AUT Professor of Human Rights Judy McGregor won the 'Supreme Award in Governance' at the 2016 Women in Governance Awards.
The Supreme Award in Governance is presented annually to a New Zealand woman who, through a lifetime commitment to promotion, support and mentoring has achieved excellence in governance.
Judges for the Supreme Award said Professor McGregor is "well known for promoting board diversity, both locally and internationally and has for many years been considered the ‘éminence grise'* for women directors in New Zealand. She is competent and influential in numerous fields, namely law, journalism, politics and business. She is an enormously impressive person, greatly talented and highly respected. At the same time, she is able to communicate with people at all levels and with great warmth. Judy is quite literally 'a national treasure'."
Professor McGregor’s research interests span human rights, gender equality, the rights to decent work, equal pay and pay equity and the rights of older people. She also works on women’s representation and participation in professional, public, political and community life.
Recently Professor McGregor completed a three-year research project on human rights in New Zealand with Professor Margaret Wilson from the University of Waikato and human rights lawyer, Sylvia Bell. It concluded that New Zealand is regressing in areas such as child poverty, pay equity for women, and social and economic disadvantage for women and resulted in the book: Human Rights in New Zealand: Emerging Faultlines.
The book identifies five critical issues that New Zealand needs to address: the need to improve constitutional and democratic freedoms; child poverty; the over-imprisonment of Māori; women’s rights such as equal pay; and the glacial pace of implementing the Convention for Disabled People.
"Our reputation for pioneering commitment to human rights is at stake. For New Zealand to continue to be seen as a global leader in human rights and an example to others, there will need to be new leaders with courage," says McGregor.
Professor McGregor is "well known for promoting board diversity, both locally and internationally and has for many years been considered the 'éminence grise' for women directors in New Zealand."
"A new kind of leadership in Parliament, government agencies and in communities and civil society is required to champion the urgent need for New Zealand to 'walk the talk' on closing poverty and inequality gaps, and ensuring that disadvantaged people enjoy fundamental social protections at the heart of human dignity and respect."
* a person who exercises power or influence in a certain sphere without holding an official position.