Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. The Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, hosted a breakfast in Parliament for 400 women, which was streamed live on TV. Many other cities held a similar breakfast and watched the talks. The Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy and Helen Clark, a former Labour Prime Minister, spoke as did several other well-known women. They talked about the need for more women to step into traditional male roles and for gender equality.
Meanwhile, some Pacific Island women MPs visited our Parliament this week. The Pacific Islands have one of the lowest number of women MPs in the world. Papua New Guinea has 0 women at all but 111 men MPs. The Solomon Islands has one out of 50 MPs. Tonga has 2 out of 26. These women said they were inspired by the number of women in our Parliament. We have 46 out of 120. They were also inspired by our female Prime Minister. They said their visit to New Zealand gave them confidence.
Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford are visiting Pacific Islands this week along with the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters. The visit is helping to show that a woman can be a confident and well respected Prime Minister.
Listen to more about International Women’s Day in NZ
• gender – sex; male, female or other; sex is usually biological whereas gender is social; it is used to show how people feel about their identity. It is also used in some romance languages to show male or female nouns
• inspired – given confidence to do something themselves