NZFGW National Executive News November 2007 P O Box 31 734, Milford 0741, North Shore City, New Zealand Wearing the White Ribbon Charlene Lutes, National President,
At our North Shore Branch meeting in November, we were reminded that White Ribbon Day (International Day to End Violence Against Women) is approaching. Surprisingly, one member said, “I don’t think I’ll wear a white ribbon this year. I had intended to, but then I remembered that a man in my neighbourhood is always yelling loudly at his wife. I think it might be hypocritical for me to wear a white ribbon, when I have yet to do anything about this situation, for instance, going to visit the woman and offering help if she needs it.” I admire this woman’s courage in speaking out, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has visited this woman to form a relationship that would empower and encourage her to take appropriate action.
On the other hand, I think we who support NZFGW can wear our white ribbons knowing that we belong to an organization that has a role in ending violence against women, both here and, through IFUW, abroad. NZFGW members, for example, had leading roles in the formulation of the National Council of Women-coordinated NGO CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) Report. This report, and the reaction of the UN Expert Committee on CEDAW, led to a resolution adopted by the NCW executive meeting in late September, asking the New Zealand government to invite a UN Special Rapporteur to come here to assess the situation regarding violence against women. I had mixed feelings about this action, as I suspect New Zealand is by no means among the world’s worst offenders in this respect. The difference is that New Zealand is an open society, where women are empowered to speak out, whereas in many other countries, women are silenced and suppressed. Nevertheless, we all know that we could do better, so we can regard the Special Rapporteur, if she does come here, not so much as a critic as one who has come to help us see actions that we could and should take.
As well as advocacy, on our own and through organizations such as NCW, and support of Women’s Refuge and Shakti Asian Women’s Refuge by many Branches, NZFGW works to end violence against women in a subtle but ultimately powerful way. Bullies attack only the powerless and dependent. To be safe from bullying, women must be able to take action in their own defence, through legal resources, such as protection orders, and with the help of agencies such as Women’s Refuges. If women are to leave violent relationships, they need to be economically independent. Educated women can know their rights and have access to economic resources. NZFGW, since its beginning in 1921, has worked for the empowerment of women through education, especially at the tertiary level. Through the efforts of women all over the world, women in many countries now have access to higher education on a level equal to that of men.
So, I think we can wear our White Ribbons with confidence knowing that, as NZFGW members, we are working in significant ways to end violence against women.
Condolences We offer our sincere condolences to the families of: Elsie Elizabeth NEIL, B Com; MBE,1984, for Services to the Community; Member Emerita Jean Campbell, JP, MA, Honoured Member of Auckland Branch. These women have been much respected and loved members of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women. We celebrate their lives, and their significant contributions not only to our
organisation but to the wider community.
Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007NZFGW Charitable Trust Noeline Alcorn NZFGW Awards for 2007/8 Haynes Williamson award Debra Gardiner. Debra is enrolled for a PhD in Engineering at the University of Canterbury, researching the design of suspended concrete floor diaphragms in multi-storey buildings through a study of the complexity and magnitude of stresses such as earthquakes. She hopes her thesis will make recommendations for the design and detailing of these diaphragms for the use of practitioners to enable them to design simply, accurately and efficiently for modern structures. It should improve safety and lower cost. She is active in the student community of the postgraduate school. NZFGW Fellowships Fellowships of $10,000 Karen Pickford has an outstanding Masters degree from the University of Otago with a thesis on Roman concepts of cruelty and has just begun to study for a PhD in classics and ancient history at Cambridge. Her thesis will examine Roman soldiers’ motivation and consider whether concepts of patriotism were a factor. Rebecca McLauglan will study for a Master of Science degree in Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University, New York. She has been active professionally in Christchurch where she returned on completion of her first degree at the University of Auckland where she was awarded the W.D. Wilson prize in Architectural Studies. She is passionate about urban design and the need for cities geared to fostering innovation in industry, sustainability and lifestyle. Krushil Watene is beginning a PhD in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, one of the three top departments in the field. Her thesis will focus on global justice. While working on her Masters at the University of Auckland she has also acted a tutor in philosophy and as a mentor for younger Maori students in the university’s tuakana programme. Amy Zhang is an outstanding student who has will start studying at Cambridge in September 2008. She hopes to study with a professor whose interests are at the interface of chemistry and biology and who is working on telomerase action to design cancer therapeutics. $5000 awards Lorena Gibson is working on a PhD at Massey University in Social Anthropology. Her thesis research is based on case studies of NGOs and grassroots development initiatives among urban poor women in India and Papua New Guinea. Elizabeth Bisley has an outstanding record in Art History at Victoria University where she has completed an honours degree and will study for the Masters programme in design history run by the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She wants to return to New Zealand to work in a public gallery to produce exhibitions that invite dialogue with the audience. Joanna McKenzie is studying for a PhD at the University of Waikato in the Protein Engineering laboratory. Her research uses biochemistry and structural biology to investigate toxin and antitoxin proteins. It seeks to understand some fundamental aspects of the biology of M. Tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB and should provide avenues for the future development of TB antibiotics.
The New Horizons for Women Trust (NHWT) is seeking nominations for Trustees. NZFGW is one of 14 nominating organizations for the Trust. In her letter asking for nominations, Trust Chair Ellen McCrae says, ‘It is important to emphasise that The New Horizons for Women Trust is a working trust and as such the workload for trustees is significant. Each trustee is expected to serve on at
Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
least one sub-committee, and take an active role in progressing the various functions that are the focus of the Trust, i.e. publicity, fundraising and promotion of awards. This year we are seeking women who have skills in fundraising, marketing and publicity/journalism. Geographically, the Trust wants nominations from the Auckland and Wellington regions in particular. .
Nominations, along with a recent CV, must be with Jill Ellis, NZFGW Secretary, by 12 January 2008. Please do not send nominations directly to NHWT. . Treasurer’s Report Margaret Ellett NZFGW Annual Financial Statements 2006-2007
Hard copies of these have been posted and adoption by Branches was requested by 24 November 2007. Thank you to the Branches that have already responded.
Donations to IFUW
Thank you to the Wellington Branch for the donation of $4,500 to the IFUW Fellowship Fund and $1,500 to the Bina Roy Partners in Development Fund. If Branches want to time the sending of their donations, the next transfer of funds to IFUW will be in early January 2008, with the IFUW dues. After that, donations will be sent in late June.
NZFGW CIR Report Stephanie Hutchinson
I have received the updated lists of Office Branch holders and note a few changes. Thank you to those retiring Branch CIRs and welcome to the new ones, though I note some of the “new” ones are very familiar names indeed (good to “see” you!). For those Branches that do not specify a CIR, I will communicate with the President when I send out e-mails. If this is not acceptable, please let me know who should be the contact. If I can help anyone with information about the CIR’s job or what is happening at IFUW, or anything internationally, please just ask. Also please note that the NZFGW website has all sorts of international information on it (as well as being a great national site) and that the IFUW website is a “must look at”, regularly. -
Did you know? That NZFGW is now the fourth largest NFA (national federation or association) in the IFUW membership?
Report from the IFUW Board of Officers
The second report from Louise Croot, IFUW President, on behalf of the Board of Officers is now available. The report highlights policy recommendations on climate changes and gender, endorsed by IFUW, and provides an update on IFUW's futures planning.
Call for information on national activities
IFUW national federations and associations are encouraged to send short articles describing local or national projects, conferences, seminars, advocacy efforts or other activities, together with photographs, to These articles will be posted on the IFUW website to share with IFUW members in other countries. Events open to IFUW members in other countries can be announced in advance through the IFUW website calendar of events. Please send these to me in the first instance.
There is a new digital catalogue on the Women’s Worlds/Mundos de Mujeres 2008 Congress. The deadline for the submission of proposals is: February 28th, 2008. For a preliminary list of invited speakers and further information, the website is: Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007IFUW Online Discussion Forum on Higher Education
Don’t forget that this is an on-going discussion and you are encouraged to contribute.
Week 6: 14 November – 21 November. Extended time for wrapping up discussion and making suggestions for action by IFUW. Information on how to participate is in the last two national executive newsletters and on the IFUW website. MidTerm Council - Workshops on Building Sustainable Futures
It is absolutely essential that Branches do some homework ahead of time, including reading the Programme for Action leaflet, available on the NZFGW website, looking at the IFUW website, and having some ideas of what is ‘doable’. We have such a short time at Midterm Council to work out what we can achieve, but if Branch representatives have some idea about what their Branch may wish to be involved in, we will make progress. It might be useful, for example, to consider a local topic and a national topic. With the Midterm Council at the beginning of March, Branches really have only one meeting to discuss this, unless you have already done so! We would be interested in your ideas ahead of time.
IFUW Regional Groupings and PGWNet
IFUW's seven regional groups offer members opportunities to exchange ideas and work together with members from nearby countries, thus experiencing the international aspect of IFUW membership, while drawing on similar geographic, cultural and historical backgrounds.
Regional groups are currently active in Africa, Asia and South Asia, Europe, Central and Latin America, and the Pacific. These groups organize conferences, seminars, friendship visits, and joint projects on issues of common concern. They may also represent members at meetings of regional governmental structures, such as the European Parliament.
The Pacific Graduate Women’s Network (PGWNet) is the IFUW Regional Group for our part of the world. PGWNet includes Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands; and there are contacts with the Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and the Northern Marianas. PGWNet is a very new grouping and it is proving geographically difficult to maintain contacts, but there are some very committed women who will work to ensure its success.
Beverley Turner, IFUW Membership advisor for the Pacific Region, writes: News from the Pacific Region
Membership of the seven regional groupings within IFUW is growing as new NFAs are formed. Each region operates differently and its processes and programmes, or lack thereof, are whatever is most appropriate to NFAs in the region. Written into PGWNet’s constitution (2001) is the requirement for the PGWNet Council’s Executive members and representatives of all member countries to meet annually. Of course, there is much e-mail traffic in between. To date, meetings have been held during an IFUW or an NFA conference, e.g. at Ottawa and Perth, and in between conferences, in Fiji, Australia, Samoa and New Zealand to date, although constitutionally, we can decide the method and/or medium of the meetings year by year.
Sadly, no 2006-2008 PGWNet Office-bearers/ Executive members from ATUW, Tonga, were able to travel to the UK for the 2007 IFUW Conference, and so there has been no 2007 Council Meeting - yet. However, it was very valuable for members from Fiji, Samoa, Australia and NZ to meet in Manchester, reflect on where PGWNet is, and discuss its activities, past, present and future. A membership rule change (2007) now allows full IFUW membership with 20 members, but with the phasing out of Bina Roy Partners-in-Development programme due to lack of donations, small fragile island states will struggle to fund their membership dues. On the positive side, the larger NFAs are keen to establish “sister-linkages” for support and mutual enrichment.
Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
The Tongan PGWNet Executive has initiated a Virtual Council Meeting in late November, with over 60 graduates from 15 countries on the e-mail circulation list. For the first time, individual members of PGWNet, as far apart as Niue and Palau, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands, can take part if they wish.
Louise Croot, IFUW President, writes: Congratulations on being very innovative with your Council meeting approach. It is certainly a good way to get involvement when you cannot meet face to face. With peak oil coming up, climate change issues, costs and other difficult situations that you face, this is a good beginning using technology you have available. All best wishes for a successful meeting with full participation. I look forward to seeing you progress your business and await the outcome.
If your Branch would like to be involved in some way with the PGWNet, please let NZFGW national executive know.
Public Affairs Report Jean Silver 1. Women MPs
In August 2007, the CEDAW monitoring committee expressed concern about political participation and representation of women in the New Zealand Parliament. CEDAW also asked questions about gender policy in New Zealand political parties.
We have suggested to NCW that they ask each political party to increase the number of women selected as candidates for the 2008 general election in order to try to achieve a more equitable representation of women in Parliament. Currently 36 women MPs represent 29% of a 121 member Parliament. This is down from the 33% representation after the 2005 general election.
2. Hot Topic: Global warming and the future of New Zealand
An informative and readable book by Gareth Renowden, published by AUT Media 2007; ISBN 978-0-9582829-0-1, and distributed by Macmillan, is an excellent resource book for study and discussion by community groups who are taking issues of climate change, sustainability and energy seriously. Refer also to the website
3. Climate Change
A 9 minute DVD on climate change, available for individuals and community groups, features NIWA scientist Dr David Wratt and Victoria University's Professor Peter Barrett talking about the latest evidence of climate change, the potential impacts on New Zealand, and some actions that we can take to help mitigate the impact of climate change.
These DVDs may be available in your local library or local council, or you can buy a copy, which comes complete with a package of other climate science resources for $20 (including GST and packaging & postage). The website whom you may be able to borrow a copy, or you can download an order form to purchase your own copy. Refer also to
Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
Auckland Regional, Auckland City, Manukau City, North Shore City, Papakura, Rodney, Hamilton City, Environment Waikato, Rotorua, Wellington City and Southland District Councils were prominent supporters of NZ’s first national
Around the country people cleared their homes of old computers, mobile phones and other eWaste. Thanks to eDay, more than 26,000 computer items, including monitors, CPUs and printers were diverted from being dumped in New Zealand's landfills, a total of nearly 300 tons of computer waste.
5.Developing a ‘lighter’ footprint
To find out more about other things you can do around your home to have a ‘lighter’ environmental footprint visit:
6.New School Curriculum
The focus of the new curriculum is on using and applying knowledge, rather than on remembering facts and figures. Subject areas, skills that students will learn, values at the centre of lessons, and guiding principles for schools are specified.
The degree of interest in this curriculum was illustrated by the 10,000 submissions on the final draft. The submission from the North Shore Branch was one of those posted on the Ministry of Education’s website.
Lester Flockton, co-director of the National Education Monitoring programme at the University of Otago, says that this curriculum provides a new framework for what students need to learn in the 21st century. The principles are non-negotiable, but more latitude is allowed for local interpretation because school populations vary considerably. Schools can devise their own curriculum as long as it links to the curriculum framework.
Rosemary Hipkins, chief researcher for the Council of Educational Research, says that the new future-focused curriculum needs to engage parents as well as students and teachers if it is to change the face of education in this country. She says knowledge is still important but it is there to be used, not just stored. (Radio New Zealand Morning report, and The New Zealand Herald 7 November 2007) 7. Impacts of Tertiary Education overhaul
The Tertiary Education Commission’s overhaul of the education sector will introduce a new funding element, the education organisation component, in addition to its full time student funding. Some regional educational institutions believe that this shift in funding allocation will enable the metropolitan education institutions to grow at the expense and to the detriment of the regional institutes.
Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) has stated that the new funding system will make it impossible for regional polytechnics to continue to operate. SIT believes that the impact on local communities and local industries has not been measured.
Gisborne’s Tairawhiti Polytechnic is in a similar position to SIT, in terms of the importance of the institution for the regional economy and workforce, and shares the concerns of SIT.
Breast Cancer From Nicola Brebner, independent member Nicola Brebner, NZFGW Independent member, talks about her experience working at the forefront of breast cancer research in the UK. This article may be of interest to all members, and Branches may wish to make it available to their members through Branch newsletters. Nicola’s article is also available on the NZFGW website. Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
My family, like many around the world, has a story to tell about breast cancer. But unlike the stories of many families, ours is one of survival. My grandmother has fought the disease twice in her life, first at age 40 and more recently in her eighth decade. Other women in my extended family have also battled the disease and so far we have won.
But who knows for how much longer? So it is a real privilege to be given the opportunity to work on a breast cancer prevention study, which may ensure that my family and women around the world enjoy a future without this disease.
Here at Cancer Research UK in London, we have a clinical trials unit dedicated solely to prevention trials. The largest trial, and the one I am working on, is called the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study or IBIS-II for short. This is the second breast cancer prevention study to be carried out by Cancer Research UK.
The initial results of the first trial, released in September 2002, confirmed that tamoxifen, a well-established hormonal treatment for breast cancer, reduces breast cancer by about one third in women who are at an increased risk of the disease. The trial involved more than 7000 pre and post-menopausal women in seven countries, including 2600 from Australia and New Zealand.
However, despite these promising results, the serious side effects of tamoxifen, such as blood clots and endometrial cancer, meant that researchers had a lot more work to do. It was not long before a second IBIS trial was underway. IBIS-II began recruiting post-menopausal women in 2003 to see whether the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole is more effective in preventing breast cancer and whether it has less serious side effects than tamoxifen.
The aim is to recruit 10,000 women by December 2010 and, as to date we have 2600, we have a long way to go. That is where I come in. My job is to raise awareness and promote the trial in the hope that more women will come forward and join the trial. So far we have more than 100 IBIS centres, 45 of which are in the UK, recruiting women in over 20 countries around the world, including Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia and Europe.
In the UK I use a variety of outlets to publicise the trial, including local and national press, charity events, women’s groups, breast cancer conferences, web links, doctor’s surgeries and screening clinics.
Publicising the trial in other countries is a challenge. Our leaflets and posters come in many different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. Most of the centre co-ordinators are well-versed in English, although my mediocre Spanish does get some use from time to time. I advise the co-ordinators; who are usually nurses by profession, on a range of media issues, including how to talk to journalists, what makes a good story and which events to target. We have had stories in a wide variety of newspapers, both in the UK and around the world.
Recently, we had some more results published from our IBIS-I trial showing that the long-term benefits of taking tamoxifen outweigh the side effects. This was considered a ‘big story’ by the media and we were fortunate to get stories, not only in the Daily Express and The Times, but also in a variety of newspapers around the world. Our website hits doubled within a month after this publicity.
In addition to attracting more women to join the trial, in order to reduce the number of withdrawals, we have to look after those already taking part. Apart from the ongoing monitoring that participating women receive from their respective centres, I put together a regular newsletter and earlier this year we had our first meeting for women on the trial.
Meeting and communicating via email with the women on the trial is very rewarding for me. As one of the criteria for joining the trial is to have a family history of breast cancer, each woman has a moving and evocative story to tell. One lady dropped into conversation how her daughter had died of cancer at age 25. She was the most positive and determined woman I have met for a long time.
While sometimes this feels like any other desk job, all you need is a phone call from a nurse offering her time to hand out leaflets, or an email from a woman saying how lucky she feels to be
Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
involved in the trial, to jolt you back into reality. I cannot describe how good it feels to be part of a team working on a potentially life-changing project. With a little luck and lot of hard work, one day we may live in a breast cancer-free world.
To find out more about the IBIS-II trial in New Zealand, phone 0800 888 656 and leave your contact details and further information will be sent to you. You can also visit find out more orto download a leaflet. Or contact Nicola Brebner, IBIS II Communications Manager, Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, Mathematics and Statistics, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ.
To be eligible to join the trial you must be female, aged 40-70 and have finished the menopause and have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors.
In New Zealand, about 1000 women over the age of 50 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The figure is 41,000 in the UK. However, the rates of breast cancer in the two countries are very similar, with 2-3 postmenopausal women per 1000 getting breast cancer every year. One in 10 NZ women of any age will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
Many breast tumours are dependent on the female hormone, oestrogen, for their continued growth. Tamoxifen and anastrozole are both hormonal treatments, but they work differently. Tamoxifen prevents breast cancer cells from picking up oestrogen, whereas anastrozole, one of a group of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, acts differently by blocking the natural production of oestrogen in postmenopausal women.
DRAFT PROGRAMME REGISTRATION FORM MIDTERM COUNCIL ARE ON THE WEBSITE
It would be great if at least two women from each Branch could attend. Women who are concerned and informed about the sustainability of human communities may particularly enjoy the Theme Session on implementing the IFUW Programme for Action, Women Agents for Change, Building Sustainable Futures.Women - Achieving Change NZFGW National Executive News November 2007
These are our entries for the competition Secondary school transfer, is all a bit of a blur There is a school just up the road, so close to my abode I’d have to leave my bike at home, and walk past a shop where the wild things room. Six choices seem a lot, my brain is wound up in a knot. All the schools have their attractions, GCSE results dipper by fractions. Lots of open nights and days,
Pandemic flu In the last few weeks, the world has fallen under the spell of a new influenza virus. Initially this virus was called the swine flu, then the Mexican flu and since May 12th, its official name is Novel Influenza A (H1N1). For the time being, Novel Influenza A (H1N1) is a mild flu caused by a new flu virus that is different from known human influenza viruses. So far, there is no reaso