Let’s make equality, reality for all New Zealanders

gill_greer_prencwGill Greer
Chief Executive Officer
National Council of Women of NZ

As I write this blog on Saturday, I see the paper sitting next to me. The Dominion headline is “Female leader will make a difference.”

The writer, Laura Walters, comments that when two New Zealand women previously “held the top job, it helped combat issues of gender diversity in politics. It also inspired young women to strive for roles like Prime Minister and chief executive.”

As the new CEO of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ), I very much hope this is true. There can be no doubt that PM Jacinda  Ardern will disrupt “what we see as normal.” Whenever I speak at Leadership seminars for young women, I ask my audience – “How many of you have worked in an NGO, or would like to?” Very few hands go up, if any. This in itself is a worry. I then ask, “how many of you would consider going into politics?”  No hands this time. Hopefully this will now change with the ripple effect of a young woman Prime Minister who is committed to governing  with intelligence, strategy and empathy.

The NCWNZ is also in a time of change – while building on our history we too are disrupting “what we see as normal” with our new movement,  Gender Equal NZ,  calling out sexist attitudes and assumptions.  Gender Equal NZ is provoking discussion, creating new relationships and encouraging new individual members. The digital campaign has created praise and controversy-which is a further reminder of why it’s needed!

While our Board and members value our 121 year iconic past, we are equally determined to “make equality, reality,” and to make sure that NCWNZ is responsive and relevant. We know that too many people across Aotearoa are still denied equality on the basis of gender, even as we approach the 125th anniversary of suffrage. This means they are too often denied the chance to make and express their own decisions, and realise their full potential.

Our national survey of attitudes to gender, implemented with Research New Zealand, combined with the development of a new comprehensive dashboard and tools for assessing diversity will also help to make sure that NCWNZ will contribute to making a difference at this time of change.

So…please take a look at www.genderequal.nz and join us in working towards a Gender Equal NZ!

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network

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