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Helen Clark’s statement on International Women’s Day

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, March 8th, 2015 - 64 comments
Categories: equality, feminism, helen clark, human rights - Tags:

Today is International Women’s Day:

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Helen Clark is the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the first woman to lead the organization, and one of the most powerful women in the world. Her statement for International Women’s Day is here:

Helen Clark: Statement on International Women’s Day

This week, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which remains the world’s best blueprint for achieving gender equality and empowering women. The review of this visionary roadmap, adopted at the Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995, is an opportunity to celebrate the world’s progress toward ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls, and also to renew and reinvigorate commitments to achieve gender equality.

One of the great achievements of the Beijing Platform for Action was the clear recognition that women’s rights are human rights. Since that historic gathering in Beijing, when 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists gathered to voice and demonstrate their support for gender equality and women’s empowerment, there has been increasing recognition that gender equality, in addition to being a human right, is also critical to making development progress. If women and girls are not able to fully realize their rights and aspirations in all spheres of life, development will be impeded.

Twenty years on, we can see both progress and challenges…

See original to read on!

64 comments on “Helen Clark’s statement on International Women’s Day ”

  1. Chooky 1

    God (not the patriarchal monotheistic one) I hope Helen Clark becomes the first woman Head of the United Nations…it would be a great thing for women all around the world!…and for world peace!

    • Philip Ferguson 1.1

      George Bush and Colin Powell liked her, but I’m not sure that’s a positive thing.

      For an alternative view of Ms Clark: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/the-reign-of-helen-clark/

      In any case, we need struggle from below, not reliance on people at the top.

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        was the liking mutual?…i dont think Helen Clark supported their politics….and I know you supported the Catholic Irish in their struggles against the British….but did you support Irish women in their struggles against Catholic Church oppression? ….because it would seem Catholic Ireland has a shocking history as regards womens’ rights …are you really the man to be criticising and undermining Helen Clark on women’s rights?

        • Philip Ferguson 1.1.1.1

          I support the struggle to get the British out of Ireland. It has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Indeed, the Catholic Church is on the other side – it is an important prop for imperialism in Ireland.

          And it’s an enemy of the emancipation of Irish women (and men and children).

          So I’m not sure why you’d try to implicate me with the Catholic Church. Odd, too, because I’m an atheist.

          One of the first demos I ever went on was for repeal of the anti-abortion laws, way back in 1973, when I was still in short pants. I have a pretty long record of supporting women’s liberation, so suggesting I might be some kind of Irish Catholic stooge is not to your credit.

          I usually found Helen Clark to be on the other side too. She’s the health minister who closed more hospitals than all the other health ministers in NZ history combined, who committed NZ armed forces to Afghanistan and who sent NZ Army personnel to Iraq just in time to meet the deadline for firms to bid on ‘reconstruction’ contracts.

          Oh, and of course she was the minister in charge of the SIS and GCSB. Do you really think there was no spying on citizens during her reign?

          She had nine years to limit the power of the spooks, but she actually extended their powers. The current “anti-terrorist” legislation started with Labour, just like privatisations did.

          Why do good people (as I presume you are) attach themselves to politicians like this?

          Let’s have a movement whose leaders are not part of administering inequality and injustice and empowering the spooks.

          Phil

          • Chooky 1.1.1.1.1

            interesting that many Irish women had to flee Ireland to get abortions in Britain…because the they werent allowed contraception or abortion in their own country….and unmarried mothers and their children in Catholic Ireland were treated horrifically …these are the facts of the matter

            …personally if i had been an Southern Irish woman in the Catholic South in my feminist youth I would have fled that country for Britain…i suspect many did…we do not hear the voices of these Irish women enough… and justice has still not been served on those who abused unmarried mothers and their children

            Helen Clark has done a lot for New Zealand women…she does not deserve to be undermined…she was a brave and good Prime Minister with a difficult road to forge for PEACE …in a warmongering male dominated world

            • Philip Ferguson 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Since I was involved in politics in Ireland you don’t need to tell me how awful the state is in the South.

              And with Labour and Fine Gael in power at present there is an especially vicious anti-working class government. They’ve raised the retirement age, raised the age for receiving benefits, cut the dole, imposed household taxes and now they’re imposing a water tax.

              Several people here keep saying Helen Clark did stuff for women, but non-one’s mentioned *what she did*.

              If she was so pro-women why, in her nine years of being prime minister, did she not reverse the ‘mother of all budgets’ benefit cuts?

              Men like me? What, you mean men who support working class and poor women and don’t think it right that Clark kept them poor?

              Trying to play the gender card doesn’t do you credit, especially when you’re defending the indefensible.

              Anyway, please explain to us why Helen Clark as prime minister never reversed the 1991 benefit cuts?

              Phil

              • les

                how on earth does Fine Gael still hold power after their hopeless complicity in the so called ‘Celtic Tiger’ illusion that as usual enriched the few and impoverished the many.

            • Adele 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Kiaora Chooky,

              You will have to remind me on what Helen Clark has actually done for women in this country again. I know she has done a lot for middle class white women such as herself, and her career, but from where I sit, not so much.

              Power in New Zealand is predominantly wielded by middle class white men – look to our Parliament and our Captains of Industry. The second tier of power rests with middle class white women, look to our policy and administrative structures.

              She did a lot of damage to Māori women aspirations for their whanau and the whenua.

              • Chooky

                @ Adele …i think Helen Clark did more for NZ women in general than the Maori Party led by Dame Tariana Turia joined at the hips with John Key Nactional …(and I too belong to a Maori Tribe…. with an ancestor that signed the Treaty)

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64559822/Former-Maori-Party-co-leader-Tariana-Turia-made-a-Dame

                Helen Clark was a trail blazer for women, a feminist all her life, anti -nuclear when it was probably dangerous , anti sending NZ troops off to the Middle East in war against Iraq .(she stood out in in opposition to the USA , Britain , Australia, Canada…our allies)…and all he life she was for Peace and against warmongering….sure she made mistakes …but that has to be seen in context of the times ( foreshore and seabed….Don Brash) and poor advice (police on Tuhoi raids)…she wasnt Left enough and did not give enough for social welfare…but she was pretty bloody good imo…and she had to put up with a lot of sexism and misogyny

                http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/27/will-helen-clark-be-first-woman-to-run-united-nations

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Clark

                • Adele

                  Kiaora Chooky

                  I am not a great fan of the Māori Party but since its inception it has continued to canvass its membership on whether to enter into coalition with the National Party. Te Ururoa Flavell was returned in my electorate of Te Waiariki, with membership approval to continue as part of Government.

                  The people who are members of the Māori Party are not rabid right wing aspirants. They are low income workers, beneficiaries, kaumātua and kuia, and others wanting to see change for Māori. The adage that its better to be in the Wharenui than in a Paddock talking to the Cows still rings true.

                  I greatly admire Tariana Turia and she to me epitomises Wahine Toa moreso than the Helen Clark’s of this world. She has had to contend with a lot of hostility, ugliness, and abuse – sexism, mysogyny and Māori bashing.

                  Tariana has gone home to be with her people and to be amongst whanau and Helen Clark has gone on to conquer the World. Tariana has always been whanau focussed whereas Helen Clark operates from pure ego.

                  • lprent

                    …whereas Helen Clark operates from pure ego.

                    Hardly. I worked with her in her electorate about 20 years. She is a person who when she sets herself a task, goes ahead and achieves it. She has done so consistently ever since I have known her.

                    But she is always a person who lives in the world of the possible, pushing to change it towards what she considers is possible. That usually means a compromise between what she and others would like in their different directions and what they can achieve together.

                    She is the master of the long push, which is what achieves real change over the long term.

                    • Chooky

                      +100

                    • Adele

                      Kiaora Lprent

                      She is the master of the long push, which is what achieves real change over the long term.

                      From the position of Māori we certainly did get the “long push.” And one would think that given her strategy is long term she would have stayed in place to see it through to the end, or, at least have embedded in place the culture, people and policies to carry through with her long term aspirations.

                      It seems that she gave up for greener pastures elsewhere. Or are you saying that her position in the UN is part of the long term push and is a carefully constructed ploy to better the lives of NZers and Māori.

                      Māori have been consistently advocating its collective stance over Treaty matters since 1840. People have died in the role to be replaced by others and I would argue that 175 years of consistent advocacy is the exemplar to “long term push”.

                  • Molly

                    I don’t know why you bring up this comparison.

                    Both women have admirable traits, but Helen Clark – to my mind – retained more of her integrity, and seemed to always put in the hard graft.

                    “The adage that its better to be in the Wharenui than in a Paddock talking to the Cows still rings true.” Depends what is going on in the wharenui, and who is there surely? The fact that National and ACT were inside makes the bovine company look pretty appealing to me.

                    I am also not a fan of the Māori Party. But even if I was – I would be critical of their continued sycophantic behaviour, and apologists for detrimental policies against those disenfranchised Māori that are poorly represented in NZ.

                    • weka

                      One of the difficulties I have is that Pākehā dominant places like the standard have had a lot of critical comments about the Mp and Turia that fail to take into account the Wharenui/Paddock issue. I am also very critical of the Mp and Turia for similar reasons to you Molly, but I struggle with how many people here want Māori to operate politically according to Pākehā values.

                      Yet we seem to forget that it was a left wing govt that gave us the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and it was Clark that used the term ‘haters and wreckers’. It was also Labour that bowed to the pressure of the racist agenda and withdrew funding targeted at crucial Māori community projects. And National have played a large, proactive part in the treaty settlements process.

                    • Molly

                      Agree weka.

                      I was also critical of Helen Clark for some of her comments and actions (particularly those you mentioned, the Tuhoe raids and the SAS deployment to the Middle East) – but despite it all, pretty much felt that there were no hidden agendas – the agendas were all out there to be viewed. Not so with our current government.

                      I also agree with your other comment that being in the Parliamentary system is hard going – for all progressives – and leaving with your “soul intact” is an achievement.

                    • Adele

                      Kiaora Molly

                      I am also not a fan of the Māori Party. But even if I was – I would be critical of their continued sycophantic behaviour, and apologists for detrimental policies against those disenfranchised Māori that are poorly represented in NZ.

                      While you may call them sycophants, I call them being prepared to go into daily battle for their people. The Māori Party vote more times against the Government than with them, I would say that their record of voting against the Government is better than Labour’s.

                      Māori have over the years achieved significant gains under a National led Government moreso than with a Labour led Government. Thus Māori have learnt to be pragmatic and will work with anyone to achieve the aspirations of their people.

                  • “The people who are members of the Māori Party are not rabid right wing aspirants. They are low income workers, beneficiaries, kaumātua and kuia, and others wanting to see change for Māori.”

                    I agree with this. And I agree about Tariana as wahine toa – her legacy is secure among her people.

                    As for Helen – a lot of not good things happened on her watch – saint helen I don’t think so.

              • weka

                Kiaora Adele,

                “You will have to remind me on what Helen Clark has actually done for women in this country again.”

                Just before the Labour party lost power in 1990, she managed to get through the legislation that changed midwifery law in NZ. This meant that midwives could now practice independently in NZ without needing a doctor at the birth. It meant that you didn’t need to be a nurse to be a midwife. This lead to direct entry training, so that midwives now have specialist training in midwifery rather than it being an add on to nursing. It’s also meant things like continuity of care and more choice in birthing options for women. There have been complications to those processes, but it has been an incredibly important thing for NZ women. It came about because Clark listened to women, not just midwives but the grassroots activists who worked so hard to get that change to happen.

                I think like many Pākehā women in parliament, Clark started out with good intentions and good practice, but the nature of the place is very hard in women and they either learn to play the game properly or they get hammered. I suspect most of the really good ones get out and many of those that stay are changed for the worse by the place just because of the pressure to work within a macho, sexist, racist, soul destroying culture. This is why I have so much respect for the MPs that stay in that system despite that and try and work and keep themselves whole but must be affected anyway. It’s a pretty big sacrifice. I can’t imagine anyone with a career as long as Clark’s or going so far in conventional terms, not being subsumed in the process.

                Kudos to Turia if she has managed to leave with her soul intact.

                • millsy

                  Too bad it has led to women and babies dying becase of incompetent midwives unable to manage birth complications.

                  • weka

                    You’re such a sensationialist liar millsy, lolz.

                    (I won’t bother asking for references because I know you don’t do that).

                    • millsy

                      Just about every week I read of cases where mothers and babies have died or suffered long lasting injuries due to useless midwives. There qas even a case where a midwife suggested that a woman take painkillers and go to bed when she had really bad pains.

                      Having a midwife centered maternity system is just a return to the dark ages.

                    • “Having a midwife centered maternity system is just a return to the dark ages.”

                      so pathetic and silly it doesn’t deserve a comment

                    • weka

                      You are such a liar millsy. If it were happening every week you could link to many many examples. But you can’t because it’s a lie.

                      You also seem to think that there weren’t mismanaged labour/birth complications before the 1990 act, which is ignorant as hell.

                    • weka

                      “so pathetic and silly it doesn’t deserve a comment”

                      There is an adage about the state of midwifery services in a country reflecting women’s rights in general. The changes in NZ were seen as a big step forward and reflective of our progressive attitudes towards women. Maybe this is what millsy means, can’t have women in charge of labour and birth, where would it all end?

                    • millsy

                      @ weka,

                      Nothing to stop women training in obstectrics.

                      When your child is born, who do you want delivering the baby into the world: a competent medical professional with the best part of a decade’s training, or someone who thinks a 6-month polytech course makes them qualified to manage a woman through pregnancy.

                      Clark’s changes were just about cutting costs — cheaper to train a midwife than a doctor.

                      Having a home birth with incense burning and a whale music CD on the stereo may sound all progressive, but when you end up with a breech birth on your hands, that National Certificate in Midwifery Level 1 gained from Tarawhiti Polytechnic isn’t going to cut it.

                    • weka

                      “Nothing to stop women training in obstectrics.”

                      You have to be a doctor to train in obstetrics, most women aren’t doctors.

                      “When your child is born, who do you want delivering the baby into the world: a competent medical professional with the best part of a decade’s training, or someone who thinks a 6-month polytech course makes them qualified to manage a woman through pregnancy.”

                      More lies. The minimum training to become a midwife is a 3 year full time bachelor’s degree. That’s not a like a 3 year academic course, it’s 3 years of study and practical. If you have a nursing qualification and practice experience you can do a shorter training.

                      “Clark’s changes were just about cutting costs — cheaper to train a midwife than a doctor.”

                      More lies as well as ignorance. The changes were driven by women in the community and by midwives. One of the reason that midwives wanted the change is because they were doing most of the work involved in births and getting paid bugger all. Doctors would often turn up near the end and get paid a big whacking fee. It was an unfair system on many levels and getting midwives paid appropriately was one incentive for changing,

                      “Having a home birth with incense burning and a whale music CD on the stereo may sound all progressive, but when you end up with a breech birth on your hands, that National Certificate in Midwifery Level 1 gained from Tarawhiti Polytechnic isn’t going to cut it.”

                      Idiocy. Any birth pracitioner (midwife or doctor) will know ahead of time if a birth is going to be breech, and refer the woman as is appropriate. Most births are attended by midwives in hospitals and obstetricians are only involved if there are complications.

                      I would ask you to link to the Tarawhiti Polytech’s National Certificate in Midwifery Level 1 training course, but there’s no point because you made it up.

                  • miravox

                    Too bad it has led to women and babies dying becase of incompetent midwives unable to manage birth complications.

                    If maternal and neo-natal mortality has risen, that has little to do with Clark and more to do with Shipley in 1996 , imo, when the LMC model introduced bulk funding for primary maternity care and women were forced to choose a lead maternity carer. GPs withdrew from providing the service in droves.

                    This reduced the connection between the primary health provider and maternity care provider and has more to do with any deficiencies in maternity care than the principle of establishing a midwifery service such as Clark envisaged as Minister of Health.

                    • weka

                      Thanks miravox. The politics involved since the law changed have been horrible and not in the interests of women or their babies.

                    • millsy

                      Its not about politics, or being anti-women. It is about ensuring a mother and baby survives childbirth.

                      Exhibit A:

                      http://www.3news.co.nz/entertainment/babys-death-the-result-of-midwife-incompetence–doctor-2008070218#axzz3TqjUwSgi

                    • Adele

                      Kiaora Weka

                      This lead to direct entry training, so that midwives now have specialist training in midwifery rather than it being an add on to nursing. It’s also meant things like continuity of care and more choice in birthing options for women.

                      I disagree. In 1990s the provision of maternity care changed dramatically with the introduction of the Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) model. Whilst the changes can be viewed as a substantial win for nursing midwifery practice, it has not improved choice for pregnant women.

                      The situation now is that a nominated Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) receives the entire payment for maternity care (antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care). Additional support (say from a GP) must be funded from that payment. The payments are inadequately funded to support GP participation. In 2012 a miserly 2.5% increase was made to the Sec 88 Maternity Services Notice (under which maternity carers get paid).

                      The number of GPs delivering babies (GPOs) has been in rapid decline for a number of years. The likelihood is that they will soon become extinct with only 11 GPOs receiving Section 88 payments in 2013.

                      Admittedly there are other factors at play too that are causing GPs to walk away from delivering babies including attending call-outs at night whilst maintaining a general practice during the day.

                      But the sum effect is that women have a choice between this midwife and that midwife rather than midwife or GP, or both,

                    • miravox

                      “Its not about politics, or being anti-women.”

                      Millsy, you do realise that women and babies died at birth before there were incompetent midwives? Some of those deaths were the result of incompetent doctors and after the introduction of the midwifery system the neonatal death rate fell, however the maternal death rate is quite variable http://stats.oecd.org/#.

                      perinatal deaths
                      1975 – 16.5
                      1980 – 12.2
                      1985 – 8.9
                      1990 – 7.4
                      1995 – 6.1
                      2000 – 6.4
                      2005 – 5.7
                      2010 – 6.3

                      maternal deaths
                      1975 – no data
                      1980 – 13.8
                      1985 – 13.5
                      1990 – 6.6
                      1995 – 3.5
                      2000 – 8.8
                      2005 – 8.5
                      2010 – 7.7

                      Whatever the problem midwifery has not taken maternity services back to the dark ages (as the stats indicate) but the improvements in death rates have stalled at a higher level than other OECD countries, with some recent suspicion that they are getting worse.

                      Imo, it is most definitely about politics (and the ideological underpinning of birthing services) within both the midwives and GP organisations and in the funding the government allocates to training and resources for providing a decent maternity service.
                      Case in point is the change to the LMC model which halved women’s resources for maternity care in an instant and led to the withdrawal of GPs (competent or not) from providing maternity care.

                      My view was that the midwifery model of care, in attempting to provide a ‘birth experience’ that women wanted lost focus on what women really wanted, which was a live, healthy baby, to be well themselves and have supportive postnatal care (they needed more resources to provide that, of course). But that’s just my opinion from looking into the provision of services back in the late 90s. I’ve no idea if I would still hold that view if I looked into it now.

                      To counter that, I have personal experience of incompetent GP care that resulted in a premature birth and could have lead to the death of my child an me, whereas my children have all had fantastic midwives attending them and healthy babies and mothers were the outcome of their experiences.

                      Maybe you should be having a go about funding and training priorities for maternity services, rather than having a go at person is actually attending a mother and baby based on organisation they belong to. Competence has little to do with the simple observation that the care provider is a midwife rather than a GP.

          • Anne 1.1.1.1.2

            Interesting. This is the second time in a matter of days I’ve seen a somewhat misrepresented version of political history by your good self Philip Ferguson.

            • Chooky 1.1.1.1.2.1

              +100 Anne …re-writing history

              and the gains for New Zealand women were made by New Zealand womens’ liberation activism and demonstrations by New Zealand women….especially by middle class well educated women like Helen Clark and also by some working class women and Maori women…who nevertheless were not the leaders of the feminist movement as I recall it

              …you would think from Philip that he led the cause …and despite middle class privileged Pakeha women …not so ….feminism and women’s liberation was very much subordinated to his ‘boy’s own socialist theory” political ends imo …..and I well remember arguing with Philip over women’s rights to abortion…as I recall it he was opposed abortion, he was certainly equivocal ……and this was long after he was out of shorts

      • Murray Rawshark 1.1.2

        +1
        Pretty much my view of the Clark years.

  2. Philip Ferguson 2

    Over on Redline, we’ve stuck up a collection of articles on women’s liberation and socialism; these include material on International Women’s Day, abortion, women’s oppression under capitalism, and struggles by women (and men) for equality and emancipation:
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/marxism-and-womens-liberation/

    Phil

    • Great round-up of links there! May I add my own, slightly sombre, post on the matter? 😀
      https://bootstheory.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/international-working-womens-day/

      • Philip Ferguson 2.1.1

        Cheers, Stephanie.

        Sometimes it may seem like not so much progress has been made. But, really, a lot has.

        The opportunities available to women in NZ in 2015 are dramatically different to those available in 1965.

        Same is true in a lot of places.

        A lot of hard-fought battles have delivered some pretty significant changes.

        Phil

        • miravox 2.1.1.1

          Yes, there have been significant changes in terms of opportunities available for women.

          Over the years there has been some significant back-pedaling, especially for women without marketable employment skills who are caring for their own children.

          Aside from the relative deterioration of incomes and working conditions in low-skilled jobs in recent years, e.g. the opportunity to leave destructive relationships and take on second-chance education after having a child. I can’t imagine women in these situations having the opportunity to take on secondary and tertiary education in the same way did back in the late ’80s-early ’90s.

          Low incomes and poor education render a lot of the political and managerial advances for some women invisible to other women.

  3. Sirenia 3

    Academic man on Q and A this morning gave Helen Clark as an example of someone that NZ spies on for the US (a NZer living outside NZ working for a non NZ organisation) . Scary considering how active she is in support of women’s movements and grass roots activism in numerous countries around the world. The sort of thing that the CIA would not approve of as helping countries to make their own decisions means less influence for the United States.

    • Philip Ferguson 3.1

      Though she doesn’t seem too keen on working class and poor women, unless they’re supplicants.

      In 1991, National cut benefits for widows, solo parents and the unemployed by about 25%.

      Those cuts have never been reversed.

      Clark had nine years to reverse them – and didn’t.

      She also originally opposed the extension of paid parental leave that the Alliance was promoting.

      And she loathed it when poor women (and men) had the temerity to demand the restoration of benefits that had been cut under the Bolger-Richardson regime.

      Why pretend she supports grassroots activism and poor women?

      If you have a case for Helen Clark being wonderful, why not present us with the evidence for such a case, evidence based on *what she did in practice* as a member of the Douglas-Lange regime and later as prime minister?

      Fawning by some on the left in relation to Helen Clark is no more edifying than media fawning on John Key.

      We need to live without these incredible illusions and fairy tales about individual capitalist politicians.

      We need a new political movement – of workers, by workers, for workers.

      And bourgeois women like Helen Clark, utterly committed to managing capitalism and advancing their own careers in the process, are no more suited for that than their male counterparts.

      There are great women who come from bourgeois backgrounds who threw in their lot with the working class. One of my all-time heroes is one of these – the Countess Markievicz. Read one of the biographies of her – like Diana Norman’s ‘Terrible Beauty’ or Anne Haverty’s ‘An Independent Life’ and compare her life and political activity with Clark’s and tell me who is the more admirable.

      Let’s have some class politics.

      Phil

    • Chooky 3.2

      +100

  4. miravox 4

    Beijing platform for action. I like how its framed as a requirement for States to work with women as human rights (Global Framework, Para9).

    The section on institutional mechanisms describes an awful lot of what this government has pushed aside. As for the violence against women section, there’s a very long way to go.

    And that’s without even considering the challenges women in other countries have to experience safety and security (health, education, employment – actual and advancement as well as the obvious need for non-violence) as well as having meaningful social and political voices.

    • Chooky 4.1

      +100

    • Tracey 4.2

      The irony of it being first held in Beijing is not lost on me.

      • miravox 4.2.1

        🙂 Tracey, I thought so too.

        It’s a great platform for action , but apart from ye ‘ol neo-libs who would never have a bar of it, I can’t for the life of me see how the host government would either.

        • Tracey 4.2.1.1

          In some ways women had more equality in china under communism but seeing less and less of it as they headed into capitalism

  5. Philip Ferguson 5

    “For good measure, the prime minister declared that employer-funded paid parental leave would be enacted ”over my dead body’.”

    From a Chris Trotter article on Clark’s 1999-2008 government in The Dominion, in August 2012: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/chris-trotter/7403480/Wider-hazard-explains-brakes-on-promise

    Those of us who advocated for proper paid parental leave still recall Clark’s staunch opposition in the early 2000s, her “over my dead body” comment being the classic statement of her opposition to employer-funded paid parental leave.

    Again, why would anyone pretend that Clark did a lot for NZ women? Is it just lack of knowledge of the 1999-2008 period because there’s a new generation here that were only children during that government? Or are some people making a conscious choice to avoid reality?

    I could add that Clark maintained most of the anti-strike provisions of the Employment Contracts Act as well. So no friend of working class women at all.

    She’s right at home mixing with bourgeois women (and men) in the corridors of power, however.

    Let’s face up to it. We can’t rely on bourgeois politicians. We have to do the job ourselves. We’re all adults, we should be able to face up to that.

  6. Philip Ferguson 6

    Ireland has been raised several times by Chooky. I actually maintain a little Irish blog.

    People who are interested in Irish politics, might like to check it out: https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/

    I’ve been very lax in keeping it up to date but I hope to pay more attention to it this year.

    The main stuff about women’s rights in Ireland on the blog deals with the early 1900s and the republican women’s movements of the time, but there’s also stuff about the situation in the south re abortion as this is the main battleground between supporters and opponents of women’s liberation at present.

    See, for instance:
    For legal and free abortion: as early as possible, as late as necessary: https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/for-legal-and-free-abortion-as-early-as-possible-as-late-as-necessary/

    Phil

  7. Philip Ferguson 7

    Some interesting pieces on International Women’s Day:

    The real meaning of International Women’s Day: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-real-meaning-of-international-womens-day/

    International Women’s Day – solidarity and struggle: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/international-womens-day-solidarity-and-struggle/

    Reclaim International Women’s Day from the bosses: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/reclaim-international-womens-day-from-the-bosses/

    And now I’ll leave off further comments on this thread. Very busy day ahead.

  8. Chooky 8

    +100 ….thanks Phillipa for everything

  9. Philip Ferguson 9

    Actually, one more wee plug. An interesting piece on right-wing women in positions of wealth and power. They really are ungrateful to the left, including the women’s liberation movement, for battering down the doors of opportunity:
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/right-wing-women-ungrateful-whingers/

  10. les 10

    Helen Clarks legacy is pragmatism…Cullen was the hero of that Lab govt(pity about the knighthood).The Natz relentless childlike panacea …’Labour did it too’…relies on Clarks behaviour…mind you John Spy has learnt the press the flesh template across all factions from her.

    • Chooky 10.1

      Clark won the elections… with the women’s vote… and not Cullen. She had the force ,charisma and intelligence, although Cullen was very competent and loyal …..and John Key uses Helen Clark as a yardstick because he knows she had standing with NZers ….he uses her illegitimately to his own unscrupulous and false ends …and hopes it gives him credibility

  11. Heather Grimwood 11

    Adele, as participant in conferences of Labour Women for many years, I assure you of Helen.s warm inclusion of ALL ethnicities. One year when Tiriana fairly new to in Labour affairs, Helen applauded the fact that 14 ethnicities were represented, particularly a contingent of Maori women who had travelled through the night if I remember correctly from the East Coast.
    Many Labour women of the era belonged to CARE and HART too, obviously people passionate in the cause of these others and some like self probably motivated by experience of similar ( though of less extreme degree) treatment of my gender.
    Chooky, you are spot-on with list of what Helen achieved for women in a climate MUCH more difficult than that of 2015, though there has been a hardening in recent years.
    My joy is in having a 16yr-old granddaughter presently at UN Commission on Status of Women. We must all keep working for the acknowledgement of all women as deserving of equality.

    • Chooky 11.1

      Heather +100…and congratulations you must be very proud of your granddaughter !.. re “My joy is in having a 16yr-old granddaughter presently at UN Commission on Status of Women. We must all keep working for the acknowledgement of all women as deserving of equality.”

      …I love it when young women carry on the fight for women’s rights

      …and the United Nations is where the next fight is for women’s rights around the world is …if we can win that fight for half the world’s population we will be making great headway for WORLD PEACE! .( it is women and children who suffer most from man made wars )……who better than Helen Clark to lead the charge

    • Adele 11.2

      Kiaora Heather

      Firstly, congratulations to your Granddaughter’s attendance at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Secondly, so what that 14 ethnicities attended a Labour Party Conference. Where are they now? It simply smacks of tokenism which was rife in those years.

      • Heather Grimwood 11.2.1

        sorry for late reply Adele…….I do know several of these women strong leaders in own communities ..at least two became M.P.s…others tried…I assure you tokenism towards others is foreign to me or others I work with. I call the term a “coloured” word and offensive.

        • Adele 11.2.1.1

          Kiaora Heather,

          Sorry for the even later reply.

          Tokenism was almost policy in the eighties and nineties. The Treaty of Waitangi Act came into being under a Labour Government. So you’d think implementation, for them, would be a doddle. The TOW would be rolled out with gay abandon – festooning the hallways of power and control.

          Yes, no.

          What did we get instead? Cringe worthy Comedy

          Consultation – talk to the Māori guy in the broom cupboard

          Māori Employment– the Māori in the broom cupboard is a cleaner.

          Powhiri – a Māori cultural practice that can be improved upon by restricting it to 30 mins followed by a 5 min kai.

          Kai – a club sandwich.

          Your views on powhiri where women sit behind men and not speak – would be enlightening? If you have never actively participated in a powhiri – than we are already enlightened.

  12. Heather Grimwood 12

    Thank you Chooky…very much appreciated though causes come before’ Brownie points’ for me. Through recorded history literate women have worked/ pleaded/’fought’ for others, or maybe ’tis just their efforts that have been recorded. Whichever, it reminds us of how vital is a wide-frame-of-reference education for all our young.

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