NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says New Zealand women have a proud history of working together, and that it is this collective approach that has seen significant achievements for women this year.
She said just one of the many results arising from women standing up for themselves together has been world first legislation in New Zealand (from 1 April 2019) granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave to allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect themselves and their children.
NZNO member and delegate Ann Simmons, herself a victim of domestic violence, said the passing of Jan Logie’s Bill gives options and space to breathe at a time when a person feels no one cares.
“For me it’s the win of 2018 and a real win for women who are the majority of domestic violence victims.”
Cee Payne said there was also reason for women to celebrate equal pay legislation which is now before Select Committee.
“We expect that very soon, women across Aotearoa will be able to ensure they are equitably paid. And, by the end of the year, we will have achieved another world first – an equal pay settlement for nurses, midwives and health care assistants across our district health boards.”
NZNO, which is the nursing professional association and union with the largest representation of women in New Zealand (95 per cent of its approximately 53,000 members are women), negotiated a pathway to achieve equal pay as part of its DHB multi-employer collective agreement in 2018.
Cee Payne said Kate Sheppard and Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia would be proud of the achievements women are making collectively in New Zealand.
“We can be very proud that the tide is slowly turning, but it’s important that we keep pressing forward and that we continue to work together.
“Equality is not a privilege that’s given. It is right that is collectively won.”
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It has been celebrated for well over a century, with the first International Women’s Day gathering taking place in 1911.