International Women’s Day 8 March


The theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is Make It Happen, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.

Thanks to Working Women’s Resource Centre Committee for providing the following resources towards making it happen:

The Hand Mirror is a feminist team blog featuring feminists who are either based in Aotearoa New Zealand or identify as from here.

Pacific Women’s Watch monitors, reviews and reports on the status of women in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure women in all countries in the Pacific sub-region coordinate in solidatrity of purpose to promote the advancement of women.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Women The ITUC and its affiliated organisations work together to advance women’s rights and gender equality. The ITUC actively promotes equality at the workplace and the full integration of women in trade unions including their decision making bodies.

Fair Agenda is a new independent campaigning community focused on bringing Australians together in critical moments, to drive change that promotes fairness and equality for women.

Emily’s List (US) seeks to put women in office who can make significant contributions to education, health care, voting rights and economic equality.

Emily’s List Australia can provide you with opportunities to emplower your participation, develop your skills or garner support from a nationwide network of volunteers.

Women’s Agenda (Australia) is the digital destination where women (and men) help women achieve.

All the Way for Equal Pay (facebook page) campaign for equal pay in NZ based on the historic Employment Court decision about SFWU member Kristine Bartlett’s equal pay case

PSA Women’s network (facebook page) A place for women members to share experiences about work and organise around things that need to change.

UN Women (facebook page) is the UN agency for gender equality & women’s empowerment. It was established to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls (facebook page) encourages smart girls to volunteer and to be more curious about the world they live in and to provide a healthy alternative to so much that is being marketed to young people on the internet.

Nomsa, our rising fashion star


Nomsa, one of our Future Leader graduates, is an aspiring fashion designer. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nomsa’s story is one of overcoming depression and persevering through difficult times. She features in the latest NZ Woman’s Weekly.

nomsa website

Thank you Outward Bound NZ


Outward Bound New Zealand’s mission is inspiring personal and social development through value based experiential learning in an outdoor environment. Outward Bound is founded on universal values: Compassion, Greatness, Responsibility and Integrity – these values are mirrored in the four year YWCA Future Leaders programme and we are extremely grateful for the full scholarships they provide through our community partnership.

We have just received some thank you letters from our graduate Future Leaders who attended the January 21 day Classic course in Anakiwa and had to share them:

“Outward Bound will help me to achieve any goals I have. I know that hard work pays off. This experience has helped shape me into a better person. I can’t tell what kind of person I would be today without YWCA and I don’t want to know. I am happy with who I am and YWCA has had a great impact on me. YWCA is just such a positive organisation and I hope more girls will continue to grow with your guidance.”

“I would like to thank you for all you’ve done for me and allowing me to attend Outward Bound. I am still lost for words for what I experienced and I will forever embrace and remember my time there. Forever I will embrace every opportunity that YWCA has allowed me to take part in. Outward Bound has taught me to live in every moment, knowing that each one of us are in charge of our own happiness.”

We love our Future Leaders!




Become a mentor and help young women fulfil their potential…


Few programmes in New Zealand provide long-term, individualised mentoring on a one to one basis. The opportunity for that kind of mentoring for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds is even less common. That’s what makes YWCA Auckland’s Future Leaders programme so unique, and why they’re looking to recruit more women with the skills and experience needed to make a real difference in the lives of young women.

Kendal Collins is one such woman making a real difference. Kendal spent four years working as a school social worker at Otahuhu College before joining the Future Leaders programme as a coordinator last year. She’s now urging women with similar backgrounds in social work, counselling or teaching to become mentors.

The Future Leaders programme was created to provide young women with skills development, new experiences and opportunities to support them in achieving their goals. This four year individualised leadership programme sees a young woman paired with a volunteer mentor, with activities and workshops planned throughout the year by YWCA Auckland.
Kendal says the kind of woman best suited to Future Leaders is “a woman who is passionate about making a difference in a young woman’s life. A bit of experience with youth, whether it be with your own children, in your work environment, or through your studies, would be perfect.”

Mentors are asked to commit to at least two years in the programme, to ensure continuity for the young women, many of whom have not always had reliable adult role models. “Women need to have the patience and time to guide a young woman during the two to four years of the programme – after all, time is what is most important to a young person,” says Kendal.
The benefits aren’t one-sided either. “Even though it is about helping and guiding the Future Leader, you will find yourself learning a lot from them. They will challenge your own values and ideas, and open you up to a whole other world.”

The programme can also help in a professional sense, providing individual and professional development for those who work with youth in a fun and positive way. “Being a mentor is a very rewarding role. You will have a positive impact on somebody’s life, help them to achieve their goals and watch them grow over the years,” adds Kendal.

Glenda Hoffman, who  won the 2014 Mentor of the Year award for the programme, agrees. “You find out so much about how young people think. If you haven’t got kids, it’s a great experience, but even if you do, it’s great to do something for the community, and watch them grow into amazing young women.” Glenda, a primary school teacher, is adamant that becoming a mentor is such a fantastic experience, she would recommend it to anyone.

The next day of mentor training is Saturday 31 January, and will match mentors with students from Onehunga High School and Mt Roskill Grammar School. Mentors from all over Auckland are welcome.

Become a Future Leaders mentor today! Contact the Future Leaders Team Leader Kelsi Cox on 09 522 8219 or via to find out how you can make a difference in a young woman’s life.

Farewell to Encore


Over the last ten years, YWCA Auckland has delivered Encore, a free gentle exercise programme for women who have had breast cancer treatment, helping over 3,000 women from Kerikeri down to Invercargill. Participants have ranged in age from 29 to 91, and over 80 women have trained to become facilitators.

Following research and needs assessment, the YWCA Auckland Board has re-evaluated its current programmes and has decided that the organisation needs to refocus efforts on younger women under the age of 40. This, combined with issues around the financial sustainability of the Encore programme, has led to the decision that YWCA Auckland will no longer be delivering Encore as of 2015.

YWCA Auckland is extremely grateful to the Encore facilitators and assistants who have facilitated local Encore programmes around the country. These incredible women have devoted their time, energy, passion and love to the programme, and Encore could not have reached so many women without their help.

Local funders, the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Ted & Mollie Carr Endowment and Weem Trusts have also helped make Encore a reality, and YWCA Auckland is very grateful for their support.

YWCA Auckland is committed to the current and future needs of young women in the Auckland area. We will meet these needs with the continuation and growth of the Future Leaders programme an emergent leadership programme for 14-18 year olds, and with a focus on financial literacy and pay equity further assisting unmet needs within the community we serve.

Encore photos from over the years here.

Honouring Dame Cath Tizard….


New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide.

Dame Catherine Tizard has worked closely with YWCA Auckland for decades. She’s a Patron of their Future Leaders mentoring programme, has a lifetime membership and has been hugely supportive of the organisation’s endeavors since she first became involved with the YWCA attending some of their programmes when she was younger.

“Dame Catherine has been a true pioneer for women in New Zealand, working in positions of great responsibility, while balancing demands of motherhood and a public life,” says Monica Briggs, CEO of YWCA Auckland. “She truly embodies the values of YWCA Auckland, has personally supported our staff and programmes, and has always conducted herself with indomitable style!”

Dame Catherine’s interest in Future Leaders developed when she attended the first YWCA Leading Women dinner more than ten years ago. She was one of the guest speakers at the dinner in her role as governor general so was present to see the Future Leaders programme launched. “I was very impressed,” she says. “The mentors really got something from the experience, and the success rate of mentees was amazing. I spoke to young women who had been planning to drop out of school, but after their involvement with the programme, wanted to go on to higher education.”

Future Leaders supports young women to achieve their goals, offering skills development, new experiences and opportunities. The individualised leadership programme sees young women paired with a mentor, with activities and workshops planned throughout the year by YWCA Auckland.

YWCA Auckland are passionate advocates of young women’s leadership development, and value having a role model like Dame Catherine who supports their work. “She’s a woman of many strengths,” says Vanessa Ceelen, YWCA Auckland President.

“She’s had four children, an enviable career, and has made huge contributions to women being involved in the public sector. But what we really respect her for, and why we think she is so deserving of this award is that she has accomplished all this with a bright smile, encouraging words, and a willingness to roll her sleeves up and get involved.”

Dame Catherine says she supports YWCA Auckland’s work because “in many ways, societal expectations of women haven’t changed. It’s still often assumed that they will take on roles of support, be mothers and wives, and not much else beyond that.”

As a society, New Zealand’s professional attitudes towards women have come a long way, but there is room for development yet. “YWCA Auckland works to expand their horizons, and I am proud to support that, to show up, to contribute, to be involved. It’s important that young women and their families understand their potential and what they are capable of.”

New directions….


Thanks to ellen & ellen we have just published our Strategic Plan 2014-2016, outlining our strategic themes for women aged under 40 years:

  • Leadership
  • Economic independence
  • Safe spaces
  • Wellbeing

Our key drivers:

  1. Understand and respond to the changing needs of our women.
  2. Create and deliver added value for young women in the Auckland area.
  3. Build upon the strong and self-sustaining legacy of YWCA Auckland.
  4. Collaborate with other organisations to enhance outcomes for young women in Auckland.
  5. Grow our programmes and thrive as an organisation to respond to community needs.
  6. Explore different options around financing the work of YWCA Auckland.
  7. Create a road map to guide future investment and activity of YWCA Auckland.

Because every woman deserves choice……..

Full Plan here.



Come work for us….


Operations Manager

  • New leadership role reporting directly to CEO
  • Operational, strategic & commercial focus

YWCA Auckland is part of the world’s largest women’s organisation, a Global network of 25 million women leading social and economic change in over 125 countries worldwide. With a proud heritage of providing FREE community programmes in Auckland for over 125 years which deliver on our mission to not rest until every woman is able to fulfil her potential, YWCA Auckland are passionate advocates of young women’s economic and social development, and what we do makes a real difference in New Zealand women’s lives.

This newly created role reporting directly to the CEO will take responsibility for the planning and operations of the organisation going forward. The key purpose of the role is to ensure and improve the performance, productivity, efficiency and profitability of the organisation. We are seeking a strong Operations Manager with exceptional relationship management skills, who can lead and drive best practice and incubate and pilot new programme initiatives, while keeping an eye to the strategic view.

With two direct reports, candidates should demonstrate the following:

  • prior experience in a leadership role
  • strategic agility
  • strong financial and commercial acumen, including reporting
  • experience in contract management
  • adherence to risk management and legislative compliance
  • experience managing assets
  • managerial courage and integrity to lead through change
  • proven project management skills.

While experience in a not for profit environment is not essential, an empathy for the values and goals of the YWCA is.

This really is a wonderful leadership opportunity in a small friendly organisation doing great work.

Please note applications close Friday 14 November, and we are looking for candidates who can commence in the role after the Christmas break in January 2015.

Please contact Joanna on 09 968 8243 or email your CV to without delay.

JOB ID: 1833_657945423703360620

Celebration update and photos….


YWCA Auckland Celebration and AGM

Last night we held our 129th annual celebration and AGM. Thank you to all those who attended to mix and mingle and hear about our programmes and initiatives. Your support means a lot to us all.

In the official AGM, we were delighted to present Dame Cath Tizard with our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Dame Cath has been a long-time supporter of women and YWCA Auckland. She is also one of the funniest women we know. You can read her fascinating history here.

Photos from last night here.

The gender gap: How NZ is faring


Written by Sophie Ryan, NZ Herald

New Zealand women are among the most educated in the world, a new report shows, but there is a growing gap between economic opportunities for men and women – including their pay packets.

The World Economic Forum’s annual report on the gender gap shows New Zealand has dropped in global rankings from seventh last year to 13th this year.

The Global Gender Gap Index ranks countries on the gap between men and women on health, education, economic and political indicators.

New Zealand has improved or stayed the same on all indicators except for economic participation and opportunities, where the gap has widened. For pay equality, the country ranks 33rd out of 142 countries.

Dame Jenny Shipley, the country’s first female Prime Minister and chairwoman of Global Women NZ, said the report showed there was “so much to do” to reach equality.

It was “inexcusable” for a woman to graduate from secondary or tertiary education with equal qualifications to a man and enter the workforce, only to be paid less.

Dame Jenny said women needed to speak up and companies needed to be prepared to tackle any disparity.

Federation of Business and Professional Women president Vicky Mee said she wasn’t surprised the country had slipped in the rankings.

“New Zealand has been a leader for many years but we’ve sort of lost that edge and that push. We are not holding companies to account enough.”

She said things were likely to get worse for women in low-earning jobs.

“Things that are worrying are things like the Employment Relations Amendment Act … I think … there will be an increasingly big gap between the very low paid in our society and the very high paid.

“And because the majority of low paid employees are women, it will in fact just widen that gap.”

Minister for Women Louise Upston said the report showed the country could be doing better.

However, the first place ranking for equality in educational attainment was something New Zealand could be proud of, she said.

Monica Briggs, chief executive of YWCA Auckland, said systemic pay inequity in New Zealand needed to change.

“Women in female-dominated industries getting paid less than work of similar value in male-dominated industries – this is prolific in New Zealand, with women tending to be clustered into a relatively narrow range of occupations that have been traditionally considered women’s work and not valued equally.”

Read the full report here:

The index aims to understand whether countries are distributing their resources and opportunities equitably between women and men.

The report follows a Court of Appeal decision yesterday, which upheld an Employment Court decision that ruled employers must pay workers in the female-dominated aged care industry wages that were equal to workers in a similar male-dominated industry.

The appeal was brought by Terranova Homes and Care, the workplace of Lower Hutt rest-home carer Kristine Bartlett, who brought the initial case with Service and Food Workers’ Union backing.

The New Zealand Aged Care Association had funded the appeal and would not confirm whether a further appeal to the Supreme Court would be launched.

John Ryall, president of the union, said he was “over the moon” with the outcome.

Same skills, two different pay rates for partners

Motueka woman Caitlin Lewis was given a lower paid job than her partner. She believed it was because of her gender, and she felt she had to act.

In 1999 and 2000, Ms Lewis worked for a seafood company as a fish trimmer.

She was employed not long after her partner Brett Edwards – but although the pair had the same skills and background, Mr Edwards was given the more highly paid position of a trainee filleter.

Ms Lewis, now 46 and working as a labourer, said when her first pay cheque arrived and she realised she was being paid less than Mr Edwards, she felt she needed to do something about the issue as it affected not only her, but other women that worked as trimmers in the factory – many of them mothers.

“I’m South African and I was really surprised that New Zealand would let something like this happen.

“It was a huge shock to suddenly be pigeon-holed based on my gender.”

She said she thought the problem should be easy to fix, so she looked up who to complain to.

Ms Lewis complained to the Human Rights Commission, arguing that although she and Mr Edwards had identical skills and background, she was given the lesser paid job because she was a woman.

The seafood company denied the allegation but the tribunal found that the job had been allocated on a gender basis and that the company appointed men to be filleters and women to be trimmers.

The decision was appealed in the High Court, which in 2007 concluded the two jobs should not be allocated based on sex.

- NZ Herald

YWCA Auckland programmes receive generous support from...
  • ASB Community Trust

  • HSBC Bank - New Zealand

    Perpetual Guardian
  • The trusts charitable foundation
    Skycity Auckland Community Trust

YWCA of Auckland New Zealand

+64 9 522 8219