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Kate Shepard’s legacy betrayed

Media Release: Pay Equity Challenge Coalition
Sunday September 19, 2010

Kate Shepard’s legacy betrayed

By blocking work to close the gender pay gap the government is doing little to honour the legacy of suffragist Kate Shepherd, the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition said today, on Women’s Suffrage Day.

The government is currently consulting on its 4 yearly report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Coalition spokesperson Angela McLeod said that the report talks up the government’s work on pay equity, yet the real story is something quite different.

“A series of actions underway to close the pay gap in the state sector, and followed up in the private sector, were abruptly stopped by the government last year,” she said.

“Gender pay reviews, and the action plans that resulted, were tangible ways for the government to close the pay gap between women and men, currently 12 per cent.”

“Instead, the government have closed the Pay and Employment Equity Unit, scrapped pay equity investigations for social workers and school support staff and are now bringing in employment law changes which will make it harder for working women to earn a decent income for them and their families.”

“This government wants to take us from leading the world on fairness for women to lagging along behind or at best, stay with the pack”.

“Today is absolutely a day for celebration, to honour the work of Kate Shepherd and the suffragist who won the vote for women in New Zealand.”

“But there is not a lot to celebrate in the government’s attitude towards working women in 2010,” Angela McLeod said.

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