Covid-19 disproportionately impacts Māori women - Minister for Women

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Today marks International Womens Day and secondary students from Wellington had the opportunity to sit down with both Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Women Jan Tinetti.

Tinetti reflected on the numerous wins for women in Aotearoa but also admitted there was a lot more that needed to be done

"There are lots of things we can celebrate in the leadership journey for women. We’ve got a large number of women in leadership positions and senior leadership positions in the public sector," she said

Tinneti hosted close to 20 students from schools around Wellington. The young women didn’t hold back when speaking about the issues they think are pertinent to women and girls around the country.

“I think the next part of the conversation is going on behind me right now - the young people are going to tell me what I should be focusing on right now as the Minister for Women. We need to hear their voice about where we go to next,” she said.

Long-standing politician and also the country's first female Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, spoke of her commitment to putting the issues of Māori and other indigenous women at the fore even in forums such as Apec.

“ We need to ensure the women's place within the economic recovery has to be recognised.”

“The way in which we support women in entrepreneurship will inevitably have many good effects within the whānau,” she said

WIth the Mana Wahine claim now before the Waitangi Tribunal the question remains: How do Māori women fare among their non-Māori counterparts when it comes to pay parity, or even incarceration. Tenetti committed herself to bring about change to wāhine across the country.

“Some of the ways we're going to address that is listening to their voices and listening to the Mana Wahine claim is really important. Also, what's happening in Covid-19. We know women have been disproportionately impacted. We know there is a big disproportionate impact for Māori and Pacific, so that’s got to shape our work."