Today the Business and Professional Women of NZ are commemorating Equal Pay Day to mark the number of days extra each year that women have to work to earn the same as men.
Sadly, Equal Pay Day this year is three days later than it was last year because the gender pay gap has grown again according to the StatisticsNZ Quarterly Employment Survey.
It shows the average hourly wage for men is $29.09, while women earn $25.25 per hour – a gap of almost 12%.
This comes on the back of the Minister for Women’s Affairs telling a select committee that the correlation between gender and low occupational status is “debatable.”
She was responding to a petition signed by 10,607 people calling on the Government to properly fund aged care services.
Her answer was that women would get better pay if they did jobs that men had traditionally done and this would fix the gender pay gap.
All very well, Minister Goodhew, but who is going to take care of you when need rest homecare if all of those hard-working women go off to be plumbers?
Archive for the ‘women’ Category
Today the Business and Professional Women of NZ are commemorating Equal Pay Day to mark the number of days extra each year that women have to work to earn the same as men.
In a desperate bid to find a reason to oppose my bill to extend paid parental leave to 6 months, Business NZ rolled up to the select committee citing the opinion of Member of the European Parliament as evidence that employers in NZ might stop employing women of “child-bearing” age.
“Absurd legislation such as this closes the door on opportunities for young women and consigns them to a role as second class citizens, trapped at home by stupid legislators,” said the un-named MEP in Business NZs submission.
A quick google search revealed him to be Godfrey Bloom from the UK Independence Party.
Turns out, Godfrey has a lot to say about women.
“No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age.” For example. Closely followed by:
“I just dont think (women) clean behind the fridge enough” and “I am here to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home.”
And Godfrey also has something to say about NZ. Wikipedia reports that he was filmed in 2009, congratulating the French for bombing the Rainbow Warrior.
My advise to Business NZ is simple. Don’t make assertions that denigrate both women and NZ employers and use an MEP of questionable repute to justify your position.
Its a very bad look and the issue deserves better treatment than that.
This week, school teacher Juliana Venning showed how powerful one determined woman can be.
When she heard convicted rapist, Mike Tyson was being given a visa to come to New Zealand even though he should be barred under our immigration criteria for being sentenced to more than 5 years imprisionment, she acted.
She wrote to Immigration NZ and complained about Mr Tyson gaining entry to NZ and they wrote back explaining that he had been given a “special direction” by the Minister and his application had been supported by the Life Education Trust.
Many would have stopped there – not Juliana.
She did what the Minister should have done. She went to the Life Education Trust and asked them to explain their support.
They told her they had been approached to support Mike Tyson’s application and would receive around $60,000 from the event he was coming for, but DECLINED to be involved.
The rest is history, but the point is that Juliana’s persistence in standing up for victims of sexual assault resulted in Mike Tyson’s visa being revoked.
Round one goes to the school teacher, against the boxing champ.
Round two is now gearing up, as the Minister strangely opened the door up for another visa application from Mr Tyson.
Some argue he is a great role model for young NZrs because he has turned his life around.
But where’s the proof of that?
Mr Tyson was clearly annoyed when a TV interviewer in NZ asked about his conviction and replied: “I didnt do that f****** crime.”
Hardly the reaction of a remorseful man who has turned his life around and not the performance I would expect of a role model.
In fact Tyson has been convicted on two further charges of violence since his 1992 conviction for raping an 18 year old woman.
The most recent charges laid against him were in 2007.
The purpose of Mike Tyson’s proposed visit to NZ isnt to turn lives around in South Auckland. He wants to come here to make a buck by entertaining those who can pay up to $395 a ticket to see his show.
This week, Police released crime stats showing sexual assaults had risen by 15% in the last two years. The last thing we need, is a convicted rapist getting special treatment and being paraded around as a celebrity.
Well done Juliana. You are the real role model in this match.
This year we are taking Women’s Suffrage Day to the Twittersphere to hear what you think about how Kiwi women are faring 119 years after we won the right to vote.
I feel sure that Kate Sheppard, the woman who led the charge and graces our $10 note, would have some opinions to express if she were alive today.
But sadly, she’s not! So we want to hear from you, by posting your comments below or on Twitter from 8am tomorrow morning, 19 September 2012, using the hashtag #wwkst – What would Kate Sheppard think?
Kate Sheppard fought for New Zealand women’s political and economic independence and thanks to her more than five generations of women have now been able to influence decision-making through their vote.
There are things that we have achieved that I think would make her smile, like Marriage property laws, Equal Pay laws, the election of the first woman, Elizabeth McCoombs to Parliament and many more including Mabel Howard as the first female cabinet minister, and our female Prime Ministers Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark.
But there are some things that I think would make her frown. What would she think about female accountants being paid 30% less on average than their male counterparts in 2012? Or about the National Council of Women, which she founded, supporting the removal of working women’s rights in the first 90 days of employment? What would she think about the fact just 6% of private company boards having female directors; or that just 32.5% of our House of Representatives are female, when women make up 51% of the population?
I think she’d say there’s work to be done.
And there are some things she would be down-right angry about. Like our rates of domestic violence, or the fact that 270,000 Kiwi kids live in poverty, or that in 2011 voter turnout was the lowest since the 1880s at just 65%.
I think she would expect more from this government and more from its Minister of Women’s Affairs. What do you think?
Yes, I am trying to steal David Clark’s thunder- but I’m not the only one.
A few weeks ago at the Women’s Expo in Tauranga, the National Party had a stall.
They decided they needed a fresh idea – a “hook” to get women interacting with them.
They needed something to get attention, something that would let women know they were on their side.
Problem was, National are out of any new ideas of their own and their current policies are bad for women.
So here’s what they chose to ask the women of Tauranga about :-
“Should Waitangi Day and AnzacDay be Mondayised when they fall on a weekend.”
Expo-goers were asked to put a dot under “Yes or “No” and I have it on good authority that it was a landslide to the Yes vote.
I wonder of the Nats will now reverse their opposition to this excellent Labour Bill after this feedback from the good folk of Tauranga. Or will they continue to ignore them?
Meanwhile, around the corner, the Labour stall was promoting another excellent Labour Billl – my proposal to extend paid parental leave to 6 months which was also enjoying great support.
So, “by the numbers” when it came to great plans for the future embraced by the people of Tauranga:
Labour – 2
National – 0
Women of Tauranga thinking about Labour’s great policy ideas – Heaps!
Our lack of paid parental leave is holding us back from being the best place in the world to raise children.
This was confirmed by the “State of the World’s Mothers” report released this week by Save the Children.
Even though we were placed fourth in their 13th annual report, its clear that our low rate of PPL was a key reason we slumped to 19th place when rated on their breastfeeding policy scorecard.
The report shows that 88% of NZ babies were breastfed at some stage, but that by 3 months that fell to just 56% and the data wasnt even available for NZ babies aged 6 months.
It is also of concern that NZ rated just 25th/44 countires on Save the Chidren’s scorecard for children living in developed countries.
I want NZ to be the best place in the world to raise children. Extending paid parental leave is one practical way we can achieve this.
Today’s unemployment figures show the female unemployment rate to be 7.1% – the highest it’s been since 1998.
This bad news follows hard on the heels of the Government’s announcement that they will veto extensions to paid parental leave; their mother-bashing proposals under the so-called “welfare reforms” banner and the news that Police will no longer report family violence data in their annual report.
So it’s time to ask a few questions.
Why is Minister of Women’s Affairs, Jo Goodhew, sitting on her hands while her Government fails the women of New Zealand?
Why have two CEO’s resigned from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the three years that National has been the Government? (MWA CEO Rowena Phair has just announced her resignation this week)
What does National have against women and mothers in particular?
They can’t say they didnt know women were suffering. In March, EEO Commissioner, Dr Judy McGregor warned that the cuts to public service jobs; the disproportionate loss of retail, accommodation and food service jobs in Christchurch and the reliance on construction in Christchurch to lift employment would all lead to increasing unemployment for women.
Women are bearing the brunt of the Government’s inability to pull the economy out of recession.
Not only are women losing jobs, but they bear the brunt of the emerging housing crisis, the fire-at-will bill and short-sighted cuts in early childhood and tertiary education.
And as the economic mismangement puts financial pressure on the family budget, guess who cops it then? Shockingly, sometimes in a physical way.
But of course the Police annual stats will hide that fact and we can all go back to pretending that domestic violence doesnt exist.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women’s Affairs sits quietly outside of Cabinet and that’s just the way the National Party like it.
Yesterday recruiting company Korn Ferry released a survey showing New Zealand running last in the Asia/Pacific Region for female directors on boards.
Its embarrassing that China, India, Malaysia, Siganpore, Hong Kong and Australia all fare better than us. We used to lead the world when it came to representation of women. Kate Sheppard must be turning in her grave.
I thought Institute of Directors Ralph Chivers hit the nail on the head when he said:”There is no shortage of women who aspire to work at that level, or potentially suitable candidates. Women have told us they have difficulty getting noticed for opportunities to be promoted.” How refreshingly honest! He wasn’t prepared to use the tired, worn-out excuse that the problem is women dont want to be directors, or that they weren’t good enough and needed “mentoring.” If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve heard that one, I would be a wealthy woman.
Despite the National Government having a glitzy launch of a “Women on Boards” initiative aimed at the private sector in 2009, the reality is they had just scrapped the target Labour had set of getting 50% women on public sector boards. And so the survey shows that there has been no increase in the proportion of women on our boards and in the public sector (where the Government itself appoints board members) there has been no improvement on the 41% representation Labour had achieved by the time we left office. And its important, because research shows that companies do better with women involved in their decision-making. Women directors are better at risk management, less prone to group thinking, better at problem-solving and better able to link to diverse customers. That’s what research tells us.
Across the ditch, they have made some quick progress on this issue by simply requiring companies to report the facts of the organisation’s gender balance. The result has been that women now make up 25% of new appointments to ASX company boards, compared to just 5% in 2009 before the measure was brought in. In less than a year, the number of women appointed to Australia’s corporate boards has gone from 8% to 14% by just taking this simple measure.It seems that when companies are required to look at their own dismal records, that’s when women start to get noticed. We could do the same – actually we were doing something remarkably similar to this with pay equity audits in the public sector before National scrapped it when they came into Government.
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.
I’m talking about Frances Walsh. The so-called “hobbit-hating woman”, who dared to stand up for her members in MEAA when Mr Warner Bros and his hired guns came to town last year to attack New Zealand’s sovereignty and labour laws, in the name of “jobs”. Our feeble government wooed Warner Bros, along with Peter Jackson and Co with big limos and flash hospitality and then did the ultimate sell-out by amending labour laws to ensure film and video production workers don’t have the right to challenge their status as employees under our labour law.
That woman, who along with Helen Kelly, CTU President, became the target of the worst case of New Zealand union-phobia we’ve seen in a decade. That woman, who has a distinguished career as a journalist, and who has now published a quite wonderful book, called “Inside Stories” – a history of the New Zealand Housewife 1890 – 1975.
Walsh’s book takes a look at the artistic, cultural and historical role of women in New Zealand. It’s a reminder of the stereotypes of women I grew up with and fought against, and the struggle of the right to vote in the late 1890′s through to 1975, when modern feminism asserted the right to sexual and reproductive freedom.
It’s an artistic romp through women’s magazines and their reflection on a women’s place and a political commentary on how far women in New Zealand have come – and have yet to go.
The book is beautifully illustrated with cartoons, advertisements, colours and wallpapers of the eras. I bought it willingly, because I think it’s one not just to read, but to keep. But I also bought it in honour of Frances’ role as a trade unionist – sticking up for a whole bunch of workers, who may seem by many to be privileged because they work in an industry that is on the surface glamorous and adventurous, but has underneath, a whole lot of problems and issue. The National Government turned their back on them last year when they sidled up to Warner Bros and did the indecent thing, selling out a whole category of workers and giving a message that this is in store for any other group who dare stand up for their rights.
Well done Frances. And all women like her.
I believe everyone aged 18 and over, who is able to, should vote. I believe it’s our responsibility as citizens. I believe it should be a requirement of citizenship.
How you vote is your affair. You can cast an invalid vote to protest against the system. But I believe we should.
I talked about this in my maiden speech. This is my view, not my party’s.
The ancient Greeks, who gave birth to democracy, held that it was every citizen’s duty to participate in decision-making. Let’s have the discussion.
In 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to be granted the vote. That’s not long ago. My (and your ) ancestors fought for that right.
That achievement was the result of years of effort by suffrage campaigners. In 1891, 1892 and 1893 they compiled a series of massive petitions calling on Parliament to grant the vote to women. The biggest of them all, submitted on 28 July 1893, was signed by ‘Mary J. Carpenter and 25,519 others’ – about one in five New Zealand women at the time.
The petition contains the signatures of many leading suffragists and feminists, including Kate Sheppard, Marion Hatton, Rachel Reynolds, Ada Wells, Tailoresses’ Union leader Harriet Morison, writer Edith Grossman, and sisters Christina and Stella Henderson (whose younger sister, Elizabeth, then too young to sign, would later achieve fame as New Zealand’s first woman MP – under her married name, McCombs).
To mark Women’s Suffrage Day on 19 September, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has made the names and address details of the women who signed the petition available as a searchable database on NZHistory so New Zealanders can search for family ties to this historic event.
‘Women’s suffrage is rightly celebrated as a great milestone in New Zealand history,’ says Neill Atkinson, Chief Historian at Manatu Taonga. When the governor signed a new Electoral Act into law on 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. In most other democracies – notably Britain and the United States – women couldn’t vote until after the First World War. ‘New Zealand’s world leadership in women’s suffrage has become part of our national identity,’ says Atkinson.
I think that’s a great initiative. I’m proud to be a woman MP in our parliament. We’ve achieved 30% representation. MMP has been responsible for increasing that representation. Which is one of the reasons I support and will choose MMP when I cast my vote in the referendum on 26 November.
The right to vote is a precious thing. Let’s all exercise it. Wisely.
Continuing a well established pattern the latest National list continues to sideline women. Are there no competent women out there who share National’s philosophy?
If we compare the National and Labour lists by gender this is what we find – in the first 10 positions National has 2 women, Labour has 4; in the first 20 positions National has 5 women, Labour has 8; in the first 30 positions National has 7 women, Labour has 12; in the first 40 positions National has 10 women, Labour has 16; in the first 50 positions National has 14 women, Labour has 21. So National has women in 28% of the first 50 places and Labour 42%.
Women make up just over 50% of the population so I accept that Labour needs to work harder to increase the number of women in our Caucus. But at any given point in our political history Labour has led National in terms of representation of women in Parliament. Fighting for real equality for women is part of Labour’s core values and there is no doubt we have delivered consistently in this area with strong leadership from Labour women MPs.
In comparison this National Government has failed to deliver for women. In fact National has an appalling record in areas like progressing pay equality (closing the Pay and Employment Equity Unit, failing to act on pay investigations and cutting funding to the EEO Trust) and violence against women (cutting successful programmes and creating less secure funding for those delivering successful programmes like Girls Self Defence, leaving the Domestic Violence Bill languishing on the order paper). A number of legislative and policy changes have disproportionate negative effects on women (reducing access to the Training Incentive Allowance, 90 days fire at will provisions, meagre increases to the minimum wage and cuts to Adult and Community Education). Where are the strong voices advocating for women in the National Caucus? The current Minister’s priority seems to be increasing the number of women on Company Boards. This is important and I support greater representation of women everywhere (including in the National Caucus) however I don’t think this initiative is really the most burning issue for the many NZ women who are struggling to make ends meet.
A recently released UN Women report shows that NZ has the highest rates of physical and sexual violence in the OECD with 30% of women having ever experienced physical violence and 14% having ever experienced sexual violence by an intimate partner from 2000 – 2010. This is something we should be very worried about. Physical and sexual abuse by intimate partners is generally about power and control. It is often about men having a very negative view of women. There is no doubt that stress and alcohol play a role.
The consequences of this violence are huge. I have previously worked in the women’s health movement and I have seen first hand the depression, the loss of confidence and the other consequences that remain long after the physical injuries have healed. Children are also hurt by this violence in so many ways including fear and trauama from seeing their mother hurt. They can often learn and become caught up in similar patterns of abuse. I have also seen the guts and determination women muster to leave violent relationships and to rebuild lives that have been shattered.
We must do something real to change the violence that pervades our culture. Just to give a sense of scale – in 2008 the Police responded to 82,692 incidents involving some form of domestic violence. I find it appalling that at a time when reported violence is increasing that successful programmes like Child Advocates and Te Rito have been cut as has funding for residential services.
In contrast, earlier this year the Gillard Government in Australia announced a 12 year multi-million dollar framework for action to reduce violence. This unified strategy across agencies has cross party support. The strategy includes a major focus on prevention.
I don’t for one minute claim this is a new problem or indeed one that is unique to NZ. Last week I attended two meetings focussed on women on consecutive nights . In the first Marilyn Waring was speaking about the Solomon Islands and the second was a presentation by Ratna Osman from an organisation called Sisters in Islam. Both presentations referred to the significant problem of violence against women.
Violence against women occurs in all societies but I do worry about the scale of the problem in NZ. I think we need to do more to address this problem and reach some sort of consensus on what is needed. In my maiden speech I committed to working to on the issue of family violence. I want to acknowledge those who work in paid and unpaid capacities to try to prevent such violence and to deal with the consequences of such violence. Yours is an important and difficult job.
Women’s Refuge is one such group and last week Jacinda, Carmel and I made a small contribution by collecting for Women’s Refuge in Auckland.
As Labour’s Women’s Affairs Spokesperson I visited Arohata Women’s Prison with my colleague, Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Charles Chauvel, this afternoon. I have never been in any prison before in any capacity and I have to say the visit has really got me thinking.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but one thing I can say is that anyone who calls a prison a holiday camp or a luxury hotel has got it completely wrong. The facilities were basic and functional.
After a warm Maori welcome we were shown around the prison. The highlight was talking to a group of about twenty five women who are part of the prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU). The DTU operates a therapeutic community model with a structured programme operating in a community environment with community expecations, community support and evalutions. Charles and I asked the women to tell us the things that would reduce the chances of them reoffending when they go back into the community and what things might have stopped them offending in the first instance.
I think the women were pleased and surprised to be asked these questions by MPs and I was really impressed with the answers. One area that stood out is that in Arohata the women have an opportunity to learn and to gain qualifications. This is clearly valued by the women -this was stated by both the inmates and the staff. They want to keep learning and to use that learning to get jobs and to help their children.
What is also obvious is the strong desire of the group to deal with their addictions. Arohata is the only women’s prison that operates a DTU and so many of the women have had to move away from Christchurch and Auckland women’s prisons and proximity to their families to take part in the programme. They clearly make the link between violence, drugs, alcohol and their offending.
The women who spoke clearly want to move forward, to get jobs and to get their children back. They want to be given a chance by employers. They are also worried about what support there will be once they leave Arohata.
Some things that were reinforced for me were:
- we need to focus on the causes of crime and not solely on punishment
- we especially need to consider whether imprisonment is the best response to all of the situations people are currently imprisoned for
- the need for drug treatment programmes in all our prisons and in the community
- the importance of life long learning opportunities, to name a few
Charles and I have committed to going back and continuing the conversation. We are intending to visit the other women’s prisons too.
The recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF for sexually assaulting a hotel housemaid got me thinking about the New Zealand hospitality industry and the potential exposure of NZ workers to inappropriate behaviour during the Rugby World Cup.
The housemaid involved in the Strauss-Kahn case is a union member, which makes all the difference. But by far the majority of hotel workers in New Zealand are not union members.
Sadly, the further you go down the hospitality chain, from large hotels to motels, restaurants and bars, the worse it is.
New Zealand’s laws protect workers against sexual harassment, but it’s a hard row to hoe. There are two routes – through the Human Rights Commission or through personal grievance. New Zealand’s hospitality industry is repsonsible for 10% of all workplace sexual harassment complaints to the Human Rights Commission, but I know from experience that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s just not that easy to take this on.
If you are a young worker, not in a union, new to a job, on a 90 day trial period, are you really going to have the courage to challenge your employer if a sexual harassment incident occurs?
There’s an attitude issue here. The Hospitality Industry is not only responsible for the behaviour of their staff, but also their customers and clients. To their credit, some work has been done in the industry to educate employers about their responsibilities.
I came across this comment from the Restaurant Association in a newsletter about sexual harrasment.
I accept that some people will regretfully be sexually harassed, but at the risk of being challenged, I have formed the opinion that the majority of complaints are motivated by the monetary rewards that might result.
According to this, there’s a golden pot of money waiting for workers who complain about sexual harassment!
However, it’s not just about sexual harassment. It’s also about decent pay and fair conditions.
The government needs to work with unions and business to set standards for how we expect New Zealand workers to be treated during an event like this.
We want our visitors to have a great time, but not at the expense of New Zealand workers.
Today marks the centenary of International Women’s Day. In the last century women have struggled for and achieved much in New Zealand. We have often led the way in terms of women’s rights and this is worthy of celebration.
Originally tabled as an idea by Clara Zetkin a German socialist in 1910, International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women. This tragedy drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. The date was shifted to 8 March in 1913 and has since been celebrated on that date.
The focus on working conditions and labour laws is still very relevant for women in NZ and globally. The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) representing 176 million workers in 151 countries and territories today launched a report highlighting how women are still second class citizens at work.
The concentration of women in low paid and precarious work is still an issue in New Zealand. There is clear evidence that the work of many women is undervalued. The consequences of the persistent gender pay gap are huge and are both immediate and long term. Women and their families have less income than they should to make ends meet and women over their lifetime are underpaid to a significant level which means they are able to save less for their retirement.
Low pay and pay inequity are serious matters and the consequences are particularly severe in tough economic times where families are struggling with ever rising prices, job losses and static or reducing incomes. The need for Government action is compelling.
On the centenary of International Women’s Day the National Government’s track record on the issue of pay equity is a sorry one. That record— disestablishing the Pay Equity Unit, halting or failing to act on Pay and Employment Equity investigations, lifting the minimum wage by a cynically small amount, and crowing about closing the gender pay gap at a time of falling wages— is costing women all over New Zealand.
These actions are in a context of backtracking on basic rights at work. We have seen attacks on holidays, on meal and rest breaks and on rights to organise in unions. We are seeing women sacked without recourse, women who too often have broken work histories and face periods of time with no rights in regard to unfair dismissal.
Today along with all my Labour women colleagues I signed the Pay and Employment Equity Pledge at Parliament urging the Government to reassess its strategy and develop a plan to close the pay gap in New Zealand. Now that would be a good way to celebrate International Women’s Day!
Along with other speakers at the event at Parliament today I acknowledged the women of Christchurch. These women, in the face of terrible tragedy, are seeking to hold together their families and rebuild their lives. It is concerning to learn that the pressure facing the people of Christchurch is leading to an increase of domestic violence, a problem that still blights the lives of many women in New Zealand and globally.
We have a Prime Minister who thinks people using food banks do so because they make poor choices and an Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs who thinks women like school support staff working in jobs that are undervalued and who are struggling with the family budget in the face of ever rising prices should be “grateful that there is a National Government focused on lifting economic performance, and ensuring the well being of families and communities”
They are all heart! They have no idea what it is really like for low and middle income New Zealanders!
In relation to Kate Wilkinson’s comments I say (a) there is no plan to lift economic performance, (b) the economy is going backwards – increasing unemployment and real wages falling, (c) her words will not give women confidence that this Government actually intends to do anything about the gender pay gap and (d) being grateful won’t help put food on the table or balance the budget.
Yesterday was Red Bag Day, a day started by Business and Professional Women in 1988 to highlight the gender pay gap internationally. The Minister cited the NZ Income Survey to say that the gender pay gap has closed but she then disputed the same statistics series when I outlined that it showed that real wages have declined, which of course makes a mockery of her crowing about the gender pay gap closing.
This Government have failed women in so many ways. In relation to pay equity they have scrapped the Pay Equity Unit, halted pay and employment equity investigations and failed to honour commitments to groups like Education Support Staff who work with special needs children. This is effectively ignoring the proven inequality this group faces. In tough economic times with high unemployment and reducing pay, low incomes due to discrimination have even greater impact on women and their families.
It is certainly inappropriate for the Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs to celebrate falling wages and to tell women they should be grateful.