Neuseeland: Marilyn Waring

One of the joys of getting older is being able to see the victories: nuclear-free New Zealand, the collapse of the Berlin wall, Mandela, hopefully soon a Palestinian nation state.

— Marilyn Waring

Marilyn Waring is a renowned New Zealand feminist, economic theorist, and academic. She criticised the UN’s System of National Accounts for ignoring the environment, subsistence production, and women’s productive and reproductive work and played an integral role in making New Zealand nuclear-free.

"With the privilege of education comes the obligation to teach. I had a chance to engage in particular institutional power dynamics very young. It is important to pass on all those skills and strategies, in whatever way. So that can be: in the foothills in Nepal; teaching African parliamentarians how to have transparent accountable budgets; working with communities to establish their own well-being indicators; supervising post-graduate students; fighting for a nuclear-free Pacific. I mean you take the commitment with you wherever you go. One of the wonderful things in growing up when I grew up – this was before email and any of those kinds of things – was that there was a really wide women’s feminist network. When I was in the New Zealand Parliament, on my desk I would have works by women from all over the world, voices of women that started to be articulated out of independence movements. They have no idea what their voice is doing for you at that moment. But it is putting the steel up your back that makes it possible for you to do the next impossible thing. And I guess that was the most important thing I ever did for anybody. A really nice thing is becoming a kind of Dear Dorothy Dix. I mean younger women will call from places of unspeakable psychological and emotional battery, and they know they do not have to explain a thing to you, they know that you will believe everything. And, in fact, you know that it is probably worse than what they are actually saying because to stay sane and to actually survive you cannot really ever admit how bad it really is."

Massey University