February 15, 2017

Super diverse women celebrated at launch

Published in the NZ Herald

Diverse women have been celebrated at the launch of a new organisation dedicated to championing the rights and achievements of women from indigenous and migrant backgrounds.

Super Diverse Women was launched at an event at NZME Central in Auckland, with inaugural chairwoman Mai Chen addressing the crowd.

Also in attendance were Auckland mayor Phil Goff, nib New Zealand chief executive Rob Hennin, Ateed general manager destination and marketing Vivien Bridgewater, Perpetual Guardian investment and philanthropy partner Sumita Paul and singer Bic Runga.

Chen said diverse women are “looking for more role models that look like them”.

“It’s about refreshing diversity in the 21st century.

“It’s important for us to get more sophisticated with how we look at diversity.”

Chen related a piece of advice given to her by Runga, which she said helped her overcome obstacles related to diversity.

“Everything I’ve experienced as a coloured woman is fuel,” she said.

Goff said although there had been improvements in accepting diversity, there was still work to be done.

“I’ve seen some huge progress in the recognition of the part that diversity and ethnicity can play in our city.”

He said everyone deserved “equal respect as a human being”, and an “opportunity to achieve to their full potential”.

“Our inspiration must be to be a fully inclusive society.”

Goff held up former colleague and Prime Minister Helen Clark as an example of what women have achieved, but added that there was “still that glass ceiling to representation”.

Bic Runga then performed for those in attendance, and in between songs said she was “really excited” to be part of the organisation.

“I don’t know why I haven’t belonged to a group like this before. I’m looking forward to meeting this great group of women.”

Chen is the author of Diversity Matrix: Updating what diversity means for discrimination law in the 21st Century, which was also launched at the event.

The key foundation sponsor of Super Diverse Women is nib NZ. Other sponsors include Ateed, BNZ and NZME, publisher of the Herald.