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Goal 5: Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Girls That Invest – The Journey to becoming the number one business podcast in the US

Girls That Invest is a podcast, co-founded by University of Auckland alumna Simran Kaur, that unpacks the complexity of investing into easy to understand basics.  Simran says “Despite investing platforms being more accessible than ever, studies show that in New Zealand women are still not taking up financial literacy and investing. Only 14% of Kiwi women were investing in the stock market in 2018 compared to 22% of men. It comes from our deep-rooted belief that investing is just not for us, or that we are not capable enough to understand the complexities. The jargon used in the world of investing is overwhelming and often feels exclusionary. Read more

Global Bio Fund – Supporting diverse entrepreneurs and women-led companies

University of Auckland alumna Ipshita Mandal-Johnson is the CEO of the Global Bio Fund (GBF), an impact fund with a world-leading approach to growing diverse entrepreneurs (especially women-led companies). GBF is building the world’s first seed accelerator fund focused on the best diverse entrepreneurial teams addressing global challenges in healthcare, food security and climate change.

It operates to serve a number of functions – building research and learning experiences through an open network of thought leaders and entrepreneurs, sharing knowledge through consulting and advisory services to raise capital or scale businesses, and directly investing through two vehicles: the Global Bio Xcellerator and the Global Bio Fund. Read more

Manzana – Tāmaki Makaurau’s space for women entrepreneurs

Manzana is a new creative space and community supporting women entrepreneurs who are driven to change the world. Founded by University of Auckland alumnae Dil Khosa and Ché Zara Blomfield, the co-working space on Auckland City’s High Street offers workshops, events, and networking opportunities all designed to empower and support women entrepreneurs striving to improve the way we connect with each other and our environment. Read more








Secondary school students unleash their creativity during women in engineering camp

Fifty secondary school students recently had the opportunity to participate in a Creative Inspiration and Design workshop at Unleash Space. The event was part of a 3 day Women in Engineering holiday camp held for Year 11 students from Auckland, Waikato and Whangarei.

The Engineering faculty’s Women in Engineering Network launched in 1993 to support more young women into careers as engineers. The University of Auckland now has one of the highest participation rates of women in tertiary-level engineering in Australia and New Zealand. Read more

Supporting more women innovators and entrepreneurs

Women are underrepresented in Business, which impacts the well-being of individuals and their families. Supporting more women entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive is about future-proofing and growing the social and economic well-being of whānau and their communities. The University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has actively sought to increase the participation of women through role modelling with communication campaigns, actively recruiting more women volunteers as mentors and speakers, and initiating social innovation programmes proven to appeal to women.

The University of Auckland has led New Zealand into a top-ranked position for women founder graduates. An international study has found that New Zealand has the world’s highest percentage of women graduates who found start-ups, at 13.4%. Of this 13.4%, almost half are from the University of Auckland. (Crunchbase international database of companies who have raised at least $1 million USD). Read more

Innovation Squad alumni profile Caroline Hope
Innovation Squad – inspiring young women in innovation
Blog post from Innovation Squad member

Maria Jose Alvarez unlocks deep-tech potential in New Zealand 

Chilean Biotechnology Engineer Maria Jose Alvarez is bridging the gap between the science and Venture Capital communities in New Zealand, helping deep-tech start-ups and first-time founders bring their ideas to life. Working as an Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, Maria Jose is dedicated to fostering the growth of the next generation of founders. Maria Jose is particularly passionate about supporting women and minorities in the VC community and in 2021 she was named a finalist in the Diversity category at the NZ Women of Influence Awards recognising her efforts and impact in this space.   

Since moving to New Zealand and studying a Master in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Auckland, Maria Jose has worked at four different funds covering private, government, and university funding, as well as being an advisor and investment committee member to other initiatives to commercialise innovation in New Zealand. Read more 


UoA students and staff taking on the world, one SGD at a time, as Future 17 trailblazers 

Twenty students and five staff will be the University of Auckland Future17 trailblazers, taking part for the first time in a global education programme that focuses on sustainability challenges and bridges the worlds of higher education and work.    

With an emphasis on developing 21st century skills, students and mentors from universities across Europe, Africa, South America and Oceania team up with international partner organisations to collaborate on real-world challenges related to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).This culminates in a showcase event where student teams present their proposed solutions to the partners — which range from corporate organisations to charities and NGOs. Read more 


Moodi: New Zealand women’s mental wellness venture prized in Nashville 

While studying for her Law and Commerce degrees at the University of Auckland, entrepreneur Kate Gatfield-Jeffries co-founded Moodi, a mental wellness brand for women. Kate was part of the Velocity $100k Challenge and worked with the Aotearoa Centre for Enterprising Women. Recently she was selected to be part of an Accelerator Programme for 26 young women entrepreneurs and was the only founder outside the US to participate.  As part of this, she pitched Moodi to a panel of judges at the Women in Business Conference in Nashville and placed second in the competition, winning a $10,000 prize. Read more


Avantika Gupta Blurring boundaries essential for a brighter future

Avantika Gupta has her eyes firmly set on the future; as a vice president of the investment team at Type One Ventures, Avantika works daily with innovative ideas and forward-focused founders and is optimistic that innovation and entrepreneurship are the keys to creating a better future for all humanity. 

Type One Ventures is a Los Angeles and London-based venture capital firm that has a bold vision of the future with a focus on investment in innovation that will progress technological evolution and, in turn, enhance civilisation.  It was the visions and values that underpin Type One Ventures that drew Avantika to the role. Read more 


Professor Christine Woods Pausing and reflecting on progress for Women in Entrepreneurship 

Professor Christine Woods has been an entrepreneurship educator for more than 20 years, balancing teaching, research and advocacy through her role as an academic as well as involvement with organisations such as the Icehouse and the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Many describe Christine as a woman of action, but she is careful to remind herself and others, “Do not mistake motion for progress.” To ensure she is making progress, Christine believes the key is “pausing and reflecting”.   

Christine recently paused and reflected on her progress as the inaugural Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship. The position was funded in 2021 by leading businessperson Theresa Gattung, with the goal of enabling research and education based on women in entrepreneurship. Read more 


RobogalsHacking the STEM diversity issue

Robogals is a global volunteer student-led organisation founded in 2008 with the goal of inspiring, engaging and empowering young women into engineering and related fields. The University of Auckland’s Robogals is an active chapter of this global network, and this year ran the annual Science and Engineering Day (SED) with great success at Kura Matahuna – Unleash Space, one of the innovation hubs managed by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). 

The Science and Engineering Day was an in-person event held as part of the international Robogals Science Challenge competition, an international outreach initiative that engages young women and gender-diverse students aged 5-15 to become involved in STEM beyond the classroom. Activities are designed to promote innovation and exploration through hands-on projects, which can be completed with a friend, parent/guardian, or mentor. Read more 


Local founders’ advice for young women pursuing entrepreneurship

A recent Women in Entrepreneurship evening explored the highs and lows of founding a business, as experienced by the founders of two local companies. The importance of building yourself, your confidence and your networks were some key takeaways from the event. 

Speakers included Amber Taylor, co-founder and CEO of ARA Journeys and Melanie Spencer, co-founder and CEO of Thompson Spencer. Professor Chris Woods, Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland, also joined the panel discussion facilitated at Unleash Space, the innovation hub run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Read more