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Women hold more power in New Zealand than in any other country in the world. History doesn't explain it. So why?

By Virginia Marsh   June 2003

The governor-general is a woman. So too are the prime minister and her predecessor, the chief justice, attorney general, head of the largest company, a third of the cabinet, and until recently, the leader of the opposition and the mayor of the biggest town. Why have women in New Zealand led the western world in breaking through to the top?

There are many theories. Some talk about the kind of toughness required in a small “frontier” country, others say it is a coincidence and that women will not always predominate.

Those that believe historical factors are relevant point to the…

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