Women on Government Boards: a stocktake

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The Ministry of Womens Affairs recently undertook a stock take of women on government boards. The stock take showed that 41.5% of Ministerial appointees on state sector boards and committees are women. This figure is consistent with previous years. Maori women make up 7.5% of Ministerial appointees on state sector boards which is approximately proportionate to the % of Maori women in the general population. 4% of Directors on Crown Company Boards are Maori women. The stock take breaks this down by Agency and you can see the breakdown on the Ministrys website at: www.mwa.govt.nz/women-on-boards/stocktake2009.

On the 19th of September each year New Zealand commemorates being first in the world to give women the right to vote in Parliament. However it is not widely known or recognised that Maori women were strong campaigners for the right to vote and to stand both in New Zealand Parliament and in the Maori Parliament. This year the Ministry of Womens Affairs highlighted the efforts of Maori women who fought for the right to vote and stand in NZ Parliament and in the Maori Parliament.

Key milestones were:

  • 1890s- Maori women sought the right to vote and stand for the Maori Parliament
  • 1890s – Maori and Pakeha women sought the right to vote and stand in NZ Parliament
  • 1893 All women in New Zealand won the right to vote in NZ Parliament elections
  • 1897 M?ori Women won the right to vote and stand for the Maori Parliament
  • 1919 All women in New Zealand won the right to stand for NZ Parliament
  • 1935 The first Maori woman stood as a candidate for NZ Parliament
  • 1949 The first Maori woman won a seat in the NZ Parliament

Now 6.6% of members of NZ Parliament are Maori women, 3 M?ori women hold ministerial portfolios, 7.5% of appointees to Crown entities are Maori women. The story of the Maori women who sought the right to vote and stand in Parliament is posted on the Ministrys website at:http://www.mwa.govt.nz/women-in-nz/maori-women-and-the-vote (use the tabs on the left hand side of the webpage to move through the information). It is taken from a book on M?ori women and the Vote by Tania Rei/Rangiheuea.

It is good to reflect on what these women were striving for. Tania Rangiheua told me that one of the motivating factors for those Maori women fighting to get the right to vote and stand for Parliament/s was to be able to do something about the terrible effects of alcohol misuse on Maori communities. And here we are 120 years on still grappling with the devastating effects of alcohol misuse on our whanau and communities.

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