NZNO's Blog

Why is it surprising that women are so effective?

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Anne Daniels, President
NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

Why is it surprising that women are so effective?

This question was posed by a Black Fern following an incredible win over France in the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal.

Why was the media so surprised? They worked hard, strategised and played like a real team. Similarly, NZNO members (who are mostly women) are more than capable of doing anything they put their minds to, particularly when they stand together in solidarity and focus on winning – which is exactly the point of the Maranga Mai! campaign.

Throughout history women have made things work and found a way forward. Just recently I was asked if the unsafe working conditions, nurse shortages, and increasing numbers of PINs amounted to the new normal. We simply cannot allow that to be so because that would mean accepting ongoing avoidable harm to our patients and ourselves.

The new normal must be one that sees nurses and all our members being valued, appreciated, and equitably paid. We must be able to enjoy our work, reach our full potential, and act as advocates and activists to enable our future nurses to reach theirs.

Right now, however, it seems the gods are against us; particularly when the ERA adjudicator in our Pay Equity case caught COVID, causing delay. I felt for her. I hope she recovers well. Her decisions will have a historic impact for all women who live and work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Leading up to this ERA process, our members made a strong collective challenge to the Government and Te Whatu Ora decisions that would have disenfranchised a female dominated workforce – again. In the meantime, we have sent a strong message regarding the disrespectful, unfair and inequitable winter payments in a context where unsafe nursing workload outcomes are having a direct and negative impact on our patients.

In addition, NZNO members have gone on strike for fair pay and safe work conditions in Primary Health Care and in private hospitals. While these actions have been communicated to all members, these actions were mostly standalone. It is time for all of us to demonstrate real solidarity in a day of national action. What that might look like is up to our members. Our members are NZNO and NZNO is us.

NZNO members go to work each day and attempt to beat odds not of our making. To stand up in solidarity, we must find ways forward that effectively engage with every member, everywhere, AND every member, everywhere must follow through with real action.

Our Power is in our membership, 56,000 now and counting. Every one of us has a family, friends, community contacts. Imagine what a message it would send to our Government and our employers if we all rose up in solidarity. Together, we will stand, and we will leave no-one behind.

Like the Black Ferns, we can Maranga Mai! – Rise up and stand against the odds. We must be a force to be reckoned with. Let’s surprise them.

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