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