Red Alert

Happy Suffrage Day from National?

Posted by on September 18th, 2011

On the eve of Suffrage Day it is worth contemplating the track record of National in terms of progress for NZ women.  I tried on Thursday to explore this with the Minister of Women’s Affairs.  You can judge for yourself.  I believe NZ women deserve better than this.  Tomorrow, on the 118th  anniversary of Suffrage Day, the day we celebrate the acheivement of those who fought for and won the vote for women, I will be announcing Labour’s Women’s Policy.   The policy is comprehensive and builds on Labour’s proud record of working for real equality, real choice and real opportunity for women.


32 Responses to “Happy Suffrage Day from National?”

  1. Spud says:

    Yee haa! :-D :-D :-D !

    My Ma can vote because of this! :-D

  2. Steve P says:

    Funny how no-one ever celebrates NZ Universal Male Suffrage Day (14th Nov 1879). You’d think that the Labour Party especially would remember this class war victory, since it ultimately led to the formation of the Labour Party itself.

    Of course, that would mean diminishing the heroic status of women’s suffrage by more accurately placing it in its historical context; as simply another step in the road from absolute monarchy to liberal democracy.

  3. Michael says:

    Every day is suffering day for Labour.

  4. jem says:

    Yes well.. So far your policy looks nothing more than an attempt to control more areas of our lives without our consent.

    Not content with quota systems in education, health and politics, you now intend to open the door to giving you complete power in deciding what positions are held by who with in a Private coy.

    So let me see, considering the coy i work for has a male MD, GM and Engineering Manager, you’ll probably want to come in and rearrange things a little. Maybe make the receptionist the MD…because clearly she is being repressed and deserves the higher salary and power…

    You wallies never change. Absolutely no idea about the real world!

  5. tracey says:

    Interestingly the nats (Paula Bennett) believe teachers are the right people to be identifying child abuse but doesn’t believe they can be trusted on how best to teach children (Tolley).

  6. tracey says:

    When boys fell behind girls in academic achievement in schools we, quite rightly, focused on raising (boys) performance. How is that different from focusing on raising womens pay when we discover that women are paid less for the same work as men? Surely that is pro democracy? Please note I said less pay for the same work.

  7. Steve P says:

    tracey – please cite your evidence that shows that women are paid less for the same work as men.

  8. tracey says:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10751625 – not evidence but a reference to stuff

    http://live.isitesoftware.co.nz/neon/documents/P26_The%20gender%20pay%20gap.pdf refers to stuff. have read studies from a few years back at EOC.

    Jen, no one is trying to make a receptionist the MD but they are asking why the less qualified experienced male applicant for the MD’s position might get the job ahead of the more skilled and more experienced woman.

    In my experience no one is being malicious in their pay practices. Some don’t realsie they have a disparity. people can’t know what they don’t know. The EOC and others have a pay review tool which is free. It would be great to see private companies adopting this in larger numbers. I’ve worked a lot in private companies and mostly the people who realise they have some inequities work hard to redress it.

  9. Si says:

    Suffrage and Helen Clark….Proof some policies just go to far.

  10. Carol says:

    NAct, their male-dominated hierarchy, their policies on many issues that significantly impact on large numbers of women (eg the ones mentioned in Labour’s Press Release today), and some right wing commenters show just how far we have yet to go before women get full equality.

  11. Julie Fairey says:

    Here’s just one media report I found through a quick Google Steve P. Maybe you might like to try it yourself.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3419142/Significant-gender-income-gap-found-in-study

  12. Steve P says:

    Julie F and tracey – “gender earnings gap” is not the same as “being paid less to do the same work”.

    From the Herald link: “Mr Mahoney said one of the reasons men earned more than females may be link to a difference in the number of hours or weeks they work each year or the kinds of occupations and industries they work in.

    “Where possible, future studies will test if this is the case.”

    Julie F, perhaps you can answer this – up until the various equal pay acts of the ’70s and ’80s, men were indeed paid more than women. Why was that?

  13. Matt says:

    I get pretty annoyed when people start moaning about woman getting paid less than men. When they are younger it is only fair that they get paid slightly less so they are able to take time off work to care for their new born. Its a massive cost to business particularly small firms. Would you rather females be unemployed?
    Its the facts. I know the left don’t like it but is it fair than men don’t get free time off to help the mother in the child’s early days? Unless the government steps in and pays for maternity leave, it should stay that way.

    To be fair though I haven’t seen any first hand evidence of the gender pay gap.

  14. Dion says:

    I’m failing to see why you posted this video – as Anne Tolley handled herself rather well under that line of questioning – which is pretty unusual for the individual concerned.

    On a different (but related) topic, I’ll give you this advice for free: if Labour’s woman’s policy is going to be another variation of “the government isn’t doing enough” (which is all we seem to have heard from Labour since they entered opposition) then it won’t resonate and you’ll continue to poll in the mid 20′s.

  15. Anne says:

    Glad your advice is free Dion. Doesn’t sound much like it’s worth paying for. Oh and btw the word is women – not woman.

  16. tracey says:

    “than men don’t get free time off to help the mother in the child’s early days?” You’re not familiar with paternity leave then?

    “Its a massive cost to business particularly small firms.” Matt, I’m surprised Steve P didn’t ask you but I will, evidence please? Matt please read the short message in my secodn link above and the rest of my post, again. It’s not about blame. It doesn’t really matter whose fault it is, but how we can address it. To do so we need more information, and that ought not be a hardship to supply. After all if it’s not true, then you’d think businesses would be eager to show that?

    Steve P – yes I know it is not the same and absolutely read about the disparity between the same jobs. Funny that you wrote you read the Herald link but didn’t see this paragraph

    “Female medical study graduates earned $6560 less than males, lawyers earned $4150 less, teachers $2400 less and women in communications and media earned $1730 less.” – I’m afraid a graduate lawyer (female) is doing the sae job as a graduate lawyer (male) but receives on average $4150 less. No experience difference. Before you suggest the men have higher grades upon graduating to justify the disparity, I would need to see your evidence of that.

    If there is no such discrimination employers ought to be happy to use the pay equity review tools and release their pay scales/awards to allow society to ascertain if it’s mountain out of a mole-hill.

    For the record in this regard I am not just anti National’s refusal o address or even acknowledge the issue but labour as well. Yes, they have some policy BUT it is the Greens who introduced the bill.

  17. Tim says:

    @tracey – I am only going to come at this from my own experience – but I think the lawyer graduate example is problematic. I think the principal reason the male graduate lawyers earn more is because they are more attracted to “big 5″ law firms where they can practice banking/finance/insurance (read: higher paid) specialist areas of law and then piss off overseas after a few years, than say family law/childcare law etc (read: lower paid). Go to any community law centre/CYFS legal etc, and you will see that the majority of employees (junior and senior) are female. Go to larger law firms, and the opposite is true. That might reflect more on having less financially-motivated aspirations than some of their male counterparts (but it speaks highly of the women as individuals).

    Of course, there is another inequalities debate to be had there (along gender-neutral lines), but I guess the fact is that as long as people stand to make more money from banking/finance/insurance law…

  18. tracey says:

    ““than men don’t get free time off to help the mother in the child’s early days?” You’re not familiar with paternity leave then?” Sorry, this came across differently to how I intended it. Have you lobbied your local MP on this point Matt? Have you organised fathers and mothers who feel strongly about this into action to get publicity and build momentum for change?

    Women’s “right” to vote, or paid maternity leave, or have a job didn’t magically appear; interested, motivated women (and men) worked hard from the ground up lobbying, marching, leafletting, trying to get media traction to begin change, sometimes for decades (and centuries).

    If you detect a groundswell amongst men to have paid leave when their children are born (longer than their annual leave entitlements) to support the mother and child, then organise yourself man, get moving, make it happen, that’s what democracies are for.

    if you don’t want to do this then don’t use that as a stick to beat people who do push for change in ares they care about.

  19. tracey says:

    Hi Tim, thanks, I also come to this from my own experience and take your point about the going overseas aspect. Even 25 years ago when I was graduating as many of my fellow graduates (female) were interested in those areas as the males were. However, despite grades ( in my graduating year the majority of top grades were achieved by females – not me I might add ;) ) more men were hired to those positions, so it was more than just who was attracted to those areas.

    I know more women are partners, as a percentage, than when I graduated. I also know that it isn’t a relfection of the split of men and women practising. I also know that some women don’t want partnership. If they do, there ought not be a glass ceiling.

    I would imagine it is changing partly because my generation of graduates are very much partners now, and have different views of women than our employers did.

  20. Sofie Bribiesca says:

    Hear Hear Tracey!

  21. Steve P says:

    tracey, you will note that the Herald link refers to “EARNINGS 4 YEARS AFTER GRADUATION”.

    Since males and females earn the same upon entering the work force then employers obviously do not think that females are inherently worth less – in fact, the link says that many female graduates earned slightly more than males one year after graduation, so if anything, employers think female graduates are worth more than males.

    “If there is no such discrimination employers ought to be happy to use the pay equity review tools and release their pay scales/awards to allow society to ascertain if it’s mountain out of a mole-hill.”

    Why is it up to society to ascertain pay scales? I think that the terms of my employment are entirely between me and my employer.

    You realise that studies show that in the US, unmarried childless women under 30 working in cities earn more than their male peers?

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.html

    If a study done in NZ were to show similar results, would you be happy for those young women’s earnings to be docked and given to the guys? If not, why not?

  22. Steve P says:

    tracey – “Steve P – yes I know it is not the same…”

    If you know it’s not the same then why did you say it was???

  23. tracey says:

    Steve P, are you saying that it is credible that within 1 and four years men have advanced significantly further than women in their jobs to justify the pay gap given the parity in terms of grades upon graduation? Are you saying that women are just slower learners than men between 1 and 4 years?

    “A person’s earnings generally increase with the level of tertiary study, but there is a marked difference between what men and women with the same qualification are paid.

    The study looked at what graduates earned after one and four years of starting work.

    While many female bachelor graduates earned slightly more than males one year after graduation – roughly $130 a year – things changed greatly down the track.”

  24. Steve P says:

    From Tracey’s link: “…among MBAs from Carnegie Mellon University… while only 7 per cent of women negotiated their starting salary, 57 per cent of the men did so.”

    How do MBAs usually earn a living? By running businesses. How do businesses operate? By competing with each other for the customer’s dollar. Oh, but all this competition is just so icky and gross, wouldn’t it be so much nicer if all these businesses got together and instead of competing with each other, they all agreed on what they were going to charge for their goods and services.

    D’ya get my point?

    If these women MBAs aren’t even prepared to negotiate for their own salaries, how well are they going to do in the big bad corporate world, where executives might be negotiating for contracts worth millions of dollars, and be responsible for companies that have thousands of employees?

  25. Phil says:

    Following up on some of the conversation on a previous post, here’s some interesting thoughts from Nate Silver, including a couple of links to research on under-representation of Women in political office:

    …for female candidates, polls underestimate their eventual vote share by over 2 percentage points, on average… This so-called Richards Effect cannot be explained away with other attributes, like the race of the candidates or the state of the election.

    …As the political scientists Richard Fox and Jennifer Lawless have argued, the underrepresentation of women in higher office stems more from a gender gap in ambition and recruitment, not from sexism toward women who do decide to run for office.

    But reluctance among citizens to express their support for a woman candidate — even if they might vote for her in the end — certainly does little to encourage women to run.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/pre-election-polls-underestimate-the-success-of-women-candidates/

  26. Steve P says:

    tracey – “…are you saying that…”

    Please don’t put words into my mouth. I don’t know specifically why the women in that study were earning less; there are a number of reasons no doubt and the author says future studies are required.

    What I do know is that in the U.S. women who train as doctors are increasingly either dropping back to part-time or dropping out of the profession completely – apparently to become mothers – and that this is causing major problems for healthcare providers:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/opinion/12sibert.html?pagewanted=1&_r=4

    “…medical education is a privilege, not an entitlement, and it confers a real moral obligation to serve.”

    (article written by a female anesthesiologist, so go ahead and call her a sexist pig)

    This doctor shortage also means that male doctors who work overtime to cover the gaps are making even more, further widening the “gender pay gap”. I have seen similar reports of doctor shortages in the U.K and Canada.

    On-site daycare centres could possibly help, but if these women doctors were working full-time they could easily afford nannies – however they are *choosing* to be with their children…. and yes, I know that’s supposed to be really bad: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” – Simone de Beauvoir

  27. Dave says:

    I fail to see the point of this post. I didn’t see any pressure on Tolley here at all. The questions were asked and answered, quite well I thought. In this vein I have never worked in a position that I’m paid more for than a woman in the same position, with the same qualifications, the same experience and the same performance. I have worked in positions where I have been paid more than a woman colleague who has none of those similarities. I’m also sure there were women that were paid more than me for the same reasons. Perhaps Labour should ask why none of the equity changes they espouse were ever implemented under their watch but demand, vociferously, higher standards of this Government than they were prepared to exhibit themselves, with the benefit of hindsight? Maybe if we all squint hard enough we can see what we want to see, and identify the excuses we want to find. I would rather ask why women are drawn to jobs that pay less, and act in that direction. You would get more traction and a higher paid workforce in general terms. If you did an analysis of occupations and pay rates for women and correlated that against occupations and pay rates for men, you may also see some balance.

  28. tracey says:

    “and yes, I know that’s supposed to be really bad” according to whom?? You may not be meaning to but you sound quite bitter about this Steve P. I hope not, because from where i sit it’s not about blame it’s about addressing the actual issue which starts with uncovering it. Of course there are a multiple of reasons but one of the links clearly took account of many reasons, such as you have listed/referred to, and still left about 12% earning less because of discrimination.

    When our society uncovered that boys were not performing as well academically at school as girls immediate efforts were made to address it, and rightly so. Sometimes you have to put more resources into a group to get a similar outcome. Hence more resource was put into boys. Again rightly so.

    I don’t know why this topic engenders almost anger in some men. To me equal rights for women is about respect, sharing, and opportunity. It’s not about women being better than men, wanting more than men, taking from men, just a level playing field.

    Not all discrimination is intentional or conscious. people cant know what they dont know. That’s why it would be really useful for employers to provide data to a central collator to ascertain IF there is an issue and then we can work out how to address it.

    In my 25 year career I have been paid less than male colleagues with the same years experience, and in some cases les than me. And yes, when I found out I challenged it, received a pay rise but not to the same level.

    IF women choose not to negotiate harder for their salaries I agree they need to wear that.

    As for why women are drawn to nursing and teaching in greater numbers than men? I could guess but clearly I don’t know for sure.

    At any time, for example, any government, from any side of the political spectrum could introduce legislation paying nurses to train, in the same way the police recruits are paid to train, but they don’t. Equating nurse pay scales to police pay scales. MPs post here, perhaps they could tell us why that is? Frankly more people will need a nurse during their life than a police officer, despite the rhetoric of the law and order brigade.

    Perhaps women, more so than men, but not exclusively, are drawn to an occupation and not a wage? So if they want to be a nurse, it’s to be involved in helping ill people, suffering people, not to become wealthy. However that doesn’t mean we can’t pay them what they’re worth.

    “are you saying that..” is NOT putting words in your mouth but trying to get clarification and understanding of your point.

  29. tracey says:

    You make some fair points Dave, although again I say, National promised to deliver higher standards than labour. Two wrongs dont make a right and all that.

    Unless you work in an industry where wages are set by union negotiated rates across the board, or in say, a sector where there are statutory pay scales then your experience is to be expected

    “In this vein I have never worked in a position that I’m paid more for than a woman in the same position, with the same qualifications, the same experience and the same performance. I have worked in positions where I have been paid more than a woman colleague who has none of those similarities. I’m also sure there were women that were paid more than me for the same reasons.”

    Of some interest is you first two comparisons you KNEW for a fact, the last one you assumed. You may actually never worked where women were paid more than you, but if employers released their info to a central database we would know. There is no reason for names or other identifiers to be used, even the employers name could be protected, then we could begin to get to the facts.

    I confess to not completely understanding the reluctance to open up and show people like me that we’re wrong, and women are not paid less than men in the same occupations with the same qualifications and experience.

    “why should they have to?”

    Why shouldn’t they if they believe so strongly, as some do here that it isn’t a real issue.

    Treating everyone fairly isnt just an issue for the group who feel they are not so treated, surely it is in everyone’s interest?

  30. tracey says:

    A study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) examined how the wage gap affects college graduates. Wage disparities kick in shortly after college graduation, when women and men should, absent discrimination, be on a level playing field. One year after graduating college, women are paid on average only 80 percent of their male counterparts’ wages, and during the next 10 years, women’s wages fall even further behind, dropping to only 69 percent of men’s earnings ten years after college. According to the AAUW report, even after “[c]ontrolling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors normally associated with pay, college-educated women still earn less than their male peers earn. . . . A large portion of the gender pay gap is not explained by women’s choices or characteristics

    American Association of University Women, Behind the Pay Gap (2007), pg.2, 17

  31. Steve P says:

    tracey wrote, “[It's about] a level playing field…” and also wrote, “Sometimes you have to put more resources into a group to get a similar outcome.”

    This I think is getting to the crux. A “level playing field” means the rules are applied equally and impartially, and “may the best man win”, it does not mean the same as “similar outcome”, in which the game is rigged; the rules are applied unequally with some being handicapped and others being given an advantage so as to achieve a tie – to make it fair.

    The reason that boys are doing worse at school than girls is that when co-ed schools became the norm, the boys were doing better,so in order to achieve equality of outcome the curriculum was tweaked to make it more “girl-friendly” – with the simultaneous effect of handicapping the boys (who are now bored and frustrated at having to sit there all day and write essays about how they feel about the rain-forests).

    What’s starting to happen now though is that parents and educators are thinking that boys and girls have different learning styles, and that what is actually better for both boys and girls is that some or all of their schooling be sex-segregated (cynics would say that this is re-inventing the wheel). The objective of schooling is then no longer equality of outcome, to make it fair, but to develop each and every student to the best of his or her individual abilities regardless of any pre-desired outcome.

    This will give some people conniptions, but I do not believe that the role of government is to make it fair, to achieve equality of outcome by whatever means. I believe its role to enable an environment in which people can follow their dreams, maximise their happiness – however you want to put it, regardless of any directives from the top on how things “should” be.

    The reason I quoted de Beauvoir is that I think that this drive for gender pay equity is not ultimately motivated by what is best for women, but by some Marxist-style ideology
    that seeks to reduce men and women to atomised, fungible economic units with identical economic outputs – and if the outputs aren’t equal then they must be made to be equal. I object to this not out of some kind of envy, but because I think it is bad economics, bad for women and bad for society as a whole.

    A recent US survey showed that the least happy class of white-collar worker is an unmarried, 42-year-old female professional (such as a doctor or lawyer) earning less than $100,000:

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/survey_reveals_profile_of_unhappy_worker_shes_unmarried_42_and_a_lawyer_or_

    How comes? Shouldn’t she be living the dream? Unencumbered with a man or children, high-status job, decent income that gives her independence (any doctor or lawyer is going to be earning a darn sight more than I do). Maybe selling your soul for the corporate silver, being a cubicle jockey as your life slips away isn’t quite the path to nirvana that it’s made out to be.

    So are women financially disadvantaged by not earning as much as men? Not in the US, apparently:

    http://she-conomy.com/report/facts-on-women/

    “Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States… Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases … American women spend about $5 trillion annually…over half the U.S. GDP” and so on.

    So where is all this cash coming from? Well, from men of course. These statistics about average earnings don’t take into account money that women receive from inheritance (women live longer than men and usually marry older men), welfare benefits (in NZ there is a widow’s benefit but no widower’s benefit), child support (something like 80% from men to women), divorce settlements (Maria Shriver stands to make over $300 million for doing… what, exactly? Certainly not household chores or sleeping with Arnie, that’s what the staff were for) and so on.

    Less than a quarter of the US homeless population is female:

    http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/who.html