web analytics

118 years on – what would Kate say?

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, September 19th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: feminism, labour, uncategorized - Tags: ,

118 years to the day when NZ became the first country in the world to give women the vote.  You can imagine how incredibly proud Kate and the sisterhood must have been. You can imagine them lifting their eyes to the future and seeing women standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers, equal in political rights (and determined to use them for moral reform).

It’s hard not to think then that Kate might be a little disappointed with where we are now. Women still get paid less than men. As a rule we earn nearly 13% less than our male colleagues. Women still do more housework and do the lion’s share of child rearing, are less likely to hold a leadership role, violence and sexual abuse against women in NZ are amongst the highest in the OECD and to add insult to injury  the new drunks on the block are young women.

So it’s good that Labour’s come out with its women’s policy today.

I’d like to think Kate would be pleased with it, albiet a little pissed that we still need it.

15 comments on “118 years on – what would Kate say?”

  1. Ari 1

    Well, it’s a start, but there’s still no place we can easily read the policy document, and it all sounds about targets and aspirations than solid plans to actually practically improve the lot of women (and thereby communities) in New Zealand. I would’ve thought they’d have had some concrete plans for this by now.

    • Carol 1.1

      I doubt that most people would take much notice of the detail at the moment. I would expect them to flesh it out more as we get closer to the election. I think it’s important to draw attention to how bad NAct are for women. And Labour has highlighted some key areas/issues in their press release.

      I will be looking at exactly how Labour plan to improve the lot of many women over the next couple of months, and will compare it with policies of other parties eg The Greens.

  2. Jenny Michie 2

    I couldn’t find the actual policy online anywhere but I do have a hard copy one here at work that someone gave me. It does talk about ‘investigating’ inequality to a degree that I would have thought slightly redundant. I reckon women, like Maori, are fairly well investigate out. Now we need legislation that provides what the open market doesn’t.

    • Ari 2.1

      Well, I think where privacy concerns can be addressed, even just requiring employers to disclose average gender pay information could be useful in closing that gap, so committing to figuring out a way to pass that sort of law while still addressing privacy would be a (very minimal) start. Investigation is no longer necessary, we know there’s a problem and we know its severity, and we even know that it pretty much vanishes in environments where blind audition is a possibility, too. I’m not sure how you could argue that there’s anything ambiguous in that.

      And, as has been pointed out below- that’s just for women who want to stay in fields where pay and promotion equality is an issue. There’s much more to women’s policies- from defending rights unique to women, encouraging family planning, to valuing work done by women including education, the arts, and unpaid work. Even just committing to putting some good bills along those themes up for discussion would be an excellent start.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    It’s a mixed bag really, I have noticed a trend ever since the first wave of Rogernomics sackings where women have become primary or major earners in couple type male/female relationships. A lot of women are flexible, open to the new, reskilling and just get on with things, and yes are still exploited and subject to subterranean tory misogyny. Hello Alasdair.

  4. RedLogix 4

    As much Kate Sheppard would likely be astounded at all that has changed; ultimately on reflection she would be saddened to see that her vision of equality somehow got hijacked into meaning ‘the same as men’. I very much doubt she had that in mind.

    After ten thousand years of patriarchy, throughout which men have dominated using the twin tools of aggression and money, we are more or less incapable of recognising power in any different form. We imagine a matriarchy to be merely the same thing as a patriarchy, only with the gender roles reversed… yet in reality it would have to be something quite different.

    As Jenny points out, New Zealand has little to be proud of; it’s like we got off to a great start in the 1800’s, then post WW1 an endemic anti-intellectualism took hold stifling anything other than the most agonised spasms of reform. While we more or less tolerate reform at the margins, such as the impacted homosexuals and sex workers, when it comes to something that might affect us all, we become deeply obstinate. Witness how we tore ourselves apart over something as simple as the S59 reform.

    Feminism has more or less reached the limits of what we can tolerate as a society. Stalled as it has been for a generation, the movement appears fractured and unlikely to repeat achievements as meaningful as Kate and her sisters achieved. At least not in the near future. Something much deeper has to give within us before the next quantum of reform is permitted.

    For it will be a fearsome thing. It will be a leap that releases the power of women to BE women, and exercise their innate capacity in their own fashion, in a manner we are of yet unable to properly conceive.

    • “Feminism has more or less reached the limits of what we can tolerate as a society”.

      Yeah right, pull the other one it plays jingle girls. New Zealand has a no limit policy for feminism. One only has to look at feminist weapons of war like CYFS ,Air NZ, TVNZ and Family Court etc..etc…

    • Ari 4.2

      Feminism has more or less reached the limits of what we can tolerate as a society. Stalled as it has been for a generation, the movement appears fractured and unlikely to repeat achievements as meaningful as Kate and her sisters achieved. At least not in the near future. Something much deeper has to give within us before the next quantum of reform is permitted.

      Bwahaha! No, I think you’re entirely off-base here. Feminist ideas sound scary and radical sometimes by virtue of the way they’re covered in mainstream political thought and media, but they’re usually pretty popular once people have gotten over the hype and actually seen them in practice.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        Ari… I think you misread my intent completely. And utterly.

        Slow down and pay more attention.

  5. Brett 5

    In what jobs do woman get paid less?

  6. Carol 6

    It’s not just about men and women being paid differently for the same job. That is less of a problem than it used to be, and I think it might still linger where individuals can negotiate there pay and conditions; e.g some lawyers.

    But there’s also a historical legacy where jobs traditionally done by large numbers of women get paid less than jobs traditionally done by men; e.g. compare pay for child care or early childhood education with other jobs requiring a similar level of training and expertise, such as bricklaying, plumbing etc. Underlying that is the way caring work is financially undervalued, sometimes being unpaid, even though it’s necessary to the country’s economy and well-being.

    Then there’s the issue that there tends to be fewer women getting promotions than men.

    Women DO have more opportunities and successes in paid work, and in a wider range of jobs than when I was in my 20s. With these successes, the situation has got more complex.

    But part of the reason for some of the successes is changes in the economy, society and occupational base – less unskilled manual work, expansion of relatively insecure part time and/or contract work, more pressure on families to acquire consumer goods (requiring that 2 adults in many families work) etc.

    With these shifts, some underlying attitudes to women’s secondary position in society (nurturing, family-centred etc, classed as lower in monetary value) have remained and these have been incorporated into the shifts in men’s and women’s roles.

  7. Bill 7

    118 years on – what would Kate say?

    Easy.

    Kate (witheringly): “Where’s the fucking money?! … Honey

  8. millsy 8

    Too bad there are people who want to turn the clock back and undo the advances of the feminist movement.

    The current moral panic over female binge drinking and violence, with some people drawing links between that and feminism is a case in point. (I am reminded of Victorian commentators going on about ‘loose, hysterical women”).

    I think we really need to start thinking about enshrining sexual, reproductive and relationship freedoms in the Bill of Rights, so those filthy god-botherers (who lead the charge against feminism) are stopped once and for all.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    6 hours ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    1 day ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 days ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 days ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    3 days ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    3 days ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    3 days ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    3 days ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    3 days ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    3 days ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    4 days ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    4 days ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    4 days ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    4 days ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    4 days ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    4 days ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    4 days ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    4 days ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    5 days ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Swimmable Rivers tour – Ōkahukura/Lucas Creek
    When Environment Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament that some waterways – like Auckland’s Lucas Creek – are not worth saving because no-one wants to swim in them, he forgot to ask the locals we met last week who have put ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Wellington business relief package needs flexibility
    The Government’s Wellington business support package is welcome news but needs to be implemented so that all affected businesses get the help they need, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. “Wellington businesses will be pleased that the Government ...
    6 days ago
  • EQC’s staff cuts show disregard for quake victims
    The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan ...
    6 days ago
  • Maori Land Court job losses must be delayed
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must request that pending job losses at the Māori Land Court are put on hold until the Māori land reform process is resolved and the risk of losing centuries of collective institutional knowledge is ...
    6 days ago
  • Financial support needed for urgent earthquake strengthening
    The Government must provide urgent support to residents for important earthquake strengthening work so that it happens quickly, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  "I support the call from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester to bring forward work to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour welcomes equal pay
    Labour has long appreciated the value of women’s work and welcomes the Government’s decision to address pay equity for women, say’s Labour’s associate Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Sue Moroney. ...
    1 week ago
  • Surgeons’ letter a damning indictment
    A letter from Waikato Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons claiming that hospital managers are stopping them from making follow-up checks on patients is a damning indictment of the health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s terrifying that one woman’s elective ...
    1 week ago
  • Out of touch Nats continue state house sell-off
    The Government should be focused on building houses for families to buy and more state houses for families in need, not flogging them off, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National’s state house sell-off does nothing to help people ...
    1 week ago
  • Joyce drags feet while Capital businesses suffer
     Wellington businesses affected by the earthquake are continuing to struggle while the Government drags its feet on getting a business assistance package up and running, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  “Steven Joyce needs to front up with an assistance ...
    1 week ago
  • Health and Safety Act fails to reduce work fatalities
    After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • What is the point of education?
    The proposed Education (Update) Bill is the Government’s statement about what the point of education is, and what it means to people. This week we had a day of Select Committee hearings in Auckland on the Bill. It’s a huge ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Earthquake exposes training shortfall
    Kaikoura’s earthquakes have exposed the Government’s under investment in critical building and construction skills training, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Government needs to urgently ramp up the training of Kiwis in construction and engineering in the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More cops needed to get P off our streets
    National’s cuts to Police funding and drug enforcement officers has seen a surge in cheap P on our streets, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s calling the shots? Bye bye surplus
    I would love to know who is calling the shots in the National government’s cabinet when it comes to deciding how best to spend taxpayers’ money.  On the evidence of the last few weeks, it definitely isn’t Finance Minister Bill ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent rethink needed on workplace safety
      An urgent rethink is needed on the Government’s new workplace safety laws with the number of deaths this year already at the same level as at the same time in the 2015 calendar year, says Labour’s Associate Workplace Safety ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rubble and rubbish: spending time in post-quake Kaikōura
    I visited Kaikoura over the weekend – basically to see how the community was coping with all the rubbish and rubble created by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and to see my brother Rob. I may have mentioned before that ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to pull the plug on state house sell-off
    The collapse of the planned sell-off of state houses in Horowhenua is an opportunity for the Government to call time on its troubled state house sell off policy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury sounds warning bell – but National’s not listening
    Today's long term fiscal outlook issued by The Treasury is a welcome wake-up call on the need to dramatically improve and diversify our economy and properly plan for the future, Grant Robertson, Labour’s Finance Spokesperson says. “Through our Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Don’t believe the hype – debt has skyrocketed under National
    The reckless dangling of tax cuts by the National Government is all the more irresponsible when it is put alongside the failure to pay down debt or put money aside for future superannuation costs, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Our kids deserve better
    We don’t know how many children are affected by having learning support needs. I do know that far too many children are not getting the support they deserve for conditions like autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. When these conditions are not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Talk of tax cuts is plain crazy
      John Key’s talk of tax cuts when the Government has $63 billion of debt, superannuation costs are rising by $1 billion a year and the cost of meeting another natural disaster, is just plain crazy, says Labour Leader Andrew ...
    2 weeks ago