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New Award Opens Study Opportunities for Women

Media Statement from the State Services Commissioner

27 July 2000

New Award Opens Study Opportunities for Women

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today announced a new study award - the Ria McBride Public Service Management Award - which is aimed at women who are working in the Public Service.

Mr Wintringham said the new award was aimed at providing opportunities for women whose careers were developing, but which required a boost.

"The award is aimed at people whose career might not otherwise get that boost - people who have the potential to grow quickly if they can get a break.

"The people who receive this award are likely to be women who wouldn't normally have an opportunity like this."

The award is named in honour of Ria McBride, who was among New Zealand's most accomplished female public servants during a career of almost 40 years. During her career, Ria McBride paid attention, particularly, to advancing the interests of women who were working in the State sector. Each year, including this year, 2001, and 2002, up to $12,000 will be awarded for the professional development of a woman who is working in the Public Service.

The award will be administered by the New Horizons for Women Trust, which promotes education and training for women. The trust administers a range of research and second-chance education awards of which the Ria McBride award will be one. The State Services Commission has committed funding for the Ria McBride award for three years.

Harriet Margolis, trustee and convenor of the trust's awards committee, said: "The trust aims to promote the opportunities for women across the community - particularly 'second-chance' education and study opportunities.

"The Public Service is an important part of the community, given its role in civil society and the status that often comes to public officials. So, in that regard, this award is an addition to the trust's work."

The award will be offered annually for three years, beginning this year. Applications close on 31 August.

Dr Margolis said Ria McBride began her career in the Public Service as a typist, in the 1930s. Ria McBride completed her own tertiary education part-time over many years. "At the time, the prevailing view was that women were frail and unable to cope with pressure. Promotion prospects for women were limited," Dr Margolis said.

Eventually, Ria McBride was appointed chief clerk of the Public Service Commission. She was one of the first non-Mori to be appointed to the Mori welfare division of the then Mori Affairs Department. Later she headed the Mori Affairs housing division.

Ria McBride was appointed a Human Rights Commissioner in 1978, a role she held for two years. She was also a founder member of the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women. She died last year, aged 83.


Further information: Owen Gill, State Services Commission, ph 04 495 6609; Harriet Margolis, New Horizons for Women Trust, 04 463-6827.

Details on applications for the award are available from the State Services Commission, from Public Service departments, or from the New Horizons for Women Trust at PO Box 12 498, Wellington.

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