Media Releases

Breaking down barriers for working women

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 11:39

Minister for Women Louise Upston has today announced changes to the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women to strengthen its focus on breaking down barriers facing women in work.

“The aim of the Council is to drive genuine and sustainable change for women in the workplace, and ensure their skills are fully utilised. To achieve this, I have asked the Council to focus on five critical areas preventing women from reaching their potential at work.

“The new focus areas are flexible working, women returning to work, access to childcare, leadership progression, and employment opportunities for women in high growth areas,” Ms Upston said.

“Despite playing a greater role in our economy than ever before, both in the skills they offer and the numbers in the workforce, women continue to face challenges that impact on their ability to progress.

“I am certain the Council’s focus areas will help progress action towards women being more fully utilised in the workplace and will help to build the leadership pipeline.”

The recent appointment of six new members will also support the Council’s new focus and shows genuine commitment to real action for women.

“Our new Council members are key influencers and leaders in their fields and I am excited by the knowledge and experience they bring to the table,” Ms Upston said.

New Council members are:

  • Andrew Cleland
  • Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop ONZM, CNZM
  • Theresa Gattung CNZM
  • Kerry Prendergast CNZM
  • Mark Verbiest
  • Katherine Rich

Continuing Council members are Traci Houpapa (Chair) MNZM, JP and Norah Barlow ONZM.

“I would also like to congratulate Chair Traci Houpapa on her inclusion in the BBC 100 Women 2016 list of inspirational and influential women,” Ms Upston said.

The changes to the Council support the government’s recently announced commitment to updating the Equal Pay Act and amending the Employment Relations Act to make it easier for women to file pay equity claims with their employers.

The Council reports to the Minister for Women every 6 months.

Notes for editors

For more information about the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women, see