We are committed to redressing women’s underrepresentation, especially in senior positions. Factors such as family responsibilities; part-time, temporary and casual employment; gender bias; and wider societal influences can pose barriers to women (and to men) in employment.

The following policies, initiatives and projects are intended to enhance the University’s work environment and ensure talented staff can succeed here.

Recruitment and appointment

Resources are available to assist managers and academic heads ensure fair and equitable employment processes. See Equity in recruitment, selection and appointment.

Unconscious bias

Resources and training on unconscious and implicit bias is available through the Equity Office.

For further information contact Cathie Walsh, Staff Equity Manager by phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 87844 or email: cathie.walsh@auckland.ac.nz

The Royal Society has provided an animation and briefing on unconscious bias. This introduces key concepts and current academic research with the aim of alerting selection pannels to potential biases when making decisions.

Shelley Correll, Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, Director of the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, discusses how stereotypes act as a shortcut in information processing and suggests solutions in this 20-minute video Creating a level playing field.

Part-time, temporary and casual employment

Women’s participation as part-time, temporary and casual employees can enable them to balance work and family responsibilities. However, such roles are sometimes considered 'precarious' employment positions and can inhibit career development. Recruitment processes need to be monitored to ensure that women are not disproportionately represented in casual and fixed-term positions.

Managers and academic heads are encouraged to enable equitable workplace participation by part-time, temporary and casual staff when setting meeting times, preparing timetables and selecting representatives for committees. Relevant policies include:

Bullying, harassment and abuse

The University is committed to a safe, inclusive and equitable work and study environment. Research indicates that bullying harassment and abuse can be a barrier to women's participation and success. The University has policies, procedures, initiatives and training to address these issues. These include:

Monitoring and reporting

Promotions and academic employment processes across the University are monitored to ensure staff are treated fairly and equitably. Union representatives monitor the professional staff salary review process. Relevant policies and guidelines include:

Annual reporting on women’s representation across the University is provided in the University of Auckland Equity Profile.

Documents that laid the foundation to modern equity for academic women

The Report on the Status of Academic Women  was published in 1986. Known as The Wilson Report after its author Margaret Wilson, the document examined the status of academic women in New Zealand Universities and provided suggestions to prevent “discriminatory practices”.

This was followed by the Report of the Committee Established to Review the Position of Academic Women on Staff at the University of Auckland, known as The Gibbs Report, after Council member Jennifer Gibb. The Gibbs report focused on implementing the Wilson Report and provided recommendations to achieve more equal representation and participation of women academic staff at the University of Auckland.

This work coincided with the State Sector Act 1988 that created “good employer” obligations and required an “equal opportunities programme”. Since 2003, this has been renamed the Equity programme at the University of Auckland.


Women in STEMM

There has been a longstanding underrepresentation of women academics and students in Engineering and certain Science subjects such as Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. Women are also underrepresented in the Schools of Medicine and Medical Health Sciences.

Studies here and within other universities indicate the following factors can help increase the representation of women in STEMM.

  • Provision of career path mentoring, sponsorship and/or training of junior women academics in STEMM
  • Encouraging women researchers, postgraduates and graduate teaching assistants to consider academic careers in Engineering and Science
  • Addressing the impact of culture and attitudes as well as structural barriers within faculties
  • Increase diversity of decision making in committee's representation
  • Ensure recruitment processes are free of any gender bias and that suitable women are actively sought and encouraged to apply
  • Various faculty-based projects such as women’s networks and the Science Faculty Gender Platform are available for support

Seminars have been provided to raise awareness barriers to women in STEMM such as Professor Jennifer Martin’s presentations.

Women in senior positions

Underrepresentation of women in senior academic positions is a worldwide challenge. The increasing numbers of women studying at university have not been matched by increases of women in senior positions.

The University recognises the benefits of increased numbers of senior staff who are women.

The Women in Leadership Programme provides opportunities for academic and professional staff women who want to pursue career development and develop leadership capabilities. A Senior Women's Leadership Network is available for senior women employees.  The University also supports attendance at NZ Women in Leadership Programme 2016 for academic and professional staff.

For further information please contact Mary Ann Crick (Manager Leadership Programmes) by phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86379 or email: ma.crick@auckland.ac.nz.

Promotions workshops

These are held in May and June for women who have been past participants in the Women and Leadership programme and are considering promotion to Associate Professor and Professor. For further information contact Mary Ann Crick (Manager Leadership Programmes) by phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86379 or email: ma.crick@auckland.ac.nz
Equity Office staff are available to discuss strategies for increasing numbers of senior women in departments, divisions or teams.
Contact Prue Toft, Director Staff Equity, by phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88316 or email: p.toft@auckland.ac.nz.

Increasing equity in governance and leadership

Women, Maori and Pacific are currently under-represented in governance and leadership roles in New Zealand which has negative impacts for members of these groups and for the governing bodies.

Board and other professional leadership opportunities enhance networking and skill development.

To learn more about how to participate in these bodies, go to Increasing Equity Representation in Governance

Strategies to address gender inequities

Below is a list of possible objectives, which faculties or divisions could include in their strategic plans to address gender inequities.