Here’s to Spring!
As I finish up as your President, I see Spring at GWNZ exemplified by a recent branch event I attended; the Graduate Women Manawatu Research Symposium and AGM. We had designed the event to reflect the purpose and work of GWNZ, while celebrating our members and introducing the organisation to potential new members. It worked!
The initiative showcased the interconnectedness of our purpose “empowering women through education” and our three themes: Think – Act – Connect. Members and prospective members were invited to the Symposium to share their research. We attracted long standing members, new members, and several awardees from GWNZ and the branch scholarship programmes.
EDUCATION - THINK
The research topics were diverse and engaging. Our guest speaker, Associate Professor, Claire Matthews shared her thoughts on impactful research. THINK reflects our interest in supporting life-long education and recognises our members are smart and like to connect with like-minded people. The research topics ranged from engaging children in global consciousness to how to better understand the impact of working women caring for their aging parents. The emerging researchers in the audience were fully engaged in what Claire had to say about ‘enhancing the impact of your research’; evidence of how us more experienced researchers have a role in mentoring the next generation of researchers.
ADVOCACY - ACT
One of the reasons people join GWNZ is the opportunity to have a voice; to speak up for women’s rights. Also, as was evident at the Symposium, our audience valued hearing how current researchers are approaching current issues from a feminist lens. Topics ranged from examining the role of nurses during Covid across cultures; the impact of climate change told by women’s stories; and taking a closer look at the role of women as teachers in early New Zealand. Conversation among the participants shared thoughts on what we see happening in Iran as women react to being excluded from education.
COMMUNITY – CONNECT
The event provided the opportunity to celebrate GWNZ as a community; on the day we created a vibrant space for a diverse group of women to flourish. We connected with members face to face; new members were introduced to older members. And yes, we were able to attract several members of the audience to join up. We acknowledged the connection between the Branch and the National Executive by sharing some of the new initiatives carried out over the past few years (many initiated by GWM) and were able to gather ideas for the future. Graduate Women Manawatu is well represented at the national level and so continue to contribute to the progress of the organisation.
It has been a privilege to be your President for the past three years. I leave the role, knowing GWNZ is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago and that it is well positioned to respond to ‘empowering women though education” . I wish GWNZ and all associated entities all the very best.
- Dr Jo Innes, President (GWNZ), Chair (GWNZ-CT) 2019 - 2022