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National Failing Women - Labour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Sue Maroney
Sue Maroney

Wellington, Nov 8 NZPA - The National Government is failing women, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.

The biennial New Zealand Census of Women's Participation 2010, published today, tracks progress, or the lack of it, for women across the corporate and private sectors at governance and management levels.

It says women comprise 32 percent of MPs, 30 percent of Cabinet, 72 percent of teachers and 47 percent of school principals.

There are only three female editors out of the 26 daily newspapers, while 26 percent of the country's judges are women, as are 29 percent of the New Zealand Police force.

Although 59 percent of the workers in public service are women, only six out of 34 public service departments have a woman chief executive.

The report identifies a 15.4 percent gender pay gap in the public service, which is greater than the total labour force gender pay gap of 13 per cent.

Equal Opportunities Commissioner Judy McGregor said in some areas women's participation had stalled and was sliding backwards.

Ms Moroney said the census was further evidence of the backward slide women faced under National and followed the announcement that female unemployment had passed 7 percent for the first time in 12 years.

"The key areas New Zealand has gone backwards in for women are all the direct responsibility of the National Government," she said.

That included appointments to state sector boards and abolishing the pay and employment equity unit and pay equity audits.

"They have done nothing to create jobs in areas of the economy where women work."

Changes to funding in the early childhood education sector meant women employed there were losing their jobs, and rising fees in the sector meant others were having to reassess whether they could afford to work while their children were in daycare, Ms Moroney said.

"Minister of Women's Affairs Pansy Wong is failing to get her government to act in the interests of women and their families."

Dr McGregor said the census identified who was doing well and who needed to improve and there was value in "knowing and showing" how public service departments were responding, given that women made up the majority of public servants.

"The public service has an opportunity to lead the way with pay and employment equity, but the results are very disappointing," Dr McGregor said.

The report showed that universities were making steady progress for women at a time when improvements in other areas of professional and public life were lagging.

The country's eight universities all passed the 20 percent mark for the first time, with women making up 22.45 percent of professors and associate professors.

The number of women appointed to Council Controlled Organisations -- features of Auckland's local body restructuring process -- stood at 27.6 percent, still below the Commonwealth target of 30 percent of women's representation in local government, the report said.

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