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Census Figures Show Need For Pay Equity System

20 June 2002

“Census figures showing women’s income lagging far behind men’s show the need for an effective pay equity system in New Zealand,” said Council of Trade Unions secretary Paul Goulter today.

Women’s median income is $14, 500, which is $10,000 lower than men’s.

Paul Goulter said there were many reasons for women’s income being lower than men’s, despite the fact that young women are better educated.

“Women workers still dominate casual and part time work,” he said.

“Although the government’s introduction of paid parental leave will assist women to maintain job continuity, women still grapple with work/life issues such as the need for more flexible hours and childcare.”

Paul Goulter said women’s income was lower because of the under valuing of women-dominated areas of work such as health, education and community services.

“Even if we discount the factors of casualisation and childcare, women’s hourly earnings are just 84% of men’s and Maori women earn 74% and Pacific women just 70%.

“Clearly we need an effective pay equity system to address these issues.”

The CTU has been represented in a Government advisory group on employment equity issues, including pay equity.

Paul Goulter said for unions that was the beginning of a process of seriously addressing pay equity.

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