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New Minister, new opportunity, says pay equity group

Media Release: Pay Equity Challenge Coalition, Monday 15 November 2010

Appointing a new Minister of Women’s Affairs gives the Government a new opportunity to reduce the gender pay gap and to make a real commitment to making a positive change in improving gender equity said Angela McLeod, spokesperson for the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition.

“Under the last Minister’s watch the Pay and Employment Equity Unit in the Department of Labour was dismantled, pay reviews were abandoned and the Minister focused on selectively using statistics to try and claim an improvement in the gender pay gap that hasn’t happened,” said McLeod. “While claiming to leave no stone unturned, Pansy Wong actually let the moss grow over the issue of pay and employment equity.”

McLeod said that effective action to deal with the completely dismal statistics from the Biennial Census of Women’s participation needs to be a priority of the new Minister.

“The Census released last week shows that in critical areas the participation of women has stalled and is sliding backwards. Gender pay gaps in the state sector of up to 36 % are disgraceful and have to be tackled head on with some commitment and resourcing. We have to shift from rhetoric around pay and employment equity to actually making a difference in women’s pay packets.”

Angela McLeod said that the Coalition hoped to get on to a better footing with a new Minister.

“We would like the new Minister to meet with us soon, and start participating in cross-parliamentary work to make a real improvement on the gender pay gap,” she said.

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