Womens’ Rights Slipping In New Zealand – Updated

(scroll down for update)

On International Women’s Day we thought we’d do a round up of just three issues that impact on women in present day New Zealand and look to see what progress, if any, is being made with them. What we found is that women’s affairs are going backwards:

Pay Gaps
New Zealand has had a gender pay gap between men and women of about 12 per cent median hourly rates for the past decade (source) The Human Rights Commission’s annual scrutiny of how Crown Entities are reporting on their good employer obligations shows a lack of visibility given to pay equity despite a significant gender pay gap in the health sector.

“The 21 DHBs, who employ around 80 per cent women, undertook pay and employment equity reviews and developed response plans with staff from January 2007 to April 2008. One DHB reported a pay gap of 31 percent on full time equivalent earnings” (source)
“Five undertook full reviews and 16 were involved in a verification process. However, the Commission has found no DHB reported ongoing work in relation to response plans in their last annual reports. Only half made reference to having an equitable transparent and gender neutral remuneration system.
“It is disappointing to see a slowdown in commitment to closing the gender pay gap in the health sector. We hope staff and managers will find the monitoring tool useful to pick up the pace”.
The Commission has urged the Government to set a minimum target of halving the gender pay gap by 2012 and eliminating it by 2020.” (source as above)

“The government’s Pay and Equity Unit was closed down because it had completed its work when Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson said the unit still had 20 pay equity investigations to complete when she axed it.” (source)

Meanwhile the pay gap between New Zealand and Australia continues to widen.

“Phil Goff said a recent survey showed that 78 per cent of Australian companies are planning to lift salary levels this year compared to New Zealand companies where just 55 per cent are planning to do the same. In Australia 55 per cent of firms intend to increase staff levels, double the percentage in New Zealand.

“The only area where New Zealand has caught up with Australia is unemployment. Unfortunately our unemployment rate is well ahead of our trans-Tasman neighbours,” Phil Goff said.

“At 7.3 per cent our unemployment is running nearly 2 per cent higher than Australia’s. 168,000 Kiwis are now unemployed (many of them women, see below) and nothing the Prime Minister said in his opening address to Parliament is going to change that.” (source)

In  a three month period more than 15,000 New Zealand women lost their jobs. In the quarter to September 2009 almost two thirds of the people who became jobless were women (source)

Sexual Assault and Abuse
The ACC Sensitive claims ‘clinical pathway’ policy whereby women will be required to disclose an assault and then wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to process their claim before they can proceed with counseling, has been condemned as clinically unsound,contrary to ACC’s statutory requirement to provide treatment that conforms “to best clinical practice” and discriminates against women directly and indirectly

Under the changes ACC want to make it harder to get funding by making a diagnosis of mental illness a requirement. Furthermore they propose limiting funding to only sixteen sessions of treatment (source)

The National Council of Women of New Zealand has said it is opposed to the change because:
* Counsellors, Therapists, Social Workers, and currently, Psychotherapists are no longer qualified to provide ACC assessments for subsidised treatment for victims of sexual abuse and/or sex crimes.
* There are insufficient Psychologists and Psychiatrists in New Zealand to provide the necessary assessments, so the period of waiting before ACC subsidised treatment can be approved could be as long as nine months.
* The Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are qualified to undertake assessments do not necessarily have a history or relevant work experience in the field of sexual abuse.
* If you undergo a DSM IV assessment by a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, it will be determined that you have experienced mental illness as a result of trauma. This will have implications in the future when seeking assistance in terms of his/her mortgage, access to insurances, and opportunities for employment.
* There are no regulations within the law that require those seeking subsidised counselling to be classified as having an illness.
* Those working in the sexual violence field are deeply concerned that ACC is encouraging professionals to breach the Code of Ethics.
* The clinical pathway is discouraging women from seeking recovery via the ACC subsidised counselling system.
* The maximum number of sessions that ACC will approve at any one time is 16; this replaces the previously set figure of 30 sessions.
* The ACC sensitive claims clinical pathway discriminates against women directly and indirectly.” (source)

For more statistics on issues that impact on women and children please see our NZ Facts of Life pages which includes data on teen pregnancy rates, youth suicide and the shocking statistic that in NZ only 9% of sexual offences get reported to police, and of those only 13% of rapes resulted in convictions. The median age of victims is 23 and Europeans account for 61% of the victims – See ‘Conviction rate in sex cases

There is also an estimate that the social cost of sexual violence in NZ is $1.2 billion per year. It is NZ’s most costly crime

Update 4 May 2010

Support Agencies near collapse:

“Support agencies for the sexually abused are within months of collapse after ACC rejected up to 90 per cent of claims in the last six months, says national rape crisis advocate, Dr Kim McGregor.

“It’s a critical situation. Because of the impact [of the new clinical pathways] put in place in October, it has almost destroyed our sector,” Dr McGregor said…

…Dr McGregor heads Rape Prevention Education, in Auckland, and is a member of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence.

She and New Plymouth advocate Bob Stevens are battling to get justice for those they believe have been abandoned by ACC. ACC’s figures released last week show that since October last year 90 per cent of people making ACC claims for sexual abuse counselling have either been refused cover or have been left waiting for a decision.”

Update 8 November 2010

“Sex & Power” – Women’s Participation In NZ Stalled

“The New Zealand Human Right Commission has just released their 2010 Census of Women’s Participation, a biennial survey, published today.

It follows the progress, or the lack of it, for women across the corporate and private sectors at governance and management levels in New Zealand….”

A copy of the census may be found here

12 thoughts on “Womens’ Rights Slipping In New Zealand – Updated

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/new-zealand-man-win-a-div_n_1269634.html

    A quick listen to the radio around Valentine’s Day proves there’s no shortage of Romeos looking to dedicate a slow jam to the one they love.

    But next week — on V-Day — a New Zealand man plans to use the airwaves for a darker purpose: to tell his unsuspecting wife that he wants a divorce, the Herald Sun reports.

    The man, identified only as a 31-year-old named Sam, is the winner of New Zealand radio station The Rock’s “Win a Divorce” contest.

    In exchange for the on-air divorce announcement, the radio station will provide Sam with a free divorce, provided there are no children involved.

    The Rock has been dodging criticism from family groups since announcing the radio stunt, which the station claims is aimed at “poor blokes” who married “Satan in a dress.”

    “Divorces are difficult enough, but to cheapen it to a radio stunt is tacky,” Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, said in a statement. “The radio station is simply feeding off the misery of others. They are willing to pay for the divorce — will they also pay for the counseling which may be required as a result of this stunt?”

    It’s not the first time The Rock has run into controversy over its Valentine’s Day programming. Last year, the station sponsored a “Win a Wife” contest, which gave the winner a membership to a Ukrainian matchmaking site.

    According to Australian newspaper the Courier-Mail, The Rock’s station manager has no plans to nix this year’s controversial segment.

    Sam won’t be the first man to make a public divorce declaration. In 2008, a man at a Saudi Arabian mall grabbed a cashier’s microphone and announced that he was divorcing his wife, after he found a slip of paper in her purse with another man’s phone number on it.

  2. Passionless people? Maybe not, then!
    You could be right, I have not seen this myself but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t go on. The Maori women seem to be into being “hard” or “mean” as a prideful and identity-affirming but dysfunctional way of handling frustration and disputes.

    I have found the Kiwi (Pakeha) men to more often do things sneakily where they aren’t seen, to enrage the women, &my counselor confirms a lot of this goes on. Was married to Kiwi and couldn’t believe the stunts he pulled continually, much like how the schoolkids learn to do things to others that they know the teacher won’t catch. They learn impression creation in a very integral day to day and barely conscious way here from a very young age, which really struck me. It was only the sneaky little shits back home who did this – and everyone knew who they were. Here too many of them are that way. Impression creation is not a compartmentalized marketing concept here – it is an almost social-assassin-like/ninja-like path of conduct that is a part of their culture totally accepted. You would have to have a 24/24 videocam on my Kiwi ex to have caught the frequency of the b.s. he pulled – all the time. For example, we had a family business and he wanted to stick me with most of the work and responsibility while still being able to say he “worked”. So he would mess around not doing work to feed our family and would just porn surf and diddle around and smoke dope…I would complain to his parents… then he would leave when the stress was showing in the household, go visit his parents and produce work there quite diligently to “demonstrate that he worked” to his parents, yet they had no clue what he did when he was with his family, all they knew was what he showed THEM, and dagnabbit that was Enuf Fer Them, golden boy was golden. His parents would then back him up in disputes when I complained that we couldn’t afford for him to loaf. I am glad to be out from under this poor dynamic, as it spread to everything and was the tip of the iceberg and representative of a general superdodgy used car salesman way of doing things here.

  3. According to a report by UN Women released just the other day, New Zealand has high domestic violence and maternal mortality rates compared with other OECD countries.

    Of course, they will claim it’s better reportage and not a worse problem. That’s the usual justification. Don’t dismiss it, however – the men act like they are still back in the 1950s, and in a rural area to boot. They become very clever at pulling abusive and manipulative stunts without producing results that would be traceable to them. I have even watched boys being taught by their fathers specifically how to thwart women in order to avoid meeting responsibilities (“if she does this, then you do this”). The power struggles between men and women here are legendary, with no sense of fairness at all. Just who can get the upper hand by any means possible, much of it being arm-twisting under the table and all fake smiles above it. It’s almost as if there is a body of knowledge passed down on “how to treat women so that you still get to publically sport the pants”. That is what it is all about with the men and women down here.

    Between the DV and the youth suicide, who thinks it’s still a family-friendly place to live?

    We didn’t find it so!

    • That idea of “oppression” and thwarting isn’t so defensible on a university campus or the urban surroundings, where relational aggression rules.
      I’ve seen a few couples where on more than one occasion the girlfriend slapped the guy in public, twisted the skin on his chest, or got him into a fight with another man in a bar.
      I didn’t see any couples where the man assaulted his girlfriend in public. I did see arguments though — that seems to be common to all cultures in the world.
      And why are these people getting into relationships with those they can’t trust? Unless somehow these relationships contain that “passion” that keeps them coming back.

  4. They always wave the women’s rights flag in New Zealand, repeating ad nauseum that they gave women rights first, had a woman PM, etc. But this does not necessarily mean as much as you might think. Consider this, from an Indian newspaper –

    “A recent poll suggested that India was the fourth-most dangerous place in the world for women. Afghanistan and Congo, in the grips of a civil war, were first and second, Pakistan was third. The poll was conducted amongst 213 experts on gender across the world.
    On the face of it, it seems unfair.” (paraphrased) The president of India is a woman. India’s ruling party is led by a woman. The leader of the opposition, from the country’s second largest party, is a woman. Female heads of states in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. More women than ever before are involved in regional and local decision-making and leading key businesses. Visuals of the modern successful Indian family career woman dominate the media. So why do gender experts think that India is dangerous for women?

    The answer is that women’s rights are respected in some spheres, and trampled on in others. Behind closed doors, blokes rule in New Zealand. Women are irrational, hormonal, weak creatures created for menial chores and sexual objectification. There are not too many eligible men here (defined as – employed, still have own teeth by age 50) here, so they get to call the shots all the more. Typical feral NZ male attitude: http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2011/06/24/does-housework-make-women-less-productive/

    Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of New Zealand’s Employers & Manufacturers’ Association, explained the pay gap between men and women as being due to the fact that women take more sick leave:

    “Why? Because once a month they have sick problems, […] They have children that they have to take time off to go home and take leave of. Therefore, it’s their productivity.”

    Is it possible that women are more conscientious and cover more care ground at home, a pragmatic default position that “the men won’t do it, so someone has to”? Kiwi blokes are famous for refusing to help with housework (of the sort: “changing the oil and bbq’ing meat is ok but I won’t do w, x, y or z in the house, because that’s being pussywhipped”). On the other hand, in matters of control over their children, they enjoy a de facto automatic half custody status in the event a woman decides she has had enough of this attitude. This allows them to dodge further obligations. A local psychologist years ago told me she heard many complaints about this in her office, namely that women bring in income, but are not assisted by the men sufficiently in other areas in return for helping feed and house the children. So much so that she suffered from compassion fatigue, IMO. Brittle Bloke Syndrome rules.

    These kinds of attitudes make you feel like you are back in the 1950s here. Retro fridge magnets are fun on the fridge. Not fun to live inside one, though!.

  5. In yur link on your feed
    Southland Court News
    * Ram-raid teen appears in court March 17, 2011
    A teenager accused of taking a digger and using it to get into the Waikiwi Tavern appeared in the Invercargill District Court on Friday, March 11, 2011, on further charges.

    Why, Kiwi?
    If you click on that link, you will be taken to a crimes page for Southland. Cannot conceptualise what it would be for Northland if they had an internet crime feed that reflected the actual truth of their crime levels there, hehe. No one would go there. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw how many women in the crime figures on your link. The Herald featured a piece recently on how well New Zealand women were doing, compared to the other Commonwealth countries, mentioning with a straight face ex-colonies such as Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the same breath. of comparison. He he! Kiwi lasses are free to be as drunk, stoned, rubbishy, lazy, aggressive, stupid, sneaky and criminal as the men are. That is progress.

  6. The Rock (New Zealand radio station) had a radio competition in which the winner would be flown to Ukraine and be given the chance to “go shopping” at one of those mail order type bride agencies over there. The winner would also get 12 nights’ accommodation and NZ$2,000 spending money. Return airfare for the new bride, if he chooses to go ahead and marry the unlucky woman, is not provided. Nor is a Ukrainian dictionary, so if the bloke wants her to understand that she is to fry him some eggs he’ll have to go to Whitcoulls and spring for one.

    OH, I forgot, Whitcoulls is going under. No surprise that a bookstore chain couldn’t stay afloat in Godzone.

    I actually read about this story on a foreign website.

  7. There may have been women in higher positions of authority for awhile, but in the headlines, these are declining since National took over. There are still old-fashioned views in the workplaces. quote:
    “For example, the commission’s legal arm now had a case where a woman was declined a job selling used cars on the basis the employer claimed men preferred to buy cars from other men”.
    and old-fashioned views in the home.
    Women beware. New Zealand is not some sort of haven for women. Kiwi blokes show less respect to women interpersonally than in the UK, Canada and US, among others. In that study, they rank with Japanese men for doing house chores. That is very low for an Anglophone society. Taking refuge in beating the Australians is cold comfort for the women who have to put up with them.

    • This may be an obvious solution to the problem, but why do Kiwi women have such an antipathy towards Asian men?
      I do have to point out that it’s frequently said that the Asian work ethic is what is giving some tough competition towards local employees… along with lower statistics for domestic violence and divorce.
      So that question needs to be asked and answered. When I did put that question to others they looked at me as if it was not worth asking or answering.
      Unfortunately from what I’ve seen it’s not uncommon for people to think they can enter and leave relationships with no resulting “trauma”.

  8. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/personal-finance/3779686/Kiwis-can-t-cope-with-successful-women

    this poor woman hasn’t had much luck in New Zealand

    copied from link –

    Ms Pye refrains from any talk of discrimination; her achievements work against that argument anyway. Rather, she attributes the scarcity of women in high places to an endemic lack of public support. Not the standard “girls can do everything boys can” platitudes but the type of ingrained societal acceptance that suggests it is OK for women to “go past the traditional roles of being a lawyer, a company director or accountant”.

    Pye refers to them as “safe roles”.

    “There isn’t any encouragement there,” she says. “It is the environment that we work in, the tall poppy syndrome, and our corporate world in New Zealand is not terribly user-friendly towards women either.” At least that’s been her experience.

    “I generally feel that New Zealanders have a problem. They have a problem with me,” she says frankly.

    But from a business perspective, she does not think it has much to offer a high-achieving female.

    “There are some very successful ones internationally, women from New Zealand who have given it a go here but then left. What advantage would you have here?”

    Ms Pye’s own experience may have left her bitter but as with all great success stories, adversity has proven her ally.

    More recently, she was called on by senior diplomats in Australia to explore how to get more women of influence and power involved with high-ranking counterparts in Asia.

    Ironically, as Ms Pye extends her reach internationally, domestically she is retreating.

    “I don’t interface with New Zealand any more because I can’t be bothered. When you interface here, there is this real nervousness, everyone crosses their legs and arms at the same time, they think I’m going to eat them alive. It is ridiculous.”

    (But then…she’s Australian. Surely that cannot help. ;))

    According to the story – now legendary in business circles – Ms Pye landed the pivotal bank interview that got her a US$100,000 loan, by claiming to know the new retail manager. In fact, she had had the good fortune to sit beside the man while travelling business class on an interstate flight in Australia, her country of origin.

    part of it surely is being a non-Kiwi.

  9. “In the quarter to September 2009 almost two thirds of the people who became jobless were women”

    Global assistance agencies have observed that women are the ones who make sure the children are fed, clothed and educated. If you want funding to work, funnel it to the women. The men blow the money. So for that reason, this figure is all the more upsetting.

    The Key administration may be trying to trim deadweight middle management type employees out of the bureaucracy, and this labour segment is populated in the majority by females, without for all that changing the structure of the bureaucracy. There are as many rules, regulations, paperwork, databases, useless oversimple comparison algorithms, inefficient chains of command, forms and conditions as there ever were. The suffocating oppressive bloat has not changed. What HAS changed now is that they have axed the number of people administering the bloat.

    That is akin to laying off crew on their sinking “slave ship of state”. It makes the vessel less safe and accomplishes nothing else. More shortsighted solutions in New Zealand. As in the time bomb piece elsewhere on this site, they need to stop grinding their small businesspeople down and train youth in the underclass to do useful things, not earn marketing certificates.

    New Zealand cannot keep selling itself as a substitute for actually rolling its sleeves up and developing its own resources. Off with the fishnets and on with the workboots.

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