by Jan Logie
One – getting women on boards
Today the Prime Minister and Minister of Women’s Affairs launched the 25 Percent Group to get a target of 25% of women onto boards by 2015. The board who will be directing this project is headed by a man.
Two – maternal suicide
Today we also found out the leading cause of maternal death is suicide. The most frequent causes of maternal death in NZ in the years 2006-2010 were suicide (13 cases), maternal pre-existing conditions (11 cases) and amniotic fluid embolism (9 cases).
The NZ College of Midwives has recognised “one of the major factors contributing to avoidable maternal or perinatal death continues to be barriers affecting women’s access to health services. This relates predominantly to mental health services and social services; the latter being necessary as the effects of social deprivation and poverty on women and their families plays a key role in outcomes related to poor health, morbidity and mortality.”
This provides yet more evidence of the need to address the social determinants of health. This Government’s laissez faire approach to the economy is disproportionately hurting women who are: the majority of low paid workers; more likely to be working multiple jobs; still carrying the burden of unpaid work; disproportionately impacted by the welfare reforms; and clearly being punished for having children on a benefit while men who refuse to pay child support are having their penalties eased.
Women are carrying too much of the load and sadly this is costing lives.
Three – Domestic Violence and Work Testing.
Today the Minister of Social Development stated that the Work and Income systems are adequate for identifying domestic violence, citing specialist family violence case workers.
The Green Party does not support increased work testing for the DPB. The Government has responded to challenges regarding the issues for women leaving violent relationships by saying exemptions are possible and there’s enough discretion to protect the vulnerable from harm.
This is in the face of only 22 women over the whole country receiving a work test exemption as of February this year and to my knowledge there being only one specialist in the Wellington region.
This is in the face of expecting women to ask for the exemption by proactively disclosing abuse in open plan offices without any privacy.
This is in the face of the Department justifying these low figures by saying – well we don’t ask.
Surely if the Government is to seriously address Domestic Violence then it needs to make leaving OK. It’s not OK to say an exemption is in place and then make it practically impossible to access that exemption.