FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN
The Federation in New Zealand is part of a worldwide organisation, formed after the First World War to bring together graduates of different countries to promote friendship and understanding as an effort towards world peace. It was formed mainly through the enthusiasm of Dr Winifred Cullis (Great Britain) and Dean Gildersleve (U.S.A.). Shortly after the formation of the International Federation, Professor Helen Rawson, later Mrs W. N. Benson, while on a visit overseas, met these two women and, on her return, urged the formation of a branch in New Zealand. In 1921 a meeting was held in Christchurch and, as a result, the task of drawing up a constitution, based on the international constitution, was entrusted to the Otago Women Graduates' Association. Miss Gladys Cameron and Miss Kate Hogg did much towards this, and the latter presented the New Zealand constitution at the International Conference at Paris in 1922. Thus the New Zealand branch of the International Federation was formed and immediately, in 1922, branches took shape in the four university centres. The aims of the Federation are to promote understanding and cooperation among university women, to represent women graduates in matters which affect them, and to encourage research by university women. The Federation has been concerned with problems of careers for women and the status of married women in the professions; they also support the international clubhouses in London, Paris, and Milan. The Federation has had several bequests which enable them to grant awards for research work; this is truly international and awards are made for study in any country. Even New Zealand has shared in such awards. The New Zealand Federation has raised a fund to endow a fellowship to assist their own graduates in research work overseas, or for overseas women to work in New Zealand.
Triennial conferences are held both by the International Federation and by the New Zealand Federation. New Zealand has been represented at conferences and meetings in many parts of the world, the last conference being at Brisbane in 1965. In New Zealand a scheme was adopted whereby each branch in turn became headquarters for a term of three years. The practice continues and conferences are held in the four main centres. There are now 15 branches with a membership of over 1,500.
by Olive Rita Croker, M.A., Botanist, Wellington.