The Ministry of Justice has won the Empowerment Award at the 2018 Diversity Awards.
The awards are managed by Diversity Works New Zealand and were presented in Auckland on 29 August.
The ministry's award recognised an employee-led initiative to promote the interests of women and support them to achieve their personal and professional goals.
It is a diverse organisation with almost 3,800 people working across more than 100 courts and offices.
The agency’s mechanism for change, the Women’s Network, was founded by the ministry’s Director, Strategic Performance Karin Schofield, three years ago. The network now has more than 730 members from Kaikohe to Invercargill advocating for women, and receives continuous, strong support from the ministry’s senior leaders.
Last year the Women’s Network Working Group asked for volunteers to become local champions to help promote the network and support their local colleagues to access events. They now have 25 local champions who put up posters for events, organise virtual access to events, and encourage their colleagues to put themselves forward for the development opportunities offered.
The network receives strong support from senior leaders, who provide funding, speak at events, allow the Women’s Network Working Group to run the network during work time, and encourage staff to participate.
The Women’s Network runs a monthly events programme through which a wide range of speakers share their career journeys or discuss specific topics, such as nutrition, financial wellbeing, gender and Māori tikanga, and pay equity.
The Women’s Network is open to all genders. The network believes for women to achieve equality in the workplace and the home, they need the support of men, so encourages them to be part of conversations.
This year it is running a Men as Allies campaign to support men to better understand the barriers that women can face and how they can help to address them.