Writing this we are yet a few days away from the AGM. My position is Treasurer for GWNZ, and extensive information is required in the financial report in order to provide financial transparency and better accountability to our members, although I appreciate that few read the report ‘cover to cover’. In many years lecturing accounting to university classes, I have often demonstrated how transparency in a financial report is essential to delivering accountability. But it can mean something else too: recall now how the pandemic provided a transparency to social problems not previously seen by many of us, the hidden becoming revealed in painful clarity. The sad illumination of groups who believed themselves to be outside of taking any social responsibilities during the pandemic, homelessness and sleeping in cars, and issues of home schooling for families on the wrong side of the digital divide. Time and time again GWNZ has supported girls and women looking to grasp an opportunity in NZ for education and training, to become more visible. In graduation ceremonies at VUW, it is always rewarding to observe a sea of raised hands when our Chancellor asks the assembled graduates who are the first in their family to graduate.
My position as Treasurer is in a voluntary capacity, as are all the other contributions by members to ensure GWNZ’s survival in the shifting sands of this new dispensation. Our last hundred years here in NZ has only happened because of the commitment of hundreds of women volunteering their time and passion to improve opportunities for girls and women. As Margaret Mead noted: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Thank you for your efforts, and in particular to Jo Innes, our retiring President.