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Key issues at women students conference

January 25 2005

Pay equity, student loans and feminism key issues at women students conference

Women students are gathering in Wellington for the next two days to discuss the campaign for pay equity, the claim to the Human Rights Commission against the student loan scheme and the place of feminism in New Zealand in 2005.

“We are calling on government to respond to our Human Rights claim against the student loan scheme by reducing student fees and introducing a living allowance for all students,” said Karen Price, National Women’s Rights Officer of the New Zealand University Students’ Association.

“Pay equity is a big issue for women graduates given that the pay gap between men and women is at its most pronounced for those with tertiary qualifications.”

Women graduates in all areas earn less, on average than their male classmates resulting in student loan repayment times that are double those of men.

“Pay equity is an issue of major concern to women students given recent figures that show that women commerce graduates will earn between $4000-$10,000 on average, less than their male counterparts just one year out from completion.”

“Having a woman Prime Minister and Chief Justice does not mean that the place of feminism in New Zealand is any less important than it was in the past,” said Price. “While women are paid less than men and still subjected to domestic violence and rape, there will be a place for the women’s movement.”

The conference also includes a keynote address from Head of the Nurses Organisation, Laila Harre about their successful pay equity campaign and workshops on homophobia and activism.

ENDS

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