New Zealand has a proud and growing history of women holding high-profile
leadership and decision-making positions. New Zealand has had two women
Prime Ministers: Dame Jenny Shipley from December 1997 to December 1999;
and Helen Clark from December 1999 to November 2008. We have had two women
Governors-General: Dame Catherine Tizard from November 1990 to March 1996
and Dame Silvia Cartwright from April 2001 to August 2006. The current
Chief Justice of New Zealand is Dame Sian Elias. She is the most senior member of
the judiciary, Presiding Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand and the
administrator of Government when the Governor-General is absent.
Within Government, 34 percent of our Members of Parliament are women. A number
of conflict resolution and peace-building decision-making positions are currently held
by women including the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Police, the Secretary of
Defence (Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry of Defence), the Divisional
Manager, International Security and Disarmament Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (lead civilian on international security issues), and the Director of
Defence Intelligence (New Zealand Defence Force).