The second New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation makes visible women’s status in economic, social and political life and includes governance, professional life and employment.
It moves away from anecdotal and impressionistic accounts of women’s progress to systematic benchmarking in the public and private sectors. The Census provides a comparison with results of governance data from two years ago. It is similar to research published overseas allowing for international comparisons.
The report is intended as a catalyst for improvement in women’s participation in the corporate sector. It provides encouragement for board chairs and other directors to reflect on the diversity of their boardrooms and to ask themselves whether the current composition of their boards is competitive, fair and sustainable. It allows shareholders and institutional investors to think about board succession planning. The findings also suggest that there can be no relaxation of the Government’s commitment to gender balance on statutory bodies if New Zealand is to reach its target.
The results allow national women’s organisations to focus attention on gender participation in governance and decision-making and to pursue activities and policies aimed at closing the gender gaps. The Census also brings to the attention of individual women the need for female skills and experience to be taken into account in the commercial sector.
Researchers, policy makers, politicians and students will also find the Census useful. The first Census was referenced extensively both within New Zealand and internationally. It is hoped that the second Census with expanded content will be of greater use for those who want factual information about the status of men and women’s participation and their power differentials. What gets counted, gets noticed.