Suffrage Day (19 September) provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to celebrate New Zealand’s suffrage achievements and look for ways to make further progress to benefit women.

First to the celebrations.

Women’s representatives across the country are thanking their fantastic TEU colleagues with the action 'Show a Gal Some Gratitude' this Suffrage Day. On 19 September, selected women will be presented with a stunning, potted white camellia to mark Suffrage Day and to thank them for the incredible contribution.

The white camellia, or ‘Kate Shepherd Camellia’ holds significance in New Zealand and to the Suffrage Movement. In 1893 the suffragists had presented a white camellia flower to members of the House of Representatives who supported women gaining the vote.

Second to the ongoing work of women in TEU to advance the rights of women.

The NWC have been in conversation with women’s representatives around the country in between national meetings. A big issue for branch members has involved efforts to influence policy creation around sexual harassment prevention in our institutions. These efforts are supported by work that the NWC has been doing over the last two years in the sexual harassment prevention audit, and the remit to go to the Council of Trade Unions’ (CTU) biennial conference to develop a gold standard sexual harassment prevention policy for themselves, and to encourage their member organisations to use it.

Another key issue that must be embedded in all we do according to Proctor-Thomson is equality,

“Pay transparency and gender pay equity are two causes the TEU continues to support, and the NWC is calling on all members to show their solidarity with women across Aotearoa by signing the two petitions and sharing the webpage with friends, whānau and colleagues”.

With The Equal Pay Amendment Bill going into its third reading soon, the NWC is asking members to support a petition launched by CTU calling on Prime Minister Ardern directly to make several important changes to the Bill before Suffrage Day. While the Bill signals a genuine move to enshrine pay equity in law, further changes to the Bill are needed to facilitate sector-wide pay settlements and to ensure existing collective bargaining rules are followed.

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has also launched a petition demanding the establishment of an independent pay transparency agency to close the gender pay gap.

“Why not take action this Suffrage Day and sign the petitions and take time to celebrate all that women have achieved. Together we can ensure everyone has safety and equity in the workplace,” says Proctor-Thomson.