Gandhi Nivas: keeping South Asian families safe

From Voices3:30 pm on 18 December 2017
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NEXT report: Sexism still rife in workplace for Kiwi women

Many of us are disillusioned, but there is hope.


She was a single mum trying to get a job. After being turned down for a receptionist’s position, she called up the company’s manager for some feedback, hoping it might help her in the future. His explanation for not giving her the role left her distraught.

“He said, ‘It’s because you’re a young mother and I think you’ll be away too much with your child being sick or something,’” she recalls. “I felt completely devalued and deflated.”

Fast-forward a few years, and once again the same woman is being picked on because of her gender. Online trolls have attacked everything from her appearance to her family.

“There has been a bit of a run of it, and I don’t see anything like that for my male colleagues,” she admits. “I’ve tried so hard to say it’s not gender biased, but I’ve got to say at the moment it feels like it is.”

This is not just any woman – though these may be familiar scenarios for many. These are the experiences of our deputy prime minister.

Paula Bennett is well acquainted with gender discrimination, and a combination of her personal experiences, as well as her work as Minister for Women, meant she was in no way surprised when she heard the results of the latest NEXT Report.

Our survey of more than 1000 women nationwide revealed almost a quarter has been discriminated against at work because of their gender; with 44 per cent of those victims millennials. Equally unsettling is the fact 79 per cent of Kiwi women don’t believe they are offered the same opportunities at work as men.

“I definitely think it’s something to be concerned about,” says Bennett, who this year released research that showed 80 per cent of the gender pay gap is due to employers’ unconscious bias against females. “I think the way women have answered this survey is really valid, and it’s something employers should take on board,” Bennett adds.

There’s no doubt we are all very aware of gender issues. A massive 92 per cent of the women NEXT surveyed agreed equality between men and women is important – but with that conviction comes disillusion.

Only 3 per cent believe equality is a complete reality, a statistic that doesn’t compare favourably with the one in 10 who thought it was a full reality when we conducted the quadrennial survey back in 2008 – indicating that New Zealand is actually going backwards.

Annabel Cooper, associate professor in sociology, gender and social work at the University of Otago, believes views on equality tend to ebb and flow – often dictated by high-profile news events.

“So what we’re seeing at the moment is a resurgence of attention to gender issues, and a consciousness that more things are at play than people had realised,” Cooper explains.

“Things like the Roast Busters incident [the alleged gang rape of intoxicated, underage girls] was shocking, but it gave rise to a lot of discussion around really quite profound inequality amongst that age group.”

For all that perception plays a part, quantifiable data suggests the view New Zealand is losing ground in the gender stakes is valid.

Equal employment opportunities commissioner Dr Jackie Blue has noticed a marked increase in the number of formal complaints made to the Human Rights Commission about employment discrimination based on gender in this country.

“In the year to June 2017 there were 92 people who complained, compared to 72 the previous year,” she says, adding the relatively small numbers reflect the fact that involving the commission is just one of several options for victims. “It is concerning.”

While the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report ranks New Zealand ninth out of 144 countries, it shows we have tumbled in the gender parity stakes over the past decade.

Since 2006 we might have only dropped from seventh to ninth overall, but we have experienced significant drops in every sub-category. For example, we have slipped 10 places in economic participation and opportunity, and plummeted 35 positions in health and survival – and are now ranked at 104 out of 144.

The 2017 pay equity statistics don’t paint a prettier picture.

The mum penalty

The gender pay gap in New Zealand is sitting at 12 per cent, which a Human Rights Commission project has equated to men earning $262 more per full-time working week than women. That translates into a whopping $600,000 over a 45-year career.

And for working mothers the outlook is even bleaker. Statistics New Zealand data released in February shows there is a clear ‘motherhood penalty’, with dads earning 17 per cent more than mums – an additional $4.90 an hour. It’s a disparity Dr Blue lambasts as “outrageous”.

“Women are really up against it – there is massive bias and massive sexism,” she says. “At the end of the day we’re all human, and can all be affected by the constant barrage of negativity and hurdles that need to be jumped.”

Dr Blue is also concerned by the fact only 61 per cent of the women NEXT surveyed agreed their employers accommodated their family responsibilities.

“It should be a lot better – it should be 100 per cent,” she says. “It’s still this resentment [by employers] that you’re having children, you’re being difficult, this is not helpful for the business, you’re not pulling your weight.”

A blow to morale

It should come as no surprise that only 56 per cent of those polled by NEXT feel life as a woman is better than ever before – a considerable drop from the 75 per cent who agreed with that statement eight years ago.

“For many individual women it is tougher,” says Cooper. “The house prices, the rents – especially if you’re living in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch; if you’re trying to bring up kids and you’re a female head of the household, all those places will have become harder to live in than they would have been eight years ago.”

Dr Blue believes the issue is compounded by international events “which lower morale”.

“Hillary Clinton losing [the American election] was incredibly depressing for many women, and then Helen Clark failing to become UN secretary-general, it was one thing after another,” she says.

Strength in numbers

And whether or not life is better, we’re not feeling positive about our place in it. The NEXT Report found 62 per cent of women don’t believe they are valued by society.

While Bennett would argue women are valued (“They’re the backbone to everything; they are parents, they are workers, they are the basis of society”), she does concede it’s understandable we’re feeling this way. “It’s really hard to get ahead when you feel like you’re being treated differently to men,” she says.

Dr Blue agrees the sense of being undervalued comes down to increasing understanding that men and women aren’t on a level playing field, accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness.

“They’re probably feeling a bit paralysed,” she suggests, adding that while the recent pay equity settlement for rest home workers was a win, it made no tangible difference to a large proportion of New Zealand women. “It does need a circuit-breaker of some sort.”

As to what form that circuit-breaker should take, the Ministry of Women is putting the onus on employers, while the Human Rights Commission is working on empowering the next generation.

Bennett initially focused on the 353,500 New Zealanders employed in the public sector – “Because how can we stand there and point at everyone else when we’ve got a 14 per cent gap ourselves?” – but is now also turning her attention to the private sector.

Although she didn’t agree with the Green Party’s pay equity bill – “I thought it was misinformed and wasn’t going to make a big difference” – in July she released guidance for Kiwi businesses on how to close their pay gap.

Dr Blue is heartened by work she has seen by some employers, including holding ‘bias training’ to help them avoid unconscious prejudice, but adds, “it needs to happen quicker and more companies need to be doing it.”

She encourages women to band together and hold businesses to account. “I would just ask, ‘Are women being paid the same as men in this organisation?’ It will absolutely throw the boss, but they will have to start doing gender pay gap metrics and a pay equity audit. Also talk with like-minded women – form a group or a network. It is really helpful to know you’re not alone, you’ve all got the same issues.

The rocky road towards gender equality in NZ

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Thank YOU for celebrating #BPWDay with #BPWPride!

#BPWDay a great, beautiful, yellow success as we celebrate with #BPWPride!

Celebration of #BPWDay and #BPWPride all over the world. More celebration photos are over on our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter pages

Dear BPW sister,

We want to thank YOU for the big success of our 87th Anniversary and celebration of #BPWDay!

It is indeed wonderful to see that on 26th August, all the BPW sisters wherever you are, bonded through this unified celebration. On 26th August, we wore yellow and we wore it with #BPWPride!

A BIG thanks to all who joined in the celebration, for wearing yellow, putting on your BPW Pin and taking such beautiful photos. We saw that there were also cakes and yummy food and drinks at some of the celebrations, it really couldn’t have been made better!

We have tried to share as many of the photos we could find that was publicly available and with hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride on our BPW International Facebook page, so do head on over to see more photos. Do also check out Instagram and Twitter for photos! You’ll be very excited to see so many clubs spread out across the world joining in this celebration.

The success of the 87th #BPWDay celebration would not have been possible without you. We are truly grateful for you and your active participation in BPW and we hope you had a great time!

Next major event to look forward to? The 29th BPW International Congress! We look forward to meeting you at Cairo.

Kind Regards,
BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017


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Tomorrow is the BIG DAY a.k.a. the 87th BPW Day!


Dear BPW sister,

Don’t forget—tomorrow, 26 August, is the BIG DAY a.k.a. the 87th BPW Day!

So, we do hope you already know what you need to do to participate in this worldwide celebration of women. In case you need a reminder, you basically just have to…

– Take a photo of you wearing something yellow and your BPW Pin
– Share the photo on social media with the event’s official hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride

And, that’s it! No need for anything complicated so we do hope you’ll join us!

Of course, we’d like you to spread the word as well so please remind your fellow BPW sisters about this special occassion.

Again, this is happening tomorrow. Together, let’s make this celebration even better!

For 87th BPW Day updates and BPW news, please visit our Facebook page.

Kind Regards,
BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017

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Equal Pay Events: 12 August 2017 Wellington, Auckland, Whangerei and Palmerston North

  photos of Wgtn rally 12 August   Photos of Auckland 12 August    Whangerei & Palmerston Nth

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Spread the word: The 87th BPW Day is just ’round the corner!

Dear BPW sister,

We’re now in August, and you know what that means: The 87th BPW Day is just around the corner!

In case you didn’t know, this milestone event is happening on 26 August, and when our calendars turn to that date, we hope you’ll join this worldwide celebration by…

– Snapping a photo of you wearing something yellow and your BPW Pin
– Uploading and sharing the photo on social media with the event’s official hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride

And since it’s definitely much better if more people join, we do hope you’ll share the good news. So go out there and spread the word online or offline so that your fellow BPW sisters won’t miss out!

For 87th BPW Day updates and BPW news, please visit our Facebook page.

Kind Regards,
BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017

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Equal Pay Week of Action: It’s time to pay the sisters the same as the misters

Media advisory : from Council of Trade Unions

 Equal Pay Week of Action: It’s time to pay the sisters the same as the misters

 Kiwis care about fairness. Ensuring that women are paid fairly and equally will be a key election issue. A week of action, Saturday 12 – Saturday 19 August, focused on the issues of equal pay will see events happening all around the country.

2017 has been a big year for equal pay with the huge success of the care and support settlement which saw union member Kristine Bartlett’s win equal pay on behalf of over 55,000 working women.

Most of the events planned will be celebratory; colourful, with music and dance. However they will also be future orientated. “The road to achieving equal pay for all continues to have potholes in it,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said. “The National Government seems determined to pursue a new law which will make achieving equal pay much more difficult. We will ensure that working woman and all those that support fairness and equality have their voices heard.”

For more information about what’s happening locally please refer to the table below – including local media contacts


Where When What Media contact
Toyota site
Carruth Street
(Opposite Pak’n’Save)
Saturday 12 August10am for 10.30am start Flash mob dancing to ‘She Works Hard for the Money’
Wear red!
Liz Boutet 021 416 541
Gather at Takutai Sq behind Britomart – march up Queen St to rally at the Suffrage Memorial Te ha o Hine Place off Lorne St
Saturday 12 August
11am – 12.30pm
March and rally MC – Michelle A’Court Speakers -Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Jo Goodhew (National), Jan Logie (Greens), Tracey Martin (NZ First) and Cinnamon Whitlock (Maori Party) Carol Beaumont 027 275 7374
Methodist Centre, 62 London St, Hamilton
Wednesday 16 August
4:30pm -6pm
Drinks & nibbles with Jackie Blue [EEO Blue. Commissioner]; Prof Margaret Wilson [UoW]; and Carol Webb [school support worker] Huia Welton021 524 502
Palmerston North 
Meeting at the Te Awe Awe quadrant of The Square and marching to George Street
Saturday 12 August
March with flash mob dancing to She Works Hard for the Money at start and finish. Dance led by Public Service Association Youth (PSAY) Lisa Wilde 027 475 1884
Cuba St stage – near bucket fountain
Saturday 12 August
Rally & dancing Confirmed speakers –Kristine Bartlett, Vanisa Dhiru (Vice President National Council of Women), Suzanne Snively (Former Wellingtonian of the Year) & Richard Wagstaff (CTU President)Wear purple! Angela McLeod 027 497 2761
Pomeroy’s Cafés –Pomeroys Coffee and Tea Co

Crema coffee cart (Church Steps)

Pomeroys City Store (Montgomery Square)

The Coffee Factory (16 Elms Street, Stoke)

Monday 14 –Friday 18 August Men pay $0.50 more per coffee.Action supported by the Breeze Nelson Pip Jamieson 027 247 2450
Cathedral Square
Sat 19 Aug 10.30am for 11am start Speakers Ruth Dyson, (Labour); Jan Logie, (Greens); Liz Gordon, (Pillars Children’s Charity) and Nancy McShane followed by The Equal Pay Dance. Wear red and black for Canterbury Nancy McShane 021 0816 2938
At the Exchange, corner of Princes and Rattray Street.
Saturday 19 August
Tea partyDress theme: a woman who inspires you. Lucy Gray021 207 3651



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Equal Pay Week of Action

Other Locations  Equal Pay Saturday Aug 12 locations

Whangatei flyer  EP Flyerfinal

The Equal Pay Week of Action 12 – 20th August

From 12 – 20 of August all around the country our network of  equal pay campaign hubs are running events to draw attention to the issue of equal pay in the lead up to the General Election.

You can support these activities by letting other people in your networks know and by attending.

There will be more information to come – but we wanted to make sure that you have as much advanced notice about these events as possible.

Some unions are planning their own equal pay events at worksites during the week of action too.

We will keep the CTU website updated with the detail of events here

If you have any questions or would like more information please email me Sue O’Shea or call 021 569 277

Equal Pay Saturday Aug 12 locations

Many of the regional actions will include dancing to the Donna Summers song She Works Hard for the Money (Treat Her Right). If you’d like to join in you can practice with others (some regional hubs are holding practice nights) or learn the dance moves in the privacy of your own home.

Not your thing? Being there, bringing friends and whanau to support the action in your area all makes a difference.

We want to make as big a splash as possible, so join in the action (and have fun too) This will get the message through loud and clear that Kiwis are committed to winning equal pay!

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National’s Proposed New Law Disappoints

Media release: Pay Equity Coalition (Wellington)


The Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill tabled yesterday by the Government doesn’t do what the Government promises it would do, says the Pay Equity Coalition (Wellington).

“The Coalition is disappointed because this Bill will fail to deliver equal pay for many women,” says spokesperson Angela McLeod.

“The Bill makes it harder and more expensive for women to make a claim by introducing additional barriers for women to take pay equity claims.”

“We question if the government is committed to achieving pay equity in New Zealand if this Bill does not enable a better process and pathway to equal pay.”

“Unfortunately, this Bill is a step backwards in achieving equal pay. Working women deserve better, we deserve a law which supports equal pay for work of equal value,” McLeod said.


For further information please contact

Pay Equity Coalition Spokesperson Angela McLeod – 027 497 2761

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Submission on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

20th July 2017

  • Justice and Electoral Committee
    Parliament Building
  • Wellington 6140 New Zealand


    Re: Submission on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

    This submission is from the NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) Inc.

    Executive Summary

    BPW NZ supports Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill, as it helps protect minors from forced or coerced marriages.

    However, BPW NZ believes the legal age of marriage should be eighteen, so that it is not legal for minors to marry under any circumstances. UN protocol states that a minor is anyone under the age of eighteen and should a minor be married it is effectively forced/coerced marriage, as they are not equipped to make a decision about marriage at a young age.1

    We believe the best way to protect adolescent children is to ensure they cannot, for any reason, enter into a contract with such lasting consequences.

    General Comments

    Our policies

    1.1 16.15. urges the New Zealand Government to revise the legal minimum age of marriage to eighteen years without any exception for parental consent and to introduce legal measures to prohibit underage and forced marriages and promote measures to protect women harmed by polygamy and dowry-related violence.

    1.2 In 2013 we brought a resolution to the National Council of Women New Zealand (NCWNZ) which ask that the NCWNZ:

Responds to Clauses 21 and 37 of the July 2012 New Zealand “Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women” by supporting measures to prohibit underage and forced marriages and through the promotion of measures to protect women harmed by polygamy and dowry-related violence.

1.3 In 2014, we took the issue of forced marriages and child brides to the international stage and along with BPW Africa, brought a resolution to the BPW International Congress which was subsequently passed.

The resolution reads:

The BPW International General Assembly 2014:

is mindful that action to stop and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls is a BPW International priority policy; that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child considers marriage before the age of eighteen a human rights violation; and that child marriage, described by UNICEF as “perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls”, is one of the biggest obstacles to development, destroys the innocence of millions of girls in Africa and worldwide and often condemns them to lives of poverty, ignorance and poor health;

recognises the loss of opportunity for child brides to reach their potential, the economic impact of child marriage on the woman and her children, and the effect on the economy of the disempowerment of whole communities of women through child marriage; shares the global concern on the ills of child marriage; and therefore, notes with grave concern the rationale for prevention of child marriage and resolves to address the issue as a top priority policy issue through:

a. advocacy – creating awareness and sensitizing traditional and religious leaders, government officials, women’s groups, opinion leaders and other stakeholders on the implication of child marriage; and advocating for free and compulsory basic education for the girl child.

b. education – building capacity through training key stakeholders on human rights abuse and rights protection, and alerting them to existing laws and platform they can use to protect their rights or rights of their children; specifically building capacity of mothers through sensitization and knowledge sharing to equip them to serve as agents for the prevention of early marriages; providing platforms for men to advocate for the prevention early early/child marriages.

c. conducting community mobilization programmes and evaluating interventions.

d. media campaigns – promoting national discussions on gender violence; increasing public awareness through campaigns designed to change attitudes and behaviours.

e. lobbying and engaging governments and other relevant policy decision makers, through existing platforms, networks and coalitions for the inclusion of human rights in school curriculum and for enactment of policy and law prohibiting child and forced marriage.

f. locally adapting, adopting and distributing all charters, treaties, policies, laws and agreements targeted countries have committed to.

g. identifying and working with agencies that can provide legal support to young girls whose rights are violated through forced marriage.

h. collaborating with credible local and international organizations working on prevention of early/child marriage i.e. FIDA in Nigeria, Tostan in Senegal and other research institutions.

i. conducting research on existing programmes aimed at preventing early/child marriage in developing countries; facilitating cross communication and learning to improve efficiency of intervention.

2.0 Child Marriage in New Zealand

2.1 BPW NZ believes the legal age of marriage should be eighteen, because sixteen and seventeen-year old are classified as minors and should not therefore be able to marry. In New Zealand, sixteen and seventeen-year old cannot vote, buy alcohol, sit on a jury, buy fireworks, or be fully bound by a contract.2 The age of majority in New Zealand is 20, and generally, anyone under the age of eighteen is considered a minor.

2.2 It is difficult to find public statistics around the prevalence of child marriages in New Zealand. Statistics NZ reports on marriages for those 19 and under; in 2016, there were 117 males and 282 females married who were 19 or younger. The

explanatory note in the Bill advises that there are about 80 marriages per year involving sixteen and seventeen-year old’s.3

2.3 Much of the anecdotal evidence for forced marriages in New Zealand indicates that they are more prevalent in non-Maori or NZ European cultures. Priyanca Radhakrishnan worked for Shakti, a national not-for-profit community organisation specialising in the area of women’s development, empowerment and domestic/family violence intervention, with particular cultural awareness for children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. Ms. Radhakrishnan’s Master’s thesis Unholy Matrimony spoke in detail about cases of forced marriages in New Zealand and the challenges migrants have because they are often required to live in more insular, smaller communities. She described how migrant women struggle fit in among English speakers, to find work and further their education and consequently they become more reliant on their family and a smaller network. These communities, faced with adapting to a different cultural environment, may even experience a backlash supporting traditional cultural practices which claim to protect women and their cultural identity, such as forced marriages.

2.4 Child marriages and forced marriages, which often go hand-in-hand, does happen in New Zealand. Girls are primary impacted; eighty percent of minors married are female.4 Some of our most marginalised people are a target too—young women who are migrants. Poverty is a factor, the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) finds that, globally “girls living in poor households are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 than girls in higher income households”. In The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report titled Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice it was found that domestic violence is more common for women who had been married as children.5

3.0 Child Marriages: International Perspective

3.1 New Zealand is a signatory to the following international agreements and lists them as guiding documents in the Government’s efforts to prevent forced marriage.6

  • Universal Declaration of Human Right
  • United National (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • UN Convention on consent to marriage, minimum age for marriage and registration of marriages
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

3.2 In The State of the World’s Children UNICEF reported that:

  • • Girls who marry early are more likely to abandon formal education and become pregnant
  • • If a mother is under the age of eighteen, her infant’s risk of dying in its first year of life is 60 percent greater than that of an infant born to a mother other than nineteen
  • • Children born to child brides are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition, and late physical and cognitive development
  • • Child brides are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation and are often separated from family and friends, lacking freedom to participate in community activities

3.3 The UN is clear about its stance regarding marriage, it considers anyone under the age of eighteen a minor and if married, consent is not possible as the marriage that cannot be ‘free and full’ when one partner is immature.7

3.4 The global economic cost of child marriage is billions of dollars, annually.8 Costs of Child Marriage – is an ICRW and the World Bank initiative aimed at researching the economic consequences of child marriage to support the economic case for ending child marriage.9

In their words:

When girls are forced to marry, they often drop out of school, may face serious health complications and even death from early pregnancy and childbearing, and are at greater risk of HIV infection and intimate partner violence.

They are often isolated, with limited opportunity to engage socially and to participate in the economic development of their communities. Child marriage thus hampers efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable global development.

4.0 Proposed Bill

4.1 Our question for the committee is: where the burden of proof will lay when a case for marriage involving a minor is taken before a Court? Will the bridal couple, or their family, be required to state the case for marriage? What will be considered an acceptable case for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old to be married? Will they have to prove true love and a lasting, equal commitment? Or will the judge be assessing whether force or coercion is involved? Is a judge able to ensure they can identify more complicated cases of coercion?

4.2 One of our members, a teacher, reported a student being encouraged by her mother to marry the girl’s teenage boyfriend, so that he would be better eligible for a NZ visa. The children are close, their families are close, and the coercion is not violent or outwardly abusive. The girl and boy may be manipulated into a decision with long-term consequences, as well as abetting visa fraud, because they want the best for one another as friends or a young couple in love. Cases like these are much more ambiguous.

4.3 The above questions lead BPW NZ to believe the bill does not address the issue of forced or coerced marriage as definitely as outlawing marriages among minors.

5.0 International Status

5.1 BPW NZ is affiliated to the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) which has General Consultative Status at the United Nations (UN) through the UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). This enables BPW International to appoint official representatives to UN agencies worldwide and to accredit members to attend specific UN meetings.

5.2 BPW International upholds the outcomes of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee at state party level. BPW International upholds the outcome documents of the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which evaluates progress, identifies challenges, sets global standards and formulates policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

5.3 BPW International also upholds the UN Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage, the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. In addition, Article 16 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

6.0 Recommendation Summary

BPW NZ believes this legislation is an attempt to prevent minors from being forced or coerced into marriage, which on its own, we support. Alternatively, we recommend the legal age for marriage be raised to eighteen. This would mean New Zealand leads the way in following through on its obligations to UN protocol and most importantly, would be a much more effective and humane approach in preventing forced or coerced marriages.

Our Organisation

BPW NZ is a group with over three hundred diverse members throughout New Zealand. Our organisation’s aims are to link professional and business women throughout the world so that they may provide support to each other, lobby for change and to promote the ongoing advancement of women and girls. We work for equal opportunities and status for all women in economic, civil and political life and the removal of discrimination in all countries. We promote our aims and organise our operating structure without distinction as to race, language or religion.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to our submission and we hope that our comments are of use to you.

On behalf of New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc.

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