NZ celebrates International Women's Day

  • 08/03/2018
NZ celebrates International Women's Day
Photo credit: Getty

International Women's Day marks the launch of the year-long Suffrage 125 commemorations.

New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to give women the right to vote in general elections with the Electoral Act passed in 1893 - 125 years ago.

International Women's Day reflects on how far women have come in the struggle for gender equality, and to chart what still needs to be done.

"Suffrage 125 is a great opportunity for New Zealanders to explore and discuss the diversity of women's experiences as they have progressed positive change for themselves, their whanau, communities and Aotearoa New Zealand," says Te Papa's head of New Zealand and Pacific cultures Bronwyn Labrum.

Te Papa will host the flagship event on Thursday inaugurating the anniversary, which is a panel discussion with inspirational women who have made significant contributions to furthering the rights of women and girls.

The panel includes the Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, Victoria University of Wellington historian Professor Charlotte Macdonald, board chair and former CEO Mele Wendt, National Council of Women of New Zealand president Vanisa Dhiru and Georgina Beyer, the world's first transgender woman elected to Parliament.

Te Papa will also launch major projects later in the year to coincide with the actual anniversary of the passage of the Electoral Act that enfranchised women - including a book of essays.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark will speak at the International Women's Day breakfast in Parliament on Thursday.

Around 400 women will attend the sold-out breakfast in Parliament - while more than 135 groups around the country and the Pacific will live stream the event - to mark International Women's Day on March 8.