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Higher Targets needed for Gender Equality at Work

28 November 2012

Media Release

Higher Targets needed for Gender Equality at Work

“When it comes to career choices and progression, women’s opportunities are being severely compromised,” National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) President Barbara Arnold said today.

Barbara Arnold was commenting on the Human Rights Commission’s New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation 2012, which shows that New Zealand now follows, rather than leads other countries in measures to improve women’s representation in the workforce.

“This report shows just how underrepresented women are in many occupations. For example, only 13% of engineers, 15% of editors and 15.26% of accountancy professionals are women.

“And in trades and trade training it’s even worse. Less than 1% of modern apprentices in building and construction, and 2% of modern apprentices in the electricity supply industry are female,” Barbara Arnold said.

“Occupational segregation is a defining characteristic of the New Zealand workforce. It needs to be addressed with much more urgency. We’ve got a situation that is bad for women workers because most of them are in lower paid occupations than men. And businesses are losing out too because they’re not accessing the full range of talent available, particularly at the present time when some sectors are starting to face a serious shortage of skilled workers.

“New Zealand has a reputation for being a global leader in gender equality. But while there has been progress towards gender equality in the workforce, there hasn’t been nearly enough. The bottom line is that we need to do more and do it faster. Higher targets need to be set and met,” Barbara Arnold concluded.

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