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Rachel Smalley

Why the Women’s Fund?

Early on in my career as a journalist, I quickly realised that whenever there is a natural disaster, a conflict or a seismic social or economic event, it is always women and children who suffer the most. It is also these same extraordinary women who will respond quickly to provide a solution for survival and recovery, and often at their own emotional, physical or financial expense. For me, being part of the Women’s Fund allows me to be part of a bigger movement of women who are enabling and empowering other women.


How or when do you see the Women’s Fund making a difference?

One of the areas I believe the Women’s Fund can make a difference is by providing a platform for women to listen to each other. And I mean ‘really’ listen. Many of us are lucky enough to find ourselves in a place of privilege where we can support ourselves, our families and there is some certainty to our future. There are many, many women in New Zealand who don’t have that level of certainty in life. It’s really important that we truly listen and understand how we can help, where there is a need, and listen when women tell us how we can best support them.


Who is your biggest female role model/inspiration and why?

The woman I most admire in this world is Patricia Mouamar, a Lebanese humanitarian who I met in Beirut. I have been lucky enough to work alongside Patricia on a number of occasions over the years and her selfless courage and desire to make an impactful difference in the lives of families torn apart by war and conflict is immense. Patricia knows the sound of war. She grew up in a conflict herself, and she knows what it is to live in fear of your life as a child. Patricia could have chosen a more financially lucrative career, or at least a less dangerous one. But she didn’t. And I live in admiration of her every day. She works to ease suffering and create hope where there is often so little, and that’s why she’s my hero.


Finish this sentence: "In 10 years’ time, I want women and girls in New Zealand to..."

"…take their place at life’s many tables of influence with confidence, grace and a sense of belonging. The world will become a far safer, kinder, compassionate place when there are more women in positions of leadership."

Rachel Smalley