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Leading Midwifery Expert to Address NZ Midwives

Leading Midwifery Expert to Address NZ Midwives at Biennial Conference

Less than a fortnight after New Zealand midwives began mediation with the Ministry of Health to progress their struggle for gender pay equity, midwifery conference delegates will hear of a similar battle currently underway in Canada.

More than 600 midwives will attend the New Zealand College of Midwives conference in Auckland where the key note speaker is Professor Vicki Van Wagner, recognised as one of the founders of the regulated profession in Ontario.

Ontario midwives recently returned to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in an attempt to resolve its long-running claim against the Ontario government alleging gender discrimination over pay.

Midwifery leaders in New Zealand and Canada say that the positive impact of the actions they are taking will not only affect midwives but also women in general.

“Midwives are among the thousands of Ontario women stuck in the gender wage gap, earning far less than their male counterparts in comparable professions,” says Professor Van Wagner.

“It is sad, but not surprising that women in New Zealand are being discriminated against in the same way. New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity care system is admired the world over and it would be a tragedy if it were to be eroded because midwives could no longer stay in the profession.”

Karen Guilliland, Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives says the College claim against the New Zealand government is not just about our members.

“Our profession is particularly vulnerable because it is almost exclusively female but there are many examples in other professions and workforces where women are still being discriminated against when it comes to pay. We are delighted to welcome Vicki Van Wagner to New Zealand and to have her support at such a crucial time in our battle for equal pay for work of equal value.”

Note: As far as the recent NZ/MoH mediation is concerned, the parties are still in mediation and that process remains confidential. The process between the parties will be reviewed on November 4. The court proceedings remain adjourned and there will be no further comment at this stage.


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