Today’s release of the movie Suffragette serves as a reminder that women are fighting similar fights to last century says the Pay Equity Coalition.
“Although New Zealand was the first country to give all women the right to vote, 25 years ahead of their British counterparts, Kate Sheppard and her supporters would be shocked by how little progress has been made on pay equity in New Zealand in the past 121 years,” says Pay Equity Coalition spokesperson Angela McLeod.
“The gap between men and women’s pay, as measured by average hourly pay is 14%, according to the New Zealand’s 2015 Annual Income Survey and it hasn’t budged much in the past ten years.
“The gender pay gap is due partly to the fact that women working in predominately “female occupations” such as care giving, teachers’ aides and midwives are paid less than men in “male occupations” such as construction and engineering.
“Even though women may have as great or greater skills and responsibilities, for example needed for looking after the welfare of the elderly, children, and babies and their mothers, women have traditionally been paid less.
“Caring responsibilities can involve life and death decisions, yet because they have been seen as inherent “female” traits, they have been undervalued in pay packets.
“Women deserve pay equity, as upheld in the recent Court of Appeal decision “Terranova v Service and Food Workers Union and Bartlett”. The court held that in female-dominated work the Equal Pay Act 1972 requires equal pay for work of equal value, not simply the same pay for the same work.
“Job comparisons need to be based on the skills, responsibilities, conditions of work, the degree of effort and relevant work conditions of the employment. Once these comparisons are made between predominately “female occupations” and predominately “male occupations”, and women can expect to see equity in pay.
“We can’t think of a better New Year’s resolution by the Government, in the spirit of ‘Suffragette’ than a commitment to closing the gender pay gap,” says Ms McLeod