WǒMen:NZ Women (WNZW)

我们:新西兰女性

Younger Chinese women in their twenties and thirties formed their own group under the umbrella of the New Zealand Chinese Youth Federation (NZCYF) 新西兰中华青年联合会.  The federation had a large proportion of women, both in its general membership and on its executive committee, and featured a wide range of activities, ranging from business networking to upskilling technology knowhow. One particular area was reserved for Chinese young women.

Young women were also running an ongoing project involving a series of seminars entitled WNZW, a clever acronym for ‘WǒMen /New Zealand Women’.  The first word, WǒMen, when read in Putonghua Chinese, 我们, means ‘We/Us’.  The title of this seminar series therefore meant ‘We (Chinese) New Zealand Women’.  The target audiences for these events were tertiary students and young employees in the New Zealand workforce. English was used in all these events, held at the Business School of the University of Auckland. The stated objectives were:

‘To create a brand … to provide regular and consistent support and guidance to young women … through sharing insights in work and life … to better develop their careers …’; and ‘to offer a platform for working women in New Zealand to share ideas and experiences.’  Ultimately, the aim was ‘to build up a gender-equal society’.

The target audience was between 16 and 30 years old, from the last years of high school to those newly entering the workforce.  In 2018, three such seminars were held, each with an audience of around 200.  The topics covered included the success stories of female (Asian and non-Asian) entrepreneurs; life experiences, involving how female new arrivals chose their career-paths; interaction with mainstream New Zealanders (Māori and Pākehā); and New Zealand race relations, as well as law and order.

While the events were all well-attended and the subsequent networking seemed to have generated much synergy and useful shared ideas, time would tell how the WNZW Project would work towards more long-lasting results pertinent to the progress and integration of young Chinese women in New Zealand.

It should be noted that the WNZW organisers deliberately sought out Māori and other Asian girls and women to get them involved in their seminar projects.  There was an awareness both of the multi-cultural dimension that young Chinese women realised they should work on, and of the wisdom of approaching and targeting these non-Chinese women as potential allies in the way forward. [7]

Manying Ip

Source: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/women-together/chinese-womens-organisations

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