A tribute to the wāhine making our charities tick
By Maisie Gray
On Monday we celebrated International Women’s Day and paid tribute to all the empowering and inspiring wāhine who make our world go round. Although celebrating women shouldn’t need a specific date, The Good Registry team decided to end the week’s female-focused fiesta by paying tribute to all the women who lead, work for, support and volunteer with our 65 charity partners.
We reached out to some of our charity partners to hear how wāhine empower their charities and communities and what this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #choosetochallenge means to them.
We hope you’ll enjoy these words of wisdom and inspiration — after all, who doesn’t love an inspirational quote from a fellow female achieving goodness!
Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is New Zealand’s world-leading independent biomedical research institute and Professor Franca Ronchese heads the institute’s immune cell biology research programme (allergy research). With everything going on in the world now you could say that Professor Ronchese is a pretty important lady!
Processor Ronchese told us she is very fortunate to have many women working and achieving greatness around her, both as scientists and in other roles. She said that being a scientist requires many talents including curiosity, the will to excel and determination to persist through failure — and wāhine can make as good a scientist and get as much satisfaction from science careers as any of their male peers.
“Today we look to science to solve many problems including old and new diseases, inequities, a deteriorating environment and changing climate. We need the talent of every wāhine scientist to win this challenge.”
She said that as an older woman, to her #choosetochallenge meant challenging the traditional role that society envisaged for her as a woman. Although what society expects of women and girls is different today, she says these expectations are as pervasive and no less constraining than they were before. She encourages everyone including women to be free to find the role in which they can best find personal fulfilment and contribute to society regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
“Choosing to challenge means helping everyone around us recognise their unconscious biases. And as it takes a long time for anyone to overcome old thinking habits that have been reinforced over the years, we cannot tire of choosing to challenge, and must continue calling out those who would rather not hear.”
The Neonatal Trust
Dedicated to making a difficult start to life that little bit easier, The Neonatal Trust’s main mission is to provide support to families of premature or sick full-term babies as they make their journey through neonatal care, the transition home, and onwards. The wāhine at the forefront of The Neonatal Trust are committed to supporting everyone from those birthing premature and unwell babies to those who work to support them within the charity.
They say they #chosetochallenge inequity for these women. This inequity relates to things such as access to services, healthcare and support, and is very dependent on where you live in Aotearoa.
Operations manager Justine Broker says: “We all feel blessed to work with such awesome wāhine who go above and beyond every day without fail.”
Asked what she wants to tell New Zealand women, Justine said, “Don’t give up! What women and their bodies can do is vital and we must keep forging ahead.”
Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC)
More than 3300 New Zealand women will be diagnosed each year with breast cancer. That is a lot of wonderful wāhine, and that is why we are more than grateful that the team at The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) do what they do to support, inform and represent these women.
BCAC is run by volunteers who have battled breast cancer. With knowledge and experience of what it is like to go through diagnosis and treatment, they are committed to making life better for New Zealand women who may discover a lump or bump.
For BCAC #choosetochallenge means empowering women with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions about breast cancer treatment and care. They also provide up-to-date, evidence-based information by distributing a free Step by Step support pack to everyone diagnosed with breast cancer.
The main message they want to leave with anyone combating breast cancer is to “Know that you are not alone. There is a community of women standing behind you. Together we are stronger. Tangata tū pakari tonu.”