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Thursday, February 26

Women’s voices to be heard at job summit

Thirty-five influential women and representatives from small, medium and large businesses and unions met to debate a range of solutions, ideas and initiatives on how to deal with the challenging economic situation at the Women in Business Workshop on Tuesday.

“Women are a vulnerable group in times of recession and unemployment and the National-led government feels that it is important they participate and are heard in providing solutions to the recession. Large percentages of women in the workforce are employed in areas that are likely to be affected and it is inevitable that New Zealand women will be hugely affected by the recession,” Women’s Affairs Minister Pansy Wong says.

Mrs Wong adds that another impact redundancies and unemployment will have on women is a likely increase in domestic violence.

“Research and statistics show that as families start struggling with their finances, women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence. It is important that this is brought into the debate to ensure that women feel safe in their own homes,” she says.

The three themes that came through the forum were; that short term initiatives should pass the test of long term benefits in creating sustainable business, that New Zealand should take advantage of the recession to up-skill the workforce and that “green-field” initiatives should be used to generate employment and economic activity.

The discussions from the workshop will be fed into Friday’s job summit.

“We had a number of key women who are involved in the Prime Minister’s job summit attending the workshop and they will be feeding the ideas through. Also, as a member of Cabinet I will ensure that women will have a voice in any decision made as a result of the job summit,” she says.

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