Media Releases

Suffrage day and still much to be done for women’s rights

18 September 2015

On 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world where women won the right to vote. This Suffrage Day, we’re celebrating and also sending a challenge to MPs: stand up for women’s rights and pledge to support pay based on skill, responsibility, effort – not gender.

The pledge is supported by three unions, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Service and Food Workers Union Ngā Ringa Tota and the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

NZNO industrial services manager Cee Payne says, “22 out of 39 current women MPs have pledged to support equal pay. Marama Davidson, Parliament’s next woman MP has also taken the pledge, as well as Andrew Little and Iain Lees-Galloway.”

The pledge is, “I believe a person should be paid based on their skill, responsibility, effort and conditions of work. I support pay based on the job, not the gender, and will not ever support gender-based discrimination of pay."

“The first step to achieving gender equality is to say no more discrimination and no more excuses! We believe that paying the job, not the gender is a step to reaching that goal. We invite all the women MPs who have not signed the pledge yet to take this simple and principled step.”

“Kate Sheppard was a strong advocate for women’s rights. If she were alive today she would be asking the remaining MPs to sign this pledge. We’re sure every women MP wants to be a politician Kate would be proud of,” Cee Payne says.

A full list of the MPs that have signed and are yet to sign is available here;

The public can ask MPs to sign the pledge by writing them a letter via

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