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Statistics show Government action needed on gender pay gap

Pay Equity Coalition Challenge: Press Release – 4 October 2013

“The income figures from the Annual Income Survey released today show that there is no progress in reducing the gender pay gap,” says spokesperson for the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition, Angela Macleod today.

“Using average hourly earnings there remains a 13% gap between what men and women are earning”.

“The Pay Equity Challenge Coalition uses average hourly ordinary time earnings for the gender pay gap.  It is the indicator that the New Zealand Income Survey has used since 1974 to monitor the impact of the Equal Pay Act 1972.   (See graph below).

“The Government continues to cite median hourly earnings to indicate the gender pay gap, which suits them as it makes the earnings gap appear narrower. But a far bigger proportion of men than women are at the really high end of the distribution (top 5% or 1% of earnings). The median takes much less account of this than the average.  But there is no narrowing of the gap even with the median. In fact there is an increase from last year from 9.3% to 10.1% for part timers and full timers combined.

The difference between the gender pay gap indicators – the gap between the average and median measures of the gap – suggests that women in higher paid jobs and occupations may be gaining ground, while women in many typical women’s jobs –caregivers like Kristine Bartlett – whose case is before the Employment Court  continue to be undervalued and underpaid relative to men.

“These statistics show that there is a need for Government action to reduce the gender pay gap”.

Angela MacLeod says “the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition believes that the focus of policy should be on lifting the wages of low-paid women workers. The judgement of the Employment Court in the caregiver case gives the signal for low pay in female dominated sectors such as aged care to be rectified and is an opportunity for government leadership in this sector”.
Gender-Ratios-1974-2013

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