President's Message to Political Parties

An open letter to our political parties ahead of the upcoming election.

I am writing on behalf of the YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand movement, representing YWCA Associations around the country, to wish you well in the upcoming elections. As a movement that works alongside women to achieve ‘100% potential’, we are passionate advocates for further changes to improve women’s equality across Aotearoa New Zealand.

We believe that public opinion and awareness of gender equality issues in New Zealand is at a pivotal tipping point as a result of increased media coverage, legislative changes and global issues and trends. Any new government formed after the general election needs to provide strong leadership and demonstrate a fully inclusive approach to diversity to enable all citizens to contribute in a full and meaningful way to New Zealand society.

At the YWCA, we are driven to provide women the opportunity to realise a better future. This requires an inclusive working approach of partnering with individuals, communities, whānau and agencies to make an equal playing field a reality.

We want to see the following actions from a new government:

  • Parental leave extended to 26 paid weeks.

  • The Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill enacted in a way that enables women to be able to mount claims without an arduous and expensive process; the use of appropriate comparators based on skills and/or roles and from appropriate industries so discriminatory patterns are not perpetuated; and an independent body to have oversight, resources, and decision making abilities as to whether claims will proceed or not, and not extinguish existing legal rights for women.

  • More resources made available for developing innovative approaches to keeping women safe in both a physical and virtual sense.

  • De-criminalising abortion as we believe that every woman deserves choice.

The YWCA has provided vital guidance to the Ministry for Women over the past four years. We launched the Equal Pay Awards in 2014 to recognise companies that address the gender pay gap in their workplace and to encourage other businesses to start the process. I would be delighted to talk to you personally about this initiative and encourage you to get in touch if you would like more information or to attend the Equal Pay Awards presentation in Auckland on 9 November.

Ngā mihi / Kind regards

Susan Doughty
Co-president, YWCA of Aotearoa NZ
President, YWCA Auckland