New funding available for organisations that support women and girls

Tue 02 Jun 2020

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has announced a new fund available for groups that support women and girls.

The deadline to apply for the COVID-19 Community Fund is 15 June 2020.

The new $1,000,000 fund is part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. The Fund is for organisations that provide services or support to women and girls, and have an increased demand for services or a shortfall of funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a one-off grant to provide short-term support where other government support is not available. Grants are available for amounts between $5,000 to $50,000. Application rounds will continue until the Fund is exhausted.

The Ministry for Women will assess applications, and make recommendations to a Panel for final consideration and approval. The Panel will have two non-government representatives and two government officials. 

When looking at applications, the panel will consider:

  • "the impact funding will have to improve outcomes for women and/or girls
  • the immediacy of the organisation’s needs and the needs of the community it serves. Higher priority may be given to organisations that are able to meet immediate needs in a timely manner
  • the extent to which funding requests will contribute to ensuring healthy and safe communities; reduce family and sexual violence; and/or improve child wellbeing
  • the extent to which the funding will assist organisations to support women who face intersectional challenges such as women in Māori, Pacific or rural communities and migrant women
  • the connection and influence the applicants have with the communities they serve, and the difference they will be able to make at a local level."

In the media release, Julie Anne Genter said

“Issues related to gender equality can take a backseat during emergencies and crises, and this results in worse outcomes for women and girls. Greater loss of income, increased instances of domestic violence, and increased caring responsibilities all impact on women.

Many NGOs that support women have reduced income and volunteer numbers due to the impacts of COVID-19, and at the same time, they have many more people needing their support and/or services. I particularly want to encourage groups that work with wāhine Māori to apply. We welcome applications to improve outcomes for women and girls which have not been covered by other government funds. This may include initiatives such as opening a community centre for an additional day in order to provide extra services, or supporting a women’s centre to deliver counselling services."

For more information see the Ministry for Women COVID-19 Community Fund.

Ministry for Women will host a Question and Answer session via Zoom Friday 5 June 2020, from 12:00 to 1.30pm. To attend the session or for questions, email

Update: The fund is now closed and all funds have been awarded. Due to overwhelming demand, the Government doubled the fund to a total of $2 million. 

Related news

The Wellbeing Budget 2020 was announced on 14 May 2020. According to an NZ Herald article Women's Minister Julie Anne Genter's proposal for gender lenses on budget denied by Treasury, in 2019 Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter had proposed that a gender analysis be included in budget planning. This would have involved "gender budgeting pilots." The pilots would have involved agencies and government departments examining the impacts of Budget bids in terms of gender. The article cites a Treasury memo from August 2019, obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act, which indicated that Treasury did not recommend the gender budgeting pilots. According to the Herald article, the Treasury Memo stated:

"The Treasury's experience of previous Budgets shows that adding additional analytical requirements to the Budget process likely has little impact on the quality of the bids." 

According to the Herald reporter, Jason Walls, the memo noted there was a risk that government departments might treat this as a "compliance exercise.''

Academics Jennifer Curtin, Suzy Morrissey and Sarah Bickerton discussed the impacts of Budget 2020 for women in the context of COVID-19 recovery in a Newsroom article, writing:

"New Zealand doesn’t yet have a gender-responsive budgeting process, whereby agencies would be required to explicitly and systematically ask 'who' is benefiting from the infrastructure investment being proposed, and how it would address gender, intersectional and other structural inequalities that already exist in economic and social wellbeing. The Ministry for Women’s Bringing Gender In online tool can assist with this work.  And such an approach would help grow the economy, because it brings in more resources, expands the number and range of people in paid work, while advancing gender equality at the same time. It’s not an either-or; it’s a win-win."

For more information about gender budgeting, see the Treasury Working Paper by Suzy Morrissey, Gender Budgeting: A Useful Approach for Aotearoa New Zealand (2018).

Also see the video recording of the Gender Impact Analysis: Women workers and COVID-19 seminar.

You can also view the video recording of Laura O’Connell Rapira (Te Ātiawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whakaue), Director of Action Station, discussing What kind of future do we want for women, particularly wāhine Māori, after Covid-19? This online kōrero was organised by Auckland Women's Centre and chaired by Stacey Morrison (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa).

Also see the report Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis (2020) from OECD.

Related media

Women's groups united against Treasury's gender lens decision, NZ Herald, 04.06.2020

Covid 19 Coronavirus: Government's economic response slammed for favouring men, NZ Herald, 22.05.2020

Here’s how to achieve gender equality after the pandemic, World Economic Forum, 25.04.2020

Where does gender equality fit into the Budget?, Newsroom, 31.05.2019

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