Article 308: Jordan to scrap marriage loophole for rapists

People stand next to an artwork, shows hanging wedding white dresses, to protest against article 522 in the Lebanese penal code, at Ain el Mraysseh Square, Beirut, Lebanon, 22 April 2017

A law which protected Jordan’s rapists from punishment if they married their victims looks set to be scrapped.

The Jordanian cabinet revoked Article 308 on Sunday, after years of campaigning by women’s activists, as well as Muslim and Christian scholars and others.

The law had meant rapists could avoid a jail term in return for marrying their victim for at least three years.

Its supporters said the law protected a victim’s honour and reputation.

‘A dream come true’

But last year, it was amended so a rapist could only use the loophole to marry his victim if she was aged between 15 and 18 and the attack – which it would be classed as due to the girl’s age – was believed to have been consensual.

Then in February, a royal committee suggested the law should be scrapped in its entirety – which the cabinet has now done.

At the time, the move was welcomed by activist Lailla Naffa as a “dream that has come true,” according to the Jordan Times.

However, the cabinet’s decision must now be voted through by MPs, and could still be blocked.

‘My only hope from marrying him was to make my baby safe’

Noor – not her real name – was just 20 when she was raped by a 55-year-old man.

He was her boss when one day, she complained of a headache. After taking the two pills he offered her, she lost consciousness.

“I couldn’t remember what happened next; I wake up and find myself naked and raped,” she told women’s rights campaign group Equality Now.

“I couldn’t tell my family what had happened. I cried and cried not knowing what to do. At that moment, I realised that my family will be devastated.”

It was only after Noor discovered she was pregnant, that she found the courage to report the rape – but then her attacker offered to marry her under Article 308.

Noor was given no choice in the matter.

“With all the hatred I have in my heart, my family forced me to marry him so as to save the ‘family’s honour’,” she said.

“My only hope from marrying him was to make my baby safe; I was keen to register him in his father’s name, but I failed. He started to negotiate by offering to recognise the baby while divorcing me. I accepted that because I could not bear living with my rapist.

“We went to court and I asked for a divorce giving up my legal rights. Still to date, I could not register my baby in his father’s name.”

As Jordan’s cabinet took steps towards abolishing Article 308, Lebanese activistswere hanging wedding dresses along Beirut’s famous sea front, in protest against Lebanon’s version of the law.

They are hopeful it will be scrapped in May, and activists hope the repeal in both countries could lead to change in countries like Iraq, the Philippines and Tunisia, where similar laws exist, according to Equality Now.

A spokesman for the human rights group, which fights for women and children across the world, told the BBC: “With rape and sexual abuse impacting nearly a billion women and girls over their lifetimes, a repeal in Jordan and Lebanon would be crucial examples showing how change is possible in the Arab region, and around the world, for countries with similar exemptions.

“Morocco, Egypt and Ethiopia have closed similar loopholes, and amendments are pending in Bahrain.”

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21-23 April 2017

By Bobson TSAI

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BPW NZ 2017 Awards

Helen Cook, BPW NZ Awards Chair, announced the following Awards for 2017

Alix Haywood Newsletter Award   

This award is presented at Conference to the club which is judged to have displayed the best standard of communication during the previous year, primarily through the club newsletter.

Vivien Yeung BPW NZ  yBPW presented this award to BPW Upper Hutt.  

Previous Alix Hayward Newsletter Award Winners

Anne Todd-Bell Issues Award

This Award is presented at the Conference to the BPW Club that in the previous year, has most actively pursued an issue which related to improving the status of women.

Hellen Swales BPW NZ Vice President Issues presented this award to BPW Kaitaia.  

Previous  Anne Todd Bell Award Winners

Brooker Marketing Award

This is a trophy presented at Conference each year to a Club that has been the most effective in marketing BPW NZ through an activity they have completed during the previous year.

Hellen Swales BPW NZ Vice President Issues presented this award to  BPW Hawera for their 30th Birthday celebrations, which was “An evening with Makaia Carr, Motivate Me”.  

Previous  Brooker Marketing Award Winners

Community Achievement Award (Helping Your Local Community)
Each year many BPW Clubs contribute positively for the betterment of their local communities.   This not only benefits many organisations and individuals in the communities but also recognises the involvement of BPW both locally and nationally.

This award is presented by the Federation annually and is judged on the clubs participation and .involvement with the project.  It includes both annual projects and new initiatives.

Carolyn Savage BPW NZ Immediate  Past President presented this award to  BPW Huntly for their High Tea event, fundraising for local elderly care facility.  

Previous  Community Achievement Award Winners

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award was established at Conference 2013.

This award is not a competition but is intended to give national recognition to those members who may never attain leadership higher than club level but who  are the backbone of a club and therefore, the BPW NZ organisation.  She would be a member who:

  • who has given meritorious service in any capacity to BPW NZ at Club level for at least five years.
  • Goes that extra mile (or 10 thousand) working in the background,  enabling others to step up and move forward to higher levels.
  • Above all, demonstrates commitment to the Aims of BPW.

Lorraine Cameron BPW NZ IT Administrator presented this award to Carole Rodgers-Carroll of BPW Huntly and Districts.

Previous Distinguished Service Award Winners

 Harrison-Lee membership Award  

This Award is made annually at Conference to the club that has had the highest percentage increase in membership for the calendar year ending 31st March prior to Conference.

Sandra White BPW NZ Treasurer presented this award to BPW Gisborne who had an increase of 28.57%, representing a membership shift from 42 to 54 members.

Previous Harrison Lee Candlestick Award for Membership Winners

Pauline Gapper Nepal Literacy Award

The Nepal Prayer Lamp is awarded annually to the Club that raises the most money for the literacy programme.

Helen Cook presented this award to BPW Upper Hutt.

Previous Pauline Gapper Nepal Literacy Award Winners


Club Presidents Award


 This is awarded annually by the Federation President to a Club President who has shown outstanding Leadership and ensured the health of her club, engaged with women across all sectors and continues to promote the aims of BPW. It is not a reflection on the number of members, but a reflection on the passion of the President and the women she has brought along with her on her journey.

Carolyn Savage presented this award to Leonie Sherlock from Central Hawkes Bay

Previous  Club Presidents Award Winners

Badge of Honour

BPW NZ Past President Maureen Eardley-Wilmot

Previous BPW NZ Badge of Honour Winners

50 years serving BPW BZ  Jan Bielby

Keys to Achievement Gold Awards

  • Christine Berridge
  • Lee Walter
  • Maggie Asplet
  • Ciaran Torrington
  • Janet Gibb

Badge of Honour recipient Maureen Eardly-Wilmot

Badge of Honour

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Equal Pay Announcement a Welcome Relief for Women

Tuesday, 18 April 2017, 4:00 pm
Press Release:  NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women

Government’s Equal Pay Announcement a Welcome Relief for Women

The news that the Government have reached an historic pay equity settlement is great news for women says the New Zealand Federation of Business & Professional Women (BPW NZ)

“Today’s announcement by the Government that they plan to make good on their promise of equal pay is a welcome relief for those of us who have campaigned for many years,” says President Vicky Mee.

“As an organisation we have been campaigning for the empowerment of women in the New Zealand workplace since the 1940’s, so for us, today’s announcement is a big deal.

“BPW NZ is looking forward to seeing the detail of how the Government plans to ensure that all women receive equal pay for work of equal value.

“In the meantime, on behalf of all working women, BPW NZ is revelling in today’s good news,” says Ms Mee.


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Big pay rise for women: Deal likely to alarm private sector

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Updated less than a minute ago
Rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett's pay will go from about $16 an hour to about $23. Photo/Mark Mitchell
Rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett’s pay will go from about $16 an hour to about $23. Photo/Mark Mitchell

About 55,000 low-paid workers, mainly women, are about to get one of the biggest pay rises ever after details of a historic pay equity settlement are revealed today.

The deal will cost the Government more than $500 million a year when fully implemented in five years, assuming it is signed off by union members and the Cabinet.

The settlement will mean hefty pay increases from July in three government-funded service sectors which employ mainly women on low rates: aged residential care, home support, disability services.

Prime Minister Bill English says today’s historic pay equity deal is likely to have ramifications for the private sector.

Speaking to Mike Hosking this morning the Prime Minister said private employers would need to pay attention.

“There’s always concern about government pay negotiations and the flow into the private sector and we’re taking that into account.”

More details about the historical equity pay rise and its wider effect would be revealed by the government later today, he said.


The Herald understands that for the primary litigant, rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett, it will mean an increase from about $16 an hour to about $23 an hour, more than 43 per cent.

The statutory minimum wage at present is $15.75 an hour. The new pay rates will not be backdated.

The case is the first legal settlement in New Zealand that recognises that some jobs pay less because they are done mainly by women.

Talking about the ongoing negotiations last year, State Services Minister Paula Bennett said the deal would put some pressure on the budget by increasing the cost of the work force.

“But equally, we’ve got women who work incredibly hard in some sectors that are absolutely necessary and it does come down to us working in a fair way with them to make sure we are addressing some of the inequalities that are out there.”

Bennett herself was once a rest home shift worker, washing dishes and working as a nurse aid, and said it was a tough industry.

“I’ve always had a genuine empathy with those who work in aged care.”

The Service and Food Workers’ Union lodged a claim on Bartlett’s behalf with the Employment Relations Authority in 2012.

It claimed that she and other caregivers, male and female, were paid at a low rate because it was work predominantly done by women.

The union took the case on behalf of Bartlett and 14 other union members of the 110 employed by Terranova rest home. Their wages were effectively set by the government subsidy paid by the Ministry of Health for rest home services.

The case was elevated to the Employment Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

But once the Court of Appeal confirmed that pay equity cases could be heard under the Equal Pay Act of 1972, the Government stepped into the process because it was loath to leave a case with such far-reaching repercussions solely in the court’s hands.

The government has been involved in two distinct processes.

It has been negotiating a settlement on the Bartlett case, which has been extended to other care services similarly funded by the government.

It also set up a tripartite working group involving unions, employers and the government to come up with a set of principles by which other pay equity claims can be lodged outside of the court system although they have not yet been enshrined in law.

The first of those claims, by education support workers, began last week.

Bartlett’s Service Workers’ Union has merged with the Engineers Union to become E Tu and if its members, along with the Nurses Organisation and the PSA representing other affected workers, accept the settlement, the pay increases will take effect in July.

EY employment law specialist Christie Hall said the amount involved in the Bartlett case would be “fairly sobering” for quite a few employers.

“The private sector is by no means immune from this.”

It would convey to other employers what was expected of them and could make them nervous.

Birmingham Council in Britain settled a pay equity claim for about $2 billion.

Hall said that in terms of the Bartlett case, it would be interesting to see the amount of detail and methodology used to determine the settlement. That could be of interest in future pay equity claims.

Labour leader Andrew Little hailed the pay equity settlement today, saying it was a hard-won victory for Bartlett and her union E Tu.

Bartlett had been up against “sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share”, Little said.

‘The Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point, having had lawyers at each appeal stage of the original case opposing lower court decisions on pay equity determinations,” he said.

Little said it should not have been so difficult to secure the settlement from the Government, and he said a modern and more effective system for dealing for pay equity claims was needed.

“This settlement wouldn’t have been reached without the unions’ involvement, which will see thousands of other workers benefit from the legal case and the outcome of the negotiations

“This outcome will be an overdue spur for pay equity and for lifting low pay in many other areas, and confirms the need for modern and fairer pay setting mechanisms.”

NZ Herald

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How to close the gender pay gap

Aimee Shaw is a business reporter focusing on small business

New Zealand businesses could close the gender pay gap in the next five years, Diversity Works chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says. Photo/Supplied
New Zealand businesses could close the gender pay gap in the next five years, Diversity Works chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says. Photo/Supplied

New Zealand businesses could close the gender pay gap in the next five years, Diversity Works chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says.

But this is only possible if government and the business community make it a priority, she says.

“I think it’s possible in the next five years, a lot of organisations would say they need a lot longer. I’d like it closed much sooner than that, I think five years is too long. That would need a huge commitment from every business in New Zealand,” Cassidy-Mackenzie said.

Pay disparity between men and women sits at 12 per cent and has been stagnant in the past ten years.

Men earn on average earn 68 cents more than women for every hour of work.

“We have been making a lot of headway around diversity and inclusion, so I know [gender pay disparity] is something we can absolutely tackle. I wish it was something we didn’t have to,” Cassidy-Mackenzie said.

“Organisations are more aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, so now that we’ve got this real awareness up, pay equity should come along quite naturally. We’ve got a lot of organisations already doing good work so now that we’ve got good case studies we can refer organisations to, there’s almost no excuse,” she said.

Diversity Works, formerly the Equal Employment Opportunity Trust, is an organisation aiming to help businesses develop more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Cassidy-Mackenzie said New Zealand doesn’t do well on gender pay when compared to the rest of the world.

“We have an opportunity, because we are such a small nation, to actually push [gender equity] up and get ahead. That’s what I’d like to see.”

I think [closing the gender pay gap] is possible in the next five years, a lot of organisations would say they need a lot longer.

Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie, Diversity Works chief executive

Cassidy-Mackenzie, however, doesn’t believe a law change is the way forward.

“It’s a little bit like having targets or quotas, to have legislation driving that outcome for businesses, is the wrong way of going about it.

“Businesses need to commit to this themselves, it needs to be a driver from within. When it becomes a compliance issue then it’s not driven from within. [Otherwise] they’re not driving, for example, an inclusive environment where their staff can bring their whole selves to work and that’s what happens with pay equity.”

“Aside from competition for our skills, our women will look elsewhere for roles and that elsewhere will be offshore.”

Five key steps to fix the gender pay gap

Track the data

Cassidy-McKenzie says measuring overall gender pay gap can be as simple as setting up a spreadsheet.

Make a commitment

Be explicit about gender pay equity in your remuneration policy, and ensure the CEO or equivalent makes a statement committing to closing the gap.

Eliminate the parent penalty

Review employees’ pay when they return from parental leave if they have missed a pay review cycle and give them the increase, Cassidy-McKenzie says.

Support women in your pipeline

Actively support your female employees in their career development and encourage them to apply for higher-paid senior positions and technical roles.

Reward performance, not presence

Insist your senior managers are role models for work-life balance. Work out how to accommodate flexible workplace practices in every role within your organisation.

NZ Herald

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New legislation aims to protect teenagers from forced marriage


A bill designed to protect teenagers from forced marriages will go before Parliament.

The private member’s bill by National MP Joanne Hayes changes the consent requirements for 16 and 17-year-olds who wish to marry.

Currently parental consent is needed in such cases. This would change to require an application to be lodged to the court and the consent of a Family Court judge.

“This bill will address the concern that some 16 and 17 year olds may be being force into marriage,” Hayes said.

“The bill makes it very clear that forced marriage is not an arranged marriage where parents take a leading role in choosing a partner but ultimately the son or daughter has free choice.”

As well as Hayes’ Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill, three other members’ bills were today drawn from the ballot which decides which bills are considered by Parliament.

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri’s Electoral (Registration by Special Vote) Amendment Bill would allow unregistered voters to register by completing a special vote and in doing so ensure that their votes are counted.

The bill’s explanatory note cites the 27,447 special votes cast in 2014 that were disallowed because the voter was not enrolled at all.

New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau’s International Transparent Treaties Bill proposes that all international treaties shall be approved by Parliament prior to the treaty being signed. NZ First was a fierce opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Tabuteau said the law change would prevent the Government signing up to “secret, backroom deals” like the TPP.

“There is a need for a higher level of transparency when small, privileged and often out-of-touch groups get to negotiate these deals on behalf of the wider public.”

National MP Stuart Smith’s Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill is designed to bring credit unions into alignment with other financial service providers and reduce operating costs.

Very few Opposition MP bills make it into law but their selection allows the issue to be debated in a first reading.

NZ Herald

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KidsCan receives $50,000 for sanitary products

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Women
Hon Anne Tolley
Minister for Social Development

13 April 2017
Media Statement

KidsCan receives $50,000 for sanitary products

Minister for Women Paula Bennett and Minister for Social Development Anne Tolley have announced the Government is providing $50,000 over the next year to assist KidsCan supply schools with sanitary products.

“This funding will provide sanitary products to the schools KidsCan supports. It’s expected that over 16,500 packs will be supplied to around 2,000 girls,” says Mrs Bennett.

“This is a practical way we can support young women who come from families in need. Small initiatives like this can make a big difference, and this is a good example of how we’re continuing to provide support to those in need.”

“MSD supports KidsCan which works with schools throughout New Zealand to supply practical items to around 143,000 young people in need,” says Mrs Tolley.

“KidsCan does a great job helping disadvantaged students achieve better educational outcomes by providing food, socks, shoes and raincoats.

“They also provide health items including nit treatment, nit combs, hand sanitiser, band-aids and tissues, as well as dental care for partner schools.”

KidsCan Charitable Trust is funded by donations, business sponsorship, government support, philanthropic trusts and gaming revenue. It supports 621 schools. Almost half of its revenue is made up of in-kind gifts and donated goods.


© Scoop Media

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Pay Equity Coalition stands alongside education support workers

Media release: Pay Equity Coalition 

Pay Equity Coalition stands alongside education support workers

The Pay Equity Coalition stands alongside the three Ministry of Education support workers in their negotiations for equal pay which began today.

“Rest Home Worker Kristine Bartlett, in union with thousands of other aged care workers, have paved the way for equal pay in New Zealand. This new claim takes another historic step using the mechanisms from the new pay equity principles,” says Coalition spokesperson Angela McLeod.

“Three Ministry of Education support workers together in union with NZEI are calling on the Government to make good on their commitment to equal pay by accepting their claim that they are being underpaid because they are women.”

“These education support workers already have a comparator which was agreed by the Pay & Employment Equity Unit of the Department of Labour in 2007 – the Government needs to honour that agreement.”

“Education support workers are highly skilled and support the most vulnerable of our children who need special care due to their physical and behavioural needs. it’s unjust they’re not paid the same as others with similar skill sets.”

“Change is in the wind. It’s time for equal pay,” McLeod said.


For further comment

Angela McLeod, Pay Equity Coalition Spokesperson 027 497 2761

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Gender Equality in New Zealand – Making It Happen

Dear Friends

Please join the UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ to meet with Jan Logie MP on 19 April and hear all about her significant Gender Equality Bills currently before Parliament. Details are below.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Warm regards,
Barbara Williams
President UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ

Gender Equality in New Zealand – Making It Happen

The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ invites you to join us to hear about significant Gender Equality Bills currently before Parliament.

Location:  Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA),

Hillary Room – 77 Thorndon Quay,

Wellington:  ph (04) 472 5759

Time:  12 to 1pm

Date:  Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Member of Parliament, Jan Logie, will discuss her two Member’s Bills – the Domestic Violence-Victims’ Protection Bill and the Equal Pay Amendment Bill – and what she hopes these will achieve for New Zealand women.

Tea and coffee available – bring your own lunch.

Donations to the UN Women projects for Ending Violence against women and girls in the Pacific are welcomed.

RSVP (by 13 April) to


Thank you to VSA for offering use of their venue for this event.

UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ Empowerment Partners

— Dayna Berghan-WhymanAdministrator UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand

  • PO Box 12473, Thorndon,
  • Wellington 6144
  • Cell: 021 0264 7337
  • Visit our
  • Follow us on:Facebook – UNWomenANZ
  • Twitter – UN Women NCANZInstagram – unwomennz
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