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International Women's Day: Bittersweet for Women in Retail

International Women's Day: Bittersweet for Women in Retail

International Women’s Day, dating back to 1911 and founded by women socialists and workers is cause to celebrate, but for many hard-working Kiwi women it’s also a reminder of the gender pay gap in income.

Statistics New Zealand figures for 2018 show:

MEDIAN figures (the most commonly paid amount in retail) in retail show; Men $19.07 vs Women who’re on $18.00 = $1.07 difference per hour x 40hr work week = women in retail are being short-changed $42.80 a week based on median hourly incomes.

AVERAGE figures (that add together all incomes and divide by the number of incomes) show an even more shocking disparity.
Men $22.28 vs Women who’re on $20.09 = $2.19 per hr difference so on a x 40hr work week = women in retail are being short-changed $87.60 a week based on average hourly incomes.

The reason average incomes are important is because these figures include the outliers; the imbalance of men who are managers in retail.

It is for reasons such as this that we invite companies to sign onto the workers-led Worth It campaign that asks for a Living Wage that includes pay parity and for employers to provide equal promotional opportunities to both men and women.

FIRST Union Retail Organiser Robin Wilson-Whiting says, “Sadly it’s no surprise that the gender pay gap is a massive issue in the retail sector. Our women members across supermarkets, clothing chains and even hardware stores see men climb the career ladder more easily and get rewarded in the pocket for it. With wages still so low in the sector, promotions to supervisory or managerial roles are often the only way to attain a liveable wage.”

“This is why our Worth It campaign is so vitally important for working women in the retail sector. All wages need to rise across the board in retail so that all work is valued with a Living Wage. Retail companies need to take a long hard look at both their wages as well as their internal promotion practices which, in our experience, often lead to a management workforce dominated by men. We commend employers that are taking the lead on this however these companies remain the exception rather than the rule.”


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