Advocacy is given high priority in our federation and there is encouragement for all members to participate in club discussions.

Submissions and Resolutions

BPW NZ has lobbied on issues such as Matrimonial Property, Student Loans, Employment Relations, Disability Strategies, Prostitution Reform, Pay Equity, Health & Safety in Employment, Paid Parental Leave, the Ministry for Women Action Plan for Women and many more.

Advocacy is given high priority in our federation and there is encouragement for all members to participate in club discussions which lead to the forming of resolutions, to the consideration of resolutions and to the provision of background material for the many submissions that BPW NZ makes.

Clubs present resolutions based on the areas of concern in their communities and the breadth of the subject matter is wide. Debating resolutions that will form the basis of BPW NZ policy and future advocacy is always lively and is a great learning experience for women who want to use their voice on behalf of other women.

When making submissions to Government Select Committees, BPW NZ must check our own policies for relevant policy or use CEDAW or BPW International Policy to make a written submission congratulating the Government where appropriate and making recommendations where we believe change is required.

Oral submissions draw on background material provided by our members and press releases are timed to coincide with the oral submission for maximum impact.

As BPW NZs reputation in the advocacy area has grown, we are now invited to participate in surveys and discussions on draft legislation before it is finalised and formally released for the submission process.

BPW NZ is also recognised for the experience and commitment we bring to advocacy work and this is shown in our work with the National Council of Women and the BPW International Congress.

Working for equal pay has been at the core of BPW NZ advocacy since its inception in 1939.

Gender Pay Gap 

BPW NZ has a long history of working to improve conditions for women in employment and equal pay is a cornerstone of that work. In 1959, BPW NZ was part of the newly founded National Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity and through the latter half of the twentieth century advocated via submissions and lobby for the introduction of state sector and private sector equal pay measures.

In 1989, BPW policy advocated for pay equity (equal pay for work of equal value) and today, BPW has representation on the Auckland and Wellington Pay Equity Coalitions. Through those coalitions, the Women’s Empowerment Principals, and projects such as Red Bag Day, BPW NZ continues its work to raise awareness and advance measures that address the gender pay gap.


Red Bag Day

Red Bag Day marks the period of extra days women must work to earn the same as men. In New Zealand has typically been around-February. This reflects that women are paid around 11 to 15% less than men, so if men work for twelve months, for women to earn the same amount she would have to work for thirteen and a half months. The Red Bag represents the economic discrimination experience by all women because of the gender pay gap. Clubs often focus their February meeting around this day and host guest speakers who are experts and engage the wider public about the issue.

Red Bag Day for NZ has been around the 20th February for several years but in 2018 moved to the 15th February.  With further work to decrease the gender pay gap it will move back into January. 

Forced & Child Marriage

BPW NZ’s work advocating against Force and Child Marriage was initiated out of a resolution from the BPW Franklin club which was adopted as BPW NZ policy. That policy was then taken to the BPW International Congress in Jeju, South Korea, where BPW NZ proposed a resolution about Forced Marriage and seconded BPW Africa’s resolution on Child Marriage. Both of the resolutions were passed. 

Within NZ our members worked with migrant groups by collecting information and by talking to governmental departments about policies and handling of cases of forced marriage. 

There is still much work to be done but resolutions are important in setting global norms and the UN has now made a firm statement that we have to act on child marriage if were are to ensure equality and reduce global poverty. 

CEDAW Report

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The CEDAW report provides an important tool for countries to use in realizing the potential of women and girls. In the three decades since this convention was adopted by the United Nations and ratified by 186 of 193 nations, countries have incorporated CEDAW principles in their national constitutions, legislation and administrative policies. Countless civil society organisations and individual women have relied on the principles of the convention to improve the lives of women and girls.

The National Council of Women, as an umbrella organisation, coordinates the Alternative CEDAW report for New Zealand with various organisations asked to take the lead different areas. BPW NZ has the lead for employment and for women with disabilities.

Commission on the Status of Women

The Ministry for Woman convenes the International Womans’ Caucus – a forum for government agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs) to work collaboratively on issues relevant to the interest and well-being of women. BPW NZ takes an active part in this Caucus and works collaboratively leading up to CSW.

BPW NZ has input into the work our government delegation does at CSW and when in New York at the CSW New York any BPWNZ member who attend. They talk about progress of the deliberations and how we as NGOs can assist with these. BPW NZ receive copies of the discussion papers around the government negotiations on how the agreed Conclusion Paper is navigated. A communication network is set up with the New Zealand Mission and BPW NZ members are kept updated on any changes through the negotiations particularly in the crucial later week.

There is still much work to be done but resolutions are important in setting global norms and the UN has now made a firm statement that we have to act on child marriage if were are to ensure equality and reduce global poverty.

There is still much work to be done but resolutions are important in setting global norms.

Women’s Empowerment Principles

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles for businesses, offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are the result of a collaboration between UN Women and the UN Global Compact, launched on International Women’s Day in March 2010.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are subtitled Equality Means Business.

The full participation of women within businesses benefits the business and by signing the Statement of Support, CEOs demonstrate leadership on gender equality and women’s empowerment and encourage fellow business leaders to do the same.

The 7 Principles are:
  1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality.
  2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination.
  3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers.
  4. Promote education, training and professional development for women.
  5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
  6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
  7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are promoted in New Zealand by an equal partnership of UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ, BPW NZ, the Human Rights Commission, Diversity Works NZ and Zonta International District 16. 

Representatives of these five organisations make up the WEPs NZ committee which organises panel events on workplace policy, an annual survey around implementation of the seven principles and an annual awards event to celebrate the achievements of NZ businesses in promoting gender equity.

BPW NZ are also very proud that our Immediate Past President, Vicky Mee, was asked by UN Women to be the  Chair of WEPs in April 2016.



BPW NZ Submissions