SDG 5 Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

sdg5 gender equality
Flexible work and generous parental leave
World-leading researchers in gender issues
Established mentoring programme for emerging women leaders

Some things we are especially proud of

sdg5 woman graduate


In 2022 women made up 63% (1730 of 2748) of students starting a degree and 63% of the degrees we awarded (1926 of 3063).

Our qualification completion rate for female students of 70%, compared to 65% for male students. (Based on Tertiary Education Commission EPI data for 2022 for the full-time Level 7 degree level cohort.)

47% of female applicants receiving unconditional offers in 2022 compared to 30% of male applicants.

sdg5 students


We have zero tolerance for harassment and a robust protected disclosure policy to make it easy and safe for staff and students to anonymously report issues.

Our diverse group of academics teaching and conducting research about the unique challenges facing women across the world.

sdg5 stem women


Our generous parental leave policy provides six weeks paid leave in addition to that provided by the Government.

We have many generous scholarships for women, including several in STEM and to support the return to study.

All our first year students are allocated a dedicated staff member to give them advice and reassurance to help them succeed in their study goals as part of our Study Advising Programme.

New Programme launched to support emerging women leaders

The University was proud to launch the Waikato Women in Leadership programme in 2021. The programme aims to help emerging women leaders across the University to develop leadership capabilities and enhance their networks. The year-long programme combines one-on-one mentoring, peer group mentoring and workshops on topics ranging from cultural leadership to communications and career planning.

Wāhine Student Mentoring and Support

At the University of Waikato, female and female-identifying students can engage in diverse student clubs, spanning Business, Law, Sports, and STEM fields. These clubs offer crucial support in subjects traditionally dominated by men, offering mentorship, networking opportunities, skills workshops, and social gatherings. This empowers women to thrive in their studies, fostering a sense of community and promoting the exchange of expertise. Over 700 female and female-identifying students take part in the opportunities these clubs provide.

The gendered pandemic

Professor Holly Thorpe at the University is currently exploring how New Zealand women have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in a new multi-disciplinary project. In 2021 she was awarded a two-year James Cook Research Fellowship. The research builds on two pilot projects being led by Professor Thorpe investigating how women across the sport sector have responded to the pandemic, and another project exploring how women from different cultural backgrounds are understanding, defining, and managing wellbeing.

“At the local level this research will contribute to more complex ways of thinking about women’s wellbeing and what strategies and policies are needed to recognise the gendered effects of the pandemic and how we can better support women through this and out the other side of it."

Spotlight on health of female athletes

Waikato researchers have been investigating chronic energy deficiency amongst elite female athletes for many years, joining forces to lend their expertise to High Performance Sport New Zealand through an initiative called WHISPA. WHISPA brings together a multi-disciplinary team of experts to support women in sport to protect their health and wellbeing while striving for high performance. They tackle issues ranging from energy deficiency to menstrual irregularity, ACL injuries and pregnancy.