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NZ organisations must do more to address gender pay gaps - NACEW

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"The recent release by TVNZ of the gender pay gap for its highest earning staff shows that New Zealand businesses still disadvantage women", says the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW).

"Unfortunately the TVNZ example is not likely to be an isolated case," says NACEW Chair, Traci Houpapa.

The recent release of TVNZ’s gender pay gap for its highest earning staff members shows New Zealand organisations still have policies in place which disadvantage women. Not one of the top ten earners in the group of TVNZ presenters were women, despite most of these people doing the same job.

The national gender pay gap has reduced since 1998, but progress has been slower in the last decade. New Zealand’s gender pay gap is now at 9.3 percent.

New Zealand organisations need to have open discussions about how to address their organisational gender pay gap. It shouldn’t require an official a ruling by the Ombudsman to get this type of information released.

"NACEW supports the Minister for Women, Hon Julie Anne Genter’s goal to eliminate the gender pay gap, and is committed to making progress for women in Aotearoa New Zealand," said Ms Houpapa.

Women still have higher rates of unemployment and underutilisation than men, are over represented in minimum wage jobs, and undertake most of the unpaid work in our society.

Many women are educated and trained in areas that do not match where employment is growing, such as engineering and IT. This has negative implications for women’s health and wellbeing, for their ability to provide for themselves and their whānau, and for their ability to save for retirement.

"Even though it has been half a century since the Equal Pay Act 1972 and the national gender pay gap has reduced since then, progress has slowed in the last decade with New Zealand’s gender pay gap now down to 9.3 percent and we’re still seeing policies and practices that lead to gender pay gaps."

These factors include discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions; women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs being lower paid compared to work predominantly performed by men; women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work, lack of workplace flexibility; and women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.

"Although individual employee privacy is an important consideration, the overall lack of transparency on this issue is disturbing," says Ms Houpapa.

"Employees want to know that they are working in places that provide a fair remuneration environment. But even more so, employees are placing greater value on organisations that show transparency on flexible work, career breaks and fair remuneration practices.

"All (large) companies should measure and report publicly on the size of their gender pay gap as well as complying with the Equal Pay Act.

"New Zealand businesses need to have open discussions about how to address their organisational gender pay gap. Employees and consumers are placing greater value on organisations that have fair remuneration practices.

"We call on TVNZ and other large NZ companies to reduce the gender pay gap at all levels of their business," says Ms Houpapa.

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