An Intergenerational Women's Movement

It takes many generations to change an attitude.


No need to kid ourselves. When it comes to 100% opportunity for young women, there is still a long way to go. It will take the energy, ideas and commitment of women of all ages and beliefs to make the change we want.

The YWCA began in London in 1855. Two determined women on a mission proposed a simple idea. Women would create opportunities for other women: they would stand beside the young to improve their opportunities and shape a better future.

The movement quickly took root around the world. You are reading this today because women in Dunedin, back in 1877, also thought ‘women + young women’ was a good idea! Now YWCA Aotearoa NZ is a national association of women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs. In 2017, the simple founding principle has never been more relevant and powerful.

Image credit:  Womens March NZ

Image credit: Womens March NZ

During the international day of protest earlier this year, women walked together, demanding the right to a gender equal future. Cities in Aotearoa and around the world, rocked with the power of women and their determined voices. They were young and old, advantaged and not. They wore pussy hats and sun hats, hijabs and piercings. Many had started as teenagers back in the 1960s and would never have imagined that six decades later, they would still need to be marching. But here they were: this time walking beside their daughters and granddaughters and young colleagues.

From mini-skirts to walking frames, the mission and the determination is still the same. Women want the same thing for all women. Gender equality and all the fairness, opportunity and possibility that goes with it. It takes many generations to change an attitude.

Excerpt from our 2017 Annual Report.