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No progress on reducing gender pay gap

Monday, Aug 15, 2022

Woman at table with co-workers, looking frustrated

Figures released last month showed there has been no progress in reducing the gender pay gap in the past 12 months.

Stats NZ Labour Market figures for the June quarter showed the gender pay gap has, in fact, increased slightly from 9.1 per cent in June 2021 to 9.2 per cent in June 22.

The gap has hovered between 9.7 and 9.1 per cent in the past six years, down from 12 per cent in 2016.

Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive Maretha Smit says it’s disappointing that the pay gap hasn’t shifted given the concerted efforts of advocacy groups to bring attention to this issue and reduce income inequities for women.

“This is another area where we are experiencing the impact Covid has had on our organisations and people.”

Worldwide, women, particularly those of colour or from ethnic minorities, were disproportionately impacted by job losses due to the global pandemic.  

“Women also carried much of the unpaid domestic burden of caring for families and supervising home schooling during lockdowns, which may have created a situation where they have had to reduce their paid work responsibilities or haven’t had capacity to look at career progression for the past two years,” Maretha says.

MindTheGap campaign co-founder Dellwyn Stuart says the gender pay gap is something New Zealand can fix.

The campaign is calling on the government to introduce mandatory pay gap reporting for businesses in New Zealand to reduce inequities.

“We’re about 10 years behind overseas countries. They’ve put in place mandatory pay gap reporting and they’ve seen pay gaps close,” Dellwyn says.

The overall gender pay gap is 9.2 per cent but it’s even bigger for wāhine Māori and Pasifika women at 19 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

MindTheGap has collected for than 7,000 signatures on its petition calling for mandatory pay gap reporting. It will be presented at Parliament in coming weeks.

It also launched Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Pay Gap Registry where large organisations can voluntarily publish their gender and ethnic pay gaps.

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