Women's advocate

New Zealand's first president of the International Council of Women

Dame Miriam Dell has been one of the leading voices and advocates for women in New Zealand during the past century.

A botanist and secondary school teacher, Dame Miriam was a founding member of the Hutt Valley branch of the National Council of Women and also became the National President of the council in 1970.

She has been a leading figure at the forefront of issues both in New Zealand and internationally, including promoting women's advancement and equal rights in society.

Dame Miriam was the New Zealand Government Delegate to all three United Nations conferences during the decade for women in the 1970s. She also became the first New Zealander to be elected as president of the International Council of Women.


She was awarded a CBE in 1975, became a dame in 1980 and in 1993 became a Member of the Order of New Zealand.

In 2013, the New Zealand Association for Women in Science (AWIS) created the Miriam Dell Award for excellence in science mentoring. The biennial prize is awarded to someone who demonstrates outstanding mentoring efforts to retain females in science, mathematics and technology.

Dame Miriam is AWIS' patron.