Writer cel­e­brates In­dian women

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

Ed­wina Pio has never found writ­ing easy.

But that hasn’t stopped the Royal Oak res­i­dent from pub­lish­ing her fifth book – in fact it is why she finds the end re­sult so sat­is­fy­ing.

Dr Pio’s book, Sari: In­dian women at work in New Zealand, reaf­firms her pas­sion for pro­fes­sional women of an eth­nic mi­nor­ity.

“It is a cel­e­bra­tion of what it means to be an In­dian wo­man in Aotearoa,” says Dr Pio.

From Mumbai in In­dia, Dr Pio is as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at AUT Univer­sity’s busi­ness school and has been a visit­ing pro­fes­sor at Bos­ton Col­lege in Mas­sachusetts for more than 20 years.

She im­mi­grated to New Zealand seven years ago and is acutely aware of the dif­fi­cul­ties mi­grant women have find­ing work with­out “Kiwi ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Even though im­mi­gra­tion laws specif­i­cally wel­come pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied mi­grant women into New Zealand, Dr Pio be­lieves this coun­try has not been pre­pared for it.

“They come here be­cause New Zealand im­mi­gra­tion has se­lected them from a list of cri­te­ria.

“Em­ploy­ers in New Zealand ask: ‘Do you speak English? Are you go­ing to fit into the or­gan­i­sa­tion?’ Their ex­pe­ri­ence and qual­i­fi­ca­tions are like a blank slate.”

Of the 100 women Dr Pio in­ter­viewed, a few are fea­tured in her book but most of the in­for­ma­tion is gleaned from con­ver­sa­tions with more than 600 women aged be­tween 16 and 92.

And her role as eq­uity co­or­di­na­tor at AUT has in­spired her to write an­other book on para­bles for di­ver­sity in New Zealand.

“It would be good to look at dif­fer­ent as­pects of di­ver­sity in a way that is non­threat­en­ing,” she says.

“There is so much con­cern about be­ing po­lit­i­cally cor­rect and not step­ping on any­one’s toes, that we avoid a sit­u­a­tion rather than approach it. I’m hop­ing this book will make it eas­ier to look at th­ese hard is­sues.”

– Carly Tawhiao is an AUT jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

The write stuff: Au­thor Dr Ed­wina Pio loves the chal­lenges of her role at AUT.

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