Prime Minister of New Zealand Gives Keynote at Women's Day Breakfast

Today, on International Women's Day, over 400 people, including 25 young women and their teachers from secondary schools, got up early to attend the International Women's Day breakfast at Parliament in New Zealand to celebrate International Women's Day. 

Watch the live stream of the event here.

The annual event was organized by the Zonta Club of Wellington, District 16, and the UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand. This event has been going for over 10 years and is generally sold out within hours.

Attendees heard from three fantastic speakers and were entertained by a talented trio from a local Secondary School, LeART. 

The day began with a karakia from Professor Rawinia Higgins which included a wonderful poem about "aunties," those wonderful women who we listen too and who look after us.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern gave the keynote address. She spoke about the importance of role models. At the age of 15, her role model was Marilyn Waring, a former politician and now a world-renowned economist, educator, and commentator. Waring is also a Zonta International Honorary Member and spoke at the Zonta Convention in Orlando in 2014.

Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged the Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, who was hosting the event. Both of them are mothers with young babies and whose partners are the main caretaker. Jacinda Ardern said she hoped in the future their situation would be the norm and not the exception.

Minister for Women Genter, a Green Member of Parliament, spoke of the initiatives New Zealand's coalition government is implementing, including increasing paid parental leave and introducing paid domestic violence leave. She heads off tomorrow to attend the 63rd Session on the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

The final speaker was Steph Dyhrberg, a well-known employment lawyer and who was last year named Wellingtonian of the Year. She has been at the forefront of raising awareness about gender discrimination, consent, and sexual harassment. Latterly, her focus has been on sexual harassment in the law profession.

Pictured (from the left to right): Suzanne McNabb, president of UN Women National Committee of Aotearoa New Zealand, Professor Rawinia Higgins, Steph Dyhrberg, Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, Christine Cook, president of the Zonta Club of Wellington and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.