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Rally at Parliament

The Pay Equity Challenge

Show them it matters to you: 12.30pm on Tuesday 30 June 2009 in the grounds of Parliament

Join the Pay Equity Challenge group on Facebook, or email your support to katesheppardnz@gmail.com

We like to think New Zealand is a world leader in gender equality issues. We were the first country in the world to give women the vote, don’t you know?

But New Zealand is now lagging behind on this record. To our shame, we still have a significant gap between what women and men are paid for equivalent work. Women’s hourly earnings are on average 12% to 15% less than men’s – but that’s a minimum estimate of the gap. Because women move in and out of the labour force more and spend more time in unpaid work to bring up children, the annual earnings gap is even bigger than this. And for workers working in women-dominated work, the gender pay gap is bigger because the work is undervalued.

We must close the pay gap and end gender inequality in the workplace with a commitment to pay and employment equity.

The Government recently announced the closure of the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit, a unit set up by the previous government to implement a Plan of Action to address the pay gap experienced by women workers. Whilst we understand that the Unit alone cannot solve this problem, we believe the creation of the Unit was a positive start and it was undertaking and guiding this important work.

So we want to issue the Government and New Zealand as a whole with a challenge – the Pay Equity Challenge.

What is the Pay Equity Challenge?
Well for a start, if the Government doesn’t think the Unit is an important component in closing the pay gap, we challenge the Government to tell us what is. We challenge them to tell us what their plans are for closing the pay gap. We challenge them to tell us how they are going to work with employers and unions across both public and private sectors to reduce the pay gap.

The Pay Equity Challenge is also about creating a broad, apolitical coalition of community, employer, union, and academic groups who are committed to putting pay equity issues back on the Government’s, and New Zealand’s, agenda.

A very public demonstration
The first act of the coalition will be a very public demonstration in support of equal pay for women which will be held at 12.30pm on Tuesday 30 June in the grounds of Parliament.

The demonstration is first and foremost to tell the Government that we don’t think that closing the Unit is going to help close the pay gap. But it’s about much more than just that. It’s about challenging the Government and New Zealand as a whole to do more about pay and gender equity issues.

Next Steps
The Pay Equity Challenge won’t end there. The demonstration is just the beginning of an ongoing pay equity campaign.

We are asking for your support – Join the Coalition
We really want your organisation to be part of the coalition supporting the Pay Equity Challenge.  If you represent an organisation which would like to join the Pay Equity coalition, please contact Eileen Brown at the NZCTU on (04) 3851334 ext 813, or eileenb@nzctu.org.nz.

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