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National Working Group for Diversity and Equity Issues

A national working group for diversity and equity issues for the New Zealand research community.

In May 2016, and on behalf of the New Zealand Research Community, the Society hosted a workshop to discuss what activities should be undertaken to improve diversity and equity in New Zealand’s research community.

At this workshop, the research organisations present agreed to form a national working group with representatives of research organisations and the Society, which will report back by May 2017 on what actions are recommended to address the significant inequities in the New Zealand research community. 

Since May 2016 the working group has met face-to-face several times and in between times corresponded by email. Working group members took it in turns to chair each meeting and the minute–taker revolved around the group as well.

The working group identified and discussed issues including the following:

  • Diversity or equity, gender versus other dimensions of diversity and equity, “inter-sectionality;”
  • The importance and significance of the Treaty of Waitangi;
  • Defining the “community of interest” for this topic = NZ (scientific?) research and academic organisations;
  • Off the shelf approaches versus one designed by and for the New Zealand participants;
  • Pros and cons of different types of approaches, coercive (penalties for poor performance) to tools for self-help / self-assessment, compulsory to voluntary, etc.

After considering the issues, the Working Group agreed on some high level principles, and developed a conceptual model of a National Diversity Consortium aimed at improving diversity outcomes in the New Zealand research community and this proposed model was presented to stakeholders at a meeting in Wellington on 21 February.