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Women's Empowerment School

Oct 15, 2018

“Getting a gender equal world? That’s going to take a lot of culture change, a lot of role reversals—our prime minister and her husband showing the way—where women are valued the same as men, where family violence is eliminated … and really where women are respected, and the fact that you’ve had time out and had children out of the workforce [is] valued as a skillset.”

Dr. Jackie Blue is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. She began her career in medicine as a general practitioner and New Zealand’s first breast physician before shifting her focus to politics. Jackie spent eight years as a member of parliament and then moved into her current role as EEO Commissioner. She is committed to progressing human rights and issues of equity, addressing youth unemployment in the Māori and Pacific communities, and advancing the participation of women in society.

Today, Jackie joins Sylvia to discuss her work to close New Zealand’s gender pay gap through equal pay legislation. She explains the country’s pioneering legislation affording paid leave to victims of family violence and its status as the first country to give women the right to vote 125 years ago. Jackie and Sylvia explore key issues including paid parental leave for men and women, sexual harassment in the workplace, and the role of quotas in accelerating necessary change. Listen in to understand how businesses can change social policy for the better and learn how to leverage a powerful network of women in working toward a gender equal workplace—and world.

Topics Covered

Jackie’s role as New Zealand’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner

Jackie’s work to support the disadvantaged Māori and Pacific communities

New Zealand’s 9.2% gender pay gap and the country’s equal pay legislation

The world’s first legislation providing paid leave to victims of family violence

New Zealand’s status as the first country to give women the right to vote

The evolution of the paid parental leave policy in New Zealand

How New Zealand’s prime minister and her husband serve as role models

Jackie’s insight on how businesses can support victims of family violence

How the #MeToo movement has unfolded in New Zealand

Why no workplace is immune from sexual harassment

The cultural shift necessary to value motherhood as a skill set

The need for more women in private sector senior decision-making roles

Jackie’s take on how quotas can accelerate necessary change

Why current workplace systems are not sustainable for men or women

How Jackie leverages family support to maintain her health

New Zealand’s recent examination by the UN’s CEDAW

Why businesses are in a strong position to change social policy for good

The power of a women’s network as a support system

Connect with Jackie

New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Jackie on LinkedIn

Connect with Sylvia

Becker-Hill Women’s Empowerment School

WES on Facebook

WES Podcast Show Notes

Sylvia on Instagram

Subscribe to WES on iTunes

Subscribe to WES on Google Play


UN Commission on the Status of Women

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s UN Address

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the UN General Assembly

Jacinda Ardern’s First Speech as Prime Minister

Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Christa Stienen on WES EP003