Meet our new Women’s Services Coordinator, Kaitlin Henderson
Our new Women Services Coordinator talks health psychology and cross-stitch
If you’re in the neighbourhood, come and say hi to Kaitlin Henderson, the newest friendly face at Te Wāhi Wāhine o Tāmaki Makaurau (WWTM). Kaitlin is now looking after Women’s Support (free advice, referral and information), and coordinating our community education programme. “I love that this job is all about the women!” she says.
After a week of handover, outgoing coordinator Ellie Lim gives Kaitlin some of her highest praise: “she’s super-smart, super-fast and ontoit!”
Last year, Kaitlin worked as a Women’s Health Action health promoter, including organising their big “Latch-On” event encouraging breastfeeding (online due to COVID), and surveying new mothers about their lockdown information needs.
Her earlier work as a baby teacher in early childhood education influenced her 2018 Masters research in critical health psychology: she interviewed mothers about how daycare centres could assist them to continue breastfeeding when they went back to work.
Kaitlin explains critical health psychology as “focusing on the social determinants of health and on power structures, drawing from feminism and philosophy.” For example, she was interested in the “self-surveillance” of her interview subjects – how much they had internalised external expectations and standards of “good” parenthood.
The red wine enthusiast and disco lover grew up in Titirangi, and is now lucky enough to live in Mt Roskill with her four best friends. “We have a ton of house plants, I’m obsessed with them, it’s a jungle in our house,” says Kaitlin; no one is allowed to put their feet near her prized fittonia nerve plant on the coffee table.
A “jill of all crafts”, she does cross-stitch everyday (“sometimes with my flatmate while we watch really trashy reality tv”), and she finished stitching an adaptation of Klimt’s The Kiss in the same week she started at WWTM. Her next stitching project is of an alien pretending to be a 1950s housewife.
Some of us – or our grandmothers – may be able to relate. Kaitlin certainly sees feminism as inter-generational: “it’s continuing the work towards equity of generations of women before me and advancing opportunities for the generations of women to come.”