Thumbnail Image

A Historical Analysis of the Status of Women in New Zealand: Has CEDAW had an Impact?

This thesis analyses the current and historical status of women in New Zealand for the purpose of discovering why full equality between men and women has not yet been achieved. This object will be accomplished by analysing, comparing and contrasting the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”) with changes successive New Zealand Governments have made to the status of women so as to discover the degree of intent such Governments have had to implement equality. This thesis is in chronological order, beginning from an analysis of the creation of the status of women dating pre 1300 B.C., detailing degradations, changes and improvements in the status up until 2012 A.D. The main divisions are based on general periods of importance for women; chapter one investigates how the secondary status of women originated and evolved in ancient eras. Chapter two examines the significant international and domestic women’s rights movements during the mid-twentieth century. Chapter three discusses the importance of an international instrument as a comparative tool; illustrated by CEDAW’s contrast to the New Zealand status of women during the mid-1980s. Chapter four analyses the Governmental changes made over the next quarter century to discover whether New Zealand was moving closer towards a reflection of the international instrument. Chapter five evaluates the contemporary status of women in New Zealand; and finally, chapter six details recommendations for the State with the intention of raising the status of women to full equality. The conclusions reached are, first; that the current status of women in New Zealand is not one of equality with men because their original status was seen as secondary. Therefore the goal of attaining equal (formal) legal rights to gain equality is not appropriate as it merely gives women what were considered “men’s rights” without giving them the opportunity to practice them in full equality. Secondly; the use of CEDAW as a comparative instrument is shown to provide a more effective strategy of gaining equality that does not always involve giving women gender-neutral “men’s rights” but needs to be given greater power to be proved effective. The comparison with an instrument that provides for perfect equality contributes to a thorough understanding of the status of women in New Zealand as the comparison provides a clear and objective view of why the original premise that formal rights would achieve substantive equality was an incorrect supposition. The thesis also contributes alternative action to be undertaken by the Government to effectively achieve equality for women.
Type of thesis
Jones, H. (2013). A Historical Analysis of the Status of Women in New Zealand: Has CEDAW had an Impact? (Thesis, Master of Laws (LLM)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7920
University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.