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Serious slippage on gender pay gap: Minister needs to take notice

Media Release: Pay Equity Challenge Coalition, Monday 8 November 2010

The findings from the Biennial Census of Women’s Participation show that gender pay issues are moving in the wrong direction in the public sector, said Pay and Employment Equity Coalition Spokesperson Angela McLeod today.

“The Human Rights Commission is doing a good job monitoring the gap but is working in a vacuum caused by government inaction,” she said.

There is clear evidence of serious slippage in the state sector with 24 public service departments having gender pay gaps greater than the total labour force and the highest reported one being 39 per cent.

“This is appalling,” said McLeod. “The state sector is vitally important for leading the way in improving gender equity. And so it should be given more than half its workforce are women.”

“The Government’s dismantling of the Pay and Employment Unit has derailed progress and is likely to have contributed to these results. We were seeing some good progress being made in the state sector. The effects of government abandoning this issue are now coming home to roost.”

“Minister Pansy Wong may claim she is taking action on gender equity but the limited amounts of tinkering she is overseeing are not effective in improving the gender equity for the three-quarters of a million women now in the New Zealand workforce. They have no real plan for ensuring that women get the same rewards and workplace conditions as men,” said McLeod.

“This census report is very comprehensive and provides valuable and specific information but it has to be a spur to action,” said McLeod. “The Minister needs to meet with pay equity experts, trade union leaders and public and private sector employers to develop a plan of meaningful action to improve gender equity and reduce the gender pay gap.”

“We are ready and willing – is she?”


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