The National Council of Women have voted to implement more trans-inclusive language and will not fight for the rights of women exclusively.

In a major win for trans rights activists in New Zealand, the National Council of Women has moved to adopt more inclusive language in order to serve the interests of trans and non-binary individuals.

The change means the council will now strive to achieve equality for all genders, not just those who identify as women and will support the Gender Equal NZ movement.  


President of the National Council of Women NZ, Vanisa Dhiru says the change was necessary in order to fight for the rights of those who, “do not neatly fit into a gender binary or prefer not to define their gender, or for people who transition from one gender to another.”

Dhiru says that while progress has been made in gender equality for women, other gender and non-gender identifying individuals were being left behind.

“Non-binary and trans people face discrimination as much as women do, if not more. A gender-equal Aotearoa New Zealand will not be achieved if non-binary and trans people are not able to express their identity fully and freely.” Dhiru says.

Acknowledging that there may be some feminist opposition to the move, Dhiru notes that while the Human Rights Commission and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee both advocated for better recognition of the rights of trans people last year, some feminist organisations, “still seek to exclude trans women.”

Dhiru says that transgender exclusion is not a position the National Council of Women will support, and the official position of the council will reflect that.

“We firmly believe that gender equality will only be achieved when everyone is free from discrimination and all genders are visible, valid and respected. This remit seeks to make these human rights principles into official policy for NCWNZ, and reminds us all of the principles we were founded upon in the lead up to Suffrage Day.”