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Women's Network

What is the Women’s Network?

A place for women members to share experiences about work and organise around the things that need to change.  Over 40,000 women are members of the PSA.

Our aims:
•    promote the interests of women within the PSA
•    facilitate the sharing of information and experiences; and
•    encourage and support women’s participation in PSA representative structures at all levels.

Join the Women's Network

Sign up to hear about  news, information and events relevant to women members

Simply tick the box for the Women's Network when you login and update your details on the PSA website.  


Women’s Network co-ordinator

Jo Taylor has been appointed as the PSA Women’s Network co-ordinator.  Jo is a PSA organiser based in the Dunedin office.  She has worked for the PSA since 1997, with some breaks to have babies.  Jo has an organising workload that covers home support workers who work for non government organisations provided social services to the elderly and disabled.


Council of Trade Unions Women's Committee rep



Founding members

The PSA has a long history of women members coming together to make change happen.  Our founding members – activists past and present, talk about their involvement:


Margaret Long

Jean Greedy

Cath Kelly

Paula Scholes PSA president

Georgina Kerr

Jackie Kerr

Debbie Taylor

Diana McRae

Colleen Sayer-Roberts

Janet Quigley

Pam Jemmet

Alison van Dyk


Help make closing the gender pay gap an election issue
The women’s network is asking members to get the gender pay gap issue to the forefront of  politicians’ agendas.


You can help by attending local candidate debates and asking questions on pay equity, using the attached guide.


Below is a list of the events we know of that you can attend. If you know of other events happening locally please forward the event information to so we can send it out to the other network members in your region.


Wellington - Newtown candidates meeting
Thursday, September 4 at 7:30pm
St Anne's Parish Hall, Emmett St, Newtown, Wellington


Wellington - Island Bay candidates meeting
Wednesday, September 17 at 7:00pm
Wellington South Baptist Church 284 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand 6023


Wellington - Miramar candidates meeting
Thursday, September 11 at 7:30pm 
CDT  33 Park Road, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand


Hamilton - Living Wage meet the candidates
Wednesday, 3 September at 5.30pm 
Methodist City Action, 62 London St, Hamilton
For more information contact Anna Cox or 022 354 6550


Hamilton - Meet the pollies
Wednesday, September 10 at 1:00pm
University of Waikato, Gate 1 Knighton Road, Hamilton, 


Womens network committee

A new committee was elected for the 2014-16 term. There were a large number of candidates for the committee and the women listed below were successfully elected. You can find the details over at the PSA website.

Carol Ronayne, Healthcare NZ, Tauranga 


Caroline Fisher, IRD, Gisborne 


Ceinwyn Bannister, Wanganui District Council 


Chantalle Smith, DIA Wellington, National Library 


Gail Arthur, University of Otago, Information Technology Service, Lower South Island regional co-convenor


Janet Quigley Christchurch DHB, Timaru Public Health 


Jean Ottley, Careers NZ, Whangarei 


Kalila Rose, MSD Palmerston North, StudyLink Student Support Centre, Central North Island regional co-convenor


Kat Robertson, Auckland DHB, Greenlane ARPHS Central Office, Auckland/Northland regional co-convenor


Linda Kerr, Wairoa District Council, Central North Island regional co-convenor


Lucia Davis, Auckland Council, 360 Queen Street


Lucy Gray, University of Otago, Dunedin School of Medicine, Lower South Island regional co-convenor


Nancy McShane, Christchurch DHB, Hillmorton Hospital Acute Inpatient Service, Upper South Island regional convenor


Pani Fox, Tairawhiti DHB, Gisborne Clinical Records 


Rosemary Cullen, Waitemata DHB, Child Development Service, Auckland/Northland regional co-convenor


Salesia Cawanikawai, Capital Coast DHB, Wellington Hospital Supply 


Sonja Mitchell, MOJ Wellington, Waitangi Tribunal, Wellington regional co-convenor


Tiare Williams, Bay Of Plenty DHB, Whakatane Hospital Administration, Central North Island regional co-convenor and runanga



Virginia Wilton, MSD Wellington, National Office, Social Services, Wellington regional co-convenor. 


Women’s network conference 2014

13 - 14 August 2014, Auckland

It’s shaping up to be an exciting programme, with a focus on pay equity and the general election as well as workshops on assertiveness, public speaking skills, family violence is a workplace issue and valuing older workers. And of course we’ll also be electing the network committee for the 2014-16 term, and doing some planning on what we want to do in the different regions over the coming year!

Read some FAQs for the conference.

We believe this is going to be a great opportunity to meet other PSA women member and will be a fun and informative conference. We look forward to your participation.

Please email if you have any questions about the conference.

Christchurch women’s network regional event

We will be hosting a panel debate with the following speakers:


  1. Ruth Dyson, Labour Party MP and Port Hills candidate
  2. Nicky Wagner, National Party MP and Christchurch Central candidate
  3. Mojo Mathers, Green Party MP and Christchurch East candidate


The panellists have been asked to speak on their vision for Christchurch, their thoughts on how and why we need female voices at the leadership table as we rebuild this city, and practical advice from their own personal experience for women contemplating a leadership role.


Each panellist will be allocated time to speak to these topics after which we will open to questions from the audience.


Date:  Thursday 10th July 2014
Time: 5.00 – 7.30pm
Venue: Training Room, PSA Office, Blenheim Road, Christchurch

To be followed by drinks and light refreshments.

This is an excellent opportunity to meet with fellow women’s network members and hear from a highly experienced local leader on how we, as women, can provide excellent leadership from a female perspective.

Please RSVP by Friday 13 June 2014.

PSA employs pay equity campaign organiser

Gabriel Brettkelly has recently joined the PSA staff team in a new role that will focus on building the PSA’s pay equity campaign.


Gabriel will spend the next year getting the ball rolling on the PSA’s campaign to close the gender pay gap within PSA coverage by 2020. She will be working closely with other organisers, delegate teams and the women’s network to address pay equity issues for members in female dominated occupations.


Gabriel says “I'm excited to be employed as PSA Pay Equity campaign organiser. The PSA has been a trailblazer for equal pay in NZ so it’s great to be working with a team focussed on winning further improvements to public service women's pay”.

Two significant reports on family violence is a workplace issue

Over the last few months, two major pieces of work have been published in relation to the PSA’s family violence is a workplace issue project.

Economist Suzanne Snively’s report, Productivity Gains from Workplace Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence, finds that domestic violence will cost New Zealand employers at least $368 million over the next year and that workplace protections can help reduce this cost and increase productivity.  This report was commissioned by the PSA. Read the full report here.
Meg Raynor Thomas’s thesis for her Masters in Public Health at Auckland University, The Impacts of Domestic Violence on Workers and the Workplace, reports on a survey of PSA members’ experience.  55% of those who completed the survey reported some experience of domestic violence.  26% had direct experience of family violence and of those members, 53% needed to take time off work and 38% said that the violence made it difficult for them to get to work.  Read the full report here and our press release here.

Some good news for parents-to-be

As part of the 2014 budget, the government has announced that it will be increasing paid parental leave to 18 weeks by 2016. While this isn’t the 26 weeks we’ve been campaigning for, under the banner of the 26 for babies campaign along with other unions and community groups, it’s a step in the right direction.


Rebecca Matthews, spokesperson for the 26 for Babies says “[The] Government clearly needed to take action to raise New Zealand from near the bottom of the OECD for paid leave with new babies. Public support for increasing parental leave was overwhelming, and Labour MP Sue Moroney’s bill demonstrates that most political parties agree.  The Government had no choice but to act.”

“This extra month, while modest, will be welcomed by new families but needs to be part of a longer term plan to give babies more time at home with mum or dad.  Ministry of Health advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of baby’s life, and this must be backed up with longer paid parental leave.”

“Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave is still before Parliament and provides a good opportunity for National and Labour to work together to deliver six months paid parental leave over time.”

After some controversy, Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks has passed into its second reading. Despite having the numbers to pass into law, it is expected that the National party will use its power of financial veto.

For more information on the budget, here is an overview from the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

Sign your co-workers up to the women’s network

The women’s network has 1665 members. We have grown significantly in recent times, up from 871 a year ago. The PSA’s membership of 58,880 is 59.6% female. This means that there’s still lots of room to grow, with a potential network membership of 40,980!

It’s easy to sign existing women PSA members up to the PSA women’s network. Just download this sign up form, fill in the details and return as per the instructions on the bottom of the page.

Like you, the members you sign up will get information and opportunities to participate around issues and campaigns important to PSA women. They will get invited to network events, such as national conference and regional events. They will also get priority to attend Targeting the Untapped Talent, the PSA women’s leadership workshop!

Targeting the untapped talent in the South Island and Wellington

Over March to May the women’s network held leadership workshop in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. Women members from across the South Island, Wellington and the Manawatu Wanganui regions were invited.


The workshops were very well received, and participants left with a range of leadership aspirations for getting more active in their union, from recruiting new members to the network, to becoming the President of the PSA. 


Catherine Weusten, a member from IRD who attended the workshop in Christchurch, said: “I can now better discuss issues impacting women in the workplace, for example, equal pay or flexible work arrangements. I found it very beneficial to look at why we have too few women leaders and insights into behaviour and pressures contributing to this. The session on getting ourselves to the table, identifying supports and tools available to actively achieve leadership aspirations was very helpful. I really enjoyed this course and feel empowered!”

The network intends to hold a workshop once a year in each region. We are planning to repeat the workshops in the Auckland/Northland and Central North Island regions in October 2014. There are always more expressions of interest than we are able to accept, so look out for the opportunity to express interest for the workshop in your region!

Women's Network Conference Report

A highlight was the presentation by Lisa  Heap, Executive Director Australian Institute of Employment Rights Inc. You can download her presentation here..


Jackie Blue, EEO Commissioner’s address was also very well received by the conference attendees.


The conference endorsed a proposal to formalise Maori representation on the Women’s Network Committee.


A new women's network committee was elected:

Andrea Fromm, Stats NZ, Wellington
Anna Sunter,NZTA, Wellington
Ceinwyn Bannister, Wanganui District Council
Erina Okeroa,Stats NZ, Wellington
Fiona Ormsby, Counties Manukau DHB,
Gail Arthur, University of Otago, Dunedin
Hannah Gabriel, Hutt City Library, Wellington
Jaclyn Bonnici, Oxfam, Auckland
Joanna Vink, Corrections, Probation, Northland
Lucy Gray, Otago University, Dunedin
Nancy McShane, Canterbury DHB, Christchurch
Janet Quigley, Canterbury DHB, Timaru
Tiare Williams, BOP DHB, Whakatane

The committee will hold an initial face to face meeting in November and elect the National Convenor and four Regional Convenors.


One conference attendee commented:
“The best thing about the PSA Women’s Conference was meeting passionate, like- minded women from across the PSA from a wide range of sectors and across the whole country. The thing I discovered that most surprised me was how little I really understood about pay and employment equity in practice and the impact on our communities and how much I want to be involved in making a difference. The conference has made me think that we need to stand up for PAEE and never stop campaigning for equal rights and pay.” Lucy Gray, Otago University.

Women in the PSA - 100 Years of Progress



No easy victory

“No Easy Victory” a document about the equal pay campaign is now available as an electronic text over at

the NZETC website:

Constructing Workplace Democracy: Women’s Voice in New Zealand Public Services


Last year the PSA, in partnership with the Industrial Relations Centre at Victoria University, surveyed our women members, canvassing five main areas:


• Women PSA members -  profiled the PSA women who participated in this research, the work that they do and the family, caring and community responsibilities that make up their lives.


• The average salary was $43,185 per annum before tax; 68% of respondents earned less than $60,000 gross per year. 


• Flexibility at work -  explored how much flexibility PSA women have in their jobs and how much they can shape and influence the organisation of their daily work.


• Influence at work -  looked at the nature and organisation of work of PSA women and also considered their experiences of bullying and discrimination in the workplace.


• Constructing careers -  provided an analysis of how PSA women are planning their careers and what managerial and organisational supports they have for career development.


• Influencing unions -  considered the attitudes of PSA women to their union, and asked whether they see it as innovative and encouraging of member participation.


There was a high response rate (7,300 respondents), making this the largest dataset of New Zealand workers.


The findings will inform the PSA’s strategic planning, bargaining strategies and policy development.  They have been shared with stakeholders including the Ministers of Labour, State Services and Women’s Affairs, as well as with our members, other unions and other organisations.  


The full survey can be found here.


Summary of numbers can be found here..


Our media release can be found here.


Presentation from Victoria University can be found here.

No ma'am's land

PSA organiser Tanja Bristow went along to hear leadership expert Susan Vinnicombe, professor of organisational behaviour and diversity management at Britain's Cranfield University, speak about about the impact of women on boards. Here are Tanja's notes from the seminar .

For more about what's happening with PAEE see our PAEE webpage   The conference also voted to support private sector unions to undertake PAEE audits.  So far there have been no PAEE audits done in the private sector.