Work needed to rebuild better working lives for women after pandemic – E tu


On International Women’s Day 2021, E tū celebrates its wonderful wahine for the paid and unpaid mahi they do in their communities, while continuing to advocate for decent work, equal pay, and lives free from violence and harassment.

Convenor of E tū Women’s Committee Wheeti Haenga says while she wants to see women celebrated, the impact of the pandemic on worsening economic conditions for Kiwi women can’t be ignored.

“A year on from last year’s International Women’s Day, there are more women out of work, or doing three jobs to survive in big cities like Auckland and Wellington.

“Our women are still struggling to get well-paid jobs and to put food on the table for their families.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh says structural inequalities, including the escalation of family violence during lockdowns, need to be acknowledged in order to create decent working lives for women.

“It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has highlighted many structural inequalities for women worldwide.

“Our major campaigns, such as pushing for safe staffing numbers in rest homes and hospitals, ensuring the Living Wage is paid to our cleaners – many of whom are women – these are some of the elements needed to create more just, equitable conditions for workers and in turn create better lives for women and their communities.”

Rachel says all workers are encouraged to call out gender inequality, and to make use of government provisions such as domestic violence leave, if they need it.

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“As challenging as it may be at times, to Rebuild Better, we all need to take responsibility for calling out gender-based discrimination at work and at home, and make sure women have access to rights and protections that ensure their equal participation and well-being in the societies they live in.”