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Labour committed to pay and employment equity

6 October 2006 Media Statement

Labour committed to pay and employment equity

Government will continue to take the lead in improving pay and employment equity for New Zealand workers, says Minister of Women's Affairs Lianne Dalziel.
Lianne Dalziel welcomed the findings of Statistics New Zealand's annual income survey that show a slow but gradual closing of the gap between women's and men's pay. Ten years ago the median hourly wage for women was 83 per cent of that paid to men. In June 2006 the difference was 87 per cent.

"Despite a greater average increase for women in the past year, women are still being paid on average less than men, but the trends are in the right direction," Lianne Dalziel said.

Reasons for the narrowing of the pay gap between men and women reflected improved pay in some female-dominated industries such as education, wholesale and retail trade and other services. There is also an overall increase in participation in paid full-time employment by women and changes in the types of jobs women are employed in.

"It's good to see improved percentage increases in the latest figures for Maori and Pacific women, but there is still some way for them to go to achieve equity as against other women let alone their male counterparts," Lianne Dalziel said.

"The Ministry of Women's Affairs is leading the development of a joint research project with Australia to help us understand the links between occupational segregation – which contributes to the gender pay gap – and economic performance. This will be useful when developing policy," Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel also highlighted the importance of the government’s five-year Plan of Action on Pay and Employment Equity, which is working to identify and resolve any pay equity issues in the public service, public health and public education sectors.

“By taking the lead in these sectors, the government can learn what is needed to bring about a sustained change in employment practices that contribute to the gender pay gap, as well as addressing what has been a traditional undervaluing of female-dominated occupations in both the private and public sectors,” said Lianne Dalziel.

ENDS

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