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Government Must Commit To Equity For Women

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Government Must Commit To Equity For Women

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), as a professional organisation and trade union with a 95 percent women membership, is appalled at the deterioration in female participation in governance, professional and public life, as revealed in a Human Rights Commission report released today.

The 2010 Census of Women's Participation shows that gains made in past decades are being eroded and it shows that women in the public service earn 15.4 percent less than men for doing the same or a similar job.

"The census shows that unless the government takes a very active role in gender equity issues, women's position in the workforce deteriorates. This Government disbanded the Labour Department's Pay and Employment Equity Unit and the results in this report indicate that decision has had a negative impact on working women's rights," NZNO president Nano Tunnicliff said.

"Nurses working in district health boards (DHBs) have had to fight to boost their pay rates to those of comparable professions and they have to remain vigilant to maintain that equity. Many nurses and health workers in other areas of the health system still do not have these pay rates. Nurses know that unless there is a real commitment at government level to ensure equity for working women, it doesn't happen," Tunnicliff said.

These equity issues are even more acute for Māori women workers, Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said. "We have been campaigning for years for nurses and health workers in Māori and iwi health providers to get the same pay as nurses and health workers in DHBs. We still haven't achieved that."

Tunnicliff and Nuku believe that if this Government is genuinely committed to pay and employment equity for all women, it will develop a comprehensive plan dedicated to achieving that goal.

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