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Employment outcomes for women 'worse than for men'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jackie Blue.
Jackie Blue.

New research about employment equality clearly shows that women and disabled people are doing far less well than men in employment outcomes. Releasing the research, Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue explains that ‘Tracking Equality at Work 2015’ is available as an interactive online tool, which allows a ‘deeper dive’ into particular groups and this has shown up where the inequalities really are.

On every issue, pay, employment, leadership and discrimination women do less well. The situation is worse for Maori, Pacific and disabled women.

"We need to see real action to get people into work but this is also a call to employers to get on board with this and think outside the square on how to engage the great workforce of women who are wanting to get into and thrive in the workforce," Dr Blue said.

"With New Zealand experiencing reduced fertility, greater longevity, future net negative migration and an aging population, we need everyone to have the equal opportunity to get into work and to help our economy.

"The fact is that by 2050 half of New Zealand’s population will be Pacific, Maori or Asian so it is vital that a pathway into jobs and equality at work is achieved. While there are strategies in place to support groups that are struggling, there needs to be an absolutely obsessive focus going forward to improve. No one can be left behind."

"The under-utilisation of disabled people in employment is also a lost opportunity. While I can see that there is momentum in the private sector to create a more diverse workforce, people with disabilities seem to be an after-thought and in the ‘too hard basket’.

"The results really hit home that the majority of minimum wage earners over 25 years were women, a fact which is at the crux of the Equal Pay Case going through the Courts.

In addition, Dr Blue says that clearly equality has not been achieved against any of the leadership indicators. For women, representation in senior positions is either progressing slowly, as is the case for women in the top three tiers of the public service or on boards listed on the stock exchange, or stalled, as is the case with public sector boards.

"I am extremely concerned to see that female leadership stats are dire, any improvement is tiny and in fact progress has either stalled or gone backwards, she said.

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