Advocate warns it's important to not rush equality overhaul

The CEO of Global Women, an organisation championing diversity in leadership, says Kiwis have become aware and are addressing the inequalities women face, but it will likely take a century to fix them.

However, Agnes Naera said it is important not to rush the change.

Monday marked International Women's Day, a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

Naera spoke to The AM Show and said that many Kiwis businesses are becoming more open about their checkered pasts and how they intend to champion diversity in the future.

"We can't afford to be complacent," she said. 

"The important thing is transparency so that people know what people are doing and then holding ourselves accountable for that… If you don't let people put that out and support them to change, then people won't."

She said the issues are often the results of bias.

"You look at any system - education, recruitment systems - how do we recruit talent? We tend to recruit talent that looks like us, sounds like us. There are some systematic things that need changing and they are slowly but surely changing."

But despite the advancements, Naera noted the World Economic Forum 

has reported it could take almost 100 years to get to gender parity around the world.

Naera said in order to achieve equity, we need to "undo the system", although she warned that we need to go about it in a way that won't exacerbate other issues.

"There is a deep legacy that needs changing and you can't change it overnight and we need to be careful that we don't try to do that as we could do more harm than need to know which levers to turn to not do harm somewhere else."