International advocate for women’s rights to receive honorary degree

Dr Gill Greer, an international leader in the field of women’s rights and gender equality, will receive an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington during next month’s graduation ceremonies.

Dr Greer is a former University staff member and her richly varied career has included time as a secondary school English teacher, researcher and author, film producer, administrator, and, more recently, leadership positions in the field of planned parenthood and human rights.

The University is very proud to honour Dr Greer’s many achievements,” says Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith.

“Dr Greer is an outstanding role model and her leadership, civic engagement, and compassion for others, epitomise the qualities we seek to instil in all our graduates.”

Dr Greer completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland in the 1960s and began her career as a secondary school English teacher. After two decades’ teaching, her deep interest in the life and work of Katherine Mansfield grew to the extent that she published several books about the author and was the originator and researcher of the award-winning film A Portrait of Katherine Mansfield in the mid-1980s.

It led her to pursue a PhD in English Literature at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington during the 1990s, during which time she also worked as a staff member, serving as a liaison officer and subsequently as assistant vice-chancellor responsible for equity and human resources.

In 1998, Dr Greer was appointed to lead the Family Planning Association of New Zealand and, after eight years in the role, she was appointed director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation—the first New Zealander to lead the organisation.

During her time at the London-based Federation, Dr Greer became an international leader in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Her efforts to improve reproductive healthcare and education for women around the world have been recognised by numerous awards, including her appointment as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, and as a Commander of the British Empire in 2012.

After returning to New Zealand in 2012, Dr Greer led Volunteer Service Abroad for five years, and has shared her leadership expertise with other not-for-profit organisations including the National Council of Women and Rare Disorders New Zealand.

The Victoria University of Wellington Council will confer an honorary doctorate on Dr Gill Greer at a graduation ceremony on Wednesday 11 December.