New Zealand: Int'l Women's Day 2017 Function

International Women's Day Function in New Zealand

MARCH 11, 2017  

Violence Against Women: An Equality and Human Rights Violation


The national theme for International Women's Day 2017 was "Violence against Women: An Equality and Human Rights Violation." 

Felicity Cairns, President of WFWP New Zealand (NZ), welcomed around 20 women to the WFWP NZ's International Women's Day function. She gave an introductory message from Dame Patsy Reddy, the Governor General of New Zealand, and read excerpts from the statement "Women Fostering Peace and Prosperity" submitted by WFWP International to the 61st Commission on the Status of Women.

Pratika Sharma, the Primary Health Family Violence Facilitator from SHINE, an NGO of the Presbyterian Support Services, was the first speaker. She explained the services and programs SHINE offers. They work with the police and counsel victims of abuse, run women's shelters, offer group sessions on the Power and Control Wheel and connect victims with legal help for protection orders. Ms. Sharma also shared how abuse is both physical and psychological, and that while the police will prosecute physical abusers, it is difficult for them to take action on mental abuse as they require proof. She recommended the research done by Janet Fanslow.

After questions and answers and morning tea, Jit Kaur, Service Manager of the Sikh Women's Association, introduced the work of the NZ Sikh Women's Association to help Southeast Asian women and families settle into a new society. She was approached by former Prime Minister Helen Clark to help these women and families in difficulties. Their situation is more problematic because women often do not have residency, restricting their access to health services. She recommended the movie Provoke about battered women's syndrome.

All the women present appreciated the great sacrifices made by the coordinators and their volunteers. It was a valuable opportunity to network and make lasting friendships.