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President's Update

Updated: Apr 17

April 2024

Kia ora koutou,

I hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing Easter break. You will now have been sent the papers for our online AGM being held on Sunday 28th April. Please register as soon as possible (click here) and plan with your clubs who will be your voting delegate(s) and who will observe.

The program is in the papers, so you will know what part of the day each session holds. I

look forward to seeing you online and am very excited to share with you, the successful award entries. Trophy presentations will be in person at the Leadership Forum on 5 th October.

There has been a noticeable increase in reports about women and challenges in the media:

  • Calls for greater parental leave support and more flexibility from employers. Quote from the article: “New research has lifted the lid on parental leave and just how challenging returning to work after having a child can be for parents. Conducted by financial wellbeing firm Crayon and The Back to Work Coach, a survey of 369 New Zealanders has found navigating parental leave and the subsequent return to work can be the most challenging moment in a person’s employment career.”

  • Women’s health equity under threat: As the health system suffers endless reform and cuts, the first ever Women’s Health Strategy faces being an early casualty, writes Jo Cribb. And she now sees women’s health concerns everywhere. “For example, the shortage of midwives in rural communities, as highlighted by reports from Central Otago and Southland of women giving birth in ambulances or at the side of the road. Though there is a shortage of midwives everywhere – we need to triple the number in training to address current deficits – it’s rural women who are disproportionately affected by shortages. Rural midwives account for just 11 percent of the midwifery workforce. but 18 percent of children aged 0-4 live in rural communities.” Endometriosis; polycystic ovary syndrome; heart disease and more. “All up, women live longer than men but spend more time living in poor health. There are stark inequities with life expectancy for wāhine Māori and Pacific women (77.3 years and 79.3 years respectively) lower than for European or Asian men (81.3 years and 85 years)." Luckily, a Women’s Health Strategy was developed last year with the aim of equitable health outcomes between men and women and all groups of women. The first one ever. It came about because of some persistent lobbying by some persistent women. Its aims seem reasonable. That the health system should work for women, is the first aim. Of course it should but, as the strategy points out, gender bias means the system often does not. This means gaps in services for health conditions that only affect women or are more common in women. (Reference:

Articles like these highlight that no matter how far we have come, fighting for fairness and

improvements in the lives of women and children, there is always more that can be done.

This is why it is so important for BPW NZ and International to have policy on matters such as

these. We then have the mandate to lobby governments here in Aotearoa New Zealand and

around the world through our advocacy work.

I will continue to deliver my highest value through compelling influence.

Ngā mihi nui,

President Janet


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