Issue date
8 March 2024

Tēnā koutou katoa

Happy International Women’s Day to all the women and girls across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Not only is this a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls here in New Zealand and around the world, it’s also an opportunity to inspire change – to acknowledge where we can do better for women to thrive and reach their full potential.

This year’s UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day focuses on investing in women as the best way to accelerate progress and achieve gender equality. Our first-hand experience tells us that investing in women and girls pays off – there is a flow-on effect for families, communities, the workplace and the wider economy.

This morning, the Zonta Club of Wellington held its annual International Women’s Day breakfast event at Parliament under the theme Inspire Inclusion. It serves as a reminder that when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we’re not just talking about the interests of women. The progress of women contributes to the progress of wider society.

There are a number of events taking place across the motu to celebrate International Women’s Day, including conferences, speaker sessions and workshops – all of which highlight the contribution women make throughout our communities.

Thank you to all those who have helped make these events happen, and to so many of you for your efforts today, and every day of the year, to make life better for women and girls in Aotearoa.

Next week, I will attend the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – the global policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women. 

This year’s priority theme is also focused on the impact and progress we can make by investing in women and lifting them out of poverty. I am delighted to be joined by our non-government (NGO) representative Aleisha Amohia, who will help amplify the voices of our NGOs during the 11-day event in New York.

I am proud of the inroads New Zealand has made into advancing gender equality, and I don’t have to look far to see great examples of what can be achieved when we raise the value and visibility of women and girls.

Attending CSW is an opportunity to share insights into how we can empower women further by learning from one another and creating opportunities to connect and work collaboratively together.

It is the responsibility of us all to invest in supporting women to take the next step forward. When we work together, we make an even bigger difference.

Noho ora mai
Kellie Coombes
Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Wahine | Secretary for Women and Chief Executive