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White Paper: Enabling women’s potential – the economic, social and ethical imperative

November 12, 2015 at 3:29 PM

*Press Release*

12 November 2015

Time to stamp out sexism, says NCWNZ

The National Council of Women of New Zealand is encouraging people to stamp out sexism in the release of its white paper today.

The paper - Enabling women’s potential – the economic, social and ethical imperative - aims to build understanding of gender inequality and spark discussion and more action.

Gender inequality is a result of the sexism that persists in all aspects of our society, including in workplaces, schools, politics, and health, says NCWNZ National President Rae Duff.

“Most New Zealanders can recall a time when they have either experienced or witnessed sexism. Some of it is intentional but often, the sexism is hardwired into us and is unconscious and unintentional.

“NCWNZ’s white paper identifies how this sexism adds up and has a profound effect on people’s choices and opportunities in life.

“We encourage people to think about how they may be unconsciously sexist, both towards themselves and others. This includes looking at the language you use and jokes you make, and thinking about the judgements and assumptions you make of your own and others’ abilities.”

Rae Duff says commonplace examples of this are:

  • Making jokes about women being in the kitchen or comments about them being the “ball and chain”;
  • Assuming a man is needed to look after the barbeque;
  • Expecting women in the workplace to make the tea and  biscuits;
  • Making gender-based comments and assumptions about children, e.g. saying a boy is “tough” and into sports while a girl is “pretty” and interested in pink;
  • Using phrases like “run like a girl” as an insult;
  • Expecting women to take greater care of their appearance than men;
  • Asking women (and not men) in interviews about their child care arrangements or if they plan on getting pregnant; and
  • Expecting men to open doors for women or pay on dates.


For more information contact Claire Newton on 027 723 8904

To read the white paper visit