Archives for Equity in the News

Equity in the News - 2018

July 2018

Equity at Work

New Zealand becomes first country to introduce paid leave for domestic violence victims – The Independent, 27 July

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to pass legislation allowing survivors of domestic violence 10 days of paid leave from work to allow them to escape their partner’s abuse. Expected to take effect on 1 April 2019.

The University of Auckland’s Family Violence: It’s not OK project provides, support and information for staff and students affected by family violence.

Contact details for a number of expert organisations can also be found on the Equity Office’s Family Violence: It’s not OK website, Staff are also invited to register for the Family Violence: Its Not OK workshop on 16 August. Details are available on Career Tools.

How a plastic straw ban could hurt disabled people –Newshub, 11 July

Conglomerates such as Starbucks and Countdown are pledging to ban plastic straws, however disability advocates are saying they need them to drink

Gender Equity
Pulled into line: girl, seven, gets New Zealand to change sexist road signs –The Guardian, 31 July

Seven year old Zoe Carew was incensed when she saw ‘Lineman’ signs while on her way to visit her grandparents, so she decided to write to Fergus Gammie, the chief executive of the New Zealand Transport Agency to see what could be done.

“Can you please change the sign to say ‘Line-workers’ instead, or something else correct and fair like that?” she asked.

Gammie wrote back praising her suggestion. The NZTA has opted for the gender-neutral ‘Line Crew’ which will replace ‘Linemen’ as the signs need replacing due to wear and tear.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports Gender Equality.

'Be proud of your language', Cook Islands Language Week starts - Māori Television, 30 July

Cook Island Language Week kicked off in the final days of July with the theme Be proud of your language and protect its future. This was chosen because Cook Islands Māori has been classified as a vulnerable language.

Equity-issues media and arts recommendations

RGB 5 August, 1.30pm Event Cinemas, Westgate
The New Zealand International Film Festival is bursting with fantastic cinema at the best of times, but this documentary caught our eye.

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has long crusaded against gender discrimination and is the topic of this insightful documentary.

Venus Envy Podcast
Hosted by Noelle McCarthy in association with The Spinoff this series has been created to coincide with the Auckland Museum’s Suffrage exhibition Are We There Yet? In this podcast, McCarthy tackles feminism and gender issues with a plethora of guests including Jacinda Arden, Karen Walker Zoe Lawlor and Hayden Wilson.


June 2018

Equity at Work

Gender Transitioning at Work

Finally, employers are expanding trans-inclusive benefits – Fast Company, 28 June

Recent research shows that unemployment amongst transgender and non-binary workers is higher (16%) than across LGBTI people overall (13%).

Increasingly, workplaces are expanding LGBTQ (sic) friendly practices to include more trans-inclusive policies and benefits (Intel is the example used in the article).

The University supports our trans and gender-diverse staff members. This includes those who are transitioning or decide to transition during their employment. To assist staff members transitioning and staff who have supervisory responsibility for people who are transitioning, practical Guidelines have been developed. Learn more and read the guidelines.


The working life of those living with 'invisible' disabilities – Stuff, 17 June

According to Workbridge, while greater inroads are being made in hiring a more diverse range of candidates, there are still difficulties for those with invisible disabilities. Because they are not immediately obvious, it is slightly more complex as it is ultimately up to the individual how much they disclose. Learn how the University supports staff with disabilities

Family Violence

Pacific midwives can help reduce domestic violence – UN – RNZ, 27 June, 2018

The UN Population Fund have advised that midwives and nurses can play a bigger role in reducing the Pacific’s high rates of violence against women.

Learn how the University supports the Family Violence: It’s not OK message

Staff and Students from Refugee Backgrounds

NZ works to double refugee quota as others close their borders – Stuff, June 20

On World Refugee Day (June 20) Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced a Cabinet proposal to double New Zealand’s refugee quota to 1500 per year.

Learn how the University supports Staff and Students from Refugee Backgrounds


Language the key to knowing a person - Te Reo Māori expert Sir Tīmoti Kāretu –RNZ, 28 June

The headline quote captures one of the key messages of the latest book by Sir Timoti Kāretu. Called He Kupu Tuku Iho it was co-written by Wharehuia Milroy. It is the first first full Te Reo Māori book to be published by the Auckland University Press and looks into key aspects of Māori culture, tikanga and language.

Read the University’s Te Reo Policy here, and also learn more about how the University supports Māori staff and students.

Bonus feature: An Equity-issues related Netflix recommendation

Nanette Is a Radical, Transformative Work of Comedy – The Atlantic, 27 June

“The most radical thing Hannah Gadsby does in Nanette is simple: She stops being funny” says Sophie Gilbert.

Tackling sexual assault in the post #MeToo era, Homophobia, Gender Equality and Mental Health in the space of 70 minutes, this Netflix special is being hailed as a ground-breaking piece of work.

Having built her 10 year career on self-deprecating humour, Gadsby has decided that she no longer wants to do that anymore. “Do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from someone who already exists in the margins?” she says. “It’s not humility. It’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, and I simply will not do that anymore.”

It is a remarkable watch that brings pertinent issues to the fore.

May 2018

Equity at Work

The folly of ageism – The Economist

Intolerance of ageism should be the hot corporate cause of 2018, says Barbara Beck.

Baby Boomers are widely considered the most successful, confident, individualistic and longest-living generation to date. However, they are running into the collective problem that many employers no longer want to hire them, writes Beck.

Two thirds of Boomers report having experienced or witnessed age discrimination. Employers tend to shun older workers because they consider them to be physically and mentally less vigorous and more set in their ways.

The University of Auckland has zero tolerance towards ageism. Read more about how the University supports our mature staff.

International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia “Alliances for Solidarity” – 16 May, United Nations

17th May marked the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia “Alliances for Solidarity.” The UN have reaffirmed their commitment to the goals of the 2030 Agenda “to make dignity, equality and inclusion for all a reality - including for LGBTI people.” The University has zero tolerance towards homophobia and actively supports LGBTI staff and students.

Psychology 'very cold, robotic' for Māori – 31 May, RNZ

A Waikato psychologist says Māori face active resistance to their very presence in the psychology profession. Psychologist Michelle Levy said the profession did not train students to address Māori needs, and Māori patients were missing out the understanding they needed. Find out how the University supports Māori staff and students as well as mental health and wellbeing.

Disgraced US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape, criminal sex act charges – 26 May, Stuff

Former Hollywood elite Harvey Weinstein has been arrested on rape and criminal sex act charges. The allegations have since destroyed his career and catalysed the international #MeToo movement. The University has zero tolerance towards family and relationship violence, including harassment. Find out more on the University’s Family Violence and Harassment webpages.

Ambien maker to Roseanne: 'Racism is not a known side effect' -Euronews, 30 May

After making racist remarks on Twitter (and not for the first time), comedienne Rosanne Barr had her recently resurrected show axed from ABC. Bafflingly, Roseanne tried to blame her offensive comments on her Ambien prescription, to which the company responded “Racism is not a known side effect.” ABC has since been applauded for its swift decision.

The University has Zero Tolerance towards racism.

April 2018

Equity at Work

Family Violence - It's not OK

Bill Cosby has been found guilty on all three counts of indecent assault (CNN, 27 April) following a hung jury for the same trial in 2017. The judgement against Cosby is being seen as a watershed moment of the #MeToo movement.

The University of Auckland’s Family Violence: It’s not OK project provides, support and information for staff and students affected by family violence.

Contact details for a number of expert organisations can also be found on the Equity Office’s Family Violence: It’s not OK website, including the new Safe to Talk 24/7 helpline launched in April to support people affected by ‘sexual harm’ and sexual violence.
Israel Folau comments 'incredibly dangerous' - Louisa Wall – NZ Herald, 18 April

Wallabies rugby player Israel Folau caused an uproar on Instagram and the media after posting that members of the LGBTI community would “[go to] hell unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.” (sic).

In this article, Labour MP and former Black Fern, Louisa Wall calls Folau’s comments “dangerous for young LGBTI rugby fans.”

The University has Zero Tolerance towards homophobia and supports our LGBTI staff and students.

Infants as young as 17 months expect fairness and equity – UoA News, 27 March

Dr Annette Henderson and Dr Ying Wang from the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology studied 84 infants to find evidence that children as young as 17 months are sensitive to the ideas of distributive justice.

Dr Wang says “These findings demonstrate that infants are ready to learn about fairness and sharing behaviours within the first year and a half of their lives. Finding ways to promote these behaviours early in life could be the key to enhancing fairness and prosocial behaviour in human social groups.”

Find out about the Equity Office and how we support Māori and Equity groups.

Crossing Divides: Austrian group helps deaf refugees learn sign language – BBC News, 26 April

Austrian organisation Equalizent, based in Vienna, provides courses in sign language and written German for asylum seekers and refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

Find out how the University supports students with disabilities and students from refugee backgrounds.

March 2018

Staff Equity in the News

Parental Leave

ANZ bumps paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks (NZ Herald, 7 March)

ANZ is increasing paid parental leave for its employees from 18 to 26 weeks from July - two years ahead from the government’s law change. ANZ is New Zealand’s largest bank, with 8000 employees,- 240 of whom take annual paid parental leave. ANZ chief executive David Hisco said it made the change because it wanted staff to feel supported so they could give their children the best start in life.

The University of Auckland offers an extensive Parental Leave package, which will be outlined in a staff seminar on 9 April Making the Most of Parental Leave Registrations are now open

People with disabilities are finding more work, but there’s a long way to go (Fast Company, 6 March)

More than 343,000 new workers with disabilities took jobs in 2016, four times as many as the year before. That finding is part of a separate RespectAbility report analyszing recent data from the 2017 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, an online repository of federal data that’s compiled by the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. The current percentage of people with disabilities who have jobs stands at 36% compared to 78% of people without disabilities who are employed. Find out how the University of Auckland supports staff and students with disabilities

Cambridge University reveals 15% gender pay gap (The Guardian, 22 March)

Oxbridge colleges and universities across England are displaying huge variations in the way they reward female members of staff, according to data released to the government as part of the gender pay gap audit. The findings were thatshow there iwas a 15% gap in median hour pay between men and women on the University’s staff, including- including among non-academic employees. Find out how the University of Auckland supports gender equality across our staff

Māori narratives an alternative to western mental health system (RNZ, 18 March)

Researchers have found that using Māori myths and legends as well as traditional medicine has helped psychiatric patients at Te Kūwatawata clinic in Gisborne. Find out how the University of Auckland supports Māori staff and students, as well as health and wellbeing

February 2018

Staff Equity in the News

Gender Equality
International Women's Day 2018: History, strikes and celebrations BBC, 27 Feb

In 1975, the United Nations recognised March 8th as International Women’s Day (IWD), a day dedicated to the rights of women.

The University celebrated International Women’s Day with a series of events, presentations and morning teas. Furthermore, it is committed to ensuring women’s representation, participation and engagement is fair and equitable. Find out more about our commitment to Gender Equity.

Unacceptable behaviours - from the Office of the Vice Chancellor:

Several recent high profile incidents, both in New Zealand and internationally, have highlighted the problem of unacceptable behaviours (particularly sexual harassment) in organisations…read the Vice Chancellor’s full statement about unacceptable behaviours- NB: staff intranet-password required. Also, read University of Auckland Dean of Law, Professor Andrew Stockley’s message: Law School puts Russell McVeagh relationship on hold for 2018

Equity in the News

Support Bailey and Team SHINE at Round the Bays 2018- Equity News and Events, 28 Feb

Bailey is a University of Auckland Marine Science PhD candidate, an Olympic weightlifting and Crossfit coach and competitor, and an after-hours volunteer for domestic violence support agency, SHINE. She is a survivor of domestic abuse and raised money for SHINE by running Round the Bays. We are pleased to report that she exceeded her goal of $1000.

Learn about how the University supports Family Violence: It’s not OK

Money an issue as many businesses don't give caregiver leave- NZH, 22 Feb

Paid Caregiver (sic) Leave is a rarity in the United States as many small businesses struggle to afford it. Currently only four states have it written into law. Advocates are currently trying to get more states on board. Learn how the University supports our staff and students who are Carers

Two former Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cadets have alleged they were discriminated against for transitioning gender-Stuff, 4 Feb

Joel Wilson and Sarah Bowley said they were forced out of the Australian Defence Force after coming out as transgender, despite there being a policy in place to prevent abuse and bullying of transgender officers. Learn how the University supports transgender and gender diverse staff and students.

Employers encouraged to take on more workers with disabilities-One News, 18 Feb

ACC and a leading recruitment agency are trying to dispel common misconceptions about those with disabilities. One in four New Zealanders are limited by physical, sensory learning, mental health or other impairment. Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is calling for “a change in attitude...if we were to get those 88,000 people into work, we’d see more than a $1 billion boost to the New Zealand economy.” Learn how the University supports students and staff with disabilities.

Thirteen top Pacific Students win STEM Scholarships- Scoop, 28 Feb

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon Aupito William Sio has awarded thirteen top Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarships to students of Pacific descent from all across New Zealand, including five students studying at the University of Auckland. Learn how the University of Auckland supports Pacific students


Equity in the News - 2017

December 2017 - January 2018

Equity at Work

Combining Parenting and a Career

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her pregnancy in January, it was widely considered a boon for working mothers everywhere.Given this recent news, it is timely to remind all staff that the University is committed to supporting parents as they work to maintain a meaningful career and meet their family commitments.The Equity Office has a raft of information and support available, including the Combining Parenting and a Career toolkit


Summer has not slowed down equity-related news items. Amazon has launched a product in New Zealand that speaks Te Reo Māori, a report from female scientists say that there is a horrifying culture of sexual assault, and James Shaw blames New Zealanders “silly answers” for ruining LGBTI census. Other stories that have been making headlines include:

Attitudes to children with disability 'must change' Education HQ, 12 January, 2018

The Ministry of Education agreed to override zoning rules to help a pupil with autism move schools because of “almost daily” bullying at his previous school. Chief Human Rights Comissioner David Rutherford wants a proven bullying prevention programme to be introduced in more schools and says the statistics around bullying need to improve.

"The ongoing failure to address a problem that New Zealand children have identified as one of their greatest concerns is a national disgrace," he said.

The University has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.

Find out how we support staff and students with disabilities.

10 years on from Human Rights Commission's inquiry into transgender discrimination NZ Herald, 22 January 2018

Ten years after the 2008 inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People To Be Who I Am/Kia noho au ki toku ano ao it is unfortunate to report a lack of progress. Of the nine key recommendations and actions suggested to empower trans people, only one has been fully achieved. The Human Rights Commission has three workshops in the next two months to ask the wider LGBT+ community about their human rights and any recommendations or solutions they have.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports transgender staff and students. 

PhD student finds Māori and Pasifika families have inequitable access to resources Māori Television, 11 January, 2018

PhD student Rachel Brown is working with Ronald McDonald house and Starship to identify how services provided by District Health Boards can be better tailored to Māori and Pacific families. She says she has seen a number of families who lack understanding around health systems and processes.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports Māori and Pacific staff and students

Time's Person of the Year 2017 is 'The Silence Breakers' CNN, 6 December, 2017

Time magazine has named "The Silence Breakers," representing people who came forward to report sexual misconduct, as its Person of the Year.

“It's a recognition of the cultural reckoning this year and the #MeToo movement, which represents the people, mostly women, who have fuelled a worldwide discussion about sexual harassment and assault.”Relationship violence of any kind is unacceptable at the University of Auckland. Read more.

November 2017

Equity at Work

Last month, the New York Times wrote an article entitled Why ageism never gets old. Ageism is part of the University of Auckland’s Zero Tolerance campaign.

Find out more about how the University of Auckland supports Mature Age staff.


Equity in the News

Australia says “yes” to marriage equality, journalists refused to stop using Māori words and Iceland played host to a gender equality summit. November has been packed with equity-related news and events, including:

Same-sex marriage bill passes in Australian Senate (The Guardian, 29 November)

After 61.4% of Australians voted in favour of marriage equality, it paved the way for the Australian Senate to pass a same-sex marriage bill. After 20 previous attempts, it was the first marriage equity bill to pass either house of federal parliament. It will now go to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass and go into legislation before Christmas.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports LGBTI staff and students and join the University in celebrating Big Gay Out and the Auckland Pride Parade 2018.

Gender Equality summit in Iceland (ABC News, 29 November)

Over 400 women political leaders from around the world met for an annual summit to discuss gender equality inside and outside of the political realm.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports Gender Equality.

Auckland Council misses Māori wellbeing opportunities
(RNZ, 28 November, 2017)

An independent review of Auckland Council has found that little has been done to improve outcomes for Māori since the last review in 2014. Reoccurring problems include underspending on budgets and over reporting on some expenditure.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports Māori staff and students

There's a need for more Pasifika teachers in Auckland, educators say (Stuff, 13 November, 2017)

Dr Tafili Utumapu-McBride from AUT’s School of Education says that to make an impact on the students of South Auckland, there needs to be more Pacific teachers and teachers who understand Pacific values.

Find out how the University supports Pacific staff and students

October 2017

On October 5, the New York Times wrote an article exposing dozens of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Since then, the list has increased to 82 women. As well as dominating the headlines, it was the inspiration for the viral hashtag #metoo, highlighting that sexual assault is a common and worldwide problem.

It is timely to reaffirm the University of Auckland’s zero tolerance stance of any form of sexual assault or harassment towards its staff and students. See also the Prevention of Bullying and Harassment policy, Family Violence policy and Family Violence information and resources.

Other news that has made headlines both here and around the world include:

1. Sexists need not apply: publisher refuses to look at manuscripts addressed to “Dear sirs” (The Guardian, 28 September)

Tramp Press will no longer consider submissions from authors who assume they are men or only list male influences.

Find out how the University enhances Gender equality and educates about Unconscious Bias.

2. Discrimination harms children, not same-sex parents – study (Newshub, 23 October)

A new study released in Australia debunks one of the Vote No’s arguments against marriage equality. Research has shown that children raised by same-sex parents do just as well as those raised by opposite sex parents.

Find out about how the University supports the LGBTI community and Combining Parenting and a Career.

3. Māori businesswoman bringing culture to boardrooms (Newshub, 1 October)

Precious Clark runs Te Kaa where she teaches business people about all aspects of Māori culture, including correct pronunciation of Te Reo and understanding tikanga.

Find out about how the University supports Māori staff and students.

4. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinds 72 guidance documents for rights of disabled students (The Daily Californian, 23 October)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rescinded 72 guidelines that outlined rights for disabled students leading to concerns about decreasing support for students with disabilities.

Find out about how the University supports students with disabilities.

September 2017

The celebration of Māori and Tongan language week, widespread public support for minimum accessibility standards in New Zealand, and opposition within the United States military to the pending transgender ban were just some of the Equity-related news in September:

1. Four in five NZers want accessibility standards – study (RNZ, 5 September)

80% of New Zealanders support setting minimum standards for disabled access for public areas and work places. Access Alliance spokesperson Amy Hogan describes the current situation as “pot luck” and enforceable standards being essential to allow those with disabilities to fully partake in society.

Find out about how the University of Auckland supports students and staff with disabilities.

2. Native Affairs – Racism in NZ (MTV, 26 September).
A recent unconscious bias in education report claims some teachers have lower expectations of Māori students and this may influence their achievement.

Find out how the Equity Office works towards combating Unconscious Bias

3. Universities celebrate Tongan Language Week together (RNZ, 7 September)
The University of Auckland and AUT joined together to celebrate Tongan language week.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports its Pacific students.

4. Google allowed advertisers to target racist words (Buzzfeed, 16 September). The world's biggest advertising platform allows advertisers to specifically target ads to people typing racist and bigoted terms into its search bar.

Find out about the University of Auckland’s Zero Tolerance for discrimination

5. Opposition within the US military to transgender ban (ATT: video, 18 September) Those who are currently serving in or who are veterans of the US military are voicing their disproval of President Trump’s move to ban transgender people enlisting in the military.

Find out how the University of Auckland supports transgender and gender diverse students and staff