Association shames statistics for women in leadership
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Release: 9 September 2013
Student Association shames statistics for women in leadership positions
Press Release: AUSA
2014 will be a record breaking year for women in leadership in the Auckland University Students’ Association. It will be the first year in AUSA’s 122-year history that the top three officer roles in the association - President, Administrative Vice-President and Education Vice-President will all be held by women.
New Zealand has a pervading problem with chronically low numbers of women entering positions of leadership, with females comprising only 23% of public service executives in New Zealand. Despite making up 62% of law graduates, women continue to be under-represented in senior roles, with only 18% of partners in the ten largest commercial law firms in Auckland being female as at February 2012.
“The gains we need to be making for women in leadership are long overdue. Women are more educated than ever but we are not seeing the same positive returns on their education as their male counterparts. Income pay differentiation remains a problem for women in leadership roles, and many women find that the high demand of leadership roles makes them incompatible with motherhood. Stereotypes and discrimination continue to pervade leadership culture today, and this cannot continue.” says Cate Bell, President-Elect 2014.
“We can identify this problem emerging at the tertiary level and unless this is rectified, it is going to continue to be a vicious cycle that prevents women from reaching their full potentials and moving into positions of power”, Bell continues.
Under-representation of women is a problem for AUSA. Since 1891, only nine women have served as the AUSA President, and only four since 1990. The women who have been elected have traditionally had a much more difficult time leading the Association. Arena Williams (2012) had a notoriously difficult year, Kate Sutton (2004) had petitioners from the drinking club attempt to roll her, and Janet Roth (1979) was successfully rolled after issuing a press statement against racism.
“The statistics for 2014 are a step in the right direction, but they are not good enough. We need to be doing more to raise the status of women in positions of leadership.” says Bell.
The high representation of women in student politics in 2014 at the University of Auckland is certainly not reflected at the national level. Female MPs consistently hover around 33% and in local body politics, there is only 29% female representation.
Further to this, AUSA’s commitment to fair representation is not something that is mirrored in other areas at the University of Auckland. Approximately three quarters of Council, the highest governing body of the University are male. “It is well known; achieving a gender balance in leadership roles will produce better decisions. Women were only given the vote in NZ in 1893, perhaps if the next 120 years we had an all-women parliament much of the institutional sexism we face in NZ could be abolished”, says Daniel Haines, 2013 AUSA President.
AUSA Female Presidents to date:
1. Dorothea Morrell, 1942-3
2. Frances Spence, 1951-3
3. Clare Ward, 1974-5
4. Janet Roth, 1979,
5. Trish Mullins, 1984
6. Ella Henry, 1990
7. Kate Sutton, 2004
8. Lesieli Oliver, 2007
9. Arena Williams, 2012
10. Cate Bell, 2014
 New Zealand Law Society
 Human Rights Commission
 University of Auckland Website - Council