Shame on you Ms Ardern

Image: Mr and Mrs John Nairn, with baby Irene by unknown on DigitalNZ

New Zealand was the first country in the world where women could vote and it has already had three female prime ministers. Our female forebears arrived as pioneers in partnership with their husbands and together they worked to create a new life on equal terms with their menfolk. New Zealand enjoys a reputation as one of the most equal-opportunity societies in the world today and that makes me question whether it is now equality that is now being demanded or is it superiority?

Speaking at an event in Parliament on International Women?s Day, Ms Ardern said the moment when she could say “we’ve done it” would be when gender does not feature in the minds of young women in New Zealand.

What a kick in the teeth for those women who have already ‘done it’. To those women who, over 150 years ago, did it. My ancestors did it. Shame on you Ms Ardern, shame on you.

My mother?s ancestors on her father?s side came from Scotland on the ship Jane Gifford, which docked in Auckland in 1842. The family comprised a mother, a father, two daughters, a son and a female relative. They forged a life in which everyone ‘pulled their weight’.

You see, Ms Ardern, Kiwi women have been working in tandem with their husbands and their children in this country for generations.

We are a nation founded on pioneer stock. Have our women grown weak? My mother does not and never did expect a ‘leg up’ because she was a woman. She could change a tyre and work alongside her husband to do whatever it took to feed, house, clothe and protect the family.

At 87, she is not physically able to do all the things she used to do. Her husband, my father, has now left us. But she is a fiercely independent, staunchly opinionated female who has supported women?s right to be equal; as long as that equality is earned and deserved.

When we look at the $10 note, do we see a woman?s face, or do we see the face of Kate Sheppard? The woman who fought tooth and nail to win the right for women to vote? Do we not see a Kiwi pioneer woman who defied the odds and who brought New Zealand’s women the right to vote before any other country in the world?

Or do we just see a photo of a woman whose name means nothing and is just a symbolic female to shove on a stamp or a piece of paper? Do our schools teach students about this remarkable woman?

Ms Ardern, can you not see that it is not women?s rights you are fighting for, but rather the right of women to be superior to men without regard to hard work, merit or commitment? If women choose to be doctors instead of nurses, do they get less pay than their male counterparts? Is this pay gap because of gender or because of career choice?

In the words of George Orwell, ?All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others?.

I say that men and women in New Zealand have always been equal. It is simply that in today?s times, the definition of equality has been changed. Let?s face it, what is gender equality these days?

Is it equality or superiority?

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