New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland

Brussels Celebrates 120 Years of Women’s Suffrage

: left to right: NZ Ambassador to Belgium, Ms Paula Wilson; NZ Permanent Representative to the UN, Ms Amanda Ellis; and NZ MP, Ms Louisa Wall.

To commemorate the 120th anniversary of New Zealand women’s suffrage, the New Zealand Mission to the European Union  held a New Zealand reception, at the European Parliament in Brussels, as  part of the inaugural ‘Women in Parliaments Global Forum’ (WIP),.

Ambassador Amanda Ellis, NZ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, hosted the reception, where New Zealand was to receive the WIP Oceania award for closing the gender gap, which was accepted by Ms Louisa Wall, NZ Member of Parliament on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

On this historical occasion, Ambassador Amanda Ellis had this to say:

“It was wonderful profile for New Zealand that the first annual global event of women Parliamentarians was deliberately planned to coincide with the anniversary of 120 years of women first voting in New Zealand – 28 November 1893. 600 participants attended from 100 countries, with a number of current and past heads of state including Africa's first elected woman, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”

“The event provided an opportunity for women MPs to share experiences of governance around the world. While there is no country in the world that can claim full gender equality in practice, research now shows 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, given higher rates of gender equality correlate with higher GNI.”

“The highlight of WIP was NZ receiving the Oceania Global Gender Gap award, with a video message from NZ Prime Minister John Key and an in-person acceptance from the Member of Parliament for Manurewa, Louisa Wall. This took place just after a cocktail reception sponsored by Pernod-Ricard, showcasing wonderful NZ wines where women MPs from every region shared what New Zealand opening the way for women's suffrage meant to their country.”

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