Some of the photos on this event’s wall made me ill – don’t look.
If you are on Facebook, please consider reporting this event. The ‘report event’ link is in the right hand column, under the details for who is attending / not attending.
This is the charter that was adopted by the New Zealand Federation of Labour in 1980.
1. The right to work for everyone who wishes to do so.
2. The elimination of all discrimination on the basis of sex, race, marital or parental status, sexuality or age.
3. Equal pay for work of equal value – meaning the same total wage plus other benefits.
4. Equal opportunity of entry into occupations and of promotion regardless of sex, sexuality, marital or parental status, race or age.
5. Equal education opportunities for all.
6. (a) Union meetings to be held in working hours
(b) Special trade union education courses for women unionists to be held with paid time off for participants
7. Equal access to vocational guidance and training, including on the job training, study and conference leave.
8. Introduction of a shorter working week with no loss of pay, flexible working hours, part-time opportunities, for all workers.
9. Improved working conditions for women and men. The retention of beneficial provision which apply to women. Other benefits to apply equally to men and women.
10. Removal of legal, bureaucratic and other impediments to equality in superannuation, social security benefits, credit, finance, taxation, tenancies, and other related matters.
11. Special attention to the needs and requirements of women from ethnic communities as they see them.
12. Wide availability of quality child care with Government and/or community support for all those who need it, on a 24-hour basis, including after school and school holiday care.
13. Introduction of adequate paid parental leave (maternity and paternity leave) without loss of job security, superannuation or promotion prospects.
14. Availability of paid family leave to enable time off to be taken in family emergencies, e.g. when children or elderly relatives are ill.
15. Sex education and birth control advice freely available to all people. Legal, financial, social and medical impediments to safe abortion, contraception and sterilisation to be removed.
16. Comprehensive government funded research into health questions specific to women.
Reading through the list, it’s impressive that so many of these ideals have been realised, at least formally, in New Zealand law and employment practice. But at the same time, it’s a little shattering to realise that in some ways we are still fighting the same battles that women were fighting thirty years ago. Take a look at item 16: we still have medical barriers to abortion, imposed by individual doctors, and by the requirement for women to get two doctors to give consent to abortion. The formal barriers there have not yet been removed. Or look at item 10. Although the legal impediments to equality in superannuation have been removed, the patterns of working women’s lives, with many years taken out for child bearing and child rearing, and more taken out in order to care for other family members, all of it unrecognised as work of value, means that women have less opportunity to save for their old age, and older women figure disproportionally in poverty statistics.
For all that, what a long way we have come. My daughters will grow up with so much more freedom, so many more real choices, because of the work that was done by people like Sonja Davies and Margaret Wilson and Liane Dalziel and Anne Else and Dale Williams. For the story behind the charter, and an account of what conditions were like for women in the years leading up to its adoption, read this piece by Sue Kedgley, The Working Women’s Charter, from a feminist perspective.
The Labour History Project is running a seminar to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Working Women’s Charter, Working Women: Learning from the Past Looking to the Future, on the 1st of May, May Day, in Wellington. You can download the registration form: PDF (2.1mb) here.
I went along to the Marriage Equality Rally in Adelaide today. It was cold and wet, and still about 200 people turned up to rally outside South Australia’s Parliament House, and urge our parliamentarians to support marriage equality for all Australians. As I’ve written before, I don’t think the state should be involved in marriage at all, but FSM-dammit, if it is going to play the marriage game, then it shouldn’t be making judgements about which Australians are allowed to get married, and which are not.
The rally started with everyone gathered on the steps of Parliament, to get some shelter from the frequent rain squalls.*
Once the speeches started, people moved down to the pavement, ‘though I stayed up on the steps because I had the Strangelings with me,** and I wanted to be sure that I could keep them out of the rain if it started falling again. Which it did, and out popped the rainbow umbrellas.
The speeches were good, delivered by men and women, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. One speaker made the obvious, and excellent point that other countries in the world have marriage equality, and the sky hasn’t yet fallen. New Zealand has ‘civil unions’ – not a full scale ‘marriage’ but not too bad either, and a lot better than nothing. It has been heartwarming to see the number of gay and lesbian couples who have at last been able to stand up, in public, and have the state acknowledge that their relationship is real. And when I was in New Zealand just a few days ago, the sun was still shining, people were happy (or not) as usual, life was just carrying on. Really, what is there to be so scared about?
After the speeches, people headed off towards a pub. I didn’t go along – it’s not my party, and I don’t want to crash it, even though I support the cause. And, I had the children with me. So we went off down town for lunch. There was a huge display in the middle of Rundle Mall, in honour of some pandas. Adelaide seems to be getting itself all excited about some animals arriving at the zoo. The local paper has been carrying lots of photos and stories about it, and there’s a huge banner on the front page of its website about the pandas arriving this morning, complete with shots of the plane carrying them touching down. But not a word about the Marriage Equality Rally. I guess human rights just don’t matter as much.
Along with the panda display in the mall, there was face painting and cardboards masks, and balloons for the kids.
Guess which colour balloons the volunteers handed to the Misses Eight.
* M-H, I’ve chosen this photo because the woman in the centre is knitting.
** I’m not all that keen on taking children along to rallies and protests, especially when I see them holding banners and posters that they can’t possibly understand. But I didn’t have much choice about it; Mr Strange Land is away for a few days, so I could either take them with me, or not go at all. I explained what it was about to the girls, so they knew why I wanted to be there. And there were plenty of other children there too, with their mums and mums, and dads and dads. It seems wrong that the state will recognise the loving relationship between my children’s parents, but not the loving relationship between some other children’s parents.
I’m guessing that most Australians who read my blog also read Hoyden about Town (the whole world ought to read Hoyden about Town), but just in case you don’t, head on over there and read Lauredhel’s post about the proposed harmonisation of accessible parking rules. Under the proposal, people who are mobile, but nevertheless can’t walk far, will be excluded from using accessibility parking. Lauredhel has details about the proposed rule changes, an account of what it would mean for people who have limited ability to walk, and importantly, what you can do to help.