On Saturday 19 September, Aotearoa celebrated Suffrage Day 2020. With the celebration falling on the weekend, TEU members at branches around the country celebrated early, with many planning on continuing celebrations over the coming week.

From Lincoln and Victoria, to Unitec, awesome TEU women are being nominated and honoured by colleagues and students for their fantastic mahi. Following the success of the TEU action ‘Show a Gal Some Gratitude’, some branches are once again honouring the mahi of members with a ‘Kate Shepherd Camelia’, while the TEU Toi-Ohomai branch have gifted native Mānuka trees as a symbol of appreciation for the power of TEU women and all their hard work.

Over the last 12 months, Te Kahurangi Māreikura | the National Women’s Committee has continued conversations with women’s representatives and MPs on advancing gender equality and the rights of women. Last Suffrage Day, together with CTU, we were calling on the Prime Minister to make several important changes to the Equal Pay Amendment Bill. As a result of our input into the democratic process, on 23 July 2020, a much improved Bill was passed. With our help, the resulting new equal pay law provides structure and support in fixing the systemic problem of paying women less based on gender.

Following the recent EmPOWERing Women in Union hui, MPs from the political panel were asked to provide written comments in response to questions from hui attendees. TEU has received a range of responses, indicating agreement from panel members across issues including a post-Covid economic response that progresses gender equality, and gender targets for Boards and leadership roles. Keep a look out on TEU social media for written responses from MPs.

According to TEU Te Pou Whirinaki | National Women's Officer Sarah Proctor-Thomson, Suffrage Day 2020 provides TEU members, particularly TEU wāhine, with the opportunity to consider how they can use their vote in the General Election to advance gender equality,

“It’s great to see activity at TEU branches around the country in celebrating Suffrage Day. We can all support the kaupapa of these celebrations and honour Suffrage Day by making our vote count, and by voting for parties and policies which will do the most to progress gender equality.”

Our TEU election pledge is now available in te reo Māori.