Some of the women involved with SUFW talk about their work over the years: 

  1. I’ve been part of policy initiatives for decriminalising abortion, pay equity, increasing the minimum wage. Increasing numbers of female MPs. Action on Smoking and Health executive member, working on Maori and Pasifika outcomes especially. Smokefree Coalition.
  2. I’ve been involved in the fight for abortion rights, a union organiser for low paid women in hospitality, a union delegate for nurses for decades, an International Women’s Day activist, Paid Parental Leave campaigner, an anti-war campaigner particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. Campaigned in support of Latin American liberation struggles. Volunteered for Corso and One World Books. Writing and publishing left-wing journals.
  3. Third generation fighting for women. British grandmother was a suffragette. Mother involved in supporting Family Planning. I protested for abortion rights, against nuclear tests in the Pacific in the 1970s and 1980s. Protested every day a match was played throughout the 1981 Springbok Tour. I was in the first year of a  professional university course when there were equal women and men doing the course. Union delegate and supported lower paid union members who were women. My FB profile has support for nurses banner on it for the past month! Working hard on local community issues.
  4. Volunteer for women’s refuge crisis line. Biggest eye-opener ever.
  5. Fought for gay and lesbian rights, rape crisis counsellor, women’s refuge volunteer, women’s helpline counsellor, advocate for disabled and chronically ill women, worked with vulnerable female teens, nursed female vulnerable intellectually disabled from aged 17. Some of this I did suffering poor health myself. I also care for a male disabled family member.
  6. Volunteer for a women’s refuge and also Community worker for a Women’s Refuge. Currently doing my third year in a Bachelor of Counselling degree and on voluntary placement at a Women’s Prison.
  7. Worked helping to set up the first Christchurch night shelter for single women…back in the late 80s or early 90s, I think. It was in Vincent Place, long gone now.
  8. In the late 70s was part of a group in Gisborne called SOS (Save Our Sisters) where we raised money to pay for airfares, accommodation, toiletries, luggage etc and organised flights and accommodation to send women to Australia to have abortions. Back then it was still illegal and we kept everything very confidential. I remember vividly the distress of these women and their relief and gratitude.
  9. I’ve been a self-defence teacher of women and girls for the past 25 years.
  10. Abortion rights, anti-racist Springbok tour protests, lesbian and gay rights groups, Feminist Teachers group, pay equity, freedom for imprisoned writers, support for inclusion of children with special needs in schools, refugee support, take back the night women’s safety protests, fighting against gender stereotypes in literature and schools.
  11. My grandmother lobbied and wrote letters to MPs supporting abortion rights, the DPB and the need for women’s refuges in the 60s and 70s.
  12. Marched for abortion in the 70s went to the United Women’s Convention (and wore the badge) and sung ”I am Woman” at more feminist wine and cheeses than you can shake a stick at.  Set up and facilitated women’s consciousness-raising groups in the 70s, directed a feminist play at university, did the Women’s Studies course at university, worked with women with eating disorders on two separate occasions. Re other protest actions, marched against Vietnam war, Springbok tour, billeted striking miners in Thatcher’s England, march against TPP. Sure there was other marches/picketing, but can’t remember Also did a major uni assignment on the women at Arohata Prison.
  13. Long term speaker-up for girls and women, even back when I was a tomboy/gender-bender who didn’t like them. Have worked in a variety of paid policy/research/secretarial roles: government’s Committee on Women (CoW), its successor the Advisory Committee on Women’s Affairs (ACWA), and then the office of Ann Hercus, first Minister of Women’s Affairs.
  14. Fifty to 60 hour weeks, dealing with every women-related topic under the sun, on a miserly salary with no paid overtime. (And all too often, being treated like s***.) Then a series of HR roles – policy issues like achieving pay equity through job evaluation, creating a family-friendly workplace via flexible working hours, etc. Flexible working hours are also a godsend for people with disabilities, because – quite simply – it takes us longer to make ready for work in the morning.
  15. Most of my voluntary work was in the disability sector – aiming to get government to recognise that sight loss is as much a health issue as a disability issue, particularly for Maori/Pasifika people who are at higher risk of diabetes and therefore diabetic retinopathy. Pakeha women are at greatest risk of age-related macula degeneration, making them vulnerable to “slips, trips, and falls” – not to mention the social isolation that sight loss can cause.
  16. Abortion rights, women’s feminist organisations, homelessness and housing, refugees, LGBT Queer Groups, domestic violence, university tuition fees impact on women, opposed BDMRR bill.
  17. Bastion Point occupation age 7; Springbok tour age 11; Nuclear-free Pacific age 12; Raver and right to party age 20; occupy age 30; End the war on terror age 32-current; free trade opposition age 30-40; abusive marriage to AGP age 35-48; mother age 35; corporate agitator from within age 35-current; liberal sex-positive feminist age 15-48; radical feminist age 47-current. Been fighting for justice since ages ago.
  18. Animal rights since childhood – anti live export & anti-vivisection. Nuclear-free protests against US warship visits & anti-Springbok tour protests as a teenager; feminist teenager – Reclaim the Night, Women Against Pornography, I was also in a young women’s feminist group – I recall there was a women’s space in upper Willis St & there was a weekend-long gathering at Vic Uni, think it was in 82. Latin America Committee too in the 80s. Hikoi in the early 80s against pollution on the coast. Leafleted & attended rallies for homosexual law reform. Marched against the Gulf Wars, have picketed a lot of embassies & consulates in my time for various causes; lately marched for climate action; have collected for various charities – City Mission & Downtown Community Ministry. Attended rallies & made submissions for abortion law reform. Wrote to newspapers on various matters as a young person, had a letter in the paper in the 90s complaining about anti-abortion protesters hassling female passers-by. I have also intervened twice in domestic violence incidents in the street.
  19. I was with Latin America Committee in the early 80s. Making Radio Access programmes. We got infiltrated by a chap from the SIS. Or so his mother said he was when she blew his cover. I had my own suspicions about him after he told me I had nice legs. A few of us had gone out of our way to be nice to him because he was a newcomer who didn’t seem to know anyone.
  20. Lifetime feminist, 5+ years mentoring at-risk youth, animal rights activist, support person for multiple domestic violence victims.
  21. I was also in governance for Stopping Violence Services for 5 years. Take Back the Night Marches (90s), Stop the Tour (85 March) and various environmental and anti racism marches. Te Reo teacher and for the last 5 years supporting kaumātua navigate health and social services.
  22. Just a few marches here and there – CND and anti-apartheid back in London in the ’80s and against the Iraq war in 2003. I think, like many, I took the freedom I had as a young woman for granted, growing up in the ’70s and ’80s – motherhood, maturity and Mumsnet (and now SUFW!) have opened my eyes and supercharged my feminism. I am quietly spreading the word, one chat at a time – most people are definitely behind us (but many are too afraid to speak up).
  23. CND against nuclear weapons. Gay lesbian organising. Lesbian organising in London with MRG – (Minorities Research Group) Lesbian and gay organising in Europe and the US.
  24. Lesbian and feminist organising in NZ Working on Homosexual Law Reform NZ 1982- 1986. Working on Human Rights Act 1982- 1988.
  25. Consistently supporting abortion rights. Teaching Women’s Studies teaching and encouraging students to be involved in political movements to advance women’s rights.
  26. Trained women and girls in fight skills for 5 years, supported women recovering from addiction for 10 years, (ongoing), stood up for stopping unpaid overtime at my all female job, supported women friends with mentally ill Teenage girls (ongoing) supported friends whose relationships had ended because of their male partner’s porn addiction. Encouraged women friends to start and maintain fitness and self care journeys. Written to MPs re BDMRR and trans medical malpractice of distressed children. Supported women with mental health issues (ongoing).
  27. Dancing for hours at the Reclaim The Streets marches in London. I did march against the Iraq war in London too. I am currently a union delegate representing my female dominated health profession and working on pay equity.
  28. Avid feminist from a young age. Involved in the Women’s Group at University, strongly involved in the political left (which I saw as more pro-women due to the support of pay equity, abortion rights etc). Involved in anti-rape culture protests and climate action.
  29. Every women’s march in Wellington in the 1970s. A strand of my undergrad degree was in women’s studies. Anything I got into after that as an educator I looked for what was happening for women in the area and tried to comment/help.
  30. Marched at  Stop the Tour. Many Reclaim the Night marches in Wgtn. 1982/3 employed by YWCA to assist Elizabeth Sewell organise the first conference for Women and Children against Rape and Sexual Violence . Lobbied govt to change legislation criminalising rape within marriage. Assisted in establishing the first Sue Lytollis Women’s Self Defence training programme. 1984/5 assisted Independent Women’s Refuge Collective establish their first office in Wellington under Rosemary Ash.
  31. Throughout 1980s worked for Wellington Women’s Refuge. 1990’s Alexander Rape Crisis. Throughout 2000s Te Whare Pounamu Women’s Refuge Crisis Intervention team. 30 year involvement with Women’s Refuge. Contract with Dept. of Justice to develop prison programmes for Women who abuse, mid 1990s. Many conferences on family violence. Ran a programme Standing Tall and Talking Straight for Women who abuse in Dunedin in 1990s. Social Worker, Counsellor and community activist for women endeavouring to regain contact with children removed by CYP’s (a number of office sit-ins). Worked alongside my partner running Tane Tautoko Tane, working as a joint family therapist for Maori whanau – Dunedin. Ran various hui and training in non-violence throughout the smaller communities in Te Wai Pounamu. And generally, whatever I can do whenever I see violence or injustice against women and children, especially at grassroots level.
  32. I have worked within the union movement as industrial officer (range of women-centred issues including negotiating wages and conditions), Labour Inspector (recovering unpaid wages and holiday pay etc), Labour Department pay equity project, Reclaim the Night, homosexual law reform, nuclear-free, police officer (domestic violence etc)…the list goes on .
  33. One of the group to start: Beneficiaries Union 1979, Porirua Women’s refuge some after.
  34.  Ngati Maniapoto – Waikato – N Apakura – tribal based political commentator. Mana wahine activist.
  35. I wrote my doctorate on justice for battered women who kill their abusers while tutoring in gender politics and feminism in a male-dominated (sexist) department. As an active member of the NZ Labour Party for decades I campaigned for 50/50 male/female Labour list representation top to bottom and to keep religion out of politics. My feet have also marched many miles for women and my heart has always beat to a feminist rhythm.
  36. My political/feminist activity is mostly historical – been pretty quiet in the last decade or so. But earlier on: abortion law reform, homosexual law reform and gay marriage, facilitated women’s consciousness-raising groups. I have been a very active letter-writer through the years and should add that I’ve raised three children (2 boys, 1 girl – now mature adults) to be aware of and support feminist issues. I remember reading the Narnia books to them and editing out or altering the sexism…….. long pause…… and the kids were well on to what I was doing. Good conversations with them around that!
  37.  I have been involved with campaigning for abortion rights and used to do voluntary work in the 1980s for the Council for the Single Mother and her Child (CSMC) in Ponsonby when solo mothers on benefits were persecuted by the police and were spied on in case they had a man living in the house to help pay expenses. Distraught women would ring up the centre and ask for help. The government owes them an apology. Have also supported pay equity through the teachers’ union (the PPTA)
  38. University Feminists in the 198Os ( battles to keep woman’s space on campus), women against pornography-also 1980’s, Tamaki Makaurau Lesbian Newsletter – founding member 1989-2019.
  39. Three decades developing and teaching feminist education courses in a university, particularly in teacher education. I introduced NZ’s first courses on women and education and education and sexuality. Supervised many theses relating to women and education. Involved with feminist teachers groups. Over 100 publications, most centred on women and education. Served on Indecent Publications Tribunal for seven years – concerned with regulation of pornography that caused harm to women and girls. Served as a COD and in senior management were very involved in the promotion and support of women.
  40. I’ve volunteered as a counsellor for three years, working with a number of women (and men), most of whom had experienced sexual abuse.
    Volunteered for the Salvation Army for a number of years, helping many people with requests for food, shelter, and support. Co-facilitated an art therapy group for women for two years. Currently co-facilitate a support group for family members of those suffering from addictions as well as working as a therapist.

 

 

  1. Fliss Butcher July 6, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Same 🙂

    Reply

  2. What a wealth of commitment, talent, experience and sheer hard work, all for the good of others. Wonderful to be part of this sisterhood.

    Reply

  3. […] Here are some examples of the sort of work women involved in Speak Up For Women have done. […]

    Reply

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