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Julie Anne Genter: Working for Women’s Rights on the World Stage

Written By: - Date published: 6:08 am, March 27th, 2018 - 71 comments
Categories: climate change, equality, gender, pasifika, sustainability - Tags: , , , , , ,

Cross posted from blog.greens.org.nz (first published 19/3/18)


It’s been a whirlwind week of women’s issues. I’ve been busy hearing inspiring stories from around the world about the gender pay gap, representation, stopping violence against women, work on climate change and the challenges facing working women. 

This week I had the incredible privilege of representing Aotearoa New Zealand as the Minister for Women at the United Nations in New York. I led our delegation to the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), where over 7000 women from around the world are gathering to discuss the challenges and opportunities to achieve true gender equality, and negotiate global agreements on action. Improving conditions for all women and girls, and fostering greater representation and diversity in leadership, is critical to democracy and peace, and to reducing inequality, all of which are necessary to address our ecological crises and climate change.

Julie Anne and Ásmundur Einar Daðason
Icelandic Minister of Social Affairs and Equality Ásmundur Einar Daðason
NZ and Iceland Flags
NZ and Iceland Flags

My personal highlight was discussing with other countries the different approaches they have taken to address the gender pay gap. Some countries are just starting to measure it, whereas others, including the UK, Australia, and several Scandinavian countries, have already implemented mandatory reporting. It was inspiring to hear of the great progress, and how it was achieved. I had a great chat with Ásmundur Einar Daðason, about the steps that Iceland has taken for women.  Iceland is leading the world, by legalising equal pay for women! 

I was able to discuss with Ministers, MPs and public servants from a number of countries the political and technical challenges they faced, and how they overcame them. The UK have done some great work on data collection, particularly on the ethnic pay gap. Australia have a larger pay gap than New Zealand, yet they have already implemented pay transparency for employers of more than 100 people – this has put useful pressure on companies to take action to end discriminatory pay practices.

Australian Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer sitting with Julie Anne Genter
Australian Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer also shared some great advice on how she coped with being a Minister and a Mum.

I gave our National Statement (a speech to representatives from all the countries in the United Nations), where I raised climate change and the disproportionate impact that it is having on women, especially those living in rural areas. New Zealand supports the Gender Action Plan recently adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which seeks to promote gender-responsive climate policy. In the Pacific this means we are working to strengthen resilience and improve disaster preparedness in ways that take account of gender implications.

I had a fantastic meeting with the first woman president of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine – an incredibly impressive person that is blazing trails for wāhine Pasifika in politics, and for whom climate change is one of the most pressing issues.

Marshall Islands President, Hilda Heine
Julie Anne Speaking to a full room.
Representation of Women in Politics panel

At the invitation of the UK, I participated in a panel about removing the barriers to women’s participation in politics. Also on the panel was an incredibly inspiring MP and feminist fromMalawi, Jessie Kabwila MP. We discussed the importance of proportional electoral systems for increasing the number of women in politics, and the role of political parties and their constitutions and processes for encouraging female and diverse candidates. Some African countries are leading the world in women’s representation in parliament.

I presented research from NZ’s Ministry for Women about the different impact that digital harm has on boys and girls. Countries that are still growing their internet infrastructure were very interested in this and I can see some ongoing collaboration arising from this. There was a lot of discussion about the #metoo campaign and the positive change it has brought.

The New Zealand Mission in New York hosted a celebration where we invited other countries to celebrate 125 years of all women in New Zealand being able to vote. It was a very proud moment for us as a country that I was glad to share with many of the NGO representatives from NZ that attended. We need to ensure that women’s rights in our country continue to be trailblazing and something to stand up on the world stage about.

With the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute celebrating #Suffrage125

I loved meeting Government Ministers from around the world who had birthed babies in office in just the last few years. I took on board as much information as I could in the short time frame. Sometimes it is just so useful to hear from other women who have done what I hope to do, and the ways in which they coped. The warm reception and support I received was overwhelming. Many people I spoke with had heard about Jacinda’s baby. I was delighted to share my happy news as well.

The rights that I enjoy and exercise over my body are unfortunately not universally celebrated. I ensured that New Zealand spoke up on the importance of reproductive and sexual health services and rights. Women must be trusted to make decisions over their body.

I felt honoured to represent New Zealand Aotearoa on the global stage. While we still have obvious challenges such as women being underpaid and unacceptably high domestic and sexual violence rates, we must continue to learn and work together on these challenges.

  • Julie Anne seated in an fancy Underground Bunker (along with lots of others)
    Julie Anne giving presention on Digital Harm

71 comments on “Julie Anne Genter: Working for Women’s Rights on the World Stage ”

  1. Delia 1

    It is very important to support the nurses, they are at the coal face of historic exploitation as women workers.

  2. Babayaga 2

    ‘Gender responsive climate change’? The nutters have taken over the asylum.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Gender responsive climate policy is what’s in the OP. The illiterati are anxious.

      • Babayaga 2.1.1

        Gender responsive policy is sexist bs. Policy should be for all, by all.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          There’s nothing wrong with tailoring individual climate policies to suit gender. Birthrates for example. Stop your knee-jerking and think for a change.

          • Babayaga

            Birth rates are not gender specific. Both genders have an interest and there should be no favour.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Good thing no-one suggested favouritism, then, isn’t it.

              • Baba Yaga

                ‘gender responsive policies’ is favouritism.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  No more urging men to have prostate checks it is then.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    How many women get prostate cancer?

                    Men and women are affected by climate change. Policies that only address issues to one gender in that situation is favouritism.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Whereas policies that target particular demographics are mundane and ubiquitous, no matter how much howling in the corner you can muster.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Whereas policies that target particular demographics are mundane and ubiquitous…”

                      Policies regarding climate change that favour one gender over another are sexist stupidity.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The only person talking about favouring one gender over another is you, Ad Nauseam. Everyone else is talking about targeting, which I seem to remember you supporting when Bill English suggested it.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  No, sexism is favouritism. Responding to the realities of gendered experience of the world is acknowledging women’s lived experiences and incorporating their needs into public policy. We already get our needs met by default as men, so the only “favouritism” is in the opposite direction.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Is that a roar I hear from the corner?

          And what OAB said, and what Bill said below about including gender considerations across the board.

          • Babayaga

            Across the board means all, therefore thee is no need for it. Thanks.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              *yawn* How often over the decades do we need to repeat it? When there is a power imbalance that has negative impacts on one section of the population, then measures are required to achieve a level playing field.

              If you apply the same measures to the powerful and the less powerful, the power imbalance remains.


              • Baba Yaga

                Climate change affects everyone equally. It does not discriminate. Nor should we.

                • weka

                  Are you honestly saying that a wealthy person living inland in NZ is going to be affected by climate change the same as someone living in poverty on the coast of Bangladesh? That’s just daft.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    I am ‘honestly saying’ that a man living in poverty on the coast of Bangladesh will be affected to the same degree as a woman living in poverty on the cost of Bangladesh. The issue being discussed is gender bias, not wealth or geography.

                    • McFlock

                      Because men can be displaced while pregnant?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Because men can be displaced while pregnant?”


                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      No one’s saying NOT to consult with low income men in Bangladesh. But, the majority of people in poverty are women, and they have first hand experience with some key local matters, more often than men.

                      Furthermore, women tend not to be included in management of things like food matters and child care arrangements at the grass roots, when deciding on climate change measures. And, often they will be the first to be displaced.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “But, the majority of people in poverty are women…”
                      So? Do you seriously think those same women are going to benefit from the UN spending money on gender based bs, or on actually taken action!

                    • Bill


                      That is a worthwhile conversation, but (I’m guessing) thanks to the diversion off into birth control and population levels in spite of Stargazers post having been read by those doing it, that potential springboard into potentially productive conversation has been missed. The irony of that’s not missed on me 👿

                    • McFlock

                      So they’re both chillaxing on the coast of Bangladesh, but the rice paddies they farmed are now all salty, so the make salt, but then floods destroy those fields, so with no income or home they end up migrating to somewhere that isn’t going underwater. Only she does it while pregnant. Not “affected to the same degree”.

                    • weka

                      But you just said CC affects everyone equally. If it affects people differently on the basis of class, why not gender and ethnicity?

                    • mikes

                      FFS Weka. .How can climate change possibly affect anyone differently based upon their ethnicity???

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “But you just said CC affects everyone equally. If it affects people differently on the basis of class, why not gender and ethnicity?”

                      Are you serious, or taking the Michael? This entire conversation has been about gender. And then you come along…

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Only she does it while pregnant. ”

                      …and so her husband has to do all the heavy lifting, and gather food, and…well you get the picture. Your argument is bollocks McFlock, and you know it.

                    • McFlock

                      Heavy lifting? Really? That’s equivalent to being pregnant for nine months?


                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Heavy lifting? Really? That’s equivalent to being pregnant for nine months?”

                      That depends on what needs lifting!

                    • McFlock


    • tracey 2.2

      You are being consulted on climate change???

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.3

      Gender responsive climate change policy because:

      Climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, in all countries, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.


      Yet, women can (and do) play a critical role in response to climate change due to their local knowledge of and leadership in e.g. sustainable resource management and/or leading sustainable practices at the household and community level. Women’s participation at the political level has resulted in greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs, often increasing cooperation across party and ethnic lines and delivering more sustainable peace.

      • Bill 2.3.1

        Gender would be an integral part of any commitment to approaching climate change with notions of equity in mind. And all governments have already signed up to that.

        As you might have got from my subtle comment below, I don’t think this stuff flowing from an apparent “revelation” about the position of women in society is much of an anything.

        Where the fuck the UN been for the past however many years if this is what they’re counting as progress?

      • Babayaga 2.3.2

        The first paragraph is total bollocks. The second is sexist bullshit.

        Climate change affects people irrespective of gender, but in the interests of playing your silly game,why have you not mentioned the numerous other genders people now claim exist? Bill puts this all perfectly below…’a top down bureaucratic head wank,’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          So measures to lower birthrates should be exactly the same for men and women. Have you checked, or (here’s a radical notion) thought about that?

          • Babayaga

            should be exactly the same for men and women.

            Exactly, so this gender specific stuff is bollocks.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Offer men the pill and diaphragms, pre- and post-natal healthcare check-ups, abortion services and home visits. Sure. Knock yourself out.

              • Baba Yaga

                None of which is relevant. But good diversion.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Absolutely relevant, since the IPCC recommends lowering birthrates (via eg: improved access to healthcare and contraception) as a practical way to address AGW.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    …and so you only blame women for high birth rates?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No. That’s why I mentioned targeted policies. Rosling, for examples, cites the way that, as child mortality and consequently, birthrate declines, ideas of masculinity change from being attached to the number of children you have, to the well-being of those children.

                      Also, “blame” is useless.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “That’s why I mentioned targeted policies. ”

                      Where did you mention ‘targeted’ policies.

                      “Also, “blame” is useless.”
                      You assigned blame for the birth rate to women in both of your comments above. I would use the word ‘responsibility’, but you may not understand that.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Does twisting people’s words give you some sort of pathetic sense of achievement, Ad Nauseam?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Does twisting people’s words…”

                      Where did you mention ‘targeted policies’?

                      Btw…You assigned blame, I’m simply pointing it out.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                  • Bill

                    Absolutely relevant…really?

                    As far as I’m aware the IPCC has simply made the observation that increased material wealth through general economic growth tends to go along with a dropping birth rate.

                    ‘Course, they back off from the obvious conclusion, that because economic growth goes hand in hand with growth in emissions…

                    Here’s a link.


                    Another link to where the IPCC explicitly recommends lowering birth rates through the measures you mention as a prescription for addressing climate change would be … enlightening.

              • McFlock

                He can’t knock himself out. He’s got a cap on his head.

          • Bill

            There isn’t anything about birth rates that I could see in my (admittedly) quick perusal of the articles.

            And if there was…well, yesterdays post by Stargazer says all that need to be said on the birth rate/climate change front.

    • Bill 2.4

      Here’s a link to a summary, and a second link to the full text.



      In essence it’s a lot of top/down bureaucratic head wank.

      Yes, women are among the marginalised and yes, the marginalised are marginalised and yes, the world’s governments have previously committed to take actions on climate change with equity in mind.

      And what we get is some words making a nod to previous commitments.

      So as a priority, they are going to run workshops and make a submission.

      Then they’re going to promote travel funds and report on the gender balance of the UNFCCC (I think). Then there’s “capacity building” training and (this one makes for a hollow laugh) the training of experts. (Because the IPCCC and the governments it represents are fucking experts who have everything well in hand)

      And so it goes on. Window dressing and nonsense.

      • Carolyn_Nth 2.4.1

        Well, it’s how those organisations work.

        And it does give a stamp of approval for gender considerations in climate change responses. It also gives a bit of the rationale, which is useful.

        • Bill

          Yup. And 30 years of worth of meetings, symposiums, declarations and what not has translated into some stellar actions being taken on CO2 reduction.

          Oh, hang on.

          The emissions in 2017 were higher than for any other year ever. (37 billion tonnes – up 2%)

          Those organisations (or so it seems from the evidence) simply don’t work.

  3. Cinny 3

    Love Julie Annes work, have been very entertained listening to all the old white men ringing up talk back in a tizzy over the last few days, LMAO !!!

    Nurses/Healers and Teachers/Educators should be paid top dollar in any society, it’s common sense.

  4. cleangreen 4

    We support Julie Anne genter we are not part of the green Party movement either.

    As an old white man I support Julie Anne Genter because when we fought for all environmental issues we saw the power base of local Governance and “consultants they use to defend “dirty industry” was almost 90% run by old white men that often did nothing but tick opf all those dirty industry practices..

    Consequently almost nothing had changed to advance a good policy for tackling climate chargen now.

  5. Ad 5

    Genter is making all the right moves for co-leader. Making most of lower ranked portfolios.

    • Tracey 5.1

      Cos she couldnt be saying this stuff to try and change our society, it must be to get the co leadership…

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Chew gum.

        Sometimes both.

        • tracey

          Agree but sometimes just trying to make change

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Always interesting to see the attack lines pre-figured.

            If Genter gets the nod, the Greens will have turned their backs on the poor and the corporatisation of the party will be complete. If Davidson, they’re Communist identity politicians.

            And hopelessly naive too, whoever becomes co-leader. Whatever passes for roaring in the corner on the day.

            • tracey

              Meanwhile as I watch TVNZ News, Simon Bridges gets to swing at Curran while having no questions about Finlayson to bat away

  6. timeforacupoftea 6

    Anybody with Green thinking male and female must be slightly insane to bring a child into this ending world. The poor child is going to suffer badly from family depression for sure.

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