This year starts with the promise of moving onwards. It may not be any easier than past years, but as a country we are moving to a post-COVID phase, and as an organisation we are moving to a phase of embedding the new constitution that we spent so much time thinking about in the last two years. We will continue to work both internally and externally, as we progress our vision of a gender equal Aotearoa New Zealand.
This year, our International Women’s Day (IWD) theme will be “Access Equality,” tying in with the general theme of #embraceequality – look out for social media from our Comms team. We are grateful for MSD Te Korowai Whetū Social Cohesion funding to help us amplify the impact of IWD events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and we know that other events are being planned around ngā motu/the island. The NCWNZ Communications team have compiled a list of IWD events on our website (https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/iwd2023) and you can email them at [email protected] if you would like to add your event. Remember to send your stories after the events to [email protected], with photos, so we can celebrate in the next edition of The Circular.
The Action Hubs are tackling a wide range of issues, some of which will become significant topics to be debated in an election year. We are increasingly being approached by international groups to talk about our work in gender equality, for example for the Japanese J-WIN group last year, and the University of Minnesota at the beginning of this year. There are growing numbers of invitations to be part of pro-active policy making, such as Climate Action from women’s perspective, the Women’s Health Strategy, the Women’s Employment Action Plan, and the Civil Society Forum with the European Parliamentarian’s Free Trade Delegation - and now we are on MFAT’s engagement list. The media continue to contact us on a regular basis to comment on feminist issues, such as Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as Prime Minister and what this means for women both in terms of her legacy and the impacts of the misogynistic abuse that she has faced. All these things show that NCWNZ is as relevant to today’s world as we ever have been.
This is a Gender Attitudes Survey year, which we intend to release in August in time to highlight the result for discussion pre-election. We expect that members up and down the country will be encouraging democratic participation in the elections in different ways, whether it be holding candidate meetings, discussing the issues with your young people, or helping out with election logistics. Show that the women of Aotearoa take our right to vote seriously!
At NCWNZ we also take our members seriously – you are our greatest resource. Thank you all for your continued support, especially as we’re transitioning to new ways of being a member and renewing membership. Please help your sister members to use the online system to re-join as members, especially those who are also branch members, as every single member is important to us. Your views and experiences are important to our advocacy efforts, so we encourage all members to participate in an Action Hub that matches your interests. Members have also supported the organisation in recent time through bequests, a last donation from long-term members. We are very grateful for their generosity.
As President of NCWNZ, I am privileged to be invited to interact with a variety of ethnic communities - so many histories and stories, cultural expressions of joy and grieving, music of language and art and dance and food. Recently I was privileged to attend an Indian Republic Day celebration and a Holocaust Remembrance ceremony, and will be attending an IWD event organised by the Philippines Embassy. Board member Anmar Taufeek will be attending a Global Women’s Leaders conference in Dubai during March. Such experiences highlight to me the benefits of seeing the world through different eyes, as well as highlighting our common humanity.
Our common humanity was emphasised during the extreme weather event that was Cyclone Gabrielle. Our thoughts, prayers and practical help go to those affected by the Cyclone. We hope that you will have all the support you need during the recovery. It shows us again the importance of voicing the views of women so that policies such as for Climate Action, Emergency Management, and Business Recovery all have a gender perspective applied.
Nō reira, tēnā tātou katoa – the Board and I are looking forward to working with you all this year.
To read more articles from The Circular (Jan-Feb 2023) issue 639, click on the tag below.