International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day
March 8 – #BalanceforBetter

A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
Get everything you need to run a successful International Women’s Day right here.

Gender progress at Otago University

This year Otago University has widened their gender options, and at the same it is reported that 60% of domestic students are female.

ODT: Uni adds gender options

Whereas in the past students could choose female, male or X for indeterminate, students this year can identify as “gender diverse”, and, if they want to, specify whether they are a male or female, a transgender man, a transgender woman or non-binary transgender.

There is also the option of calling themselves Mx or Id in addition to the titles Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms – and students can change their gender in their student details without having to provide any supporting paperwork.

So you can fairly freely choose how to identify your gender. Anyone who doesn’t like the new options doesn’t have to use them.

This looks like gender is getting complicated, but it is complicated for some people.

OUSA former queer support co-ordinator Hahna Briggs said she was “really happy” students could now use those options to express their identity.

“Students were able to change their gender marker after enrolment to M, F, or X (X for indeterminate) but they had to provide a statutory declaration or an updated passport to make this change. Now this process is so much easier”.

OUSA president for 2019 James Heath said the new university process was “in line with common practice”.

“From an OUSA perspective we welcome, and celebrate, openness with regards to gender diversity with a goal to make Otago the most inclusive campus in NZ.”

Feedback about the change from students online was very positive, describing the move as “awesome” and “fantastic”.

Most young people should be quite open and liberal about this – but there could be some complications regarding use of gender assigned facilities and qualification for gender separated sports.

Also from ODT:  Uni women outnumber men 60:40

A gender studies specialist says the 60:40 split of female and male domestic students attending the University of Otago last year is part of a trend across most Western countries — though it might be slightly higher at Otago than at other universities due to the emphasis on health sciences.

Gender disparities were “subject-specific” and last year there was a slightly larger difference at Otago than usual, probably because of the role of health sciences at the university, Fairleigh Gilmour said.

Generally, men tended to outnumber women in engineering and IT, while women tended to dominate in health-related disciplines.

There are now many more female medical and dental students, but other health fields will lean even more heavily towards female numbers.

Statistics seemed similar at most other universities around the country for students. 2017 splits:

  • Victoria University 55% female, 45% male (all students)
  • Auckland University of Technology 61% female, 39% male (domestic students)
  • University of Auckland 57% female , 43% male (all students)
  • Massey University 60% female, 40% male
  • University of Waikato 58% female, 42% male (all students)

One bucked the trend…

  • Lincoln University 49% female, 51 male (all students)

…but that could reflect on the Lincoln specialising in agriculture.

Why are significantly more females going to university than males? It may in part be due to trade qualifications being done at polytechnics. More males may get into work without qualifications. And there could be more males unemployed or in other sorts of training.

But it is clear that as far as university education is concerned females are dominating the numbers.

Knowledge is power in a number of ways.

Whineston Peters not going to let ‘5 minute’ female journalists criticise Ardern

Peters has a big whine, especially against female journalists and shows himself as a sexist old shit who is intolerant of criticism.

“And we’re not going to stand by whilst a critique or a cabal of commentators, many who are women, bitterly lecture her .when they don’t know anything about her role or job or how well she’s doing.”

Peters has attacked and ridiculed journalists for as long as I can remember. He comes across as a cantankerous old shit who avoids answering questions when being interviewed. But his political successes are unlikely to have happened without the attention the media has given him.

In his opening remarks to the ‘Government Priorities Launch’ last Sunday one of his priorities was attacking the media.

The reason we retain the confidence of New Zealanders is because they see what the media filter seemingly cannot: we are a unified government determined to lead change to lift all New Zealanders’ prospects. Speaking on behalf of New Zealand First, we remain as committed as ever to making this coalition and government work. We also know what the political media does not.

This is highly ironic given that he is the main reason that then issue of disunity in the Government has come up, and it seems to be a primary thrust of Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Government Priorities’ PR party promotion last weekend.

A politician who things they know best should be scrutinised by the media. Peters seems to expect the media to be subservient to his vanity project and whines when they aren’t – he’s a lot like Trump in this.

Yesterday he went into whine overdrive: Winston Peters berates female critics of the Government.

Winston Peters:

What I’m not going to be prepared to stand by though, and is have pretty inexperienced, untrained political commentators who’ve been here 5 minutes lauding it over people that of course have got the bully pulpit of the pen and media.

They’re not going to win this battle.

Our job is to have, provide really sound government.

Our job is to ensure the Prime Minister gets all the backing in the world and she’s going to get that, and she’s getting that.

And we’re not going to let…stand by whilst a critique or a cabal of commentators, many who are women, bitterly lecture her…

Talking of bitter sounding lectures…

…when they don’t know anything about her role or job or how well she’s doing.

No word from Peters on what he might do about it, apart from whine.

He seems to have a problem with female journalists who don’t laud over him and Ardern.


How is he not going to let journalists critique the jobs he and Ardern are doing?



Less than a third of Cabinet are female

Jacinda Ardern has been a staunch supporter of equality. Just yesterday she promoted equality in rugby – see Rugby doesn’t deserve to be New Zealand’s national sport, equality or not.

But the day before she diluted the female presence in her Cabinet, from 35% to less than a third, by demoting Clare Curran to reduced ministerial duties outside Cabinet. Now:

  • 3 of the top 10 Ministers are female (still)
  • 6 of the 19 Ministers in Cabinet are female
  • 2 of 6 Ministers outside Cabinet are female
  • 2 of 3 Supporting Party (Green) Ministers are female (still)
  • TOTAL 10 of 28 Ministers are female

In the place where Ardern could walk the walk on her equality ideals, Government, she is falling well short.

It could be that there are not enough female MPs in the three parties in Government who are experienced enough or capable enough to fill the top positions in equal numbers to men, but this must be a bit embarrassing for Ardern.


Poll on Ardern

The Listener has done a poll on attitudes to Ardern:

Those results are fairly much in line with how I see things.

I don’t think her age or experience are problems at all. All party leaders and Prime Ministers (except Bill English) have no experience before they take over.

Ardern is more experienced in politics and parliament and Government than John Key was when he rose to the top.

I’m 50/50 on whether she has the skills necessary to be PM, the job requires a wide range of skills and she is untested on some of those. But initial signs look promising.

From: What male and female voters think about Jacinda Ardern – this also has party support results which are misleading, I’ll cover that in a separate post.


Are there any female bloggers?

If you read Jonathan Milne’s In bed with the bloggers in the Herald on Sunday or online you might get the impression that blogging is an all-male domain. He didn’t mention any female bloggers at all. This omission was pointed out by a number of people.

There’s no doubt that New Zealand political blogs are dominated by men, and more male behaviours are apparent. But there are female bloggers out there. They are fewer in number and are not such loud attention seekers as some of the male bloggers but they contribute to the blogosphere.

Open Parachute publishes monthly blog rankings – where are the women on that list? Note that not all blogs submit data for this.

Whale Oil (OP1)
Cameron Slater is obviously prominent but has a team of helpers, mostly male. They’ve advised that female input is “lux who does Photo of the day and cactus who contributes occasionally “.

Kiwiblog (OP2)
David Farrar’s blog but he sometimes has female guest posts (there’s one today from Jadis) and Kokila Patel is sub-editor and ” arranges the daily general debates, and the notices of upcoming political TV shows and the like”.

The Standard (OP3)
A multi-author blog, most being male but Karol is a frequent contributor and is often active in the comments.

The Daily Blog (OP4)
Fifty authors are currently listed, of which about twenty one are female but most post infrequently. In practice male authors seem to dominate but two of the latest posts are by  and and more female authors are dotted through the post list.

Homepaddock (OP13)
The top ranked female run blog is “rural perspective with a blue tint by Ele Ludemann”. Ele is active in National but blogs about many general topics.

Not ranked by Open Parachute:

Public Address Most recent posts are by Russell Brown and he tweets under the @publicaddress handle (he says Public Address would rank about fifth in Open Parachute). Of eight authors listed two are female but only Up Front (Emma Hart) is currently blogging (last post Februray 4).

Of the fifteen listed authors seven are female but only Jacqueline Rowarth (last post February 11) and Josie Pagani (regular posts) are recently active. There are more male posts.

Ideologically Impure
(Queen of Thorns) – Lefty, feminist, Wellingtonian, philologist, geek, willing tequila-drinker, and rejecter of labels- “boutique identity politics / well renowned for friendly fire casualties”. Queen of Thorns has also been an author at The Standard, and at The Daily Blog until a falling out (she has been removed from the author list).

Coley Tangerina “Finally, the feminist killjoy witchy cat lady blog you’ve been looking for” looks to be an occasional blogger.

There are also females connected to MSM posting on media blogs but they are seen more as journalists with columns than bloggers.

If you are an active female blogger or know of any female bloggers please comment here or email and I’ll compile a bigger list.

Note – a female author will soon start posting at Your NZ.

If there are any other females (or males) interested in occasionally or regularly expressing your views or otherwise join the blogosphere please contact me –

Female MPs excluded from Question Time

It has been noticed that after all the Man Ban debate Labour did not have any female MPs asking questions in Parliament today. And only one Minister – Judith Collins – was asked a question.


Out of 25 speakers in question time today 3 were women. All asking questions. 2 of them Greens.

The question list (with females in bold):

  1. METIRIA TUREI to the Minister for Economic Development:
  2. JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister of Finance:
  3. DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister:
  4. CLAUDETTE HAUITI to the Minister for Economic Development:
  5. Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE to the Prime Minister:
  6. KANWALJIT SINGH BAKSHI to the Minister of State Services:
  7. Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Finance:
  8. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister:
  9. EUGENIE SAGE to the Minister of Conservation:
  10. MIKE SABIN to the Minister of Justice:
  11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Minister of Internal Affairs:
  12. CHRIS AUCHINVOLE to the Minister of Internal Affairs:

Four male Labour MPs asked primary questions, no female.

This is partly because the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are male and the most comon targets for questions, and the Minister for Economic Development, also male, is involved in the very topical Sky City issue.

But it’s also indicative of party whips (presumably) leaning more towards males, today at least.

Standing for Parliament? One woman’s view

A lot has been said about whether is good for politics for Labour to “man ban” – to have an option for electorates to ban men from being considered as a candidate.

Ways of boosting the proportion of females in Parliament has a major talking point – whether to try and force it with quotes or on merit. But something has been overlooked is what might attract more women into politics, and what might put women off trying to become an MP. I asked a woman if they would consider trying to become a candidate.

A woman’s perspective of why many women don’t want to stand for parliament

I have always been very interested in politics; love to discuss how to make the world a better place. In my younger years I have been actively involved to bring about changes.  Now that I am more mature, have grown up children I still have the same convictions of making the world a better place but with the difference that these days I leave it to others to make this happen.

There are many reasons the main one being I want to live in peace and quiet out of the public’s eye.  Politics, especially in parliament often seems like a kindergarten not a place where mature adults our representatives find the best way to help govern our country. Why would I want to subject myself to insults, taunts, personal attacks, manipulative old hands and the like.  I feel that I have fought my battles with bringing up my children and also in my career.

As we all know this is not the half of it.  There is the press – always fishing for a so called “good story”.  For me that would mean to be always on guard with what I say.  Since I and many women I know have an impulsive personality this would be very difficult.

Women are being doubly judged, once for their looks and secondly for their ability.  It doesn’t matter what their appearance is, they cop it from all quarters often particularly harshly by their fellow females, men and the press.

If a woman looks great she gets dissed for it (everything is easy for her because she’s got the look) also is she just an airhead, or is there a man behind her to help?  On the other hand if she is not blessed with a great appearance she gets flack for that such as (she looks like crap people find it difficult to concentrate on what she actually says).  Off course one could say that may apply to men also and it does no doubt but sadly is seems to apply more to women and plays a big factor in not wanting to stand for parliament.

Balancing gender versus balancing the budget

Do voters (including women voters) care much abour gender balance?

Quite possibly perceived competence of parties, leaders and candidates are more important to many voters.

Here’s some percentages.

  • National got 47% party vote and have 27% female MPs.
  • Labour got 28% party vote and have 40% female MPs.
  • Greens got 11% party vote and have 50% female MPs.

The voter turnout at the last election was 74.21% – at least 25% of those voters (and probably around 50%) were women.

The voter gender balance will vary across parties but presumably there’s a lot of female voters who choose to vote for parties with proportionally less women candidates.

Perhaps voters, including female voters, put more priority on balancing the budget than balancing the genders.

Labour ‘s genders and agendas

Labour’s council have proposed enforced minimum numbers of female MPs, and want to allow electorates to exclude male candidates – this has been termed a man ban.

Should Parliament reflect what the voters want or a complex balance that parties try to force us to vote for?

What do voters want in their elected representatives. Would people prefer a Parliament that “represents Maori, ethnic groups, the disabled, sexual orientation and age groups” – or would they prefer people they think can best run the country while representing all minority interests? It might be that voters don’t think the token senile dementia candidate is as good as the Rastafarian transsexual (or vice versa).

Looking at the Labour list from 2011 I think they would be better trying to lift the quality more than the quantity of females. Instead they dropped one of their more respected and electable MPs, Lianne Dalziel, to 22 on the list and she would now prefer to be mayor rather than MP.

If Labour had followed the clear preference of their members when they replaced Phil Goff as leader they may not be losing Dalziel – and they would have a female deputy leader, Nanaia Mahuta (ticking the female and Maori boxes).

And perhaps Labour should demand that rankings aren’t skewed by criteria they haven’t included – factions. And leadership preferences overriding members wishes.

Labour have much more pressing issues than forced balance of gender and selected other minority demographics.

But if they want to improve gender balance they need to look at where they recruit most of their candidates from – staffers and unions. Oh, aren’t those two groups overrepresented?