On a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, National is proud to be setting the parity agenda, Spokesperson for Women Paula Bennett says.
“It’s International Women’s Day and I stand proud alongside my fellow wahine as a mother, a grandmother, a politician, a wife and a fisherman (in no particular order) as an example of what we can do and what we can be given the opportunities.
“It’s a fact that in the National Party we have a number of very smart, formidable women who’ve carved out some exceptional careers for themselves both inside and outside of Parliament – and it’s a real focus of ours to ensure we promote talent in our Caucus based on merit, and not just to meet quotas.
“National’s done a great job in developing and promoting policy settings that have encouraged women to make the gains that they have in recent years.
“Under our watch women held 45 percent of governance roles appointed by Ministers onto State sector boards and committees, and we had a strong line-up of women in senior Cabinet positions, which has continued in Opposition shadow portfolios.
“The New Zealand economy has undergone robust growth in recent years and it’s no accident that the labour force participation rate for women is almost 65 percent, the highest rate ever.
“The gender pay gap has reduced by 16.3 percent in 1998 to 9.4 percent – but we all agree, there’s still more to be done to close that. The $2 billion pay equity settlement that National made last year to 55,000 aged care workers has meant that some of our hardest working women received an average of $100 a week more in their hand.
“Change comes from the top and it’s a shame to see there are now fewer women in senior Cabinet positions under the Labour-led Government than there were under National.
“The Prime Minister is a great example of how women are more than capable of grabbing opportunities and running with them. I hope that her words turn into action when it comes to equal pay for women and she continues the work that National started,” Mrs Bennett says.