The Gender Justice Collective 

14 December 2021


By Tania Dommett, Gender Justice Collective 

The Gender Justice Collective (GJC) is an independent, intersectional, non-profit network of around 20 individuals and organisations, whose vision is for Aotearoa to lead the world in gender equity.

Formed in the leadup to the 2020 General Election, one of the GJC’s early goals was to shine a light on our political parties’ commitment to gender equity. 

The GJC carried out the nationwide YouChoose 2020 Survey, gathering data from over 3,500 women, wāhine, trans, non-binary and intersex people, to identify the election issues that were of most concern to them and what they most needed in order to thrive. The survey results were then used to rank and review the election policies of eight political parties, resulting in the GJC Election Scorecard which was shared via a number of media outlets.

The YouChoose 2020 Survey delivered deep insights into what is most impacting women and non-binary people across Aotearoa. One of the major areas of concern was healthcare, with just 55% of YouChoose 2020 respondents agreeing that they can access everything they need to ensure their own health and wellbeing. The YouChoose results align with the Ministry of Health’s own research which finds that, overall, women are worse off than men when it comes to health outcomes, and that health inequities are worse for different groups of women and girls, especially wāhine Māori and disabled women (NZ Health Survey 2020). 

After reviewing the health policies of other, comparative countries (e.g. Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada), the GJC saw the impact that a gender lens can have in reforming healthcare for women. Subsequently, the decision was made to campaign for the creation of a National Women’s Health Strategy and Action Plan. 

We reached out to a range of key health sector stakeholders, e.g. RANZCOG, College of Midwives, healthcare professionals and public health academics, to gain their expert input and support for the GJC campaign. As well, we met with Ministers Verrall and Tinetti, and MPs Louisa Wall and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. All were supportive of our call for action.

In advance of International Women’s Day 2021, the GJC launched a petition calling for a Select Committee inquiry into women’s health. Signed by 2,873 people, the petition was received at Parliament by a cross-party showing of MPs: Louisa Wall, Sarah Pallett, Ingrid Leary and Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki (Labour), Jan Logie and Elizabeth Kerekere ( Green Party of New Zealand), Te Paati Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and National's Nicola Grigg.
Our next steps were to draft, with significant input and letters of support from the health sector, a Terms of Reference for the inquiry. Earlier this year, and on their specific request, this was submitted to Parliament’s Health Select Committee. In summary, the GJC submission outlines the importance of a health needs assessment and highlights the challenges (informed by our own data and input from the health sector) that women, wāhine, trans, non-binary and intersex people face in this country when it comes to accessing the healthcare they need. 

We are continuing to advocate for change and believe that there has never been a better time to integrate a gender perspective in policy-making, as the health system goes through its current restructure. In 2020 alone, there were 14 separate petitions presented to Parliament on specific women’s healthcare issues. The health sector wants a holistic and strategic approach to women’s healthcare and we at the GJC have been hearing from thousands of women across Aotearoa about the need to do things differently. 

Please get in touch if you would like to support the campaign – the time is definitely now.

Tania Domett, Ange Meyer and Erin Jackson, GJC founding members. 

Tania Domett can be reached at: tania@cogo.co.nz

 www.genderjustice.nz