Vice President – Issues

May 2011

Issues

Well conference is over for this year, as usual it was stimulating and energising, and so good to see clubs really getting involved in the communities and getting publicity for BPW and the issues we stand for. Congratulations to all the clubs who got involved and put forward their projects for the awards available. I encourage other clubs who have been involved in projects as well to put your projects forward for acknowledgement.

Now we all get back to doing what we do best, raising awareness on issues concerning women and their families.

One of the things that is concerning is the cost cutting that has been passed through parliament under urgency regarding legal aid. Setting the ceiling at $22,000 is ridiculously low, and will certainly affect a large number of women who would be relying on legal aid to help them in court during any domestic violence proceedings. This may result in some women not pressing charges because they would have to go through means testing which will take time and the outcome could be a negative one for them.

We will have to be watching this one very closely. We have come a long way to gain acknowledgement of the problems, with the legislation that has been passed regarding giving police powers to separate couples, with protection orders being able to be issued on the spot. We do not want these gains to be lessened by legal aid becoming inaccessible.

Noeline Reisch,

BPW NZ 2ndVice President

Email: noeline.reisch@gmail.com; or svp@bpwnz.org.nz

March 2011

Remits:

At the time of reading this report you will have all received the remits and hopefully made any amendments and sent them back to the Resolutions Chair, IPP Faye Gardiner.  The conference papers are in the process of being finalised and a copy will be posted out to Life Members, Past Presidents and conference delegates.

On-line Issues Register/Forum:  this is going to be developed as part of the newly formatted web site, the Executive Secretary is currently obtaining quotes for this project to be undertaken.  It will provide a basis for all members across the country to participate in a project, prepare submissions and comment on policy resolutions, all through a secure forum.  Further updates will be released after the Executive Strategic Planning meeting when confirmation of the proposed upgrade will be completed.

Red Bag Day, 18th February 2010 (Friday):  –

As spokesperson for the Pay Equity Coalition, President Angela McLeod participated in the “Are You Man Enough to Wear a Red Bag” and challenged the public and politicians on the status of Equal Pay.  Refer to her press release http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10706957

International Women’s Day:  8th March UNIFEM 100 Breakfasts….. there are a number of events being held around the country, look forward to receiving reports what your club will be achieving on the 8th March.

Other Key Dates for your information:

21st March:      International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

10th June:        World Environment Day

17-21st June:   BPW International Congress

June/July:        Candle Lighting

10th July:          World Population Day

9th August:       International Day of Indigenous People

Projects:  there are some effective projects being developed by clubs around the country, if you require some ideas for a project that your club and members could work on then send an email through to the Projects Convenor, Diane Dean.

Carolyn Savage, FBPW

BPW NZ 2nd Vice President

Email:  svp@bpwnz.org.nz, or carolyn.bpw@xtra.co.nz

February Message

Remits:

The Resolutions Committee had received a total of nine remits for Conference 2011, by the time you read this you club should have received them.  The timeframe for responses are earlier this year due to the conference being at the beginning of April so your prompt response is greatly appreciated.  Refer to the Conference Calendar for key dates.

Red Bag Day, 18th February 2010 (Friday):  –

2010 saw the launch of the first NZ Red Bag Day.  It is a project initiated from BPW International and Federations/clubs around the world are asked to participate.  There are a couple of clubs that are well into planning for this event and some of the proposed projects include:

  • a business breakfast meeting, included in the ticket price is a red bag
  • to have members sell bags in the local mall or supermarkets
  • club members meet and walk up their local main street carrying a red bag (and have others to sell)
  • and wait until you see BPW Warkworth’s creative invention of the Red Bags……

International Women’s Day:  8th March UNIFEM 100 Breakfasts….. register your club for this event.

Projects: this is a good time to start looking at potential projects some suggestions can arise from the National Calendar or for other ideas please contact carolyn.bpw@xtra.co.nz.

White Ribbon Day  (25th Nov):

A proposed nationwide project in conjunction with the Families Commission and White Riders.  In 2010 when this was proposed there was not enough time to organise and some clubs were well into the planning of their event.  If you wish to participate this year please forward a contact email to carolyn.bpw@xtra.co.nz and information will be sent through to you.

An example of BPW Franklin participation (see newspaper article).

Carolyn Savage, BPW(P)

BPW NZ Vice President

Email: fvp@bpwnz.org.nz, or carolyn.bpw@xtra.co.nz


October Message

BPW NZ – are Issues as Relevant Today as They Were Yesterday?

The answers from clubs and members alike have provided some interesting insights in regards to this question.  For example Pay Equity and Equal Pay has had members quoting:

  • Doesn’t affect me
  • So there are old boy’s clubs, there always will be
  • Pay equity is important but haven’t we done that to death and what issue is igniting the clubs at the moment???

Other items:

  • Need a CAUSE to unite everyone
  • BPW is past its use by date in our community.

The above are relevant opinions, so what Issues have been identified as being important both on the local scene and internationally?  Below were the first five key items that were identified at Conference 2010 when discussing the CEDAW document and what members considered the most important:

  • Domestic Violence:  until the day comes about when we do not hear in the news or read in papers about women and their families being abused in all forms, then this is an Issue we should be strongly supporting and finding ways to make the public aware it is Not Acceptable to Allow Abuse to Continue.  White Ribbon Day is one such event with the intention that we get women throughout NZ to get swatches of White Ribbons signed, these are all sewn together and displayed in their local areas, and then they are all brought together, sewn up and then hung in Parliament Grounds.  BPW Franklin achieved over 1200 signatures, what could BPW NZ as a whole achieve?
  • Drugs and Alcohol Abuse: the rise in the different types of drugs, the resulting of rise in gang and crime related instances and the methods that some groups try to smuggle drugs into NZ.  Thanks are extended to Northern Region’s guest speaker from Customs who showed us just some of the ways people try to smuggle drugs into our country.  This is an Issue and as a mother of a young child it frightens me to think he could be at risk and only through the education of speakers and events that have been attended, have I gained some skill and knowledge about what to look for.
  • Equal Pay / Pay Equity: both of these were identified as separate issues at Conference 2010.  The Red Bag Day that was started in the United States, further developed by BPW Germany and  then Australia. NZ began their first day on the 18th February 2010.  This is an International and National event, tackled at all levels.  With proper lead in time, management and planning this could achieve National participation with all clubs and members support.  I am looking forward to seeing a photo of BPW Warkworth’s creative use of the Red Bags in an upcoming circular.
  • Equal Opportunity: “What can we all do about pushing ahead with women’s progress? This is the question Dr Judy McGregor, EEO Commissioner with the Human Rights Commission, will present on 17th September, Suffrage Breakfast in Auckland and will “look at how far New Zealand women have come and how far they need to travel to achieve equality.” This is an Issue for today.

Other items for consideration

  • Bullying (workplace and schools): this is a very real problem in both areas.  It is not something that has stopped, it is hidden more and women will change jobs rather than having to deal with it and now with the tight economic times it has not improved the position of a number of women.  As part of this is Sexual Harassment in the workplace, this is again a real issue for women in our country, but a number of them just do not know who to talk to or where there is sound information to make non-emotional decisions and to have support.  This one area was highlighted by a guest speaker at Midland’s Regional Meeting last weekend.
  • Cultural Practices: these have been highlighted recently at CEDAW events and BPW Auckland has certainly worked in some way towards breaking down barriers.  Suggestions, providing seminars on knowing what a woman’s right is under NZ law, providing information packs with ‘basic legal understanding’, information about where help or resources can be obtained from, these are potential projects.
  • Rights of the Elderly: this comes across and affects not only the elderly but the women who undertake home care and personal care for elderly members of our society.  Those with disabilities, financial restrictions, even the lack of care facilities, are Issues that are facing women who are now well into their retirement and who may not have the support networks they had when younger.

So are there Issues for BPW NZ and its members to get behind, YES.  How can we achieve this at club levels, what can we do?

During my last 17months as an Executive officer there have been a number of events with different women’s organisations that I have had the fortune to attend.  The name of BPW NZ is highly respected by these various groups and the Federation is acknowledge for the work it has achieved in the past.  There have been requests to coordinate a Project 5.0 within NZ, to pull together resources and skills and provide information and tools for women within our community.  This can be done it just needs the clubs or members to say what they would like to work on and how they could assist.

Therefore a Projects Issue Register is currently being developed, the information will be made available online and clubs/members/individual members can register their interest to be part of an issue(s).  It is being developed in different parts, e.g. club events, speakers, identifying submissions that fall within the categories.  This will be a significant tool for use by clubs to undertake projects in their areas or supporting clubs in their region.  Then coordinators would be nominated for both the North and South Islands and they would work with the Issues VP (or at this stage someone who could be co-opted to help).   BPW NZ is being looked to lead the way in today’s events and this is the first step to provide a series of tools to assist us all in moving forward in the future.

Carolyn Savage, BPW(P)

BPW NZ 1st Vice President

Email: fvp@bpwnz.org.nz, or carolyn.bpw@xtra.co.nz

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