Wellington, 19 September 2013
The Wellington celebration was hosted by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon Jo Goodhew at Parliament on the anniversary of suffrage day, 19 September. The event was attended by Members of Parliament, public, private and community representatives.
The focus of the celebration was to encourage all New Zealanders to take action to improve the lives of women. There were some thought-provoking speakers including The Right Honourable Dame Jenny Shipley and Dr Assil Russell, Dental Surgeon, Director of Iraqi Children’s Aid and Repair Endeavour.
7.30 am Mihi Whakatau
Kura Moeahu, Kaiwhakarite Māori, Parliamentary Service
7.35 am Welcome
Dr Lee Mathias, Doctor of Health Science, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)
7.40 am Opening address
Hon Jo Goodhew, Minister of Women’s Affairs
7.45 am Speakers
Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley, Company Director, first woman Prime Minister of New Zealand
8.05 am Dr Assil Russell, Dental Surgeon, Director of Iraqi Children’s Aid and Repair Endeavour (ICARE)
8.15 am Summary
Dr Lee Mathias, Doctor of Health Science, ONZM
8.20 am Closing address
Dr Jo Cribb, Chief Executive, Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Hon Jo Goodhew described her vision for New Zealand women: “I want to see girls continue to excel in education, and to translate that success into employment, earnings and leadership success. I want women to be able to enter any occupation, industry or sector that they want to and be able to make the most of their talents and skills. I want to be part of a society where we have no tolerance for any violence, particularly against women, and where women have increased safety. ..We all have a part to play in making these things happen.”
Dr Lee Mathias, Doctor of Health Science, the Master of Ceremonies set the scene: “The focus of today is to celebrate one of the most extraordinary acts of leadership in New Zealand's history, much of which happened very close to this very building, over at the library... Today's event seeks to inspire current and future leaders with vignettes of what so many women since have achieved in New Zealand, for New Zealand and the world”.
The Right Honourable Dame Jenny Shipley said "..and I want to challenge each of us, as we leave this breakfast this morning, to think about leaving grandma at home. All of those things that you may have thought were true, challenge yourself as to whether, as you're confronted with a set of decisions, you are bringing any sort of bias which may be blocking you seeing the opportunity, and whether you're just doing what we've always done."
"In my view, there has got to be a lively debate in our country about how we raise great girls and how we raise great young men, and how we ensure that identity is allowing us to pick up people who currently fail. I want to challenge the media not to use the clichés that hold people back, rather than unleash them. Every time we put a label on people, it almost reaffirms our preconceived assumptions about people".
Dr Assil Russell, Dental Surgeon, Director of Iraqi Children’s Aid and Repair Endeavour (ICARE), shared her story of the barriers she faced setting up ICARE “…as a young woman, I quickly learnt that the glass ceiling was only inches away from my head… In Iraq, I found that my gender often worked against me… Whenever an Iraqi official told me the project was impossible, I politely told him he needed to find an apostrophe and it would become I’m possible. You see, the great thing about glass is that with the right persistent pressure, it can be broken.".
Dr Jo Cribb, Chief Executive, Ministry of Women’s Affairs concluded the ceremony with the following challenge: “Today we have been invited to think about the challenges of the past and to think about how men and women of those times brought about change; think about how we can address today’s challenges and the opportunities for the girls that are here today and the women of tomorrow. Let us start by making one change today that will make a difference for one woman or one girl today".
Guests celebrate at Parliament, Wellington