The theme for our Women’s Network Conference in March was to have been ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’.
Unfortunately Covid-19 is proving to be a persistent cause of disruption, and the change in alert levels forced us to cancel the event after an earlier postponement last year.
But our Women’s Network which represents about 55,000 women members is also persistent.
We’re looking forward to future events including Women’s leadership programmes and Regional Hub activities.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
We’re also persistent in our determination to follow in the footsteps of those who have fought to improve the lives of generations of women in Aotearoa.
As we celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, Women’s Network co-convenor Nancy McShane reflected on the achievements of those who came before us including Kate Sheppard and other New Zealand suffragists.
“I feel immensely grateful for the rights and freedoms I enjoy today because of their efforts, and grateful to have had so many opportunities to further their legacy through my work as a union woman.”
Women’s Network co-convenor Reremoana Sinclair is also inspired by the wāhine and tauiwi Pākehā who worked together to make the impossible possible.
“Māori women supported the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and sought the right to vote for members of the New Zealand House of Representatives. They also sought the right to vote and stand as members of the Māori Parliament, Te Kotahitanga.
“This gives me hope for the future. Just think what is possible with the diversity and power of our PSA Women’s Network.”
Another step forward for wāhine Māori has come with the first of the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings in the Mana Wahine Kaupapa Inquiry.
You can read more about how they’re laying the foundations for our PSA Rūnanga’s Treaty claim against employment inequities experienced by wāhine Māori in this issue of Te Mahinga Ora.
PROGRESS ON EQUAL PAY
International Women’s Day was also an opportunity to reflect on our progress on achieving equal pay.
“We’ve pushed through pay equity claims for home care and support workers, Oranga Tamariki social workers, and an interim agreement for DHB admin workers,” says national secretary Kerry Davies.
Successful claims have led to pay boosts of 30% or higher for some workers, a sign of how far they had fallen behind.
“It’s great the current Government and Te Kawa Mataaho, the Public Service Commission have made clear commitments to support pay equity, and stronger equal pay legislation was implemented last year,” Kerry says.
“But there is a long way to go yet, particularly to close the pay gaps for Māori, Pasefika and Asian women.”