A New Zealand born Indian woman has been appointed as the new President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NZWNZ).

New Zealand born Gujarati woman Vanisa Dhiru will be leading the board of the 121-year-old organisation, which was founded by Kate Sheppard. The organisation last week launched significant revitalisation, including driving the new Gender Equal NZ movement.

Vanisa served NCWNZ board for the past five years and was voted as vice president in 2014 by the membership. She has a background in leadership among NGOs and charitable organisations, and served as the CEO of both Volunteering New Zealand and the 2020 Trust.

Her work outside NCW in community engagement, particularly among under-represented communities, brings a strong grassroots focus to NCW’s governance.

Vanisa’s community involvement helped her become the only Kiwi representative in the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Global Network. In her working career, Vanisa has served CEO level roles within the not-for-profit sector, including Executive Director of the 2020 Trust. 

Some of Vanisa’s many achievements include being listed in the ‘50 Women of Achievement 2016’ Women to watch about progressing gender equality recognised by Zonta International, the space shared by former Prime Minister Helen Clark. She has been among the finalists for Young New Zealander of the Year in 2010, and has since been an Executive Judge for the Awards.  ?

 “I’m passionate that all New Zealanders of any gender get equal rights in life – equal opportunity and access, without stereotypes – through our new movement, Gender Equal NZ,” Vanisa said.

“It is important that all people respect and understand all genders, and that together we build a culture where any person can have the freedom to determine their future – at school, at work, with family and friends, or at home.”

Gender Equal NZ’s work programme includes New Zealand’s first gender attitudes survey; development of a gender equality dashboard to hold policy and decision makers to account on progress; and the establishment of task forces, the first of which will drive equal representation of genders in the media.