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

The New Zealand Human Right Commission has just released of 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.

You may like to read the following blog in conjunction with an earlier blog we posted in March 2010 for International Women’s Day titled – Women’s Rights Slipping Away in New Zealand.

The 2010 Census of Women’s Participation opens with:

Chapter 1 Sex and Power – A Report Card

“The bad news is that in a number of significant areas, women’s participation has stalled and is sliding backwards. Significantly, this is occurring in the state sector which has traditionally been a leader for women’s advancement in public life.

New Zealand made a promise internationally of 50% gender parity in government-appointed bodies by 2010, which has not been met and has now slipped to an 8.5% gap.” read the full census report here

A NZPA press report said “The National Government is failing women” according to Labour MP Sue Moroney.

“It says women comprise 32 percent of MPs, 30 percent of Cabinet, 72 percent of teachers and 47 percent of school principals.

There are only three female editors out of the 26 daily newspapers, while 26 percent of the country’s judges are women, as are 29 percent of the New Zealand Police force.

Although 59 percent of the workers in public service are women, only six out of 34 public service departments have a woman chief executive.

The report identifies a 15.4 percent gender pay gap in the public service, which is greater than the total labour force gender pay gap of 13 per cent.

Equal Opportunities Commissioner Judy McGregor said in some areas women’s participation had stalled and was sliding backwards. read the full report here

Here are some press releases that have already been issued today by interested parties:

Pay and Employment Equity Coalition

The findings from the Biennial Census of Women’s Participation show that gender pay issues are moving in the wrong direction in the public sector, said Pay and Employment Equity Coalition Spokesperson Angela McLeod today. “The Human Rights Commission is doing a good job monitoring the gap but is working in a vacuum caused by government inaction,” she said.

There is clear evidence of serious slippage in the state sector with 24 public service departments having gender pay gaps greater than the total labour force and the highest reported one being 39 per cent. “This is appalling,” said McLeod. “The state sector is vitally important for leading the way in improving gender equity. And so it should be given more than half its workforce are women.”

“The Government’s dismantling of the Pay and Employment Unit has derailed progress and is likely to have contributed to these results. We were seeing some good progress being made in the state sector. The effects of government abandoning this issue are now coming home to roost.”

“Minister Pansy Wong may claim she is taking action on gender equity but the limited amounts of tinkering she is overseeing are not effective in improving the gender equity for the three-quarters of a million women now in the New Zealand workforce. They have no real plan for ensuring that women get the same rewards and workplace conditions as men,” said McLeod.

“This census report is very comprehensive and provides valuable and specific information but it has to be a spur to action,” said McLeod. “The Minister needs to meet with pay equity experts, trade union leaders and public and private sector employers to develop a plan of meaningful action to improve gender equity and reduce the gender pay gap.”

“We are ready and willing – is she?”

New Zealand Nurses Organisation:

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), as a professional organisation and trade union with a 95 percent women membership, is appalled at the deterioration in female participation in governance, professional and public life, as revealed in a Human Rights Commission report released today.

The 2010 Census of Women’s Participation shows that gains made in past decades are being eroded and it shows that women in the public service earn 15.4 percent less than men for doing the same or a similar job.

“The census shows that unless the government takes a very active role in gender equity issues, women’s position in the workforce deteriorates. This Government disbanded the Labour Department’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit and the results in this report indicate that decision has had a negative impact on working women’s rights,” NZNO president Nano Tunnicliff said.

“Nurses working in district health boards (DHBs) have had to fight to boost their pay rates to those of comparable professions and they have to remain vigilant to maintain that equity. Many nurses and health workers in other areas of the health system still do not have these pay rates. Nurses know that unless there is a real commitment at government level to ensure equity for working women, it doesn’t happen,” Tunnicliff said.

These equity issues are even more acute for Māori women workers, Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said. “We have been campaigning for years for nurses and health workers in Māori and iwi health providers to get the same pay as nurses and health workers in DHBs. We still haven’t achieved that.”

Tunnicliff and Nuku believe that if this Government is genuinely committed to pay and employment equity for all women, it will develop a comprehensive plan dedicated to achieving that goal.

New Zealand Educational Institute

A new report showing women losing ground in terms of pay and employment equity should shame the government into action, says the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

The Census of Women’s Participation by the Human Rights Commission shows that women’s participation in governance, professional and public life has slipped. It also shows that women in the public sector are paid 15% less than men for doing the same of similar work.

NZEI says the figures are particularly disheartening as the Government has clear evidence of pay inequity for thousands of education workers, yet refuses to do anything about it.

A pay investigation involving around 800 Ministry of Education support workers who work with special needs children, found they are significantly underpaid when compared to male workers in other sectors who have similar skills levels and responsibilities.

A separate report of the Pay Equity Review of the Compulsory Schooling Sector found that across all occupational groups in schools, there were areas where women were not being treated fairly or were being discriminated against in terms of pay, career advancement and value of their work.

NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says “it is astonishing that in 2010 New Zealand finds itself in a position where equality for women in the workplace is actually slipping rather than improving and the responsibility lies squarely with the Government.”

The National-led government has undone a lot of the progress made by scrapping the pay and employment equity unit and halting all further pay and employment investigations in the public sector.

The Human Rights Commission Report says New Zealand is unlikely to meet its international obligations to have pay parity in the public sector by the end of the year.

“Failing to address pay and employment equity marginalises women and shuts them out of the economic recovery. The government should be ashamed,” says Mr Goulter.

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

    • Despite myths to the contrary, largely promoted by Women’s Refuge in a bid to keep their funding, domestic abuse is NOT exclusively perpetrated by men. I know of many men who have been attacked by violent female partners. What frequently happens is when men get in contact with the police to report female violence the police either treat it as a joke, or they automatically assume the man is the perpetrator and he is guilty until he can prove his innocence. By contrast the woman is automatically assumed to be the victim and often no real investigation takes place. Because of this bias many men stand to loose everything by being treated as violent even if they are the victim; as a consequence most men do not report female violence.

      We even have laws in New Zealand to support this discrimination from a legal level: While there is the Man Assaults Woman law, there is no equivalent law of Woman Assaults Man, and so female violence falls into a category that hides the gender of the perpetrator (statistical manipulation) and keeps the problem hidden.

      This police themselves also contribute to the problem. Enter most police stations and you will see a sign stating that they will not tolerate violence against women. But, there is no priority at all on protecting men against violence whatsoever. The automatic assumption appears to be that women never commit violence, but it has been proven repeatedly (in legitimate studies) that they do. To not give men the same protection by law is blatant discrimination and for our government and police to both contribute to this problem is appalling.

      For men who are abused by their partners they have nowhere to go. Despite efforts to set up domestic violence shelters for men their has been no funding made available whatsoever. I know of one case in which a man who had been abused by his partner was forced onto the street with his 2 year old daughter. There was no shelter for him to go to. The woman had already isolated him socially and he had little choice to return to the home where she was waiting for him. He should have been able to get out of this dangerous situation immediately and the only barrier to allow him to do this was his gender. As he found out; it is nearly impossible for a man to get help to deal with a violent female partner.

      There is no excuse for violence no matter who is perpetrating it, but the silent problem of female violence is a huge problem in New Zealand, and it shouldn’t be ignored.

      • And here is a classic example of female violence. Seven days after White Ribbon Week – a fund raiser for protecting women against violence against men – a woman deliberately runs over her partner with her car and it is captured on a CTV security camera.


        Note the structure of the article; her violence takes up the first 4 paragraphs and gives very little detail on the man and his injuries, while the fact that she then drove her car over a bank and injured herself takes up almost all of the remaining 9 paragraphs.

        There is over TWICE as much attention given to the fact that she moderately injured herself than there is placed on the fact that she seriously injured her partner!

Comments are closed.