The status of women in New Zealand: A summary of findings and independent working report

This report gathers findings from a range of sources, as well as including anecdotal material on unresearched aspects of women’s status in New Zealand, to paint an overall picture of the more urgent aspects of women’s status and encourage readers to make critical connections.

Last update: 30.10.19
Previous: x.10.19, 26.07.19, 08.04.19, 21.11.18, 29.09.18, 27.09.18, 22.09.18, 16.09.18


Male violence against women


Charlie Montague keeps a list of women murdered by men in New Zealand on Medium here. So far the list includes the names of 22 women murdered in New Zealand by men between October 2015 and November 2018.

“Intimate partner” violence

In the seven years from 2009 – 2015, there were 92 deaths caused by intimate partner violence in New Zealand. 63 women and 29 men were killed. 70 offenders were male, and 22 female. The gendered nature of this violence does not stop at these numbers, because 83 cases involved a recorded history of abuse. In 82 of those, women were the primary victim. In 67 cases those women were killed, and in 16 cases they killed in self defense.
Source: Family Violence Death Review Committee report, 2015.

There were 33,209 domestic violence incidents in the fiscal year 2014-15 – this being the number of referrals police requested that Women’s Refuge follow up. Out of the 16,507 women and children that required Women’s Refuge services in the year ending March 2015, 42% were Māori women.
Source: Women’s Refuge Annual Report 2014-15

In 2016, 5,461 applications were made for protection orders in New Zealand. 5,072 (89%) were made by women and 550 (10%) by men.
Source: Family Violence Clearinghouse report

Sexual violence

90% of sexual violence is committed by someone known to the victim/survivor.
In New Zealand, up to one in three girls will be subject to an unwanted sexual experience by the age of 16 years. The majority of those incidences would be considered serious, with over 70% involving genital contact.
In New Zealand, up to one in five women will experience sexual assault as an adult.
For Maori girls and women the likelihood of sexual violence is nearly twice as high as the general population. Pacific and migrant women are also at statistically greater risk of sexual violence.
Repeat sexual violence is a serious issue, with over 25% of adults in victimisation surveys reporting more than one incident, and qualitative research finding that survivors with a history of repeat victimisation are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and have high and complex needs. For women, experiencing child sexual abuse increases the likelihood of revictimisation in adulthood of both intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
Source: Rape Prevention Education

New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record out of 31 OECD countries.
Source: Rape Prevention Education


In New Zealand, approximately 54% of child abusers are known to use pornography.
Source: The Backbone Collective’s report on children in the Family Court, Seen and Not Heard, 2017.

This appears to be a conservative estimate, especially since Pornhub’s 2015 market research lists New Zealanders as the fifth most regular online porn watchers, behind the American, British, Canadian and Irish users.
Source: New Zealand Herald

The Backbone Collective state that this porn use should be considered a “red flag for the Family Court”. Leaving pornography out so that children can see it, and masturbating in view of children are two associated forms of abuse that male child abusers in New Zealand are engaging in, that the Backbone Collective names.
Source: The Backbone Collective’s report on children in the Family Court, Seen and Not Heard, 2017.


Pornography drives sexual abuse because pornography depicts sexual abuse. Specifically, pornography records and depicts the abuse of prostitution, which in New Zealand, has been fully decriminalised since 2003.

It was estimated in 2006 that there were 2,400 prostituted persons in New Zealand. This includes 377 in Wellington (with the Hutt Valley and Porirua).
Source: Christchurch School of Medicine study, 2006
These figures are grossly conservative, being drawn only from newspaper-based business and advertising surveys carried out in the Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Hawke’s Bay regions as well as Christchurch. All the other regions are excluded, as are those prostituted in unregistered brothels, using the Internet, or as minors or on visitor or holiday visas. Plus, the number is likely to have increased given the steady rise in prostitution promotion in New Zealand since 2006, and particularly since around 2012.

At least five prostituted women have been murdered in New Zealand since the Prostitution Reform Act fully decriminalised pimps and punters in 2003.
Source, and further information: Feminist Current

The organisation tasked with taking care of women in prostitution, through $1.1 million per annum in Ministry of Health funding, is the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC). The NZPC is a member of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) – and according to NSWP, “sex workers” can include “employers”, or pimps. The NZPC are currently trying to remove Section 19 from from the Prostitution Reform Act, the section of the Act that effectively criminalises overseas sex trafficking.

The advice NZPC offers women in its manual Stepping Forward, in terms of “dealing with violent clients” is to

Make as much noise as possible to attract attention. Try calling FIRE, a passerby will probably pay more attention. If you wear a whistle around your neck, blow it in his ear.

NZPC later says that “getting loud” can “backfire because some clients are just wanting you to do this so that they have an excuse”.

There are currently few designated services, and no designated safehouses, for women seeking to exit prostitution in New Zealand. Many women find it difficult or impossible to permanently exit the industry.

See this link for a more comprehensive take on prostitution in New Zealand.


Justice system and human rights organisations

While one in three New Zealand women are sexually assaulted in our lifetimes, an estimated 9% of incidents ever reported to police. 13% of cases recorded by the police result in conviction.
Source: Rape Prevention Education

Women’s Refuge

In the fiscal year 2014-15, the New Zealand police requested Women’s Refuge follow up 33,209 domestic violence incidents. Women’s Refuge reports that it is paid for only 7% of this work.
Source: Women’s Refuge Annual Report 2014-15


In March 2018, there were 809 women in New Zealand prisons, compared with 672 in September 2016 and 511 in September 2012. Over the course of 2017, 848 women were sentenced – more than the total women’s prison population.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Māori women were one percent of the female prison population in the 1980s, and are now 64 per cent.
Source: Stuff

Between April 2016 and March 2017, 927 women were sentenced compared to 8,274 men.
345 women were sentenced for theft, fraud, robbery or extortion – these offences making up 37% of women’s sentencing. For men, the same offences made up 18% of sentences.
Women were sentenced 9 times for homicide, and 3 times for sexual assault.
Men were sentenced 57 times for homicide and 423 times for sexual assault.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

It is estimated that 87 per cent of female inmates in New Zealand are mothers, the majority of them primary or sole caregivers.
Source: New Zealand Herald

The August 1997 report Women in the Criminal Justice System (Kerr, McDonald and Young) notes that

Women do not offend as often as men, and tend to offend in different ways and for different reasons. Young woman defendants tend to commit minor offences (shoplifting and cheque fraud) and may be lead into offending by a male partner. Women drug abusers may offend to maintain the habit but also to provide for their children. Women usually only resort to serious violence in response to prolonged abuse, or to protect their children… Women do… commit benefit fraud in relatively high numbers, which probably reflects the position of women as the primary care-taker in most families. Benefit fraud [can] also be committed by women because of real need, coercion by their partners or an absence of support by them.

Both the Family Violence Death Review Committee report, 2015; and Women in the Criminal Justice System 1997 report show that women kill largely in self defense after a pattern of prolonged abuse. Both note that the riskiest time for a woman is during and after separation from a relationship (Kerr et al note three months after separation as the riskiest time for women).

Kerr et al further note that women who kill in self defense are left to prove their claims are “reasonable” in a court system that generally fails to hold perpetrators of sexual violence or violence against women to account. For self defense to be proven, “First there must be an identifiable provocative act which occurs immediately before the killing. Secondly, the killing must occur while the offender is in the heat of passion.” Yet, as Kerr et al write, “In the case of battered women who kill their abusers, there will normally not be one sufficiently provocative “act”.” The law is not good at accounting for the vulnerable position of women or their histories of abuse as “cumulative provocation” that leads women to fear for their own lives and act in self defense.
Source: Kerr et al, Women in the Criminal Justice System, 1997

In New Zealand have revealed that there are currently approximately thirty-three trans-identified males in New Zealand prisons in total. Eighteen are in for violent crimes, including sexual assault. Seven are in women’s prisons already. In 2017 alone, four assaults were reported against women by trans-identified persons in women’s prisons.
Source: Corrections, Official Information Act requests 

Family Courts

Women report serious negative outcomes from being involved with the New Zealand Family Court. Even though they go to the Family Court after separating from an abuser, many regret ever doing so. “For these women, the Family Court has become the new abuser and many have told us it is worse than the abuser.”
Source: Backbone Collective, Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: Women’s experiences of the New Zealand Family Court, 2017 report

Out of 500 women surveyed by the Backbone Collective, 83% reported that the Family Court treated their abuser as “safe”. 155 women said the Family Court had forced their child/ren to spend time with the abuser. All of these women were worried about their child’s safety.
Source: Backbone Collective, Out of the Frying Pan 2017 report

233 out of 500 women were wrongly accused of being mentally unwell or unstable in Family Court proceedings, and a large number were wrongly accused of lying and/or exaggerating the abuse, of being crazy or deliberately destroying a child’s relationship with the abusive parent and doing this as revenge.
Source: Backbone Collective, Out of the Frying Pan 2017 report

The environment of the Family Court can place women and children in greater danger. 58% (243) of survey participants told the Backbone Collective they had been threatened, intimidated, or physically assaulted by their abuser while attending court-related appointments/fixtures or hearings.
Source: Backbone Collective, Out of the Frying Pan 2017 report

Distribution of birth control


Sterilisation is legal in New Zealand under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act. The consent of an intellectually disabled girl under the age of 18 is not required before sterilisation can be performed. The Care of Children Act provides that a minor’s guardians together with the appropriate medical professionals have the authority to decide which medical treatments they will receive,43and the High Court has observed that court authorisation for sterilisation is not required. In similar jurisdictions, such as Australia, a court order is required before sterilisation can occur.
Source: a 2018 CEDAW report on women’s rights published by the Human Rights Commission


Depo-Provera injects progestin in an intense concentration, rather than gradually, and was initially manufactured by pharmaceutical company Upjohn. In a 1982 issue of Broadsheet, New Zealand feminist Phillida Bunkle called Depo-Provera the “new eugenics”. She said it was “given to Maoris twice as often as Pakeha. Depo is not accepted as a contraceptive in Australia, but is given to Aboriginal women; it is stringently limited in Britain but prescribed extensively to West Indians; it is approved for use on black but not white women in South Africa.”
Source: 1982 issue of Broadsheet


Family Planning works at “improving access to our services for young, Maori, Pasifika and rural people – particularly those not in education, employment or training.” They say that long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) “continue to be a popular option for many. Implants, a small contraceptive rod placed under the skin of the upper arm, are the most popular form of LARC for our under 22 clients.” Around 20 per cent of implant insertions are Maori clients, and 10 per cent Pasifika clients.
Source: Family Planning 2017 Annual Report


Alarmingly, we don’t have up-to-date national figures on hysterectomies “partly because private hospitals, which in 1984 performed 42% of all hysterectomies, no longer have to provide them.”
Source: Noted


Abortion is still in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. Since 1988, 32 people have been charged with procuring abortion. Of those, 12 were convicted.
Source: Vice


Failure to resuscitate

Babies close to death are less likely to get life saving treatment if they are Maori, Pacific or Indian. The number of infants born near the “edge of viability” – 23 to 26 weeks – is small at about 170 a year. However, 10 years of records reveal a disturbing ethnic divide. Resuscitation was tried on 92 per cent of Maori babies, 89 per cent of Pacific and 86 per cent of Indian. That compared to 95 per cent for “other” – mostly Pakeha and non-Indian Asians – which medical experts say is a statistically significant difference.
Source: New Zealand Herald

“Sudden, unexplained” infant deaths (SUDI)

About 44 Kiwi babies die each year from SUDI. Rates are particularly high among Maori or Pacific babies. Currently, SUDI affects 0.7 in every 100 New Zealand babies born – or 1.59 for every 1000 Maori babies.
Source: Stuff

Perinatal depression

About 1 in 4 mothers will be affected by Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders  – about 15,000 New Zealand mums.
Getting help is a postcode lottery.
Ministry of Health figures show 4388 women were seen by Maternal Mental Health teams across all DHBs in the last year, meaning 70% didn’t.
In 2018, multiple submissions to the Mental Health Inquiry described a “neglected” maternal mental health system. One Plunket nurse said her DHB recently started accepting only severe cases of perinatal depression for treatment.
“A mother must have suicidal ideas before she will be accepted,” she said in the submission.
New Zealand research also shows Asian women and women from lower socio-economic households are at a higher risk of experiencing perinatal disorders.
survey in 2017 found that 46% of mothers experiencing poor mental health in pregnancy or after childbirth did not tell health professionals because they feared they would be considered incapable of looking after their baby.
Source: One News

Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in New Zealand. Twenty-eight mothers have taken their own lives in the past ten years.
Our rate of maternal suicide  is seven times that of the United Kingdom.
Māori women are over-represented in the statistics, making up 57% of those who died by suicide in pregnancy or within six weeks after birth.
Source: One News

Solo motherhood

The number of ‘one parent with children’ families has increased 4.2 percent since the 2006 Census. At the time of the 2013 Census, there were 201,804 one parent with children families, up from 193,635 in 2006. Most one-parent families included either one (38.0 percent) or two (21.7 percent) dependent children. In around 6 in 10 one-parent families, the youngest child was aged under 15 years. In 2013, most parents in families of one parent with dependent children were women, at 84.2 percent. This was up from 83.4 percent in 2006. (84.2% must be about 169,919 single mothers).
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Gisborne has the highest number of single-parent families with children under 18 in the country, at 22 per cent.

In 2013, of male parents in one-parent families with dependent children:

  • 56.4 percent were employed full-time – down from 59.3 percent in 2006
  • 7.7 percent were employed part-time – down slightly from 8.0 percent in 2006.

Of female parents in one-parent families with dependent children:

  • 31.8 percent were employed full-time – up slightly from 31.0 percent in 2006
  • 19.1 percent were employed part-time – down from 20.6 percent in 2006.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

In 2013, one-parent families had a median family income of $33,100. 60.6% of one-parent families receive an income of $40,000 or less ($769 per week).
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Of course, if the data for single father and single mother households were looked at separately, the average income would be much lower for single mother households. Neither Statistics New Zealand nor Child Poverty Action Group readily analyses the data specifically for households run by single mothers, as far as I can see.


Work and Income New Zealand lists the Sole Parent Support net weekly benefit at $334.05. $100-$200 additional income earned per week (before tax) reduces this benefit by 30 cents for each $1 of income. Parents paying for childcare are entitled to $20 a week more than these limits before payments are affected.

Economic status of women in New Zealand


Globally, it is acknowledged that prostitution is often entered by women as an alternative to homelessness. At least half of the 34,000+ New Zealanders who suffer severe housing deprivation are women, and more vulnerable than their male counterparts.

Wellington Women’s Boarding House accommodates sixteen women at a time, and is usually full; Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust houses an additional five. When it comes to the housing market, according to BRANZ, 44% of New Zealand’s rental housing is in poor condition, and if women apply for private rentals, poverty alongside housing shortages and discrimination would mean very slim pickings among ‘paper walls’.

The most common reason prostituted women state for entering the sex trade is financial, and surveys suggest 72% of those in the industry are stuck there due to circumstance.

A note that it would be a mistake to conclude from this that poverty and not demand is the cause of prostitution, as Kat Banyard writes in Pimp State: “blindly asserting that poverty is the singular cause of the prostitution trade fails to acknowledge that men’s poverty has not begot a global demand from women to pay them for sex acts, [and] that without men’s demand there would be no trade at all.”
See more here.

It is noteworthy that the organisation in New Zealand most concerned with women’s poverty is called Child Poverty Action Group, excluding women from its title.


5.5% of women are unemployed in New Zealand, compared to 4.8% of males.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

The current “pay gap” between men and women in New Zealand is considered to be at 12.7% despite the fact that more women are attaining higher levels of education than men in New Zealand, but accounting for other variables and forms of discrimination.
Occupational segregation is estimated to account for around 30 percent of the gender pay gap.
Source: Ministry for Women

In a February 11 Radio New Zealand (RNZ) interview, Wallace Chapman pointed out that on average, women are paid $7 per hour less than men.
Source: Radio New Zealand

Women are much more likely than men to be employed in caring professions such as nursing, teaching, and social work; clerical, administrative and sales occupations; and lower-skilled service work, like personal care and hospitality. We are less likely to be employed in higher managerial positions in the private sector, technical professions like architecture, or engineering; farming; police and armed forces, trades and lower-skilled manual jobs like labouring and machine operating.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Women made up only 18 per cent of senior management teams at companies surveyed by professional services firm Grant Thornton in 2018.
Source: NZ Herald


Women make up 72% of New Zealand’s teaching staff.
Source: Ministry of Education

Teachers typically top up their own inadequate classroom budgets, pouring 8 million dollars annually back into public education.
Source: New Zealand Education Institute


92% of all nursing staff, including registered and nurse practitioners are women; among only enrolled nurses, 96% were female in 2015.
Source: Nursing Council

Both teachers (14 August) and nurses (12 July) have gone on strike in 2018 complaining of being overworked and understaffed. In support of the nurses’ strike, registered nurse Danni Wilkinson said, “We’re not asking to be millionaires, we’re asking to be able to afford to live where we can take care of the patient population.”


On May 3, midwives marched to parliament. to protest pay as low as $7 an hour, with some reporting that they had not had a pay rise in over 17 years.

The average take-home hourly income for rural midwives is $7.23; for urban midwives $12.80. “Midwives are leaving the profession because of this and then women lose access to maternity care.”
Source: Siobhan Connor, Wellington Region of the College of Midwives chairwoman

Rape culture

Prostitution promotion in media

Mainstream media capitalises from pornographic objectification. In New Zealand, that now also means the promotion of prostitution as “sex work” in line with NZPC objectives. The New Zealand Herald promotes “sex work” regularly. The Dominion Post has refused to publish critical material. Radio New Zealand and liberal outlet The Spinoff also promote “sex work” relatively regularly, without publishing critical perspectives. Scoop News, which markets itself as leftist “independent media” has tentatively published a small number of articles that are critical of prostitution. Some of my own work was subsequently surreptitiously deleted, due to backlash.
For more on these trends, follow this link.

My own experiences testify to the extent of prostitution promotion in New Zealand and the resulting censorship of women. The sex trade lobby has become a loud voice effective in bullying any outlet into fixing a policy in place of not airing critical perspectives on prostitution. This makes for unchecked and escalating promotion of the sex trade, both to male punters and to females as legitimate “work”.

  • In 2016, I was banned from the Wellington Zinefest for being critical of both prostitution and gender identity ideology on this blog.
  • In 2017, I held an exhibition at Thistle Hall that sex trade lobbyists attempted to shut down. I had constant support inside the space and security cameras in place in case of assault.
  • In 2018, an Access Radio presenter scheduled an interview with me on prostitution and received a warning from the station manager for doing so.

In 2017, the Women’s Studies Journal published a special issue on so-called “sex work” that was completely in favour of the sex trade lobby. All student associations in New Zealand have moved to a pro-prostitution position, and student media outlets such as Salient have been particuarly enthusiastic about promoting prostitution to students, particularly as a viable “career” for women. This is in turn fuelling rising misogyny in student media, student associations, and on campus.

Press Council

Both Massive and Salient magazines are engaged in routine sex trade promotion, detailed on this blog previously. The Press Council, an an industry body, supports both outlets to keep this up: they dismissed a complaint about a Massive cover depicting a woman being raped from behind in 2016, and dismissed a complaint in 2017 about Salient’s five-year history of sex trade promotion without any critical balance. The Press Council is comprised of industry representatives including journalists from tabloid media.

Media and gender

Scoop News, The Herald, Dominion Post, and The Wireless have all also declined to run critical pieces on gender identity ideology despite their clearly one-sided take and despite the urgency and lack of critical perspectives available. In 2018, Radio New Zealand approached me for an interview, and I was told that the piece “simply dropped out of the system” before publishing a transcription of my own recording. In 2018, Phantom Billstickers withheld service from me by refusing to hang posters that included quotes from suffragists and the line The suffragists fought for the female sex / Stop rewriting history. This story was reported in the Sunday Star Times. Organisations InsideOut and RainbowYouth were involved in the silencing. RainbowYouth, it should be noted, promotes breast binding among girls in schools.

Online safety

NetSafe is an organisation that was formed on the basis of the Harmful Digital Communications Act. In a 2018 Human Rights Commission dispute, NetSafe refused to take a position on sex discrimination as carried out by social media hosts like Facebook. Facebook is a partner to NetSafe that is known for its sexist decision making, but NetSafe contiues to defer to this decision making.

Government, political parties and gender

The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration (BDMRR) Act is being reviewed this year. The Green Party proposed that one-step sex self-identification should be adopted as part of the review, meaning that men will be able to change sex markers on birth certificates to “female” with the filling out of a single form. Government announced a decision to adopt these proposals in August, despite having carried out no public consultation or impact assessments.

In August 2017, when the Lesbian Rights Alliance formed to advocate for the rights of lesbians in the face of such threats, and MP Louisa Wall used social media to target, undermine and silence the group. Such silencing is not new: Heather Murphy has also reported silencing on gender from the Labour Party on Scoop. On June 6, 2018, I replied to a formal e-mail sent from a Green Party address and I asked to be removed from the mailing list, stating why. I received a direct reply from the personal e-mail of co-convenor Maddy Drew that read “Bye bigot!” this is part of a pattern, where Green Party members also frequently also use the slur “TERF” to demonise women.

Human Rights Commission

In 2018, chief commissioner David Rutherford, of the Human Rights Commission, intentionally misrepresented the law in order to support athlete Gavin Hubbard’s position representing New Zealand in women’s weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games. In 2016, Hubbard had won the Australian international weightlifting championships, lifting 19 kilos more than Samoan silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia.

The Human Rights Act includes articles that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex. Rutherford claims that a piece of legislation that makes an exception for sports, to allow for sex-based segregation, supported Hubbard’s position rather than any female sports team or organisation that would seek to remain female-only. The Human Rights Commission has proven that it supports men’s rights to claim to be women over women’s rights to safety and sovereignty.

The Human Rights Commission supports the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective’s efforts to remove Section 19 from from the Prostitution Reform Act, the section of the Act that effectively criminalises overseas sex trafficking. On page 11 of a 2018 CEDAW report on women’s rights, they include a recommendation to “Repeal section 19 of the Prostitution Reform Act.”

Women’s organisations

Many women’s organisations are not only underfunded and overworked, but also captured by male interests. There is a growing stigma attached to the female sex in New Zealand being pushed through gender identity ideology. This ideology encourages women to think of ourselves as “uterus bearers”, to distance womanhood from sex. Such language is reductionist and dehumanising – as Rachel Moran writes in her book Paid For, a classic misogynist joke asks ‘What is a woman?’ and answers, ‘A support system for a pussy.’ Gender identity ideology encourages women to think of themselves in such reductionist terms, and has captured many women’s organisations.

  • The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) increasingly refers to “pregnant people” rather than pregnant women in its advocacy, The ALRANZ 2018 submission on abortion law reform includes the word ‘women’ only twice, preferring “pregnant people” and “people with a uterus”.
  • Women’s Refuge now trains women with the power and control wheel that used to explain patterns of male violence and entitlement, updated to a “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Power and Control Wheel”. The inclusion of “trans” here undermines any sex-based power analysis that Women’s Refuge requires to keep women safe. This also suggests that men are now being housed with women in Women’s Refuge safehouses, and volunteers compelled to pick them up from dangerous situations. Women’s Refuge policy advisor Nathalie Thorburn is also vocally in support of gender identity ideology, the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective and prostitution. This will affect Women’s Refuge’s understanding of gender, prostitution, and power, and over time, their approach to survivors.
  • The Backbone Collective is doing fantastic work. One of the key contributors to its reports is a supporter of gender identity ideology, suggesting that the Backbone Collective too may loosen any sex-based power analysis inherent in its findings.
  • The National Council of Women is vocally in support of gender identity ideology, now claiming to represent “all genders” and claiming that this stance is true to the history of women’s suffrage. The NCW’s submission on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill indicates that members have not been consulted on this new stance.
  • It is worth noting that Anorexia New Zealand claims that anorexia is a sex neutral issue too, even though in New Zealand in 2015, 675 females suffered from anorexia as opposed to 31 males.



The Auckland University Youth12 report showed a significant worsening of mental health in same-sex attracted females compared to opposite-sex attracted females.
Source: Youth12 report

Male suicide rates are higher than female suicide rates. In 2013, a total of 508 people died by suicide in New Zealand. 365 were male and 143 were female.
However, in the same year, the female rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisation was more than twice the male rate. There were 2,866 hospitalisations for youth (15-24) – three quarters of these were female.
Source: Statistics New Zealand, “Suicide Facts: Deaths and Intentional Self Harm Hospitalisations 2013”.


About 95 per cent of those who suffer from eating disorders are women.
In New Zealand, anorexia affects approximately five per 100,000 women per year, which is similar to other Western countries. This jumps to 35 per 100,000 for women aged between 15 and 29 years.
Based on a conservative 10 per cent mortality rate, approximately 8 women will die of anorexia annually in New Zealand.
Source: Angela McCarthy and Margie Thomson, “Anorexia and Bulimia: The Hungry Heart,” 1996

A 1992 survey of 1000 Auckland schoolgirls aged 15 and 16 showed that 68 per cent considered themselves overweight, although only 9 per cent would actually have been overweight according to a medical definition.
Source: Angela McCarthy and Margie Thomson, “Anorexia and Bulimia: The Hungry Heart,” 1996

In 2015, 675 females suffered from anorexia as opposed to 31 males – and as opposed to 577 females in 2013.
Source: Ministry of Health, Official Information

Anorexia New Zealand claims that anorexia is a sex neutral issue.
Source: Anorexia New Zealand

I will update this post to elaborate as I learn and add points about health, hospitality, workplace sexual harrassment, and other aspects of women’s status.


If you liked this article feel free to leave a tip.

Personal Info

Donation Total: $2.00

2 thoughts on “The status of women in New Zealand: A summary of findings and independent working report”

  1. Pingback: Renee Gerlich: A lone voice fighting for women's rights in New Zealand

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top