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Women must 'fight for rights'

KATY KARAYIANNIS
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014
Catriona MacLennan
ACTION PLAN: Lawyer and journalist Catriona MacLennan says progress on women’s rights has stalled.

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Social activist Catriona MacLenna, is calling on nine political parties to make a stand for women's rights in the lead up to this year's general election on September 20.

The Auckland lawyer and journalist is the author of a 10-page document covers a range of issues that she says need urgent attention.

They include stopping violence against women, closing the gender pay gap, recognising and rewarding the importance of child-rearing and improving women's chances of reaching senior political and business positions.

"Progress has stalled at the moment. In some areas we may be going backwards," she says.

MacLennan expects political parties to respond to the paper with policy statements relevant to the points she's raised.

She says results will go online so that voters can make informed decisions

Women need to be "proactive and a bit more forceful" when advocating for women's rights.

"I think it's very important for women all around New Zealand to work together especially in the election year.

"We really need use our voting power together because otherwise I don't think we are going to get politicians and the general public to pay any attention to us or make any changes," she says.

Auckland Women's Centre manager Leonie Morris agrees and says New Zealanders need to take action against the "appalling" inequality issues in society.

"Women need to step up and recognise that change needs to occur. Women need to push for this change," she says.

"We are asking women if they want to add things or emphasise certain issues and then to go and talk to their local MPs or people in their local areas about it."

A report by United Nations Women NZ found that one-third of New Zealand women experienced some form of violence from men in the period 2000-2010.

The Green Party says men earned 12 per cent more than women at the beginning of 2013.

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- Manukau Courier

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