What we do and who we are

Who we are

The National Council of Women emerged in 1896 after the successful campaign for women’s suffrage.

We were set up by our founding President, Kate Sheppard, and prominent leaders of NZ’s suffrage movement, to plan how to use the vote they’d just won for women. They needed to continue to build understanding and drive action to improve the lives of women.

Since then, there have been proud shifts in rights for women and gender diverse people, with involvement from many

New Zealand community groups and individuals, which brings us to today, and the Gender Equal NZ movement which the National Council of Women is now leading.

Gender Equal NZ is a digital movement that is tackling the gender stereotypes and sexist attitudes that persist in Aotearoa New Zealand, and prevent women and gender diverse people from achieving their potential.

Let’s finish the job Kate started, join us – make equality, reality.

What we do

The National Council of Women is leading the Gender Equal NZ movement because we care about the experiences of all genders and believe in equality for all.

You can help grow and support the Gender Equal NZ movement to make equality a reality by becoming a member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

You can also make a donation.We rely on donations, fundraising and grants. Help us take one more step in the road to equality by donating today.

We have recently carried out New Zealand’s first Gender Attitudes Survey, which tested attitudes around gender roles – in the household, at school, at work and in the community and gives us a snapshot of where we’re at in New Zealand on gender. Find out more about the results here. Gender Equal NZ has two other major projects underway, find out more about them here.

Our Briefing to Incoming Ministers November 2017 provides more information about our current work programmes and goals as at November 2017.

Our white paper: Enabling Women’s Potential – the social, economic and ethical imperative, released in November 2015, provides more rationale for our work.

Our Strategic Vision

The National Council of Women of New Zealand’s strategic vision is a Gender Equal New Zealand. By building understanding and driving action for gender equality, we enable New Zealanders to have the freedom and opportunity to determine their own future.

We want all New Zealanders to say, “gender is irrelevant in terms of achievement and freedom”; “all societal roles are valued in New Zealand”; “I can be whatever I want to be” and “employment supports gender equality and work/life balance”.

At the moment all New Zealanders cannot say these things. Our research shows that if we are to successfully achieve our vision of a gender equal New Zealand the potential impact is huge – socially, and economically. 

We Drive Cultural Change

The reasons for gender inequality are entrenched in our culture. We need to drive cultural change and hold New Zealand accountable for its progress to achieve equality. We need to tackle this problem at its root cause and take a long, hard look at our language and attitudes towards gender. We need to stop it at the start.

We Lead and Connect

Established by our founding President Kate Sheppard in 1896, we have around 250 member organisations at a national or local level representing over 100,000 women with many of our member organisations representing all genders. We also have 19 branches around the country. We represent a collaborative network covering membership, public, private and not for profit organizations.

We Inform and Influence

Our members have the opportunity to contribute to discussion and submissions on policies that impact the opportunities and welfare of women. NCWNZ represents these views to policymakers. Every month, NCWNZ members receive an update on current issues via our newsletter, The Circular. Non-members can subscribe to The Circular for $50 per year. Email us for more information.

We Take Action

Our current work includes:

We are a member of the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition and 26 for Babies: Campaign to Extend Paid Parental Leave.

You can help grow and support the Gender Equal NZ movement to make equality a reality by becoming a member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

You can also make a donation.We rely on donations, fundraising and grants. Help us take one more step in the road to equality by donating today.