Hamilton YWCA & Women's Refuge Xmas Drive

Words by Zeta, YWCA Hamilton

DECEMBER IS HERE! And we want you to get in the holiday spirit!

Inspired by the Waikato Women's Fund's Suffrage Event in November we are extending our annual food drive to include sanitary items.

It’s estimated that hundreds of women are affected by period poverty every year because they simply can’t afford the increasingly high price of sanitary products.

We will be open from 8.30am-3pm every weekday leading up to Thursday Dec 20th, collecting food and sanitary items for Waikato Women's Refuge - please get involved and help out our local women!

Launch of the YWCA Auckland’s Gender Tick Accreditation Programme

The YWCA of Auckland are well established pioneers for equal pay. in 2014 they launched the New Zealand Equal Pay Awards, the same year campaigning for equal pay by creating a $9 note to highlight pay inequality in New Zealand. In an open letter to the Governor of the Reserve Bank, YWCA asked Graeme Wheeler to remove Sheppard from the $10 and replace her with a 'more fitting' man.

Recently, they went a step further, collaborating with Mosaik Ltd to launch The Gender Tick, an accreditation programme for businesses to show their commitment to providing a fair workplace for all employees regardless of gender. 

The programme is a first for New Zealand and enables businesses to show their commitment to providing a fair workplace for all employees regardless of gender. The programme assesses organisations across five key indicators including gender inclusive culture, flexibility and leave, women in leadership, gender pay equality and ensuring a safe workplace.

 Helen potiki, ministry for women and kat doughty, ywca auckland

Helen potiki, ministry for women and kat doughty, ywca auckland

YWCA Auckland Business Development Manager, Debbie Burrows says that the idea for the Gender Tick came from the insights and shared experiences of Equal Pay Award entrants. “Companies kept asking us if what they were doing was ‘right’ and so many wanted to know how they could improve in issues like parental leave, sabbaticals and flexible working. This proved that there was a real need for a programme that independently validates people policies and processes with regard to gender. The outcome that these businesses wanted was a healthy workplace culture; and addressing gender-equality has significant benefits for their workforce.”

 Lion's Robin Davies and Fonterra's Susan Doughty (image from Diversity Works)

Lion's Robin Davies and Fonterra's Susan Doughty (image from Diversity Works)

The Gender Tick already has six of New Zealand's largest employers on board as foundation members and are working through the accreditation process. Air New Zealand, Auckland Council, Coca-Cola Amatil, Fonterra, Lion and SkyCity collectively represent more than 45,000 employees.

Susan Doughty, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, Fonterra says “The Gender Tick is a fantastic initiative because it promotes the importance of gender equality for business and society, and helps keep organisations accountable. By working together, we can help drive New Zealand forward to become a more inclusive and diverse place to live and work”. 

To find out more, visit www.gendertick.com.

Want to support the movement? Donate today!

125 Years of Women’s Suffrage 

On the 19th September, YWCA of Hamilton, National Council of Women Hamilton and Zonta threw an event to celebrate a magnificent milestone of 125 years of women’s suffrage.

Words by Jaime Macfie, YWCA Hamilton

Imagine yourself, 125 years ago, with no voice for anything political. Imagine you are one of more than 30,000 women banding together, writing appeals, signing petitions, doing everything they can to advocate for the women of New Zealand to have a say.  

On the 19th September 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world where women could vote in parliamentary elections. This was a ground-breaking moment, not only for women in NZ, but it inspired suffrage movements for women all over the world.   

 New Zealand suffragists

New Zealand suffragists

In the lead up to this, there were 32,000 women who signed the largest petition ever to be presented to parliament (270 metres long). The Legislative council, followed a few days later by the Governor, passed and consented the bill and The Electoral Act 1893 was created. This act gave women in New Zealand the right to vote and they would get their first chance at this on 28th November 1893.   

So you may be asking, “What is suffrage day? And why should we, and do we, celebrate it every year?

Suffrage day is an opportunity to not only commemorate, but also further develop the chance to gain equality. We should celebrate suffrage day to not only remember how far we have come as a country, but to continue to find ways to make further progress that benefits our women.  

Suffrage day reminds us that not only is it important to vote, it is important that women continue voting today and in the future. In the 2011 general election, more than 80% of women voted, compared to approximately 77% of men. Although this statistic is from a couple of elections ago, we can see the shift and affect that women’s suffrage has had over the years.

 women’s suffrage petition

women’s suffrage petition

We can even see the impact that women’s suffrage has had on the members of parliament, and the working-women. In 1893, the percentage of women in parliament was 0%, and the percentage of working women was 26%. In 2013, the percentage of women in parliament was 34%, and the percentage of working women was 58%. Fast forward to the 2017/18 and there are 120 members of parliament, 38% of which are women. This is the highest percentage New Zealand has had since women have been allowed to stand for parliament in 1919. 75% of the Green Party are women, and 46% of the Labour Party are women. (Women leaders? Jacinda, Helen and Judy)

Slowly, but surely, women are making a place for themselves within parliament. Not only are they doing this by being involved in different parties, but also there are more and more women holding some significant positions within the New Zealand parliament. This currently includes Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley, Assistant Speaker, Poto Williams, and our third female Prime Minister - Jacinda Ardern.

One of the most well-known and influential individuals who was involved with the suffrage movement is Kate Sheppard. She argued, “We are tired of having a “sphere” doled out to us, and of being told that anything outside that sphere is “unwomanly””.  Throughout her time fighting for this right for women, she had some brutal opposition. Male writers were recommending women to go home, be with their families, cook meals, and to attend to the domestic affairs for which “nature designed for them”. 

She co-founded the National Council of Women (NCW) and was the organisation’s first president. 

Kate Sheppard’s legacy and influence remain greater than ever, and she is still thought of today as being the driving force behind the women’s suffrage movement.  In 1991, Kate Sheppard was put onto the NZ $10 note. On the left hand side in the background, we can see a white camellia flower. These flowers were given out to the members of parliament who supported the suffrage bill when it first passed, and now these flowers have become the symbol of the fight for women’s suffrage.

 Kate sheppard portrayed on the New Zealand ten dollar note

Kate sheppard portrayed on the New Zealand ten dollar note


On the 19th September 2018, The YWCA of Hamilton, NCW Hamilton Branch and Zonta put on an event to celebrate a magnificent milestone of 125 years of women’s suffrage. This event showed us the continuing support that has been going on for women in our community over the many years. 

There were three speakers on the day who all talked about how we can support women in our community, and how we need to get more women involved in politics, and why it is important for women to vote. It was great to see so many people attend the event, both men and women, and I hope everyone went home with new information to share. I know I did!

YWCA Hamilton Board

The women before us have all worked so hard to get us to where we are today. Let’s continue the fight, and keep showing our communities that our say is important, and does matter. We have come so far in 125 years, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for women.

- Jaime Macfie

You can see more images from the event over at Hamilton YWCA’s Facebook page, or find out more about YWCA Hamilton and the incredible work they do here.


Want to support the movement? Donate today!

#WomenYouShouldKnow: YWCA Ambassador Maisy Bentley

 YWCA aotearoa AMbassador Maisy bentley

YWCA aotearoa AMbassador Maisy bentley

Maisy Bentley is a woman to watch. Her list of achievements is impressive for anyone, let alone someone at the young age of 19.

You might recognise Maisy from her 2016 feminist TEDx talk, “Don’t Ask for Permission”. Or for being named Most Inspirational Young Person of the year at the New Zealand Parliamentary Pride awards 2016. Or as the NZ Youth Awards 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Youth Champion award. Or as a Miss FQ Influencer awards 'Up and Comer’ 2018 finalist. Seriously, the list goes on.

Somehow she manages to pack all this in with work, study, freelance writing, speaking at events, and being a dedicated advocate for youth, gender equality and fighting mental health stigma. Maisy is the definition of a life lived with purpose.

Maisy is currently in her second year at Vic, studying international development and a bachelor of laws. She is working at Inspiring Stories, a nation-wide not for profit empowering young people to unleash their potential, from entrepreneurial incubator programs to working with hundreds of young people in rural New Zealand to address issues in their community.

She is a volunteer for UN Youth, supporting young people to gain skills and knowledge to become informed, engaged, and critical New Zealanders who can become global citizens.

She’s also a freelance writer for Awa Wahine and the Commonwealth Secretariat, writing both creatively and about current affairs in Wellington, and contributor to YWCA sister site, The She Hive.

I had a chat with Maisy about what drives her, and what makes her excited for the future.

What have been some highlights of working in the advocacy space?

My work in the not for profit and advocacy space has allowed me some pretty cool opportunities including working with one of NZ largest retailers Glassons to get Prepair NZ’s charity t-shirts into nearly every store in the country and travelling on the UN Youth Global Development Tour which included meeting with Helen Clarke at the United Nations Development Programme and bringing the voice of kiwi rangitahi to the UN and the youth action planner on sustainable development goals.

%22To me, feminism means making the world a better place by allowing all people to participate. That means everyone can do whatever they set their mind to.%22.png

What does feminism mean to you?

To me, feminism means making the world a better place by allowing all people to participate. That means everyone can do whatever they set their mind to. To do this, it is not enough to create equal opportunities but we need equity. We need to fix the gender pay gap, need to recognize the way gender shapes the opportunities that women might set their mind to or even consider open to them when it comes time to make those decisions.

I believe feminism a catalyst when done right to address a range of inequalities such as race and class, as it’s a universal issue that draws attention to these intersections.

To me feminism also means playing a role in addressing men’s rights issue to achieve equality. Issues such as mens suicide rates and social norms expected of men are often toxic masculinity. For example, that they can’t cry, talk about their feelings or exhibit feminine characteristics such as crying, or work in ‘traditional womens roles’ such as being a nurse, or home maker.

These are intrinsically linked to women's issues because feminity is seen as bad and when men are told /force not to be in these spaces it means women are forced to be in these spaces and only these spaces or because men are forced to be dominant and hard women must be submissive and soft.

In day to day life it means being aware of how the ideas of gender influence your actions and the way you think about yourself and others and their actions. It also means reflecting on how your comments and actions perpetuate these gender narratives.

What makes you excited for the future?

I’m excited for my generation to be in power. And I’m excited for the future generations who will continue to have positive partnerships with those in power. I’m excited to see a generation who have grown up in a world that is rapidly, dramatically and confusingly changing around them and not only embrace but harness that change for good, rather than try to stop or control it because the way things are currently might be benefiting them individually.

I’m excited to see the impact of the current critical numbers of women in senior positions. The number of women we have in parliament now and for example Jacinda being a working mother will have huge impacts on the perspectives bought to our policy and law making and shape what that looks like.

When women are in power the decision made tend to be ones that work for women and create many more doors. I can feel the glass ceiling being weakened now from both above it by the few very special talented women who have already got there and by those who are up and coming. It is a privilege to be in a generation that has people fighting form both sides.

I am excited to see a future where I hope the next wave of feminism is the ‘ally wave’ where men who recognize and understand these issues actively stand up and demand equality in the way women have no choice to do. We have already seen this in the ad in the New York Times for both Anita hill and Christine Blasey Ford, but I hope to see this trend continue. We can’t change the whole world when only 50% of people are working towards that.


You can find out more about Maisy and her work by following her on Instagram and Twitter.

Want to support the movement? Donate today!

Focus Session & Lunch

Be a part of the movement and help us to create the voice of the YWCA Aotearoa.

We are looking for young women aged 16-25 to join us for a focus session and lunch on October 6.

The session will be located at the Maia Room at the Auckland YWCA hostel in the CBD.

Lunch will be provided thanks to our friends at Hell Pizza and Gingerella.

If you want to be a part of the women’s movement and help the YWCA Aotearoa to develop our voice and brand direction, then sign up below.

No experience necessary.

See you there!

Thanks to our sponsors:

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Suffrage 125 Celebrations in Christchurch

A special sold out event was held at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch on Saturday night, with the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, as the keynote speaker.


Proceeds from the event's ticket sales were donated to Christchurch YWCA, to support the important work they do for local women and children.

The Christchurch YWCA’s connection to the Suffrage movement goes back to the 1880s, when Kate Sheppard served on their governance board.

 Sushi Making Lessons at the Y Christchurch

Sushi Making Lessons at the Y Christchurch

The Y Christchurch was originally established to provide emergency housing and support to vulnerable settler women. They are continuing their important work today, providing emergency and transitional housing, health and social services to local women and women with children.

This year alone, over 350 residents have stayed in their care. 2,500 meals have been provided to children staying at the Y and they have held over 200 breakfast and lunch making sessions.

They also offer an in-house counselling service as well as a number of skill building programmes and activities for both women and children staying.

If you would like to support the work the Y Christchurch are doing, you can find out more here.

You can view the full event below.

#WomenYouShouldKnow: Meri Te Tai Mangakahia

 Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920) Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920)
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia was one of the first Maori suffragists, and now recognised as an unsung hero of Aotearoa's suffrage movement.

She was a prominent and influential Māori woman activist in the 1890s and was fiercely dedicated to the advancement of women’s rights.

Meri Te Tai wanted more than just the right to vote. She wanted women represented in Parliament to be part of the decision making process. 

She was involved in the establishment of Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine, iwi based women’s committees associated with Te Paremata, the Māori parliament. While Pākehā suffragists were focused largely on moral reform and temperance (restriction of alcohol) Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine were more concerned about the wellbeing of Māori culture and the negative effects of colonisation. Included in this was the loss of land and the lack of recognition of Māori women’s rights as the owners of land and resources.

Address to Kotahitanga Parliament

In 1893 Meri Te Tai became the first woman to personally address Kotahitanga Parliament. She presented a motion in favour of women being allowed to vote for, and stand as, members of the Parliament. 

Meri Te Tai's address to the Kotahitanga in 1983

English translation of Meri Te Tai's address to the Kotahitanga: 

"I exult the honourable members of this gathering. Greetings.

I move this motion before the principle member and all honourable members so that a law may emerge from this parliament allowing women to vote and women to be accepted as members of the parliament.

Following are my reasons for presenting this motion that women may receive the vote and that there be women members:

1. There are many women who have been widowed and own much land.

2. There are many women whose fathers have died and do not have brothers.

3. There are many women who are knowledgeable of the management of land where their husbands are not.

4. There are many women whose fathers are elderly, who are also knowledgeable of the management of land and own land.

5. There have been many male leaders who have petitioned the Queen concerning the many issues that affect us all, however, we have not yet been adequately compensated according to those petitions. Therefore I pray to this gathering that women members be appointed. Perhaps by this course of action we may be satisfied concerning the many issues affecting us and our land.

Perhaps the Queen may listen to the petitions if they are presented by her Māori sisters, since she is a woman as well." (source)

Post Suffrage Life

In 1893 all New Zealand women, Māori and Pākehā, won the right to vote. However, it wasn't until 1897 that Māori women won the right to vote in the Kotahitanga Parliamentary elections.   

 Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920) Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920)
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai continued to be active in Māori politics.  In partnership with Niniwa i te Rangi of Wairarapa, she started a column called Te Reiri Karamu (‘The Ladies’ Column’) which was published in Te Tiupiri (The Jubilee). The column shows the engagement of Māori women in lively and intellectual discussion of women's issues. 

Meri Te Tai is remembered as a suffragist who pushed boundaries and inspired future generations of Māori women.

She died of influenza in 1920 and is buried at the Pureirei cemetery in Lower Waihou.



Ka Tu Maia Summit 2018


Ka Tu Maia Young Women’s Leadership Summit is returning for its second year of incredible humans, inspirational talks and action packed workshops designed to help young female-identified kiwis win at life.

The summit brings together a diverse range of speakers and panelists aimed at empowering young women to achieve their dreams, inspiring them to think big and teaching them the practical skills to do just that.

They will covering topics like:

  • Self Made Babes – How you can start your own business and turn your dream into an empire
  • Procrastination killer - How to train yourself to stop fluffing around and get it done
  • Self Doubt Slaying – Stop listening to that inner critic and unleash your powerhouse potential
  • You don’t have to know what you want – no idea what you’re doing with life? No problem
  • Love yourself – let’s be real, your 20s can be rough. But we’ve got your back…

They will be covering all of this, and more, and have an all-star line up of inspirational speakers from all walks of life sharing wisdom, inspiration and things they’d wish they’d known. 

 Host, Verity Johnson – writer/TV personality

Host, Verity Johnson – writer/TV personality

 Alison Mau - TV personality

Alison Mau - TV personality

 Villette - music producer and singer-songwriter

Villette - music producer and singer-songwriter

 Roseanne Liang – Filmmaker              

Roseanne Liang – Filmmaker              

 Aych McArdle – Trans rights activist

Aych McArdle – Trans rights activist

 Jackie Clark – The Aunties

Jackie Clark – The Aunties

This year’s summit is hosted by YWCA Auckland and writer & media personality Verity Johnson in partnership with AUT. It will be held at AUT City Campus, 8th September, 9am – 4.30pm.

If you want to be a part of this amazing day, grab a friend and get your tickets now! Be sure to be quick - they sold out last year and we'd hate for you to miss out. They cost $25 and are available here.

There are some scholarships available for both tickets and travel. For more information, please go here.

We look forward to seeing you at Ka Tu Maia!


Where: AUT City Campus, 55 Wellesley Street East Auckland

When: 8th September 9am-4.30pm

Tickets: $25 available here


Copy of 8 Feminist Podcasts To Listen To Right Now

We're a little bit obsessed with podcasts. They keep us up to date on what's happening in the world, and keep us sane during those seemingly endless rush hour commutes.

There is a multitude of great feminist podcasts out there, with more popping up every week, making the task of distilling the list down to just a few quite challenging! But here we have it: 8 feminist-approved podcasts to get in your ears now.


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1. On the Rag

On the Rag is bought to you by everyone's favourite NZ news and media outlet, The Spinoff. Alex Casey, Leonie Hayden and Michele A’Court tackle the past month in women, news and popular culture, with period puns aplenty. 


2. The Guilty Feminist

Comedian Deborah Frances-White and special guests frankly discuss their patriarchal struggles and hypocrisies of modern day feminism, all in front of a live audience. A refreshing look at the way our values as feminists are being constantly challenged, with plenty of lols in the mix. 


3. Bang!

Another homegrown goody, Bang!, hosted by Melody Thomas, takes a look at real stories told by real people, resulting in frank and often amusing discussions about sex, sexuality and relationships. 


4. Call Your Girlfriend

Decade long BFFs Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow keep in touch long distance via their podcast, Call Your Girlfriend. They have warm and honest conversations about everything from Beyonce to friendship dilemmas. 


5. 2 Dope Queens

Half besty banter and half stand-up show, 2DQ is guaranteed to have you in stitches on the bus ride to work. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are hilarious and clever, as are their brilliantly diverse guests. Also worth a mention is Phoebe Robinson's spinoff podcast, Sooo Many White Guys, co-produced and frequently co-hosted by Broad City's Ilana Glazer.  


6. What Would a Feminist Do?

Guardian writer Jessica Valenti discusses real life stories from the front lines of feminism. The topics cover cyberbullying, periods, objectification, relationships, abortions and much much more, all within the context of gender inequality. 


7. Ladies, We Need To Talk

A podcast from over the ditch, Ladies, We Need To Talk tackles the taboo subjects women often avoid talking about. Prepare to feel a little bit awkward and a little more enlightened. 


8. Still Processing

Still Processing is a New York Times culture podcast hosted by Times writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris. They take an intersectional lens to TV, movies, art, music and all things America in 2018. 



What feminist podcasts are you loving? Tell us in the comments below! 

All Things Being Equal: The 2018 Equal Pay Awards

On average, women are still paid less for doing the same work as men. And, that's the reason why the YWCA Equal Pay Awards were developed five years ago.

Words by YWCA Auckland

Women are paid less than men in every country in the world. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report found that, at the present rate of progress, it would take 170 years to achieve global gender equality.

In 2017 New Zealand ranked ninth out of 144 countries in the report for its overall gender gap across education, health, economic opportunity and politics (The Global Gender Gap Index 2017).

New Zealand passed the Equal Pay Act in 1972 but, despite that, women have continued to be paid less than men in the 46 years since then. The pay gaps are much larger for Māori, Pasifika and immigrant women, and women with disabilities.

Whether you are on route or have achieved equal pay within your workplace, the Equal Pay Awards is an opportunity to be recognised as an employer of choice, inspire change and celebrate your success.

There are many great reasons to enter the 2018 YWCA Equal Pay Awards:

  • Be recognised as a thought leader and champion in gender pay equality which will also enhance your corporate reputation.
  • Become an employer of choice for top talent looking for forward-thinking organisations.
  • Celebrate your achievements and acknowledge the hard work of the people in your organisation who have driven the changes.
  • The entry process and feedback from judging can be used to help develop your internal process and systems.
  • You will join a network that has access to resources and mentoring sessions to learn from others journeys.
  • Develop benchmarks for industry standards to see how your own organisation compares.
  • Meet other progressive companies and be inspired by other equal pay champions.
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Whether you are a big business, small-medium business, not for profit, social enterprise or an individual making a difference - there is an award category for you! 

  1. Innovation.  This award celebrates innovative responses to addressing the equal pay gap. These organisations are not afraid to try new things and look outside the box.  An organisation may enter one or more initiatives however, additional entry fees apply.
  2. Leadership.  This award celebrates organisations who exemplify excellence. These organisations understand the benefits of gender equalityand lead the way for others to follow.  They are role models who are active in the community and media sharing their stories and inspiring others to follow. 
  3. Progressive.  This award recognises organisations who have demonstrated commitment to Equal Pay and continue to make sustained advances and improvements to address the issue.  They have created a working environment where individuals, regardless of gender, have equalopportunities. 
  4. On the Journey.  This Award recognises a milestone achievement by an organisation, which has just begun to embark on its equal pay journey. Organisations may enter one or more initiative that are no more than two years old and they can relate to any of the organisational Award categories.
  5. Community.  This Award recognises an organisation in the ‘profit for purpose’ or ‘not-for-profit’ sectors.  We recognise that these organisations have unique pay challenges compared to the private sector and by sharing achievements through this award category, we hope to inspire other organisations to come on the journey.  Organisations may enter one or more initiative and they can relate to any of the organisational Award categories.
  6. Champion.  An organisation or individual can nominate this award to go to an individual who has demonstrated commitment to Equal Pay and gender equality.  Someone who has inspired others, shared their story, stood up for what they believe and made a meaningful impact. An individual may also choose to enter on their own accord.

Deadline for entries is 5pm Friday, 7th September 2018. 

We Support Trans Rights in Aotearoa

Penelopy Mansell, a transgender woman living in Wellington, was recently declined membership by a women's gym despite her birth certificate stating she is a woman.

This story prompted the National Council of Women to issue a statement that they support the inclusion of trans rights in the pursuit of equality in Aotearoa. “Trans women’s rights are women’s rights – and ‘women’s rights are human rights” says NCW CEO Gill Greer. 

Penelopy's story is among many that have recently highlighted the need for more clarity in New Zealand law around diverse gender rights.

As a feminist organisation we believe everyone should have the freedom to define and express their own gender identity, and should not be subject to discrimination or face barriers because of their gender identity. 

Discrimination towards gender diverse people is a serious issue in New Zealand. The Human Rights Commission “To Be Who I Am” report published in 2008, showed that trans people experienced serious discrimination and barriers to education, employment, housing and healthcare. Some trans identified people reported they were afraid to do simple tasks such as shopping or going out for a meal, becasue of their experience of discrimination, harassment and assault.

Trans youth are particularly vulnerable. A 2012 NZ youth survey showed students who reported being transgender faced considerable discrimination and mistreatment, as well as significant disparities concerning health and wellbeing:

  • Approximately 40% of transgender students had significant depressive symptoms and nearly half had self-harmed in the previous 12 months.
  • One in five transgender students had attempted suicide in the last year.
  • Nearly 40% of transgender students had been unable to access health care when they needed it.
  • Nearly one in five transgender students had experienced bullying at school on a weekly (or more frequent) basis.
  • More than half of transgender students were afraid someone at school would hurt or bother them.

We stand with the Nation Council of Woman in encouraging the inclusion of gender diverse people's needs in pursuit of gender equality in Aotearoa. 

The YWCA is an organisation for anyone who identifies as a woman, including trans girls and women. For more information on the programmes we offer, check out our programmes page or get in touch to find out whats on offer in your area. 


Useful Links: 

Whangarei Girls High Health Expo

The YWCA Whangarei not only proved safe accomodation, they work closely with young women in their community to help them build confidence and encourage financial independence through teaching financial literacy skills. 

Words by Crystal Stott, YWCA Whangarei Programme Coordinator

We were privileged to be invited to take part in Whangarei Girls High Schools very first Health Expo and wow, what an amazing day we had! The expo, held on the 15th June from, was put together by the year 12 students with the topic of discussion being health promotion campaigns.  We had a stall set up with information and talked about our Y-dub Body Confidence Workshop.

It was a very full on day with approximately 600 girls attending. From the expo we were very happy to see 137 young women signed up to be on our database to receive information about future YWCA events and workshops.

 Crystal (left) with whangarei high school students 

Crystal (left) with whangarei high school students 

Some of the ideas that the girls shared around how they could change how society views images on social media were very impressive; one girl came up with the idea of only sharing photos without filters on her Facebook page.

I was also impressed with the knowledge and thoughts that were shared around body image. One of the group's discussion turned to how they could change their perception of what it is to be 'beautiful'. One of the ideas mentioned was to have a big photo board full of all the students at school doing an activity or something that they loved with the word beautiful written in the middle. It was an inspiring discussion to say the least.

Well done Whangarei Girls High School for a fun and informative day.

- Crystal

The YWCA Whangarei are approaching their 100th year. To find out more about their history and current programmes on offer, head over to their page

5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Board

Serving on a not-for-profit board is a great way to give back to a cause you care about. But it can also be highly beneficial to your professional development and personal growth. Here are 5 reasons you should join a board: 

 YWCA Aotearoa new zealand board

YWCA Aotearoa new zealand board

1. Grow your network

We all know that networking is a great way to advance our careers. Being on a board is a great opportunity to meet like minded people and increase your network of contacts.

It is also an opportunity to connect and collaborate with people in a meaningful way. You never know how these relationships will provide value and opportunities later down the track.

2. Sharpen your professional skills

Being on a board will enable you to strengthen a variety of professional skills, which is great for for career development.

You will also hone your leadership skills and ability to contribute to an organization’s strategic direction, such as improving its financial position, brand development, recruitment and much more.

 Kimberley kilgour (Centre), YWCA AOTEAROA NZ CO-PRESIDENT

Kimberley kilgour (Centre), YWCA AOTEAROA NZ CO-PRESIDENT

“Being on a Board has built my understanding of how organisations operate from the governance level down.

 At 26 years old, I have formed a perspective typically gained by people in the executive level of their careers”.

- Kimberly Kilgour


3. Strengthen your credibility

Being selected for a board position shows that an organization has entrusting you with a high-impact role. This endorsement speaks volumes, and can be leveraged to raise your professional profile and strengthen your candidacy for a promotion or new position. 

4. We need more women on boards

Women currently occupy a meagre 18% of board positions in New Zealand. Do something about our poor statistics it and get your butt onto a board seat! (Read more in this article featuring our super awesome chair Co-President and equal pay advocate Susan Doughty, here). 

Women currently occupy a meagre 18% of board positions in New Zealand. Having a diverse representation on a board isn't just the right thing, it's the smart thing. Gender diversity is proven to be better for business (and yes, not-for-profits too because today they have to run like businesses). Boards with more gender diversity are proven to be more innovative, more strategically minded, and generally more effective.

5. Be a part of the movement!

In my humble opinion, the most important reason to join a board is to be part of something bigger than yourself and do good s**t. Whether it's an organisation working for female empowerment and gender equality (ahem, us), environmental policy change, youth development or whatever you're into - get involved with what you're passionate about and be an agent for change.

Being on a Board means you set the future direction of an organisation which in turn, has the potential to impact many more lives than you could possibly reach on your own.

Want to get involved?

YWCAs around New Zealand are often on the look out for board members, so get in touch! 

Or check out Appoint Better Boards or Do Good Jobs for more board vacancies. 

Auckland Future Leaders Camp

Year 12 and 13 Future Leaders got to attend our annual positive youth development camp at Piha Mill Camp in Piha last month. The girls attended learning workshops, conquered physical activities, and got to know each other more.

Words by Anna Beard — Fundraising Coordinator, YWCA Auckland

YWCA Auckland Future Leaders Camp

The girls worked collaboratively to put together a performance for their mentors and YWCA staff who joined them for dinner on the second evening. They showcased their talents through spoken word, dance, song and event management. Our camps are designed to increase each young women’s self-confidence, leadership skills and positive peer relationships and are a cornerstone of the Future Leaders Programme.

Here's what some of the girls had to say about what they took away from camp:

Future Leaders Camp

“I learnt: just turn up, keep turning up. Commitment, dedication and reliability pays off. Find things that satisfy, make you proud and exhilerate you. Take every opportunity.”

“Leadership for me means to lead your ship. Being yourself, learning to appreciate and love yourself. Being a leader by setting a good example.”

Check out our camp photos

Spoken Word Superstars Wanted!

YWCA Auckland are looking for aspiring poets and spoken word extraordinaires aged 14-25 to enter their inaugural spoken word competition in June. 

A free event, it's set to be a night of hot poetry, sizzling truths and even more fiery performances.  The theme is Gender Issues and Feminism. It's open to all genders and you don't have to identify as a feminist to submit as long as your piece is on topic. 

The winner will take away $500, the runner up will receive $200.

Food will be provided and good times guaranteed.

And if you just want to spend a night filled with creative, poetic magic, then bring your friends to the event and register at the link below! 

Venue: Youthline Manukau
Date: Thursday 28th June, 7.00 - 9.00 pm
Theme: Gender issues and feminism
Act duration: Under 5 minutes


Want to come along and be inspired by local poets?

Women In Governance Awards 2018

Last week, members of Auckland, Hamilton and National YWCA were were honoured to attend the Women in Governance Awards Gala Dinner. The awards are run by Women on Boards, who aim to achieve equality by elevating women in governance and leadership.

 The winners! Kimberley Kilgour from the YWCA Hamilton board and National board co-president, second from right, accepted the Outstanding Pathway to Leadership award on behalf of the YWCA Hamiton, 

The winners! Kimberley Kilgour from the YWCA Hamilton board and National board co-president, second from right, accepted the Outstanding Pathway to Leadership award on behalf of the YWCA Hamiton, 

Susan Doughty from the YWCA National board was a finalist in the Inspirational Excellence, and  YWCA of Hamilton were the winners in the Outstanding Pathway to Leadership programme. This award recognises an organisation that has provided a pathway that aids the progression of women to governance leadership roles.

Core to our movement is a commitment to good governance and young women’s representation in decision-making.  With a Constitutional requirement for 25% young women (aged 30 years or younger) on our board, we are committed to the promotion of young women leaders. 

We are so proud of our Hamilton sisters for their success in the awards, and the work all of the YWCAs around New Zealand are doing in fostering strong female leadership. 

My Outward Bound Adventure

Last month, our first national Outward Bound Scholarship recipient, Lara, embarked on a life changing adventure.

Words by Lara Hawker - YWCA NZ Outward Bound Scholarship recipient

Last month I had the opportunity to spend 21 days at Outward Bound School, which is located at Anakiwa, in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

To be honest I didn't have much of an idea of what to expect, having purposely not found out too much from friends who had completed the course in the past. I wanted to take the course as it came, and have a few surprises to look forward to along the way too. There were 13 others in my group, and on day one it was overwhelming - there were so many new faces and people to get used to. By the end of 21 days, we had become a tight knit family, and my life had changed for the better.

Every morning at Outward Bound begins at at 6am (or earlier!) with personal training, and a 3.2km run which ends with full submersion in the ocean. This is then followed by a cold, communal freshwater shower, a few moments to get dressed, have breakfast, and then meet with the rest of the groups (or 'watches') for assembly. All of this before 9am, which is when I might normally get up on a weekday! This definitely opened my eyes to how much it is possible to fit into a day as well as just how much better you feel when you exercise daily. Our days were usually jam packed too - with different activities, jobs and tasks to complete before the next day. 

Outward Bound Scholarship

Outward Bound pushed me mentally, physically and emotionally out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. I definitely already had an area that I thought was out of my comfort zone - where I try put myself regularly - but I soon realized that where I draw my lines should perhaps be a little further out. The courses's motto is "There is more in you," which gets drummed into you to the point you almost use it jokingly with others in your watch when you reach the point of complete exhaustion. It is truly incredible just how true that statement is though. I did my first half marathon on the second to last day of the course, something that I would've not thought I was capable of on day one. Don't get me wrong, it was incredibly tiring, but even at the end of that 21km, I could've kept going for longer which I would've never expected. The mind will give up long before the body starts to.

More than anything though, I am so thankful for the amazing bunch of people I was blessed to have alongside me on the course. We encouraged and supported each other, and it was incredibly inspiring to see people really putting themselves out there and being vulnerable in the group. I definitely have some lasting friendships, and incredible memories of my time in Anakiwa, that I know I will treasure for the rest of my life.

From the bottom of my heart - thank you YWCA for giving me this amazing opportunity!

Spotlight: YWCA Auckland

The Auckland YWCA are now thought leaders in the fight for Equal Pay, linking NGOs and businesses.

Words by Monica Briggs — CEO, YWCA Auckland


Back in 2012, there was a funny synchronicity. We were talking to a creative agency and to a business focus group and we were thinking a lot about how to reach more women. We all jumped in and the result was our Demand Equal Pay campaign.

It aroused massive interest in the media and the public and this surprised us. We realised that people were really confused about what constituted the pay gap in New Zealand. That’s why we started the Equal Pay Awards. We wanted to encourage businesses so that women can have a lifetime of fair earnings.

 2017 Equal pay awards

2017 Equal pay awards

That was just three years ago and the general public weren’t nearly as aware as they are now. The feedback we used to get was that women thought their grans had fought for it back in the 1970’s and sorted it all out — wishful thinking! Men didn’t believe it to be a problem either. Businesses weren’t examining their pay data through a gender lens and so the cycle of unfair pay continued.

We need to ensure that positive shifts occur for the hard working women of Aoteroa. Businesses need to take the lead.

You can read more about #eqALL and the Equal Pay Awards on Auckland YWCA's website.


W Online: Digital Directory For Kiwi Women

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The YWCA Aotearoa New Zealand and YWCA Auckland, with the support of the Ministry for Women, are excited to announce the launch of ‘W’. 

W stands for wāhine / women, and the W Directory aims to bring together the wide range of fantastic services, opportunities and cool stuff for wāhine in Aotearoa.

The ‘W’ Directory is a first of its kind in NZ, a digital hub and search engine that brings together all the organisations, services, funds and opportunities available to Kiwi women. It is designed to be used by all women in New Zealand regardless of their age and stage.

Users can search for services to support them in all aspects of their lives, including topics as diverse as health and wellbeing, parenting and personal development. It currently lists over 200 services nationwide and is still expanding.

 W Directory aims to bring together the wide range of fantastic services, opportunities and cool stuff for wāhine in Aotearoa.

W Directory aims to bring together the wide range of fantastic services, opportunities and cool stuff for wāhine in Aotearoa.

New Zealand women are greatly in need for more information on the services available to them. “Our annual Insights research, undertaken among women between the ages of 16 - 60, has repeatedly shown that women urgently need information on help that’s available to them,” says YWCA Auckland acting-CEO Kat Doughty. “However they do not know where to access this information.”

Prior to The W, there was no database or overview of the services available to women in NZ. "The W directory was created to fill this need, so we may be better informed on how we can fill the gaps and avoid duplication when it comes to serving the needs of Kiwi women.” says Liv Doogue, Executive Officer of YWCA Aotearoa.

Furthermore in the wake of the #metoo movement, the need for women to be informed of and empowered in their options and choices has never been a more relevant. “One of the issues that arose from #metoo is that women feel they have limited resources for dealing with issues such as sexual harassment.” says Doughty. “However our mission is for every woman to know they have choices available to them. And hopefully The W directory can help by providing clear information on all the help and services available.”

The W site is live now at www.Wonline.nz.

#EMPOWERED at Waikato O Week

Words by Riikka Anderson, YWCA of Hamilton

 Hamilton YWCA O Week

Hamilton YWCA O Week

This year for the first time, the YWCA of Hamilton is expanding our programmes and workshops to students at the University of Waikato. We will be running one-off workshops once a month at the halls of residence on variety of subjects ranging from practical life skills to self-defence, from healthy cooking on a budget to Money Savvy and mental health.


To start this journey we were present at the TGIF Party at the O Week on Friday 23rd February. Our aim was to increase the students’ awareness of who we are and what we do. As a part of this promotion we ran several competitions: two on the day and two online. The (not so) Mini Prize was drawn from among those who gave us their email addresses. Thanks to this competition we now have over 150 emails for UoW female students! 


The two competitions on Facebook and Instagram are still running. To participate, students need to like our Facebook page or follow our Instagram account and tag someone who has #EMPOWERED them.

It was great (and very hot) day at the Village Green! It was awesome to meet so many young women and talk to them about issues we all face as women. We will definitely go back next year and look forward to seeing more of those who will join us this year!

If you are based in the Waikato and interested in getting involved, check out the YWCA Hamilton info page