In March Commissioner Jackie Blue joined some 8000 women advocating for women’s rights at the UN in New York.
“It was a privilege,” Jackie says of her time at the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), discussing the challenges and opportunities to achieve gender equality.
“And it was amazing to hear what other governments and NGO’s are doing around the word to work towards gender equality.
This year’s theme was Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
Jackie says it was an honour to facilitate a discussion about the Empowerment of Rural Women through economic opportunity. Opened by New Zealand’s Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, it included panellists Fiona Gower, President of Rural Women New Zealand, Jo Finer, General Manager NZ Global Stakeholder Affairs Fonterra, Renee Graham, CEO, Ministry for Women, Kate Jenkins, Commissioner for Sex Discrimination, Australian Human Rights Commission, and Adela Nores, Director Sociedad Rural Argentina.
“We had a wonderful discussion about the challenges and opportunities for rural women in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, and heard some amazing examples of rural women who started successful businesses.
“I hope to keep working with and advocating for our rural women, who really are the backbone of our country,” Jackie says.
Suffrage 125 celebration
Another highlight was attending the Suffrage 125 celebration hosted by the New Zealand Mission in New York, celebrating 125 years since women obtained the vote in New Zealand. Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter attended, as did many NGO representatives.
“We have a responsibility to keep working for equality for all women in Aotearoa, which has yet to be achieved 125 years after obtaining the right to vote. It was wonderful to see so many young women activists there, and I know they will keep pushing,” Jackie says.
Work going forward
“Although New Zealand has many issues to work on, after attending CSW62 I feel as a peaceful, developed nation we could be an exemplar for gender equality.”
To achieve this, New Zealand needs to work with urgency to:
- Have a measurable, enforceable plan to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 (gender equality);
- Ensure that women have equality in decision-making and leadership roles;
- Eradicate gender-based violence and sexual harassment;
- Find ways to finance and support women’s business and entrepreneurship; gender pay gap and implementing a living wage;
- Find ways to mitigate climate change
“I will be advocating for these issues as I go forward into 2018,” Jackie says