Pacific women make history launching new entrepreneurs’ network

The world’s first official network for Pacific women leaders in business, the Inailau Pacific Business Network, was launched in Auckland by New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

The event, which took place on on Friday, March 24  as part of International Women’s Day month, was spearheaded by Afamasaga Jackie Curry and aims to connect Pacific businesswomen and entrepreneurs from Aotearoa, Australia, USA, and the Pacific region.  

“Pacific women inspire and uplift each other through social interactions and working together – this is one of our unique strengths as Pacific women," Afamasaga says.

And while the event glittered with big names like Mena founder Fonoti Agnes Loheni and style icon Nora Swann, as the Pacific Pay Gap Inquiry has shown, Pacific women face the greatest challenges when it comes to increasing their incomes and livelihoods reports PMN News. 

A recently released report by the Human Rights Commission has found that for every dollar a Pākehā man makes in New Zealand, Pacific women earn just 75 cents. 

“Pacific women earn, on average, $24,671 less than Pākehā men – that’s $474 a week. Due to the pay gap, Pacific women are effectively working for free from October till the end of the year,” the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo told media​ at the time of the report's release.  

The report outlined a myriad factors that contribute to the fraught economic position Pacific women face, with some citing that having a Pacific name is a barrier as well as some experiencing discrimination when it comes to negotiating pay rates and pay rises

While some are seeing​ an upturn in salary rates, Afamasaga is adamant that connecting through a supportive community of likeminded entrepreneurs can be part of creating further change. 

“We need to host more events and deliver more services for Pacific business women which cater to the needs of our women," she says. 

"This will lead to more women starting businesses, and growing and thriving in business. 

"And many Pacific women are now taking steps forward post-Covid, to bring these business dreams into fruition."



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