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Invest in Her - Accelerate Progress

International Women’s Day (IWD) has completed its journey around the sun and last Friday (March 8th), we came together to celebrate women’s success and their contributions for a better tomorrow where gender equity is normalised in the workplace and becomes a standard expectation across every aspect of society. 

This year, ECG director Sara-Jane Elika was the keynote speaker for Coca Cola Euro Pacific Partner’s IWD celebration at their headquarters in Mt. Wellington, Auckland. Sara-Jane delved into the IWD theme of “invest in women: accelerate progress”, by sharing why it is important to value the growing “care economy”, as it increases economic growth amongst women. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) published a report in 2018 - Care Work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work shows that women on average spend three times more time in unpaid and domestic work than men. 

Far left: Wendy Rayner, Managing Director NZ at CCEP and her team with ECG Director, Sara-Jane Elika

Women in leadership is on the rise in Aotearoa New Zealand and Sara-Jane encouraged attendees to know their superpower - especially when stepping up into leadership roles and taking that leap of faith to back themselves. Sara-Jane concluded her keynote by exploring allyship - surrounding oneself with like minded individuals who align with your values. She unpacked allyship through four key pillars : education and awareness, listening and empathy, amplification and advocacy and finally action and accountability. Attendees were challenged to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and embrace the opportunities that build their personal and professional development. 

Our ECG team was also invited to the Pasifika Medical Association Group breakfast to honour Pacific women for their contributions to Aotearoa, which included the migration story from our Grandmother's advent from the Pacific to the new generation of NZ born Pacific women who are taking their place at the leadership table . This concluded with a ‘pop up’ market of small businesses from jewellery to homewares, cupcakes to printed mugs which embodied Pacific women innovation and entrepreneurship. 

“There is an active and growing interest from women to showcase their talents, skill and innovation through business enterprise” says Lucyanne Laurenson, who is leading the Pacific Business Village initiative in Auckland.

L-R: Lucyanne Laurenson, Business Village Lead in Auckland and Toleafoa Vaiola Tauti, ECG Media and Communications Lead

The year’s theme of invest in her also resonated with the global IWI (Indigenous Women Industry) Economic Summit which took place in Rotorua during the week of Waitangi Day. The summit attracted over 50 indigenous women from first nation countries (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and the United States of America) who shared industry stories that explored how indigenous voices are included in global economic development dialogue. 

Indigenous Women Industry Pacific Community Wellbeing Panellists (L-R: Sosefina Paletaoga - CEO of Otara Health Charitable Trust, Christine Nurminen - Director of Manava Partners, Rachel Afeaki - Chair of Waikato Pacific Business Network & ECG Director Sara-Jane Elika)

Sara-Jane took part in the Indigenous Pacific community wellbeing session with other prominent Pacific women leaders in a talanoa centred on indigenous wellbeing. The Q & A Panel concluded that taking time to nurture relationships with yourself, your family, your community and the environment is what amounts to balanced indigenous wellbeing. 

Ultimately, opportunities for genuine economic progression for women requires an investment in access and resources. “If more women can access resource, own it and use it, then those opportunities have a ripple effect not just for us but our families, communities and the greater economy” says Sara-Jane.

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