United Nations told gender pay gap widening in NZ

Waireka, WhakataneA report to the United Nations by the National Council of Women of New Zealand says women still face discrimination in the workplace as well a sexist backlash.

Many New Zealanders no longer believed that women faced discrimination, often pointing to successful women leaders like Prime Minster Helen Clark and Chief Justice Sian Elias as proof.

One of the report’s presenters, Beryl Anderson, said the overall tone of the report was optimistic and there had been areas of clear progress – such as paid parental leave and interest free student loans – since the previous report to the United Nations in 2002.

But Ms Anderson told the Dominion Post that having had women as prime minister, chief justice, governor-general, speaker of Parliament, and chief executive of Telecom had created a misleading impression that gender parity had been achieved.

“There has been a bit of a backlash because so much emphasis was given on having women in those top positions. People thought everything was resolved when in actual fact the pay equity gap is greater now than it was 20 years ago.”

The report suggests a range of measures to address employment equity issues including:

• The availability of affordable and accessible child care for all workers
• The availability and inclusion in collective agreements of family friendly provisions
• Extension of paid parental leave to all women in employment
• A firm commitment to address the gender pay gap

(thanks to gak67nz for the photo)

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