Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Flexible work and generous parental leave

World-leading researchers in gender issues

Established mentoring programme for emerging women leaders

2020 presented some major challenges for women across the globe.  Many saw their support systems vanish, requiring them to work from home while still shouldering a disproportionate share of domestic work and new tasks like facilitating online learning for their children. Sadly, this has resulted in large numbers of women leaving the workforce and shunning leadership roles. Lockdowns also increased the rate of violence against women and girls.  We also know women account for over 70% of the essential health and social workers worldwide so are very much on the frontline when it comes to fighting this virus.  We are proud to say that in 2020, women made up 62.7% of our graduates and 58.7% of our total enrolments. Our gender researchers too are making a powerful contribution, influencing decision makers and using their voices to shift attitudes and behaviours to positively affect the everyday lives of women.

Some things we are especially proud of

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

In 2020 women made up 58.7% of our enrolments (7675 of 13076) and 62.7% of the degrees we awarded (2291 of 3649).

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

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 paper in entrepreneurship which we delivered to recidivist female offenders while they were in prison.

We became a major sponsor of the Waikato women's rugby team.

Female students have been at the helm of the Waikato Young Engineers Society for four straight years.

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

We worked with community partners to build a STEM makerspace for kids because we know that early exposure is critical to closing the gender gap in STEM.

Holly Thorpe

Looking out for the health of female athletes

Professor Holly Thorpe is a sports sociologist who has been investigating chronic energy deficiency amongst elite female athletes for many years. She and her colleagues, Dr Katie Schofield and Dr Stacy Sims are lending their combined 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.


Celebrating the force of young wāhine toa in STEM

We were proud to see Ashleigh Dick and Shalini Guleria selected for the Y25 programme in 2020. The programme identifies and supports 25 young, Kiwi women doing amazing things - change-makers who are passionate about making a difference and inspiring other young women to follow their lead.  During Ashleigh’s final year of her Bachelor of Engineering in Environmental Engineering, she was the president of the Young Engineers Society and chair of the Waikato chapter of Engineering NZ. Alumnus Shalini Guleria is a bioengineer who is on a mission to find a cure for cancer and help young girls develop a love of science. She recently completed a Masters degree in science following a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering, and went on to launch a social enterprise called Science Box where she and her team of volunteers hope to show first-hand that science is not just a male vocation.


Blazing a trail for Māori women in leadership 

Alumna Bella Takiari Balme is a woman on the rise and her journey is inspiring many other women to step up, use their voices and tackle challenges in their communities, head-on.  Bella completed a Master of Management Studies in Accounting, returning many years later to complete Te Tohu Paetahi, our total immersion Māori language programme. She now holds many governance positions on boards including ACC New Zealand, Te Ohu Kaimoana, Braemar Hospital and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, to name a few.  This follows ten years in London where she was the Financial Controller for petroleum giant, Shell.  With a firm commitment to lifelong learning and a passion for helping the vulnerable, she says her experiences at Waikato were instrumental.

Saudi woman

The rise of online entrepreneurship amongst Saudi women

Araft Alshawaf recently finished her PhD looking at how Saudi Arabian female entrepreneurs are embracing social networking technologies to develop home-based businesses.  These platforms have essentially enabled these women to enter the labour market, build networks beyond their family circles and enjoy personal growth without physically having to leave their homes,

Anna Fisher

Astronaut on campus talks motherhood, science and women in space

We were privileged to have NASA astronaut, Dr Anna Fisher on campus for a free event with a powerful message for girls, ultimately that they can ‘have it all’ and be a mother while also having a demanding career in a typically male dominated field.  When NASA assigned Dr Fisher to the space shuttle Discovery she was eight months pregnant.  Her daughter was 14 months old when Fisher started her eight day stay in the stars.

"Young girls need to realise that doing research, using your brain and doing something you love that's going to make you beautiful and exciting, not how much make up you're wearing."