The achievement of gender equality needs to go beyond words – we need to be vigilant in challenging assumptions, practices and methods of work that hold women and girls back from reaching their full potential. 125 years ago, in 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote. To quote Kate Shepherd, the woman who spearheaded the suffrage campaign: “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome.”
I will actively support staff working at my Mission, both men and women, to pursue excellence in their careers as well as to play an active role in their families (in all their forms). This will include: avoiding scheduling meetings outside of core working hours; providing adequate equipment and support to staff to enable them to work remotely when needed; participate actively in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade working groups during 2018 exploring better recognition of the contemporary family in our Ministry’s posting policies.
I have implemented in 2017, and will continue to strengthen, a policy across our Ministry to support our staff experiencing sexual harassment at multilateral meetings. During 2018 I will encourage a minimum of 20 other Missions and UN agencies to develop and implement similar policies.