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Politics and Aotearoa New Zealand's 'diversity dilemma'

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Lecture Theatre B28, General Library (109-B28)

Alfred Street

Auckland

New Zealand

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Professor Jennifer Curtin examines the racism and sexism within the informal norms and cultures of political parties and parliament.

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Winter Lecture Series 2020 - Rethinking the representation of women: Politics and Aotearoa New Zealand’s “diversity dilemma”

Professor Jennifer Curtin

In 1986, the Royal Commission into electoral reform argued that the Mixed Member Proportional system would help to ensure the “effective representation of Māori, constituent and minority and special interest groups” (Royal Commission, 1986). At that time, women comprised 11.6 percent of parliamentarians.

Fast forward to 2019, and the percentage of women in the New Zealand parliament surpassed 40 percent for the first time, while the representation of Māori, Pasifika, Asian and LGBTI and MPs under 35 had also increased.

Although formal parliamentary rules have begun to reflect this diversity, a dilemma remains. The Francis Report and sexual assault allegations reveal that the informal norms and cultures of political parties and the parliamentary workplace, remain resistant to change, reflecting a substantive (toxic) homogeneity that is both racist and sexist.

This lecture will examine why this is the case and what is required for inclusive parliamentary representation.

Professor Jennifer Curtin is a political scientist and Director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland. Her research includes a focus on the representation of women in formal political institutions and policy making environments (as political leaders, ministers, members of parliament, the bureaucracy and trade unions), both in New Zealand and internationally.

She was a New Zealand-Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in 2012, is a principal investigator on the New Zealand Election Study and recently won an MBIE Smart Ideas grant to design a sustainable gender budgeting strategy for New Zealand.

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Lecture Theatre B28, General Library (109-B28)

Alfred Street

Auckland

New Zealand

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