New Zealand

At a Glance

The New Zealand Ministry for Women is the country’s Equal Futures focal point institution. The New Zealand Ministry for Women’s policy advice is focused on its four priorities of: supporting more girls in education and training, utilising women's skills and growing our economy, encouraging and developing women leaders, and ensuring women and girls are free from violence. In developing policy advice, the Ministry recognises that women are diverse: their experiences, needs and priorities are not all the same. Some groups of women continue to have poorer outcomes relative to other groups. The Ministry recognises this diversity in developing its advice and identifying appropriate solutions.

The Ministry has a sharp focus on demonstrable results and monitors progress for women, particularly across its four priorities. This is to monitor the effectiveness of existing policies and other interventions, to identify emerging trends, and to provide information on the progress towards better outcomes for women.

The Ministry is also the lead agency that manages the government’s international reporting obligations in relation to the status of women. In this role it promotes and protects the interests and well-being of women in international forums, and promotes the development of domestic policy that is consistent with international responsibilities of New Zealand in relation to the status of women. 

For information on New Zealand’s Ministry for Women please contact the Principal Policy Analyst, International or visit the website.


Supporting more women and girls in education and training

Despite an increase in qualifications, women are over represented in minimum wage jobs. More women than men are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET) and Māori, Pasifika women, young mothers, former prisoners are vulnerable to low wage employment and poorer outcomes for themselves and their families. 

There is potential for New Zealand’s female labour force to address current and projected skill shortages and for women to achieve greater economic success, thereby also increasing the wellbeing of their families. Women and girls can be encouraged to train and work in occupations where high growth is projected and where women are currently under-represented (in particular, STEM industries and construction and trades).

The Ministry for Women will provide evidence of what works to attract and retain vulnerable women in tertiary education. We will also provide evidence of what works to attract and retain women in STEM and trades training. The Ministry will use evidence to influence tertiary education providers to improve their practices and increase the number of women engaged in their courses. This evidence will be shared also with NGO partners to support them in their work encouraging women into training. Tertiary education policies will be analysed to identify opportunities to improve outcomes for women. The Ministry will work with relevant government agencies to improve access to encourage more vulnerable women into training opportunities.

Utilizing Women’s Skills and Growing our Economy

Growth of New Zealand businesses means increased job opportunities and an improved standard of living. To grow, businesses need a skilled workforce and to attract and retain talented staff. 

Women as a workforce are currently under-employed, unemployed or under-utilised at a higher rate than men. One in three employed women work part-time, and of those one in five is under-employed. Barriers to fully utilising women’s skills include the need for flexible work, part-time work and managing childcare demands. 

The Ministry for Women will work with key business leaders to produce resources to support SME business owners to provide family-friendly environments. Over 95 percent of businesses in New Zealand are small to medium enterprises with fewer than 50 employees (SMEs). Providing family-friendly work opportunities can be a challenge but SMEs need to attract and retain talented staff, (often needing family-friendly work environments), if they are to be sustainable and grow.