New Zealand: Women Reach Majority In Parliament for First Time

Soraya Peke-Mason from New Zealand's Labour Party was sworn into Parliament on Tuesday, forming a female majority in the legislative body for the first time in the nation's history.

New Zealand: Women Reach Majority In Parliament for First Time
Image credit: VNP [via Radio New Zealand]

Facts

  • Soraya Peke-Mason from New Zealand's Labour Party was sworn into Parliament on Tuesday, forming a female majority in the legislative body for the first time in the nation's history.
  • The historic swearing-in of Peke-Mason comes as former Speaker Trevor Mallard resigned his seat in the house to become the country's ambassador to Ireland.
  • There are now 60 women members of parliament to 59 men. One seat in the Hamilton West region has yet to be filled with a by-election pending.
  • According to UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, New Zealand is the sixth country to achieve equal representation this year. The other five are Rwanda, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • New Zealand has a long history of female representation, being the first nation to allow women to vote. The incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the nation's third female leader, and women currently also hold other top roles — including chief justice and governor-general.

Sources: Washington Post, NPR Online News, Rnz, Irrigator, and NBC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Stuff. This is a milestone for New Zealand. Peke-Mason's induction is significant not only in terms of gender diversity but also because a wahine Māori has marked this moment. New Zealand is a leading global state for gender representation and equity, and this is another moment for celebration.
  • Narrative B, as provided by NPR. Though this marks a historic moment for New Zealand, there's still a long way to go to ensure lasting equal representation. Conservatives are likely to make up ground in next year's general elections and they have a lower proportion of women than liberal parties. Reaching gender parity could prove transitory unless the gains are sustained.

Predictions