The New Zealand government has become women-dominated for the first time in the nation’s history.
AP News reported that the tip, which is now 60 women to 59 men, came after Soraya Peke-Mason from the liberal Labour Party replaced former Speaker Trevor Mallard.
Peke-Mason told reporters, “Whilst it’s a special day for me, I think it’s historic for New Zealand.”
New Zealand has joined a half-dozen nations in the world that claimed 50% of female representation in their parliaments this year. Others include Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Nations.
According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, about 26% of global lawmakers are women.
New Zealand Politicians Make Their Opinions Heard
Marma Davidson, co-leader of the liberal Green party, said, “About blimmin’ time.” She joined deputy leader of the conservative National Party Nicola Willis, who said, “I’m just really pleased that my daughters are growing up in a country where women being equally represented in public life is just normal.”
The New Zealand government itself has a strong history of female representation. They became the first nation to allow women to vote in 1893. Their current Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is the nation’s third female leader. She was also widely praised for her response to New Zealand’s mass shooting.
“As we step forward, it feels as if we watch so many women experiencing a rapid slide backwards in progress,” she said as she cautioned precarious situations for women in other countries.
Other top female roles in the New Zealand government include Honourable Helen Winkelmann, Chief Justice, and Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General.
Although the government as a whole seems pleased with the gender tip, it could only be temporary. Conservative parties indicate in the opinion polls that they’re ready to make moves. Their male-dominated population could prove to their advantage in next year’s general election.