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Gender pay gap evident in universities

AUS WEB SITEGender pay gap evident in universities

The Minister of Labour, Hon Margaret Wilson, has told university women that there is evidence the gender pay gap exists as much in universities as other sectors of the workforce.

Opening the Association of University Staff (AUS) Biennial Women’s Conference yesterday, Ms Wilson, said that while academic staff at universities and other tertiary institutions have high levels of education and experience, there was evidence that the gender gap is greater for well paid women than for low income earners. With respect to general (non-academic) staff in universities, Ms Wilson cited the University of Auckland EEO report which found that while women were well represented numerically in the workforce, they were not well represented in senior positions.

The conference was told that the Government’s taskforce on pay and employment equity is examining the social, employment, economic, and other factors contributing to pay and employment inequity and to advise Government on a 5 year plan to address those inequities. Research shows that women’s hourly earnings lag 15.7% behind men overall, but 21% behind for high earners.

Margaret Wilson said that the wide focus of the Taskforce on pay and employment equity required it to take into account the Government’s other policies to support employment equity for women. This included that appointment of a dedicated EEO Commissioner and the Government’s commitment to a comprehensive work/life balance programme over the coming year.
Margaret Wilson, a former AUS member, said more direct support for pay equity would also come out of the review of the Employment Relations Act. She said updating the existing equal pay legislation would make it more accessible and user-friendly and reinforce the fundamental right to equal pay for men and women doing the same job.

More than 60 women from New Zealand universities attended the conference which examined the theme of achieving pay equity for university women. Included among the speakers was Carolyn Allport, National President of the Australian National Tertiary Education Union, who described the approaches being taken in Australia to achieve pay equity for university women.


For more information or comment, please contact
Helen Kelly
AUS General Secretary
Phone (04) 915 6691 or


Elizabeth Poole,
AUS Women’s Vice President
Phone (03) 479-7841 or email

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