The country's major political parties acknowledge they need more women represented in Parliament.
Several hundred people attended the Ladies in the House debate in Wellington on Tuesday night, organised by the Wellington Young Feminist's Collective.
The Green Party's Hutt South candidate Holly Walker said that while her party's current representation of women is not ideal, it has the best gender equality policies.
Three of the Green Party's nine MPs are women, an imbalance Ms Walker said is due to mid-term retirements which would be rectified next parliamentary term.
The National Party's candidate for Wellington Central, Paul Foster-Bell, defended his party's record on women's issues, saying the gender pay gap had reduced from 11% to 9% during the last three years.
However he said National needs to increase its low numbers of female MPs, and so does every other party.
Labour list candidate Jordan Carter attacked the National and ACT parties saying they were not doing enough to achieve gender equality and pay parity.
He said they should support the Training Incentive Allowance and extending paid parental leave.
Tania Sawicki Mead of the Wellington Young Feminist's Collective says it was disappointing that only two of the six politicians on the panel were women.