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No ‘bamboo ceiling’ in New Zealand

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Hannah Norton | 20 Apr 2015, 12:03 p.m. Agree 0
Asian New Zealand lawyers are not being faced with the ‘bamboo ceiling’ purportedly in Australia, the HR director of one of NZ’s biggest firms says.
  • C. | 30 Apr 2015, 07:14 p.m. Agree 0
    Your article seems to imply that one of the key reasons an "Asian" gets hired to be a lawyer is primarily because they speak Cantonese/Mandarin. Completely discards the fact that there are many other people of Asian ethnicity studying law who will speak neither because (plot twist!) they could be from another 'Asian' country. Also seems to ignore that an 'asian' lawyer could have strong grades, work experience and extra curriculars which make them employable or that maybe an employer might be willing to look past one's Asian appearance/background. I'm not saying speaking another language is not an asset because it clearly is in today's market but this could almost be interpreted as racist. ethnicity and nationality, though they sit side by side, are also two different things. You can grow up in NZ and identify as both kiwi and insert-name-of-nationality here and when rubbish like this comes out sweeping every person of Asian descent and ethnicity under one category it's just plain sad and discriminatory.
  • E | 05 May 2015, 08:48 p.m. Agree 0
    Completely agree with C.

    Demand for Chinese/Mandarin skills is obviously high - but it is harmful to suggest that Chinese/Mandarin is your only track to partnership if you are culturally different. There are excellent lawyers in NZ of Asian descent who contribute to the value of a firm in many ways, including as a result of their cultural difference (NOT being limited to Chinese language skills).

    Clearly, the "bamboo ceiling" would be meaningless if it was only a reference to demand for Asian language skills. We have a serious problem if that's the only benefit that NZ law firms see in Asian lawyers.
  • A | 04 Jun 2015, 03:32 p.m. Agree 0
    Agree with C and E
    This article gives the impression that NZ, at least the legal profession, uses the term “Asian” interchangeably with “Chinese”. That, I believe, is a bigger problem than Bamboo Ceiling. How can you comment on issues/challenges faced by a particular (minority) group when you are unaware of the group’s background? It’s racist to arbitrarily refer to Asians as Chinese or vice versa. Just to break it down, all Chinese could be referred to as Asians but all not all Asians are Chinese.
    If “Asians” are sought after in NZ legal profession solely on whether or not they are savvy in Cantonese/Mandarin, that right there is what I call bamboo ceiling. There are many Asians who have outstanding record apt to succeed as a partner but no knowledge of these two languages. They could be, you know, Malaysians.
    There will be bamboo ceiling as long as there is racial bias, as long as the partnership selection standards are different for a Pakeha New Zealander from an Asian New Zealander. And it seems there is.
  • Chairman Mao | 09 Jun 2015, 11:14 a.m. Agree 0
    No bamboo ceiling??? Are you kidding???
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