3 September 2012
At the recent Catholic Women’s League of New Zealand’s (CWL) national conference (July 11-14), some participants wanted to know more about why and how we and the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCW) work together.
The NCW gives CWL a pathway and voice to lawmakers in this country. Membership is therefore important for the League. However, CWL membership is just as important for NCW, both to maintain membership numbers and because of the high calibre of both past and present CWL members of NCW who continue to serve that organisation so well.
The National Council of Women of New Zealand is an umbrella group which has been influencing policy in this country since 1896. This important network keeps members and the public informed and educated on the fundamental meaning of democracy, which is not just about elections but is also about who gets what, privilege and equality and the right to be involved in making decisions which affect us all.
The NCW is affiliated with the International Council of Women (formed in 1888) and is a non-political, non-governmental organisation. It has 22 branches nationwide with 50 different affiliated groups, as well as some individual members. The NCW serves women and families through research, education and advocacy, collecting women’s opinions and representing those opinions to decision-makers.
Over the last two years, NCW has made 40 submissions to government select committees on topics as diverse as tax sharing, the Crime Amendment Bill, alcohol reform, the review of MMP, the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children, and the Family Court Review. A great deal of work is done, made possible by Standing Committee conveners covering education, family affairs, economics, environment, consumer affairs, employment, justice and law reform, and public and social issues.
The NCW’s Parliamentary Watch Committee makes oral submissions to Parliament. Action Points are circulated for members and their groups to give feedback which is then passed on to the relevant convener.
Because the CWL is a member of the Council, NCW must take into account whatever the CWL sends for inclusion in a submission, providing the deadline is met.
NCW branches meet monthly. Conflicting views are respected, if not agreed with and much can be learned. The NCW publishes a monthly newsletter, The Circular.