A major annual report on the progress of women globally shows New Zealand losing ground for the second year in a row, scoring particularly badly in relation to economic participation and opportunity, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says.
“While the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2013 ranks New Zealand seventh out of 136 countries, progress has hardly been spectacular with a ranking of 51st for percentage change since 2006.
“Despite a fantastic first place in educational attainment, there is significant room for improvement in economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment.
“National’s ho-hum attitude to labour force participation and income is highlighted in the lower rankings in those areas.
“You only have to look at the recent case of Kristine Bartlett and other aged care workers earning very low wages because they are women to see why that is.
“Occupational segregation remains high and very few women are training for trades and technical positions. For example only 1 per cent of building and construction trainees and 6 per cent of infrastructure trainees are women.
“Another policy initiative that clearly assists in labour force participation is better paid parental leave provisions. Again it is something that is not on the Government’s radar.
“Instead it is pushing through changes to the Employment Relations Act which will cause significant harm to women in paid work – an issue raised by the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee in their 2012 report and ignored by the Government.
“All in all there is no evidence that the National Government is ambitious for NZ women.”