Gender networks
Kōtuinga ā-ira

Enhancing the participation of our men and women in the NZDF.

What is Wāhine Toa?

Wāhine Toa is one of our key programmes of work within the NZDF Directorate of Diversity and Inclusion, focused on enhancing the participation of women across NZDF. Wāhine Toa also has a brother programme, Tāne Toa, focused on valuing its men within an inclusive NZDF.

The Wāhine Toa work programme broadly covers four main areas of attract, recruit, retain and advance, with each of those contributing initiatives that are progressing towards gender equality and equity within NZDF. Wāhine Toa’s vision is in shaping NZDFs culture to be one where our wāhine feel valued, included, safe and empowered. The work of Wāhine Toa is supported and championed by our NZDF Senior Leadership, with Chief of Navy, RADM David Proctor, appointed as our key NZDF Gender Sponsor.     

Accompanying the support of our NZDF Senior Leadership, the Wāhine Toa Programme of work has a number of overarching strategic commitments that shape and influence its focus, such as the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (UN WEPs), which NZDF formally adopted and signed up to in 2020 – becoming the first military in the world to adopt the UN WEPs. We also have close partnership and engagement with the work being done internationally through NZDFs Women, Peace and Security work programme.

Whilst much of the Wāhine Toa work is oriented around broader organisational initiatives to enhance the participation of women across NZDF, there are a number of ways the voices of our wāhine, as well as gender champions, can be heard through the Wāhine Toa programme. One of these ways is through participation in our Gender Equality Networks (GENs) and Gender Champions.

Gender Equality Networks (GENs).

Our GENs are a network of both NZDF men and women, from across our whole organisation, who believe in gender equality and work to develop and promote initiatives that foster gender equality within NZDF. The GENs also provide a platform to keep abreast of initiatives being undertaken across our organisation supporting gender equality, raise issues and provide input into initiatives, as well as a place to promote and establish connections and relationships. The GENs are supported by a GEN Steering Group (GEN-SG) which seeks to provide kaitiakitanga (guardianship), advocacy and accountability for the GENs and provide linkage to our NZDF Senior Leadership for the voices of our GENs.

NZDF Champions of Gender Equality

NZDF Champions of Gender Equality are members of our organisation who believe in, support and actualise gender equality. Gender equality champions, are people (irrespective of gender), who advocate for and support an inclusive NZDF where enhancing the participation of women is important. A number of initiatives are underway through the Wāhine Toa Programme to support our NZDF champions of gender equality, including the formation of a gender equality charter highlighting actions at both an individual and organisational level supporting gender equality.  

Check out our internal platform here for more information on the Wāhine Toa Programme or to join one of our GENs or on how to become a Gender Champion. As well as a closer look at the range of reporting, systems of work, internal and external partnerships and activities that we are involved with to enhance the participation of women across NZDF.

What is Tāne Toa?

Tāne Toa is another of our programmes of work within NZDFs Directorate of Diversity and Inclusion, focused on valuing our men within an inclusive NZDF. Tāne Toa translates to strong men, and whilst a relatively new programme of work within NZDF, operates in parallel to the Wāhine Toa Programme. Tāne Toa believes that gender equality concerns both men and women, and acknowledges the integral contributions of men to NZDFs journey towards gender equality.

Tāne Toa’s vision is in shaping NZDFs culture to be one where our tāne feel valued, included, safe and empowered in the context of an inclusive NZDF. Key early initiatives from this programme include NZDF-wide support to Movember, support to significant events and ongoing research to understand how to support men in being their best selves in an inclusive NZDF. The Tāne Toa programme recognises the unique issues that men face within NZDF and works to understand how these can best be supported within NZDF.