant anyone who identifies this way. Generally for those under 35 years of age, but the organisers admitted they knew "age can be just a number."
The conversation touched on a range of ideas, such as not relating to the issues NCW focuses on, the perception of NCW as a conversative organisation, and the disproportionate burden borne by members who become the go-to voice for the group they represent.
The barriers identified, along with suggestions for how we can make NCW more accessible and appealing to young women, will be discussed by the Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub, and shared with NCW Local Branches then presented to the Board.
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please email them to [email protected].
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A participant's report about the "Countering Misogyny" webinar hosted by the Influence and Decision Making Action Hub was submitted in time to be included in this issue of The Circular. This piece was crafted by NCWNZ member Anne McCarthy who attended the event. With over 250 participants, the topic and expert panelists attracted much attention. More information is coming about how the NCWNZ can follow up on the issues raised by the panelists and the Decision-Making and Influence Action Hub.
A webinar entitled ‘Countering Misogyny,’ facilitated by Sue Kedgley and the NCW Decision-Making and Influence Action Hub, took place on the 1st of July 2022. It consisted of a panel discussion amongst four leading New Zealand women’s rights advocates, journalists Mihingarangi Forbes and Alison Mau, Christchurch city councillor Sara Templeton, and researcher Kate Hannah. Its intent was to call out misogynistic online abuse to trigger a national conversation focusing on increased social and legislative safeguards in the future.
Early questioning by the webinar host, Sue Kedgley, opened up stories from the panelists about how they had been personally affected by online abuse, which then led to more holistic analysis. Discussion covered the online attacks on Kate Hannah as she monitored national abuse escalation in her Disinformation Project, Sara Templeton’s successful court case targeting her abuser, and the effects of abuse on career opportunities for female councillors and journalists. Alison Mau noted how abuse came in waves, either in weekly responses to her Sunday Times articles, or in a wider backlash to "Me Too" achievements. Mihingarangi Forbes highlighted how recently, anti-covid and far right rhetoric incrementally boosted racism and misogyny that was already embedded in imperialist and colonial attitudes within New Zealand.
The second half of the webinar focused on how to counter online abuse. Emphasis was placed on the need for women to consistently speak out against misogyny, for women in specific careers to form their own networks like the union of women journalists, as well as for effective institutional and company support for women employees. Sara identified that reporting emails, screen shots and evidence to Netsafe, New Zealand’s independent company set up to deter online harassment, was long-winded and unsupportive. Further, anonymous abusers online are protected by the tardy responses from international technology platforms. Kate reported that police are cautious to follow up situations where the legal frameworks are fragile; focused operational training was required. She also suggested that advocacy groups be developed to support people making claims to Facebook and the courts. Overall, panellists called for the Harmful Digital Communications Act and Netsafe to be reviewed for greater structural cohesion and impact.
In closing, Sue Kedgley congratulated the panelists for their courage and willingness to share their experiences and knowledge. The webinar was recorded and the plan is that it will be uploaded to YouTube for all to see (details on this to come later). Sue offered the audience an opportunity to offer their services to the NCWNZ as we take action on this topic by emailing to [email protected].
Any NCWNZ member can join one or more Action Hubs - sign in to your account on the website and fill out the sign-up form here: https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/action_hub_signup_page.
NCWNZ Parliamentary Watch Committee (PWC) is calling for volunteers.
One of NCWNZ’s greatest assets is its long-standing submissions process. The effective framework in existence today has developed over the years, and is known both for its professionalism and its unique ability to gather together and present the voices of women throughout Aotearoa. (See the latest list of submissions on the NCWNZ website at https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/submissions/.) MPs and government leaders have praised NCWNZ for its thoroughly researched and professionally presented submissions. NCWNZ submissions are known for their consistently good quality and sound, intelligent analysis of legislation from the perspective of wāhine.
At the heart of this important process is the Parliamentary Watch Committee (PWC), formally established in 1966. Informally in existence from 1919, the PWC members historically were positioned in Wellington to allow for in-person attendance at Parliamentary Select Committee meetings.
Today, PWC members research past NCWNZ policy and submissions related to incoming legislation and discussion documents, check Action Item responses, and proofread and check written and oral submissions. Each PWC member also holds a liaison role with one of the Action Hubs. This is a trial at present as part of the recently-updated NCWNZ structure.
If you are interested in the parliamentary submission process, have a great eye for detail, are able to attend monthly PWC meetings via Zoom, and are available to carry out research approximately monthly, you would be warmly welcomed to the team. Full training will be provided.
The PWC team is ably led by former NCWNZ National President, Beryl Anderson (photo at right), and is currently a group of five, based in Wellington and Auckland.
With meetings and most Select Committee hearings held online via Zoom these days, NCWNZ members interested in joining PWC need not feel restricted due to their geography. Hours of duty vary from month to month depending on Parliament’s sitting dates and the amount of legislation being processed at the time, but a reasonable estimate would be an average of three to five hours per month.
While the role is unpaid, it is a rewarding volunteer position. Research of past NCWNZ policy and submissions is fascinating, providing an insight into the rich history of the organisation, and revealing issues and attitudes of the past decades.
If you would like to receive further information on the work of PWC, or would like to join the committee, please contact Beryl via email on [email protected].
Some of what's happening at local branches
On Saturday, 7 May 2022, the Manukau Branch NCWNZ held an event at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa to celebrate the 125th anniversary of NCWNZ and also to acknowledge and celebrate the suffragists. A special area had been created there in 1993 to mark the centenary of women's suffrage by the NCW - a plaque marks the spot..
Manukau Branch Celebrates 125th Anniversary of NCWNZ. In attendance: Arena Williams, MP for Manurewa; Anne Candy, Member of Manurewa Local Board; Annette Paterson, President WCTUNZ (holding banner); Pauline Bennett, President, Tauranga Branch NCWNZ; and, Alison Watson, President, Tauranga Branch NCWNZ with her mother.
The Manukau Branch members were so pleased and appreciative that Pauline Bennett, President of Tauranga Branch NCWNZ, attended along with another Tauranga Branch member. In addition, Alison Watkins, President of the Hamilton Branch NCWNZ, brought her mother with her to join in for this event.
Guests for the event were met by Astrid Herring, a Manukau Branch member, dressed in clothes of that era. She gave guests directions on how to get to the "Suffragette Memorial." Then Annette Paterson, National President of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of New Zealand, presented on the origins of the suffrage movement.
Afterward, everyone walked down to Friendship House where Arena Williams, MP for Manurewa, was the guest speaker. Arena Williams spoke about the challenges women and girls faced. This was followed by a light lunch.
Tickets were available for four senior girls from six secondary schools in South Auckland, and they contributed to making this a very successful event.
Newly Inducted Life Members: Colleen Edward (left) and Belinda Manus McGeehan (right), with NCWHC President Jenny Brittain (center). Image courtesy of Jenny Brittain
In April 2022, at a lunch in Orewa, forty members and family friends of Colleen Edward and Belinda Manus McGeehan gathered to celebrate the ladies being honoured with Life Membership of the NCW Hibiscus Coast (NCWHC) branch.
Both Colleen and Belinda were presented with framed certificates acknowledging their service to NCWHBC that has ensured the branch has continued to advance the status of women and girls locally and nationally since its incorporation in the 1990’s.
Jenny Brittain, President NCWHBC, spoke on Colleen Edward's contributions at the meeting. She described how Colleen during the 1980’s represented the Business and Professional group at NCW meetings in the Huntly and Districts area. After attending a meeting where the then national NCWNZ president spoke of how one of the organisation‘s strengths lay in its membership of around 200,000 diverse women and women’s groups, Colleen felt inspired to encourage local organisations to join their closest NCW branch. Colleen well remembers the amazing step forward for New Zealand women when in 1984 the Labour Government appointed Dame Ann Hercus as the first Minister of Women’s Affairs. During the early 1990s Colleen initiated forming a branch of BPW on the Hibiscus Coast and continued representing this organisation at NCW North Shore, shifting her representation to the NCW Hibiscus Coast branch when it was formed. For over four decades Colleen has been a President, Secretary, Treasurer, committee member and a gracious, patient, knowledgeable mentor to many women within the branch networks of NCW.
Belinda Manus McGeehan
NCW member Christine Davies outlined Belinda’s history from when she joined NCWHBC in 1998 as a representative for the HBC Community House while she worked as a community care coordinator. When the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren was formed in 1999, she encouraged representatives from the organisation to joined NCWHBC.
Belinda acknowledged NCWHBC members Margaret Stanners, Heather Hickey, Mona Townson and Beryl Anderson as providing mentoring and encouragement to her as a NCW member and when she took on the roles of Family Affairs Convenor for six years and the Social Issues Convenor for three years. At the time the government was re writing the benefit system and dismantling benefits. Belinda attended numerous Wellington parliamentary select committees to present NCWNZ’s submissions. After joining the Anglican Church’s Mothers Union Belinda became their NCWHBC representative. Over her 24 years with NCWHBC, Belinda has been the Branch Secretary and President for several years.
NCWHBC President Jennie Brittain concluded: "May we continue to work together with love and kindness."
Chart: 2022 Queen's Birthday and Platinum Jubilee honours
Beryl Anderson, ONZM (NCWNZ Hutt Valley Branch and Parliamentary Watch Committee member) crafted this chart of the 2022 Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee honours list. There is much to celebrate. Of the 187 awards given, 96 went to women and 91 to men. Women received more awards in the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZ to MNZM) at 59%, with men receiving more of the Queen Service awards (QSM and QSO) at 52%. Women received more awards than men in two categories: ONZM (55%) and MNZM (56%).
|Award||Male||Mx||Female||Total||% Male||% Mx||% Female|
|Order of New Zealand (ONZ) + additional honorary||1||0||1||2||50%||0%||50%|
|Dame or Knight Companion (GNZM), (DNZM), (KNZM), hon||3||0||3||6||50%||0%||50%|
|Companion (CNZM) + honorary member||6||0||2||8||75%||0%||25%|
|Officer (ONZM) + honorary member||18||0||22||40||45%||0%||55%|
|Member (MNZM) + honorary member||31||0||39||70||44%||0%||56%|
|Queen's Service Order (QSO)||4||0||4||8||50%||0%||50%|
|Queen's Service Medal (QSM) + honorary member||27||0||25||52||52%||0%||48%|
|New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM)||1||0||0||1||100%||0%||0%|
|Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD)||0||0||0||0|
|Bravery Decoration (NZBD) + Bravery Medal (NZBM)||0||0||0||0|
|ONZ to MNZM||59||67||126||47%||53%|
|QSO & QSM||31||29||60||52%||48%|
With the additional appointment of The Honourable Dame Silvia Rose Cartwright to The Order of New Zealand there are five current female members (24%) of the order compared with 16 males. Since its inception, there have been 19 females (28%) and 49 males (72%) appointed to The Order of New Zealand.
Congratulations to all the winners, particularly those with an NCWNZ connection:
- The Honourable Dame Silvia Rose Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE, QSO, DStJ, of Auckland, Order of New Zealand
- Dr. Judith Helen McGregor, CNZM, of Auckland, Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
- Ms. Souella Maria Cumming, DStJ, of Wellington, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Zonta District 16
- Mrs. Nedra Julia Johnson, of Christchurch, Queen's Service Medal, associate member Christchurch Branch.
- Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Money, of Upper Hutt, Queen's Service Medal, New Zealand GirlGuiding
Information about nominating someone for an honour is available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. Nomination forms are accepted throughout the year, but the processing and consideration of nominations is likely to take at least six months prior to the announcement of an honours list at Queen's Birthday or New Year.
Readings to consider
The US Supreme Court Abortion Decision: A Step Back for Women’s Rights
The National Council of Women New Zealand, Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa (NCWNZ) joins with Abortion Law Reform New Zealand (ALRANZ) in condemning the United States Supreme Court judgment that overturns Roe v Wade.
“This is a massive set-back for women’s reproductive rights and we feel for American women and the grief and anguish they must be experiencing," NCWNZ President Dr Suzanne Manning said. "Banning abortions won’t make abortions disappear. It will only drive abortion underground, increase risk and escalate major health issues for women. Poor women, women of colour, disabled women and LGBTIQ people will be the worst affected."
Dr Tracy Morison, ALRANZ President notes that there will be broader social impacts from the decision. “Restricting abortion will also have societal consequences impacting women’s participation in employment and education, which affects their families, communities and wider society. Given that those from marginalised groups will struggle most to access abortion, we can expect to see social inequalities widen,” she said.
Support for the right of all women to have access to safe, legal and accessible abortion and the fundamental human right of women to make their own reproductive health decisions is NCWNZ policy, Dr Manning said, and the recent Gender Attitudes Survey shows increasing national support. "Abortion is always a difficult decision but support for women's right to make their own decisions has grown. NCWNZ’s Gender Attitudes Survey found that the number of people who believed a woman has a right to choose an abortion increased from 66% in 2017 to 74% in 2022.
“We do not expect that there will be any changes to abortion services in Aotearoa New Zealand which have improved as a result of decriminalisation of abortion," Manning added. "But we are concerned that this decision could lead to global ramifications and widespread backlash against women.
“The US Supreme Court's decision is a step back for women’s rights internationally and will have dire health, safety and gender equity consequences.”
Dr Suzanne Manning
National Council of Women New Zealand, Te Kaunihera o Wāhine o Aotearoa
Abortion Law Reform New Zealand/Abortion Rights Aotearoa
In Memoriam: Pamela Cherrington Sutton JP QSM (1926-2022)
It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Pamela "Pam" Cherrington Sutton JP QSM. Born 25 August 1926, she passed away on 1 April 2022 at the Wood Rest Home. Her funeral was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson, on Saturday, 9 April 2022.
Pam had joined the Nelson NCWNZ branch as a delegate from the New Zealand Association of Anglican Women (AAW) in the late 1960’s and served in many capacities for the Nelson NCW Branch for thirty years, including as Branch President 1974-76.
Pam Sutton had a strong sense of social justice and she researched relentlessly for remedies for social inequity. Minutes from monthly Branch meetings record that Pam led working groups on many issues: media sensationalism and gender bias, prisoner rehabilitation, abortion law reform, pornography censorship, homosexual law reform and the ethics of assisted reproduction. Mary Gavin gave a eulogy for Pam Sutton on behalf of the NCWNZ, reminding everyone that during these exciting times -- during Pam’s presidency in 1976 -- that Nelson NCWNZ membership demanded the married women be identified in the official correspondence by their own initials – rather than those of their husbands.
During the 1970s Pam developed a strong interest in the monitoring of balanced media reporting and publication standards. Pam was the NCW National Standing Committee Convenor for Mass Media for twelve years and Vice-President of the International Committee for five years. She was also Chair of the Central Regional Advisory Committee on Broadcasting. During this time, Pam was the architect of many strong submissions from the NCWNZ to the Broadcasting Commission.
Pam’s skill in submission writing was also invaluable in her role for many years as the convenor of Nelson NCWNZ Local Issues group. She led the work to analyse local authorities' policies and projects through a lens of social justice and gender equality. Nelson City Council showed their appreciation for her work with a Civic Award in 1997.
Pam received many awards recognising her work, among them Nelson Branch Life Membership in 1982, NCWNZ Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the Queen’s Service Medal in 1990.
Mary Gavin concluded her eulogy with praise for Pam's contributions:
"Pam challenged us and motivated us and entertained us. We smile at memories of her quick brain, her quirky reasoning, her gracious hospitality at Bishopdale, and her random humorous anecdotes from her personal and public life. Most of all we will remember her for the wisdom she contributed to NCWNZ."
Remembering Milestones: New Zealand Women and Electoral Politics
1867. New Zealand women ratepayers in Nelson and Otago Provinces begin voting at the local level.
1875. NZ Parliament made compulsory in all provinces for women ratepayers to be allowed to vote in municipal elections.
1893. NZ women at least 21 years of age - property ownership not required for suffrage since 1879 - vote in the national general election (28 November - and on 20 December 1893, women vote in Māori seats for first time).
|Rosetta Baume 1919.|
|Ellen Melville c1919.|
1919. Women's Parliamentary Rights Bill passed and Rosetta Baume (NCWNZ vice president 1918-1920), Aileen Garmson Cooke and Ellen Melville (NCWNZ national president 1919-1922) are first women to stand for Parliament.
1933. Elizabeth McCombs elected after her third try - the first woman member of Parliament.
1947. The Honourable Mabel Howard is first woman Cabinet Minister (Minister of Health and Minister in charge of Child Welfare)
1949. Iriaka Matiu Rātana OBE elected - is first Māori woman MP.
1984. Dame Frances Wilde DNZM QSO is first woman MP to be elected party Whip; and, Dame Ann Hercus is appointed as the first Minister of Women's Affairs, and also the first woman to hold the Police portfolio.
1990. Dame Catherine Tizard ONZ, GCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO, DStJ is NZ's first woman Governor-General.
1995. Georgina Beyer MNZM JP is elected mayor of Carterton - the world's first openly transgender mayor (and in 1999, the world's first transgender Member of Parliament).
1996. Pansy Yu Fung Wong is first Asian woman elected to Parliament.
1997. Dame Jennifer Shipley DNZM PC is NZ's first woman Prime Minister.
1999. Luamanuvao Dame Winifred Alexandra Laban DNZM QSO is first Pasifika woman elected to Parliament.
2005. Margaret Wilson DCNZM is first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Note: All above images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Stories to celebrate
Memories of International Council of Women General Assembly in Kyiv 2011
Arial view of Independence Square, Kyiv. Image courtesy of Liz Cruickshank.
Just over 10 years ago, a large contingent of NCWNZ members attended a wonderful International Council of Women (ICW) General Assembly in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Amongst our contingent were:
Dame Miriam Dell
Dame Jocelyn Fish
Dame Janet Hesketh
Dame Alison Roxburgh
Dame Laurie Salas
Dame Dorothy Winstone
Others in our kiwi contingent included our President Grace Hollander, Beryl Anderson, Barbara Arnold, Liz Cruickshank, Christine Knock, Jane Pritchard, and Jean Corbin Thomas. Liz Cruickshank was Convenor of the Mass Media Standing Committee for ICW and she presented a report to the Assembly.
|Some of the NZ contingent at ICW General Assembly. Dame Miriam Dell (left) and Dame Janet Hesketh (right) are seated on this side of the table in the foreground. Image courtesy of Liz Cruickshank.|
The Ukrainian hosts were superb and very kind to all us delegates, visitors and Diplomats. None of the very large gathering of Diplomats, Ukrainian government representatives, and ICW delegates from around the world had any premonition that our wonderful hosts from Ukraine would suffer so shockingly at the hands of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, only 10 short years later.
How sad that Putin has wrought such havoc on its beleaguered citizens. It is a shocking and inhumane series of events that we deplore.
|Local dancers entertained the 2011 General Assembly. Image courtesy of Liz Cruickshank.|
We send our love and condemnation of the dark events of the Russian invasion that have befallen those kindly and hospitable citizens of Kyiv.
How fortunate we are to live in peace in our multicultural, small island country of New Zealand.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nancy McShane, the Public Service Association, and Equal Pay Campaign
The Public Service Association (PSA) is the largest and oldest union in New Zealand currently with 80,000 members, over 70% of whom are female. At its founding in 1913, the PSA adopted the principle: “Women members shall enjoy the same rights and privileges as male members.” The union has a long history of supporting women’s rights and fighting for equal pay. The role of the union was invaluable for winning the fight for equal pay for health administrators this fall.
In 2008 the incoming National-led government decided not to fulfill the previous Labour-led government’s promise for adjusting pay rates for all women working in District Health Board (DHB) administrative jobs, and they halted the process that had already started with the North Island’s DHBs. As a result, the South Island rates of pay for DHB hospital administrators remained lower than for those in the North Island. That same year Nancy McShane became a Public Service Association (PSA) delegate and a mental health administrator at the Canterbury DHB. She discovered that women working in health administration had been underpaid for some time and they did not believe the DHBs could change that. Nancy told her story recently at a meeting of the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch, detailing her work for the DHB Administrators’ Equal Pay claim. She commented:
With my rose coloured glasses on I said: ‘Of course we can change that!’ and here we are thirteen years later. If I had known how long it was going to take to change things, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to pursue it…. It has been an interesting journey and one I have grown through hugely, but it has been far and beyond what I thought I would have to do.
She could see the effects of low rates of pay as women worked to meet the challenges of lack of housing and rent rises, especially after the earthquakes in Christchurch. Initially, Nancy spoke to management about the inequities, but there seemed to be no action taken. By this time Nancy also became Convenor of the PSA Women’s Network. She believed that in that role she could highlight the issues for all women in public service who are underpaid, especially in the private sector where women often have fewer opportunities to be in a union and make collective claims.
When the National Government proposed to disestablish the Equal Pay Act 1972, the PSA Women’s Network lobbied the opposition parties. Nancy remembered that her message was: “What do you want to be remembered for? There are key moments in NZ history that articulate who we are as a people … they are history changing and the next one of those moments is going to be equal pay.” Nancy spoke about the women coming to meetings on equal pay and their negative response to the possible disestablishment of the Equal Pay Act. She said, “something in them just snaps.” Equal pay became a pivotal issue in the 2017 election; and a Labour-led government was the outcome.
In 2018 the PSA provided submissions supporting the government’s effort to strengthen the Equal Pay Act. Nancy had an opportunity to speak to the Select Committee as part of the PSA oral submission. Nancy told the NCWNZ branch members: “We were encouraged to speak from a personal perspective and when you are encouraged to lay out things about your personal life and how chronic low pay has impacted you or those you work with that can be a very raw and challenging experience.” Nancy spoke about women hospital administrators who have lost teeth because they can’t afford necessary dentistry. Some are at risk of losing their homes because they cannot afford their mortgage payments and many are managing on their own with children to support. “They are doing work that ensures that the well-being of others is maintained. They give so much to this work, and yet their own well-being is compromised because of their low pay.” The Equal Pay Amendment Act was finally passed and claims such as the landmark DHB’s Administrators’ Equal Pay Claim are finally moving forward.
|PSA DHB Admin Equal Pay claim bargaining representative, Nancy McShane, with fellow PSA DHB Sector Committee members and staff, celebrating the long-awaited settlement of the PSA DHB Admin Equal Pay Claim at PSA House, Wellington, 9 June 2022, with a “Worth 100%” cake.
Front Row (L-R): Sue McCullough, PSA National Organiser; Nia Bartley, DHB Sector Committee (Wellington); Nancy McShane, DHB Sector Committee (Women’s Network seat); Ashok Shankar, PSA National Organiser.
Second row (R-L): PSA National Secretaries, Duane Leo (in red) and Kerry Davies (in white) and DHB Sector Committee Co-Convenor, Stacey Muir (in pink) with other PSA DHB Sector Committee members and staff cheering behind them.
Image from the PSA courtesy of Nancy McShane.
DHBs and the PSA settled the pay equity claim for Administration and Clerical Workers on 16 May 2022. This is the first settlement under the 2020 Equal Pay Amendment Act. The agreement covers more than 10,000 administration and clerical workers across the country’s 20 DHBs – union and non-union members. The new pay system provides a standard structure for more than 1500 roles across the 20 DHBs with previously widely variable rates. Under the equal pay settlement, DHB administrative workers will receive a significant increase in their pay. From July 2022, DHB Administrators are due to start receiving their Equal Pay, with an initial lump sum payment of $2,500, followed soon after by progression onto their new Equal Pay scale rates.
This will make an enormous difference to their lives. DHB Allied workers (including social workers, occupational therapists, and other allied health professionals) are also negotiating an equal pay claim and the settlement for DHB administrators can be used as a lever in their negotiations. There is a need for increased awareness about the importance of these very different occupations for the delivery of good health services in Aotearoa New Zealand. The health system is under threat and there are consequences not just for the staff in that system, but for everyone using health services.
In her talk at the Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch meeting, Nancy emphasised that she appreciated NCW members asking what they could do to help with equal pay claims. She said the key thing members could do was to help educate the public about all the other highly feminised roles in healthcare besides nursing. The public understand what nurses do and are supportive of them being paid fairly, but all the other highly feminized roles in health are still largely invisible to the public - administrators, social workers, occupational therapists, dentists, lab technicians, anaesthetists, etc. She said our hospitals are run on the backs of female labour. Nancy told the Christchurch NCWNZ members:
“By talking to friends and family about these highly feminised roles, NCW members will be helping to ensure fairer pay outcomes for all healthcare workers. It is important that we have these conversations right now, in the middle of this pandemic, when the public eye is very much focused on our health system. It will be equally important to continue talking about these highly feminised roles in the lead up to the election as well, as the public begin to consider how they will vote."
For Further Reading:
Cate Broughton, “Planned health strike ‘about safety,” Stuff (11 August 2014): https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/10369041/Planned-health-strike-about-safety
“Equal Pay legislation will strengthen the fight against sexist discrimination,” News & Media, PSA (23 June 2020): https://www.psa.org.nz/our-voice/equal-pay-legislation-will-strengthen-the-fight-against-sexist-discrimination/.
“Fair Pay Agreements Bill 115-1,” New Zealand Parliament: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2022/0115/latest/whole.html.
"Fair Pay Agreements - An Update," Holland Beckett Law (19 April 2022): https://hobec.co.nz/news-resources/2022/april/fair-pay-agreements-an-update.
“Petition of Nancy McShane: Equal Pay for DHB Administration Workers,” Reports, New Zealand Parliament (25 February 2021): https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/reports/document/SCR_108154/petition-of-nancy-mcshane-equal-pay-for-dhb-administration.
“Administration and Clerical Pay Equity,” TAS [Technical Advisory Services Ltd.] (14 June 2022): https://tas.health.nz/employment-and-capability-building/pay-equity/administration-and-clerical-pay-equity.
Dates to note for July and August 2022
1 July 2022, 12 noon–1.30 pm.: NCWNZ's Decision-making and Influence Action Hub's webinar exploring what’s behind the rise in misogynistic attacks on women leaders, how we can counter them, and ways to support women leaders. (More on this in the next issue of The Circular.)
3 July 2022, 2-4 pm.: NCW Manawatu will host a panel “Playing your part in local politics: Women on the PN City Council” at the Palmerston North City Library.
4 July 2022 (Geneva Time): CEDAW Pre-Sessional Working Group. Download NZ's report (docx. file) here.
11 July 2022: UN-sponsored World Population Day
20-22 July 2022: Local Government New Zealand Conference and Excellence Awards, Palmerston North https://www.lgnz2022.co.nz/
30 July 2022: UN-sponsored World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
August 2022: New Zealand Family History Month https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/search?q=Family+History+Month+2022
1-7 August 2022: WHO's World Breastfeeding Week
Renew your NCWNZ Membership today!
Our new membership model and fees are now live! We encourage you to sign up or renew your NCWNZ Membership for 2022/23. You can join either as an Individual Member or choose to be appointed as a representative of an Organisational Member. Both Individual Members and Organisational Reprsentatives can be members of branches and/or Action Hubs. Here's some details on next steps:
Individual membership is open to anyone. Individual members are entitled to one vote in the Individual Member voting pool at national meetings and can join branches and Action Hubs.
- Go to https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/membership
- Select either Sustaining member (monthly payments) or Annual membership (one off payment).
- Self-select a membership fee, based on your ability to pay and the amount you wish to contribute towards supporting NCWNZ to achieve its goals.
- For Annual membership the suggested range is $10 to $50;
- For sustaining members the options start from $10 per month.
- Payment can be made by credit or debit card, or a form can be filled out for internet banking (this is necessary so that we can match you to your payment).
- For sustaining members, the first $50 is counted as your membership fee. The remaining contribution is a donation. A tax receipt will be issued after the financial year end, in time for you to claim your tax rebate through the IRD.
- Join Action Hubs and branches by clicking on the links provided on the Get involved page (https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/get_involved/) and filling out the forms. These forms will be forwarded to the appropriate people for action.
If you are currently an organisational representative at a branch level, you can be a non-voting organisational representative so long as that organisation is an NCWNZ member. A non-voting organisational representative can join branches and Action Hubs.
If you are a national organisational representative, no extra fee is required – you just need to be approved by your organisation. You will need to contact them to ask for persmission to represent your organisation. No extra fee is required. You will also need to complete our organisational representative form: https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/organisational_representative_sign_up/.
We look forward to a productive and exciting year with you as a member.
Quotation to ponder
Heard by Beryl Anderson ONZM at Dame Miriam Dell’s funeral:
"Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that."
The Circular is the official organ of The National Council of Women of New Zealand. This newsletter is archived at The National Library of New Zealand (ISSN 2815-8644).