International Women's Day 2022. what's next?


International Women's Day AFQY WOMEN event, and what we do next.

March 8th rolled around with great anticipation and we weren't disappointed with 240+ attendees to hear our four amazing speakers and five panellists.

The event was started by our Founder and event MC Ryan the Lion sharing about his passion for gender equality informing the attendees about the story of his mother being told, "You don't know what you're f'ing doing, you're just a f'ing woman," who then went on to be invited by the NZ Govt to share the system she created with W.H.O. to enable consistent reporting from around the world, "Technically that would be classed a world class IT system," Ryan quipped.

So on to the speakers and we had four kicked off by Kato'one Kaho, The AA Digital Experience Manager who gave four key points, the one that gained greatest reaction was the concept of your Personal Board, "You put them on the board, you take their council, you have to choose carefully who you listen to as what they say has an impact on you".

Followed by Kheila Webster, in her first time public speaking, shared her personal story of early pregnancy and how as a youngster she tried to make brave decisions that went on to impact her, her family and how she rebuilt herself from the darkness of adoption of her baby to today where along the way she worked hard and studied at the same time, achieving well in her career and since becoming a mother again and starting a family. Her point was, Imagine a world with no bias, not against young mothers, or anyone, where we are all free to be our unique selves and celebrated for it.

Then our third speaker, very humble and unassuming maths teacher Halaevalu Tuipulotu quietly started and befopre getting to the expected story of her Maths Teaching of 200 kids a weekend, she also share deep personal story about her parents dying when she was 14, and her Uncle brought her to NZ. Her parents were engineers, and like them Halaevalu worked hard to achieve this; initially being told her makes were good enough, she went to another uni to achieve grades and then was welcomed back and has now earned a full time job with Fletchers Construction while still studying. Not to mention, she is teaching up to 200 kids a weekend about Maths and empowering kids who once had no appetite for maths, to be doing their own maths on their own accord.

Our last speaker Joanne Fair shared a more typical IWD day story having reached CEO position for a large organisation Fonterra Brands, but with a set of unusual stories of support from men in her journey - 3 men in particular. Sharing stories about comments that made her fear loosing millions in her first big role leading up to CEO, Jo shared how when she asked her manager that he laughed at her concern for two reasons, 1. The systems in place wouldn't let it happen and 2. He had chosen her knowing she would do really well and he believed in her.

The comments in the chat window were feverant across all speakers and as we moved to the panel discussion, who was tasked with answering the question "What does society need to do to make equality effective?" considering this fight for equality has been warring for decades and now in 2022, it still seems crazy, literally, why is it still a problem?

Kate Tulp, Country Manager of Service Now identified the pipeline of women coming through, has always been the issue with who is making it to CEO and Director roles, while Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft NZ highlighted the need to goal step younger, to start at Kindy age which evoked a mention of the #DreamGap as discovered by AFQY around IWD 2022 campaign by Barbie that started in 2018.

Renee Mateparae added the importance of diversity and inclusion being emedded in our day to day actions and encouraging others to be more inclusive.

Misti Landtroop offered agreement to everything from those already spoken, especially starting early, adding it shouldn't be an extra, but a part of everyday from Kindy to the boardroom. 

Misti added the point about how this event became sponsored - a collaborative email to all partners, not sent individually, and the group all agreed to sponsor together.

Kate Tulp started the story of explaining the gender pay gap to her son, and how he said. "Tell the police mum", with reaction to the story of how his friends would be paid differently because they are women or based on their race. "Getting to root cause, as we do i IT, as we do in IT will tell us, we don't have enough woman coming through the pipeline!"

Finally, Lindsay Zwart tackled how things are not made for women, such as a friend who wa invited to speak at an IWD event at 7am and she has 3 small children, noting that women also by in large look after the invisible workload of raising the kids and household as well as a full time job... Check them all out in the video share at the top, there are time stamps for each speaker.

So whats next?

We're all agreed that one day a year isn't enough, how could it be, so AFQY WOMEN will be running monthly events. We will have just two speakers so we can enable more networking time, either in person, or via breakout rooms to enable peer to peer sharing as AFQY wa originally created, to enable connection.

As we read a "Breaking up with IWD" which was very popular with a range of points we didn't question, with Ryan being a male, our founder felt it wasn't right to question a range of things, but as we saw the sentiment of women was so questioning, we now have license to question tokenistic actions, but we wont act on women's behalf by our selves...

AFQY WOMEN is setting up an advisory board of predominantly women, but also with men.

Attracting more men to hear these stories, to be understand where women are coming from - while to date they has bee an element of not wanting to encroach on a women's space and frankly fair is learning how poorly women have been treated and be confronted by a room of women, so to achieve the goal, we see men definitely nee to be a part of it.

We also plan to create a scholarship and support initiatives making a difference for women in Tech, and more... but well let the advisory board confirm that

If you would like to be involved, whether it be attending a future event partnering or joining Advisory Board, please get in touch for information on each