Hau Taki Haere Tertiary Update Vol 24, No 16
Last week the National Women’s Committee (NWC) and union staff came together online for the EmPOWERing Women in Union hui, with a political panel on the Tuesday that focussed on the issue of gender equity.
Day one of the hui saw the launch of the Vision Statement for the TEU Gender Equity Strategy 2020-2023. Members were asked to highlight objectives within the Strategy they would like to see prioritised. Recognising the equal value of paid and unpaid work by women, safe and healthy workloads, and workplaces free from sexual harassment were all indicated as key priorities.
TEU’s election pledges were also shared with members, including those asking political parties to promote equitable workplaces in the tertiary education sector by addressing inequality and to require all investment plans to include equity implementation plans for Māori, women, and Pasifika staff and learners.
As part of this year’s hui, NWC hosted a live online political panel with members of Aotearoa New Zealand’s major political parties - available to view on Facebook. MPs were questioned on their policies for advancing gender equality in the tertiary education sector.
Panel speakers included members of parliament Julie-Anne Genter (Green), Tracey Martin (NZ First) and Barbara Kuriger (National). Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour) was unable to attend.
When asked how they would promote gender equity in staffing in the tertiary education sector, National MP Barbara Kuriger stressed the importance of courage, confidence and fostering the next generation of women. New Zealand First MP, Minister Tracey Martin and Green MP Julie-Anne Genter saw an urgent need to address the processes and systems currently in place.
Minister Martin said the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) had provided the sector with an opportunity to reset, saying it’s crucial that there is representation by women in appointments to board and leadership positions. That should include Workforce Development Councils and Regional Skills Leadership Groups. Martin also suggested that a full pay and employment equity review needs to be a standard in the new vocational education system.
Genter said that within the core public sector there is an expectation that every ministry and a number of agencies establish a gender pay action plan to measure progress in gender pay equity, and questioned why tertiary education institutions shouldn’t be required to do the same. Genter said she doesn’t believe we will see any progress in this area if we don’t change the systems and policies in place and actively work to undo unconscious gender discrimination.
TEU National Women’s Officer, Sarah Proctor-Thomson says she was thrilled with the energy and engagement of participants in the hui, and thanked members of the political panel for their involvement,
“We had a great couple of days. Those who attended were engaged, active and full of ideas, and now is a time to build on that energy and momentum to keep pushing for what we need to progress gender equality. I was very pleased with how the hui came together, with NWC members and TEU staff working with hui participants across all the sessions despite the challenges of moving to the online space. It really did work well, and participants left feeling connected, supported, re-engaged and hopeful”.
Next on the agenda, NWC and its network will be lobbying local politicians using the TEU election pledge, and encouraging the TEU women’s network to continue engaging and utilising the lobbying skills they developed during the hui in the lead up to the General Election.
Political panel members including Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan have been sent a number of questions from hui attendees, so keep a look out for their written responses soon.
Also in this update:
A Full Stop – Restructuring Project unites Vic Staff and Students - TEU
Call for uni harassment register to stop alleged predators switching jobs undetected - Stuff
Māori women took hit in first wave of Covid-19 job losses, Stats NZ data shows - Stuff
Victoria staff up in arms over controversial plan to restructure university - Stuff
Students join staff kicking back against Victoria University's restructure plan - Stuff
New Zealand workers need mandated redundancy payouts - Stuff
TEU Welcomes New NZIST Leadership - TEU