New Zealand Reaches Gender Parity in Cabinet for the First Time in History
For the first time in history, New Zealand has reached an equal number of men and women in its cabinet.
It comes after Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Monday that Willow-Jean Prime would enter cabinet as conservation minister.
With Prime in the country’s cabinet, there’s now a total of 10 women and 10 men. Her promotion also brings Māori representation in the cabinet to a record of six ministers.
“It is a great privilege to be promoted to cabinet,” Prime said, adding that it’s “also very special to be part of history”.
“I look forward to being ‘a very active contributor around the cabinet table’ as the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said in his Post-Cab Press Conference,” Prime said, joking that this made her laugh “because he and others have probably noted my passion and enthusiasm”.
Speaking to the importance of having a gender equal cabinet that reflects the New Zealand population, Hipkins said, “I think it’s a good milestone to achieve. We achieved 50/50 representation in parliament in this parliamentary term, I think that’s a very welcome thing, and now we have that around the Cabinet table as well.”
Back in 2020, under former prime minister Jacinda Ardern, the country had elected its most diverse parliament ever, with increased numbers of women, Māori and LBGTQ+ members.
And in 2022, New Zealand hit the gender equality milestone of having a majority female parliament.
Now that the body of senior ministers in cabinet has reached a 50/50 gender equal split, the number of female ministers overall, including those outside cabinet, has surpassed the number of male ministers.