New Zealand Embassy & Mission to the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

New Zealand commemorates 120 years of women's suffrage

New Zealand's Ambassador to Belgium, Ms Paula Wilson, Permanent Representative to the UN, Ms Amanda Ellis, and Member of Parliament, Ms Louisa Wall, with New Zealand's WIP award.

The New Zealand Mission to the EU commemorated the 120th anniversary of New Zealand women’s suffrage last month by hosting a reception event in the European Parliament.

Held as part of the inaugural ‘Women in Parliaments Global Forum’ (WIP), New Zealand also received the WIP Oceania award for closing the gender gap, which was accepted on behalf of the New Zealand Government by New Zealand Member of Parliament, Ms Louisa Wall.

Attended by 600 participants from 100 countries - including Ms Louisa Wall, Ms Paula Wilson, New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium, and Ms Amanda Ellis, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the UN - the three-day WIP forum aimed to advance society by building networks between women in parliaments from around the world. The first global event of its kind, the forum was purposely planned to coincide with the anniversary of women first being able to vote in a national election – which took place in New Zealand 120 years ago on 28 November 1893.

Ambassador Amanda Ellis, who hosted the New Zealand reception, said the forum was an excellent way for women members of parliaments (MPs) to share experiences of governance and move towards greater gender equality.

“While there is no country in the world that can claim full gender equality in practice, research now shows that there is a correlation between more women MPs and fewer constraints based on gender: with more than a quarter women MPs, there are a third fewer legislative barriers based on gender. So, women legislators make a practical difference in the lives of other women and hence in economic growth rates, since higher rates of gender equality correlates with higher gross national income (GNI),” Ambassador Ellis said.

WIP presented eight regional awards for closing the gender gap, which were based on rankings from the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report. Other countries to receive awards were Bolivia, Finland, Israel, Lesotho, Mongolia and the Philippines. Iceland received both the regional award for Europe and Central Asia, as well as the overall global award.  

For more information on the WIP Global Forum, please visit their website.

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