International affairs organisation Women In International Security (WIIS) has established a new affiliate office in New Zealand — based at Massey’s Wellington campus.
WIIS is the only global network actively advancing women’s leadership at all stages of their careers in the international and peace and security field.
Senior lecturer Dr Anna Powles from the Centre for Defence and Security Studies heads the New Zealand affiliate organisation, and says its formation is “timely” given current findings about decreasing numbers of women in boardrooms, “…As well as ongoing debates around the attrition rates of women in uniform, and the need to advocate the role and needs of women in international affairs, defence and security.”
The affiliate, which was launched earlier this month on International Women’s Day, has a wide range of speakers, workshops and network events planned for this year, Dr Powles says. Events include speakers and discussions on the development of a New Zealand United Nations Security Council Plan, the role of women in combat roles in the New Zealand Defence Force, the development of a professional network to support women, and how to mentor the next generation of women interested in the field of international affairs.
President of Women in International Security Dr Chantal de Jonge Oudraat says Dr Powles’ expertise on security issues and the establishment of the New Zealand affiliate branch will strengthen the position of women in Oceania and the South Pacific.
Dr Powles has previously held positions advising on security issues in Timor Leste. She has conducted humanitarian response evaluations for Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam International, and World Vision International. In addition, she has undertaken research projects with King's College London Humanitarian Futures Programme on post-conflict recovery in the Solomon Islands. Dr Powles is an Alumni Fellow of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, and holds a PhD from the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre where she also coordinated the Asia-Pacific Security Studies programme from 2003-2005.
She is currently writing a book on the International Stabilisation Force in Timor Leste and the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands based on her doctoral field research.