SDG 5 - Gender Equality

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Women Lead UC and UCSA

For the first time in our nearly 150-year history, UC is led by women. Chancellor Sue McCormack recently reflected on what leading her alma mater has meant to her. The Chancellor is proud of the growing relationship with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and the ongoing work UC is doing to make sure our Māori and Pasikifa students have the space to excel, and the work ethic and community spiritedness of UC students and staff. The Chancellor also said a highlight was the appointment of UC’s first female Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey. In 2020, they were joined by the new UCSA President Tori McNoe and new Vice-President Katie Mills. Tori and Katie are the first female duo to lead the UC Students’ Association since it began in 1894.

Pacific Artist in Residence

Nina Oberg Humphries was announced as the 2020 Pacific Artist in Residence at UC’s Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies. Exhibiting throughout Aotearoa, Nina’s work explores her dual Pacific and Moana Oceania heritage. Using traditional Polynesian art forms such as Tivaevae, costume and dance, combined with elements of popular culture, she seeks to convey issues of gender, identity and social politics. “As the Macmillan Brown Pacific Artist in Residence I’ll be researching taonga from the Pacific Collection at Canterbury Museum, conducting interviews with members of the Pacific community to find out what meaning and relevance, if any, these taonga still hold for them,” she says.

UC Commits to Investigating Gender Pay Parity

In March 2020, on International Women’s Day, UC committed to investigating gender pay parity for academic staff. The investigation follows findings by UC researchers showing that female
academics in Aotearoa are likely to earn less than their male counterparts over their career, despite equivalent research performance. UC’s commitment to action on investigating gender pay parity includes taking ethnicity into consideration. Further work is also planned to investigate pay parity for nonacademic staff at UC.


Gender and the Law

UC’s Gender and the Law course examines the theoretical issues of equality, feminism and the intersection of gender and culture in areas of the law that raise gender issues in a bicultural legal context, including for Māori and Pasifika women. A range of topics are explored, such as norms on gender equality, legal responses to violence against women, and the challenge of intersexuality and changing gender. Students reflect upon the gendered nature of the law and its impact on society, on Aotearoa bi-cultural society and on the international level.


Gender Pay Gap in Academia

UC’s Associate Professors Ann Brower and Alex James analysed Performance-based Research Fund (PBRF) scores and academic ranks of all academics in New Zealand for their research paper on gender pay in New Zealand Universities. Their finding of a ‘gender performance pay gap’ is a world-first. It was made possible by measuring the research performance scores of all New Zealand university academic staff from 2003 - 2012 – nearly 6000 individuals. Their finding shows that, when women and men perform at the same productivity level, women still earn less.

Women in Engineering Residential Programme

Our Women in Engineering Residential Programme is a free 5 day/4 night programme for female high school students in Aotearoa interested in exploring the opportunities in engineering. The programme features various interactive workshops, inspiring presentations and fun social activities for eligible high school students who identify as female, who have completed year 12. During the programme the students are immersed in and experience the range of engineering subjects on offer at UC.


Ensuring women’s participation and success at the UC

UC actively measures women’s participation and success, to help ensure that there are as few barriers to women’s participation as possible. In 2020, women accounted for more than 52% of enrolments and approximately 55% of all course completions. UC also offers mentoring opportunities, support structures and facilities that enable all women to meet their educational aspirations.

2020 applications  52% women | 48% men
2020 enrolments 52% women | 48% men
2020 course completions 55% women | 45% men