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16 Days of Activism - Day 14

Written by Mavis Duncanson, Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand

Prime Minister of New Zealand and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern speaks at launch of the Child Poverty Monitor 2020. Photograph Dr Claire Achmad.

Aotearoa New Zealand has been lauded for its handling of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Government listened to informed advice, and took bold decisive action. Communication from health officials and the Government was clear and informative. By and large the ‘team of five million’ worked together to achieve elimination of community transmission.

Even more reason to lament our failure as a nation to create a society in which children can thrive and live their best life. New Zealand ranked 35th out of 41 rich countries for child wellbeing in a recent UNICEF report.

The release of the Child Poverty Monitor last week highlights that we have tolerated unacceptable living conditions for thousands of women and children for far too long. The burden of inadequate income support falls unfairly on women, who head almost all sole-parent households. Over two-thirds of the people who lost jobs during our pandemic response were women.

Entrenched poverty is a choice by society to continue to violate women and children.

COVID-19 must the reason to do more to reduce inequity, improve safety, and address gender-based institutional discrimination. It must never be an excuse to do less. Government can and must listen to experts, and act boldly to implement advice to keep women and children safe and leave no one behind.

Take 3 minutes to watch this video of the launch.

Pray for an end to systemic violence that robs women and children of life and livelihood, of opportunity and safety.

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