1. Introduction from Antonia Watson
Did we have a crystal ball in 2021 when we released our ANZ Watch Women Win report? It would appear so. From Zoi Sadowski-Synnott’s historic gold and silver medals at the Winter Olympics to the spectacular turnaround of the Black Ferns, our women have achieved spectacular success.
They said it couldn’t be done, but the Black Ferns sold out Eden Park, with 42,579 poi-twirling supporters creating a new world record for a women’s rugby match in the unforgettable Rugby World Cup.
At the Commonwealth Games alone, Kiwi women won 23 medals of 49 – and seven were gold. We hosted seven nations for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and, in an impressive breakthrough, the White Ferns and domestic women’s players secured pay parity for match fees with men.
Our women are winning, individually and in teams, on the water and on the land.
Coverage of women’s sport has grown exponentially, and NZ Rugby is predicting a record 35,000 women and girls will sign up to play this season.
It’s been a stunning run. But let’s remember, stun has two definitions – amaze and daze.
While we celebrate the irrepressible energy of our sportswomen, we can’t afford to be blinded to the barriers that continue to hold so many of their sisters and supporters back in all facets of life.
As we said in our Watch Women Win report in 2021, gender inequality still exists in our homes, workplaces, boardrooms and sports fields, despite great progress being made. In 2023, it still does.
We cannot lose sight of this problem, any more than we can ease up on our efforts to raise awareness of the challenge and, more constructively, propose workable solutions.
I am proud that our 2021 report raised awareness of the inequalities which need addressing across Aotearoa. I am especially proud that we took the opportunity to look at ourselves. It is one thing to raise awareness, another to acknowledge the work has to start at home.
Last year, ANZ New Zealand went looking for our own weaknesses and the gaps we needed to close. What followed was our ANZ Equity Diversity and Inclusion strategy which sets out our aspiration to be best in class in these areas.
The strategy sets out a three-year workplan to ensure we truly live up to our ANZ behaviours of creating and delivering together. Most importantly, this work will also support our purpose to “shape a world where people and communities thrive.”
My leadership team and I committed to adopting new and important organisational behaviours to support this work, with the first priority being a shift in focus from being an equal opportunity organisation to an equal outcome organisation. We are seeing a world through a diversity lens, and it is certainly enriching our perspective on everything from product development to hiring.
We have also recognised that we must deepen our understanding of the values that are intrinsic to Māori. This, too, is fundamental to our purpose to shape a world where people and communities thrive.
Tākiri-ā-Rangi is ANZ New Zealand’s commitment to work for a better future for Māori. It is our commitment to support Māori to build their own path to a better future through economic equality achieved by Māori, as Māori. We all gain when we are seen as equal and treated as equals.
So, today, we shine a light on an important priority in our second Watch Wāhine Win report. This report recognises and celebrates the women who make up the rich cultural fabric of Aotearoa and it restates the need to continue all of our efforts to achieve an equitable society.
As we come out of the pandemic, New Zealand is facing labour and skills shortages.
In the December 2022 quarter, for example, 84,800 Pasifika women and 193,000 Māori women were in paid employment according to MBIE. Unfortunately, there is no comparable data for Asian women.
While the Milky Way has up to four billion stars, only 10 are said to shine brightly. Yet seen from the earth, the Milky Way can still impress and inspire us. The same could be said for those women.
As you might expect, our report shows there are barriers to developing this talent pool – time, money, business structures, lack of development opportunities and sometimes women’s own diffidence – but there are also enablers.
The Māori, Pasifika and Asian women – and men – we interviewed mostly expressed a desire to progress if given an opportunity. While there is respect for role models, and the concept of “if you can see it, you can be it”, there is also real value placed on being one of many in a valued and diverse workforce with opportunities to progress.
Our research suggests we have a unique opportunity for growing cohorts of engaged, capable people – the extraordinary ordinary – from which potential leaders can emerge naturally with the support of their colleagues.
It will not be easy, but nothing worth having is.